25 Aug

A Few Signs That It’s High Time Moving To Dedicated Servers

Dedicated Server Hosting Softsys

Shared hosting is the most common web hosting type. It’s super easy to setup and costs much less compared to VPS or dedicated hosting. No wonder, site owners choose shared hosting as their first web hosting option and eventually switch to bigger options.

When your website gains the popularity and starts receiving a significant amount of traffic, your hosting plan should also grow with it to accommodate growing needs of your site. At this stage, it’s vital to track the increasing traffic inflow, evaluate the current resource, and be prepared to take them to the next level.

Sometimes it is difficult to know when it is time to make the move from hosting type to another, but there are several indications that point when this switch becomes inevitable. In this post, we will discuss several signs that it might be time for you to move to a dedicated hosting server.

Frequent Downtime

With the shared hosting plan, you share server resources (disk space, bandwidth, CPU time, memory) with several hundreds or probably thousands of other websites.

In case one of those sites start acquiring excessive resources, then all of other websites hosted on the same server will start to run slower or might even crash due to the overload on the server.

If you face frequent downtime with your existing hosting, you should consider moving to a more stable hosting solution like a dedicated server.

Huge Traffic

If your traffic is increasing every month, and you can anticipate a time when your site will become too huge to get handled by a shared hosting, immediately move to a dedicated hosting environment.

Poor Load Times

Heavy websites process a number of PHP requests with multiple complex SQL queries running in the background. Such websites demand dedicated resources to run optimally, and when allocated resources are inadequate its loading time increases. If your site’s loading time is high, you should switch to VPS or dedicated hosting where you don’t share, but maintain your own server environment.

You Need Complete Control Over Your Hosting

Some custom applications require higher privileges compared to that typical shared hosting can offer you. Sometimes, you want complete control over your hosting account to perform more advanced actions, such as installing desired software, or setting elevated permissions whenever you want to.

In such cases, you need to switch to a dedicated server as you’ll get administrative access to your hosting account which isn’t possible with shared server hosting.

Your Site Needs More Security

Although shared servers are equipped with firewalls and decent security software, but still your project is at risk as your neighbor website may leave some security holes open and yours might get hacked too.

With a dedicated server, you get isolated and secure hosting environment along with your own set of resources preventing you from data hacks or getting blacklisted on RBLs.

That being said, if you are processing any sort of sensitive information like credit cards you may not want to share a server with anyone.

Custom Resource Requirement Of A Website

If your website is serving large videos or audio files, or you are running an application with heavy CPU and RAM intensive activities, you should seriously consider a dedicated hosting option.

Conclusion

Certainly, shared web hosting offers some great features, but it has some limitations which are specific to its business model. We hope that this post will allow you take necessary steps and choose an ideal moment when moving your hosting account to the next level of performance.

01 Aug

How To Estimate Your Dedicated Server Resource Requirements

Typically, people look for a dedicated server when their shared/VPS account is no longer capable to meet ever-growing requirements, or there’s a new project launch which demands bigger resources.

In either case, you just can’t head to any other web host and order a generic dedicated server, without understanding your actual resource requirements.

It’s vital that you at least get a general idea of how much resources you’ll deploy to your dedicated server. It’s actually quite difficult to determine the exact resource requirements, but it’s better to know something rather going in blind.

In this blog, we will go through some basic principles of how you can determine the resource requirement of a dedicated server matching the business needs.

Understanding Your Hosting Requirements

Different applications have different resource requirements. Determining the type of software you’re going to run on your server is probably one of the most important factors to be taken into account.

Based on the type of your software, you can put more emphasis on certain server resources. For example, database driven applications demand high speed I/O operations. In that case, an array of faster SSD disks would be an ideal choice rather a standard single HDD.

To host game servers, you’ll require a high-end dedicated server with powerful CPU & GPUs. It’s okay if you mount less amount of disk on the server. On the contrary, any low-end server would suffice to host a file server,  but you’ll have to deploy lots of disks.

For video websites, media streaming and TBs of bandwidth are essential, whereas to build hosting servers, a perfect combination of RAM, latest CPUs and faster storage is required.

