I am planning on taking a small product of mine live soon.

I was wondering what kind of hardware you would recommend for a new small website.

Is using the 'Cloud'(Amazon) a good option. Or is it better to have intimate control over my hardware?

Are there any other options I should consider?

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Get a Virtual Machine somewhere. It's still dedicated, dirt cheap, and you can move it in or out of your control as you like. Backup and Restore is also easy. The day of dedicated REAL hardware is over.

  • But don't you need to pay for a dedicated server to run the virtual machine in the first place? – Edmund Tay Apr 30 '09 at 9:28
  • I'm sure 'somewhere' has them for free :P – jjnguy Apr 30 '09 at 9:31
  • Nah, you can get a "virtual dedicated" machine from a lot of places. – Sam Schutte May 1 '09 at 20:01
  • Slicehost and Linode are both good places to start for linux. I love Slicehost personally. Linode doesn't KISS well. – reconbot Jun 16 '09 at 13:55

It depends on your hardware requirements - if your site will need the power of a dedicated server you'll need to either put a machine into co-lo or rent one somewhere. If you can work with less power, I'd go for a site on a shared server somewhere, but make sure that you can either install the tools you need or that they're already there.


I guess it depends on how much traffic you're going to be successful in driving there and how configurable you need the hosting to be. Obviously with Amazon you can put anything you like on there, but if your needs are less exotic, then going with a Slice Host of sorts or any really cheap annual hosting will do the trick because they come with what you want without the need to configure or backup much.

You could even host it on the Google App Engine for free if your python skills are up to it... and there you shouldn't have the trouble of scalability or cost.

Personally I think running it on the Amazon or Google Cloud is the right answer here if you're serious about it. Mainly because it's a pay for usage model. If your product marketing turns out to work well, then you'll have more traffic, and the Amazon hosting will only then start costing you more, but it's still pretty cheap at that. Google let you do it free until your app creates enough traffic to be noticed...

Hope that helps!


For a single person startup, given you have no explicit requirements as to hardware/facility etc, then I'd go for a managed dedicated server. No reason so spend time on managing the hardware/EC2 instances etc. Gives more time to concentrate on improving the product.

Once necessary, you can expand onto EC2/colocation.


The main difference between a virtual machine and a real one is perhaps obvious. You can run your own virtual instances on the real machine.

This means you can create separate virtual machines for things like your mail and web instances, and as your business grows, simply move the same configuration to separate machines.


If you're on the Microsoft stack, I would recommend ServerBeach with BizSpark.

You can get a dedicated Windows Server 2008 Standard box with SQL Server 2008 and Hyper-V for $70/month.

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