Article: A Change in Paradigm: Dedicated Server

by Richard Lowe


I found it hard to believe, but suddenly I was faced with a real
problem. Well, I suppose most people would not consider it a huge
problem, quite the opposite, in fact. However, it was stressing
me out complete, interfering with my writing. I even had trouble
sleeping.

What was this horrendous problem? My web site was becoming very
popular. So popular, in fact, that I was getting very worried
about bandwidth charges.

You see, this was happening after September 11th, 2001, and I had
been reading about some people who had created very special and
beautiful sites. These sites were so incredible that they
attracted lots and lots of visitors. So many visitors that they
received hundreds of gigabytes worth of traffic. The webmasters
suddenly found themselves charged hundreds or even thousands of
dollars for using bandwidth over their allocations.

I had purchased a contract with a shared hosting service which
allowed 27gb/month of traffic. This seemed like more than enough
at the time. However, I was noticing the bandwidth increasing at
an alarming rate about 2gb/day. At that rate, I would exceed
the allotment by quite a bit. I had some time, but not much.

Okay, what to do? I looked around at the various shared hosting
options and didn't see much that was all that attractive. There
were some that offered "unlimited" bandwidth I didn't trust
these at all. Most of the terms and conditions actually did
place a "reasonable" limit of some kind. I preferred a limit that
was know verses a limit that was unknown.

Actually, truth be known, I was getting a little tired of the
paid host option. I mean, it's far improved from free hosts, but
there is still much room for improvement. Some of the things that
were bothering me were:

Downtime All of the shared hosting servers that I'd checked
out so far seemed to be down more often than desired. I've been
in the computer industry for over 23 years, and to me a few hours
of downtime in an entire year is about all that's acceptable.
It's not that hard to achieve these kinds of statistics I've
been doing it myself for years.

Support The level of support from virtually all hosting
companies I've used to date has been pathetic to mediocre. My
expectation is simple. My site is down, I want someone to work
on it quickly. I want to call someone, get an answer right away,
and get the problem resolved. Especially during normal business
hours. I have never received that level of support from any
hosting company yet.

Strange errors I've noticed that my web sites will run fine
for a few days or weeks, then start having strange delays. I know
this because I monitor my sites with an automated service. These
delays are probably caused by things that other customers are
doing on the same server.

Lack of communication Web host support people seem to forget
that we webmasters and businessmen depend upon our web sites. I
don't know about you, but if my site goes down for any length of
time I completely freak out. I want to know why it's down and
what's being done about it. And virtually always I get no
answers. This is most annoying when the downtime has been planned
these hosts have my email address, why is it so hard to send an
email and let me know what's going on?

Log file issues Log files are very important to any true
webmaster. They are useful for finding errors, gauging traffic
and determining the success of promotions and articles. Yet so
far all of the shared hosts gave me incredible grief about log
files. They seemed to want to initialize them at odd intervals
(unpredictable), didn't allow easy access, allowed too easy
(unsecured) access and generally made it difficult.

Okay, given all of that, it was time to make a change. Not just a
change to another host, but a change in paradigm.

I had tried free hosts (three of them) before deciding they were
not at all suitable for anything except a small hobby web site. I
moved up to paid shared hosts and for a while was happy. I moved,
then moved again, then again. The hosts were all fine for a
while, then starting having trouble.

Shared hosting was not doing what I needed. The straw that broke
the camels back was a question of bandwidth. Internet Tips and
Secrets was exceeding 50gb a month (almost four million hits and
three quarters of a million page views). Wow.

I could not find a shared host that offered a package of a full
gigabyte of disk and upwards of 50gb a month. Not a single one
after looking at over a hundred different packages.

I had a real problem. You see, go over the monthly bandwidth
charge and you get smacked with huge overcharges. For the web
host I had at the time, the charges were 6 per gigabyte. This
would make my hosting bill very large indeed.

Thus I began looking for a dedicated hosting service. I quickly
found a company and purchased a single month.

Here's what I got. A web server all to myself. I could define as
many as 250 different web sites on the server, and I had complete
control of the DNS. I had root access to the server (meaning I
was more or less god on the box) and could literally do anything
I wanted. I could install anything, do anything and control or
not control everything.

I had 9gb of disk space. Best of all, the service provided a
whooping 400gb of bandwidth usage per month. The server was
extremely fast for my needs. All for around 200/month plus a
setup fee.

The downside (there is always a downside, isn't there)? The price
was a little steep, but a predictable 200 a month is far
superior to a surprise 500 or even 100 hosting charge. They
also didn't provide any real autoresponders (but I solved that by
purchasing a package) or web based email. Their support is also
very basic they have a 24 hour help desk which is friendly and
competent, but they do not appear to be technical heavyweights.

Thus I have now, after a week of hard work, begun a new
adventure a dedicated web server for the 16 sites that my wife
and I own. So far, the experience is far superior to the shared
hosting nightmares that I've been facing.




About the Author


Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets
at http://www.internettips.net Visit our website any time to
read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your
internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.


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