Estimating The Resource Requirements

Estimating the dedicated server resource requirements involves detailed investigation, like reviewing your business needs, estimating of your current workload, future resource anticipation and expansion etc. Ultimately, you will have to answer a number of “how much” and “what kind” questions.

Upgrading From An Existing Hosting Plan

It’s pretty simple if you’re just upgrading from your current shared or VPS hosting plan because you’ll be in a position to predict the resource requirement based on your current usage.

Just note down your current resource pool allocated with the hosting package, and what you’re using during peak hours. Also, gather some numbers as below.

Number of daily & monthly visitors.
Number of concurrent visitors in peak hours.
Monthly bandwidth requirements.
RAM & CPU usage in peak hours.

Above statistics is easily available through hosting control panels like WHM or Google Analytics. Based on gathered figures, you can calculate how much power you’d need in order to provide those resources without stressing out your server.

As a minimum for the dedicated server, you can go with multi-core single CPU (Intel E3 or E5 Series ), at least 8GB RAM and a decent RAID controller.

For the better performance or provide a level of fault tolerance to your system, either go with RAID 5 or 6.

Starting Up A New Dedicated Server

If you are planning to start a new dedicated server, things will be more complicated as it involves a bit of research work on your part. In the following section, we’ll discuss some important parameters to be considered before you build a dedicated server.

Choosing The Server Operating System

Determining a dedicated server OS is fairly simple. If you follow the conventional path, for the Linux based software and PHP based applications, CentOS is by far the best OS available. Note that PHP applications can also be hosted on Windows hosts, but not being a native platform it has several performance disadvantages.

For the applications and software built with Microsoft technologies like ASP.NET, C# or MS SQL Server, you’ll have a no choice other than installing Windows Server OS. It is worth mentioning that Linux OS such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, and CentOS are open source and free to use, whereas Windows OS will cost you more based on the OS Edition and License type you choose.

Using Performance Metrics

If you are planning to host popular software, you’ll get the server requirements on an official website of the respective provider. For example, Minecraft game server, Forex trading software, bookkeeping software, radio stations, etc. have their exact requirements mentioned on their official website.

For the custom applications/software, you may need to run some performance metrics while they were in development or staging environments. This data can be used to build some useful assumptions.

Let’s take an example of a custom PHP website, If you know the peak hourly visit rate (the number of unique visitors to the website in its busiest hour) and the average visit length (the amount of time, on average, each user spends on the website), you can easily estimate of the required Virtual User count. A virtual user count can be used to calculate the approximate RAM and CPU usage per user.

Determining The RAM Resource

Once virtual users (concurrent users) are known, you can easily calculate the RAM usage. Let’s say your application will get at least 100 concurrent users which may burst to 200 in peak hours. Your application requires at least 16 MB private memory to run optimally. In this particular case, you’ll need (200 * 16 MB) 3.2 GB RAM to accommodate the 200 concurrent users.

In addition to application requirements, also consider the memory requirements of OS and other essential services like Mail Server, SQL Server, FTP Server, etc.

Calculating The Disk Space & Bandwidth

From images to HTML files, your website needs a disk space to be stored somewhere. Especially, if you are hosting an eCommerce website with thousands of products, you will require a large storage space.

Select SSD drives if dedicated server budget is not your concern. They are far faster and reliable than older hard drives. Going even further, you can opt for NVMe SSD storage. Most probably, disk-space would not be a problem as you get plenty of storage with a dedicated server compared to shared & VPS options.

Similarly, the bandwidth should never be a problem, as most of the providers offer dedicated servers with unlimited traffic.

Check If You Deployed Necessary Resource To Your Dedicated Server

Once you deploy your application on a dedicated server, you might want to check whether resources are capable enough to accommodate the peak time load. To identify the same, perform stress testing of your server.

Conclusion

Indeed, only deciding that you require a dedicated server isn’t enough. Without correct estimation, you may end up making an expensive mistake. Either you’ll choose a server that isn’t powerful enough, and everything slows to a crawl, or you’ll run one with too much resources breaking your budget.

By collecting the information mentioned in above sections, you can make an informed decision on what a dedicated server you actually need.