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LqDFx

Web Host Service

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So I was recently approached about investing in a new web hosting business. I have a few questions about getting into this business that I hope some one here can help with.

What should we look into as far as server hardware?

How many client seats will I need per server to host these pages?

With DBase driven sites, should I use SQL and a seperate server for it?

How many sites realisticly can I expect to get on each site?

What should I look into for email service? Exchange Server?

What about automation for new site setups? I do not want to be setting them all up by hand!

From what I have been told, the group that approached me about this has a about 10 sites that would be willing to give a couple college kids a chance. I am good with networking and client machines, but I am lacking on knowledge of web hosting. I do have a basic understanding of IIS and Cold Fusion, but setup of DNS and other stuff has been done for me since I focus on site design and layout and not much more in my current hobby.

Just to let you know, I have been inlisted into this as a favor of my sister who is married to one of the investors and I am more looking to know what I am getting into. I want to make sure that my 5Gs that they are requesting go into this investment is well worth my trouble.

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how much money do you plan on spending on your server machine?

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Money amount total I am not sure of. I do know that there is 5 of us going to be putting money in the pot, and that it was $5,000 each minium. My brother in law said that he was throwing in $15,000 and so I can say that the whole investment has minium of $35,000 to start with. Now I am going to assume that this includes being about to pay for rent of a building startup for capital, service lines, phones, desks, and what ever else we are going to need. I am also going to say that this money is going to have to last us for a couple months until we get some customers to self support.

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well for cpu's i would wait untill intel releases its new xeon

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3381

suppose to come out in september, these are equivalent to the conroe processors that intel just came out with

not too sure on mobo yet

how many hdds/hdd space do you want and what type of backup? raid1,raid5raid 0+1 ?

for ram i would suggest 4gigs

so you tell me if you can wait a couple of months or not for those new cpu's

------------------------------------------

for mySQL you can have that on the same server, when you raid hdds and have plenty of ram then there will be no problem.

now for automation there are some programs where the web company can sit down with you and its like the preview of the site where they can type stuff in and add tables or pictures without ever looking at the code. then they can update their site in the future if need be.

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I can wait on the processors. We are not planning to move this forward until all the market research and stuff is done. I was thinking of a 4gb ram also.

As for the automation, I was more thinking of some way to have a web page that once the credit card is processed, it will set up the dns entries for the web address and ftp servers for the newly added site. We are not going to be doing any site design at this time since we already know of like 30 designers in the area and there is only a hand full of host that we know of.

I am looking to find out about what I would need in a server and how much traffice I can handle per T-1 line. I know I would like to build a Main server that used Network storage devices for the harddrives. That way it makes adding more space a snap. I would like to have 500GB in each server that we use and have it mirror onto a seperate server, that way in the case of a server crash the mirror kicks in and gives us time to repare the crashed one. (IE: 4 servers with 4 mirrors). Not sure if and how it would work at this point.

Oh and I was thinking of giving dell the nod for the hardware. I would rather not build these since they are going to be used so hard.

Edited by LqDFx

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[1] The new woodcrest dual core dual CPU are great. A min of 2 GB of RAM with at least 2-3 larger drives, SCSI if looking for performance.

[2] STAY.....STAYYYYYYYYY........STAYYYYYYYYYYYY FARRRRRRRRR away form window as your OS for any server environment. Linux is the only way to go.

How many client seats will I need per server to host these pages? How many sites realistically can I expect to get on each site?
It's not a matter of how many sites can go on one server. It's a matter of what your load is stable at when you have 50, 100, 200, 400, 500 clients on the server. Never base a company on "how many" sites you can put on a server. You will never succeed.
With DBase driven sites, should I use SQL and a separate server for it?

Starting out, you can use the same server for both especially if you start with dual core dual cpu's.

What should I look into for email service? Exchange Server?
Windows related so see my above reply. Exim is a good e-mail setup which have used for years.
What about automation for new site setups? I do not want to be setting them all up by hand!

This is where your billing setup comes into place. You should shop around as there are many scripts which will take a clients payment and set them up. Some scripts are simple and easy while others can handle hundreds of thousands of clients.

In closing, unless you plan not to see your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/friends/family or plan any events such as a vacation or if you don't enjoy sleeping a good straight 8 hours I would HIGHLY suggest you not start this business. Web Hosting is not as easy as many people think it is.

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Well after talking to my B-I-L more, and reading some of the above comments, I have since decided not to invest my money into the project. I feel that since there is not one person going into the investment that has any working knowledge of the hosting business, that I would be stupid to invest into it!

I think I would rather take my money and invest it into a venture that is going and looking for more money to grow!

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You could invest it to me :D

Hahaha, it won't work... Worth a shot though!

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XPerties knows everything about webhosting, so he da man to listen to :P

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MySQL can easily go on the same server, and personally I prefer it to.

On email: Most mainstream hosts use not exchange but a normal pop/smtp server, but I don't know about this.

You need to look into cPanel. It automates nearly everything and will make your life much easier. Despite the high price tag.

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sorry but for this money i disagrea for the intel xeon part and for the cpanel part.

on server (hardware) side i wouldn't start up anything with way-to-expensive new hardware EVER, just go about buying yourself a nice set of not-to-expensive servers or even second-hands if you can find yourself a good deal,

second of all, dont rent a big huge building but try out co-located hosting for a while first to see if this is for you...

on third, there is a free (i think also opensource) instant out of the box webserver project called CWL (completewebserver.nl - maintained by a dutch group but support and stuff is in english and dutch)

that concludes my tips for now...

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Are you planning on Linux (php, mysql, apache or lighttpd, etc.) or Windows (IIS, asp, .net, access or mssql, etc.) servers, or some of both?

Edited by WBHoenig

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