View Full Version : When will the pain start?!

24 May 2006, 21:20
I run a friendly diabetes community and it's growing steadily. We launched in December 2005 and now often have 10-20 users on at a time. We're spending money on advertising online and plan to spend a ton advertising offline at doctors offices, diabetes centers, etc.

We're hosting the site off of a dedicated server with a T1 connection to the Internet. Here are the server specs:

Windows 2000 and Apache
P3 1.133 mhz
512 MB RAM

It's not exactly a powerhouse but it's one we already had and it's sufficing. Now, here are my two questions:

1. If we're at 250 visitors and 2,000 pageviews per day and growing at 50% per month, how long do you think our current setup will suffice?

2. What's next? Do we get a second server and put the database on one and the rest on the other?

I appreciate any insight you can offer. I've learned everything about web servers and hosting by painful experience so I'd like to at least plan a few months ahead. Thanks!

EDIT: If we went to another server, I would have no problem ditching Windows. I have zero experience in Linux/FreeBSD/etc., but I would move that direction due to cost and performance. We don't use any features that rely on Windows.

24 May 2006, 22:27
It's impossible to predict these things. I wouldn't worry about how long it would take but concentrate on building the site by growing the community itself so that it spreads by word of mouth.

25 May 2006, 03:17
Once people become active, loyal and promotional (spreading the word), you will be dealing with exponential variables which you won't be able to predict.

The first thing you will need to do to have that server keep up is add RAM. I don't know your hard drive specs but that is a close second, if not first, to the RAM.

One other thing.... You may have that T-1 for office use but if you actually are paying for one of those lines to use for hosting ditch it quick. Once your site becomes active you will want a lot more redundancy than any single T line can give you. You should look into either leased dedicated or colo'ing your server.

This all may be a bit off for you but should you progress quickly, it is better to lease a server from a data center that has multiple carriers, backup batteries, generators and tech's to deal with equipment.

Hardest work is to build content and membership... The rest will follow if you are serious and dedicated to making it happen. :) Don't spend to much on promotions right now.


28 May 2006, 04:04
Also, attempt to move to Linux. It tends to handle load far better.

28 May 2006, 05:25
Eh, yes and no, it really all depends, on how much time you are willing to invest into tweaking your windows machine, much like linux.

28 May 2006, 05:56
Personally, I would be more concerned about the T1 - and monitor it for saturation first.

But - splitting the DB from the web server is a good idea anyway, and that would definitely off-load some work from the web server.

31 May 2006, 20:10
I can definitely split apart the Web and Database server. Right now I have two computers with 100mbps connections to a great router. Is this sufficient or should I add an internic card to the web server and use a cross-over cable to directly connect them?

And I'm definitely worried about the T1. I can only suck away so much of the company's juice before it starts to be a problem. The site definitely isn't as zippy as I want it to be now, but it's been sufficient.

If we did go to a dedicated server off-site, what might an entry-level one cost per month?

Again, I really appreciate the help!

Paul M
31 May 2006, 22:04
If you are going to split them, then definitely link them via seperate NIC's and a crossover, keep the main NIC just for the web traffic.

31 May 2006, 23:15
Entry level costs differ depending on the host.

I would recommend:

for good prices for the hardware you get.

People have tried www.layeredtech.com which is also well-priced.

I personally use a small provider for high end hardware and low prices.

07 Jun 2006, 17:13
I may just luck out. We are installing a VOIP solution later this year and they are running a dedicated T1 to each of our two locations. They promise 7ms latency from our office to theirs. This would enable us to co-locate all of our business servers with them. We barely come close to utilizing a few servers so I could easily split up images, database, and web server while taking advantage of burstable bandwidth. It would be local, which I like, and we already have replacement parts for the servers in case of a problem.

Bandwidth is not a problem now. But I started measuring total T1 utilization a few weeks ago and the trend is not looking good for the end of the year. Plus, at some point our staff might complain that the Internet is slow... :)

Thanks for all of your advice, I appreciate it. I didn't know a wink of html three years ago and can now code a sharp CSS website in notepad. I think the next three years I'll have to do the same for server management. Are there any good books to start with? I have virtually no experience in Linux or it's flavors and want to be able to build and manage a secure, healthy web server.