Choosing The Right CMS – 5 Questions You Should Ask

Making the right choice in the midst of available CMS’s such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal has it’s challenges. This decision requires a bit of technical knowledge and a generous understanding of what users should do when they visit your website. With a few considerations in advance, the process can be slightly easier.

Choose The Best CMS - Hostek

  • Will the website be used for a business?
  • Will the website be used for a personal site or blog?

These two questions change the depth of technical knowledge required. But in all fairness even a personal blog can have quite extensive features.

If you search “How to start a blog” or “The Best CMS” you’ll find endless articles on the topic. We chose to write about this because customers often approach us with new exciting projects. Often times as part of their process they are considering a new CMS.

We find that the most highly polished and completed projects often have these 5 questions answered beforehand:

  1. What will our users need to do or find when they visit our website? (Create a goals list)
  2. How do we plan to promote or grow our audience. (Add these answers to your list)
  3. Of the CMS’s we’re considering which one allows us to easily change content related to our list of goals?
  4. If we wanted a totally new design in one year, what would the cost (time or money) be?
  5. What are some of the growing trends such as responsive design? How would choosing a particular CMS help us stay current?

At minimum asking these questions can:

  • Prepare you to have a good dialog with a design/development team
  • Help you explore ideas you may have not considered

For those starting out, wanting to build a new (never before existed) website or personal blog, there are many options but just starting is often more important than the fine details. Once you get started there are feature rich options such as the Get Noticed Theme for WordPress from Michael Hyatt. You could also check ThemeForest for new themes.

For businesses – don’t get too focused on CMS’s exclusively for the purpose of utilizing pre designed themes (just to save money). There is still a good case for custom built software when you’re doing something that may have never been thought about or needed.

When you’re ready we have pretty great auto-installation packages for many of the most common CMS’s. You can install them in a few minutes:

These are also on our VPS platforms for Windows, cPanel or ColdFusion Windows.

Often times many of hosting providers offer little or no support. When you’re ready to launch your next website with a new CMS, we’re glad to discuss your plans and make sure you’re choosing the right hosting solution.

 

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Hosting & Advantages You Are Probably Overlooking

Most developers have similar processes, the few who capitalize on making their processes better for themselves and their customers gain huge returns. They save time and grow their clients satisfaction. These are some of their secrets.

Websites Are Important – The Great Developers Mantra

“Almost every website, shop or blog is important to someone. There’s either contact information that needs to be read, products that need purchased or services that need provisioned. Many forget this until there’s a problem to fix – but not me.”

Happy Developer - Hostek.com VPS Hosting

Honoring the Setup Process – Using A Control Panel

Many designers and developers undervalue a streamlined process for setting up websites. In contrast developers who use a control panel step through the process within minutes. A hosting control panel is a must in most cases.

There will be rare cases where code is written with static paths. It’s our experience that this can be completely avoided without any overhead, but if there’s no development budget sometimes the control panel can be adjusted to accommodate.

We have extensive experience with control panels, have written our own for Windows Hosting and Windows VPS Hosting. If you use static paths we can help adjust the control panel to work for you.

Better Updates – Code and Database Optimizing

The good developers  – measured by their general familiarity with their software stack know their code. The best developers know their code and are not afraid to dig into making it better. With a few optimizations most problems with slowness can be resolved.

We recommend researching these areas and at least taking ONE next step towards a better performing website:

The Holistic Approach – Proactive & Client Focused

Many developers get stuck between hosting and support wasting hours. There are three ways to avoid this:

1. Good – Forcing what you want, using some other method (time consuming).
2. Better – Be 75% proficient with 100% of the tools and have few deadlines.
3. Best – Take a holistic approach. Combines prioritizing the customers needs, a streamlined setup process & optimizations.

Here’s how Brock Martin of INFINET DESIGN describes the process of his workflow in regards to engaging hosting for his clients.

After a new site is designed and we’re ready to start on the development portion of a project, most clients need a hosting account where we can build the site. Rather than managing our own servers or reselling services, we walk clients through their hosting needs and have them sign up directly for a recommended hosting plan at Hostek. This allows them to creating their own account, manage their own billing, and get familiar with the control panel and where to go for support. If that client needs support down the road, this makes them much more comfortable contacting Hostek directly without us having to be the middle man.

Because we have so many clients using the same host, it also makes things much simpler setting up new sites and answering questions since we use Hostek control panel(s) very often.

More about Brock Martin & his Holistic Approach:

Infinet Design - Brock Martin - Infinet Design

Not only does he suggest Hostek which we appreciate but he goes above and beyond for Infinet Design customers by:

  • Researching problems or concerns with their website, email or hosting.
  • Communicating clearly to our support team reducing time to solve any problems.

The result is clear. Brock and Dave of INFINET DESIGN have the honor of serving highly esteemed photography focused clientele.

We Understand – The Tools & Infrastructure

For 15+ years we have helped developers by providing the tools they need to make their complicated job easier. We constantly get feedback from them so we can improve and develop new ways to solve their challenges. It’s our desire that they can:

  • Launch a website faster, and easier with the best control panel
  • Not be hindered by a disaster like disk failure
  • Not have to worry about patches and backups
  • Receive the best hosting support

If you’re looking for the best VPS Hosting or the best Shared Hosting(we think so) give us a try. We believe your customers will love you for it.

If there’s something you’re not sure if we offer, please ask by sending an email to [email protected]. If you’re a company or have a large client and need specialized help for a larger environment, consult with us at no cost. We’re familiar with RFP’s and fulfilling proposals – it’s our pleasure to help.

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How to Completely Eliminate Hosting Management

Don’t spend a second managing your hosting. If you’re committed to being productive in 2015, and need to choose a hosting platform (shared, server, cloud), keep reading. You’ll potentially save hours of wasted time. Cut the real costs associated with managing hosting, like a super-tech-ninja so you can stay focused.

Hosting Ninja - Hostek

If you like to do things yourself, or enjoy having complete control over your environment then you may need more than shared hosting. But even shared hosting has it’s caveats that you should know about. The biggest shared hosting nightmares can be easily avoided, with these 4 proactive tasks.

4 Proactive Tasks to Master Shared Hosting:

  1. Choose a good FTP password. See the GRC Password Generator.
  2. Know your SMTP options. If you’re sending mail through your website like a form, find out what your host requires, and your alternate options.
  3. Learn how your site is backed up. Check with your hosting provider. Ask what’s backed up, when, where and how to restore. We backup nightly for all hosting plans and you can have individual files restored (not just full backups – a huge benefit).
  4. Keep your own backup. Minimally the latest copy of your site files and database. If your data is changing, make a scheduled reminder to download a copy. This one act alone could save you from huge headaches.

This advice is worth thousands (or more) to someone running an online business.

Now for those considering hosting on a Physical, Cloud or Virtual Server. There’s hundreds (or thousands) of hosts that offer “Management” but there’s hundreds of flavors of “Managed Hosting”. You need to find out exactly what that means. These tasks help uncover what you need to know and do.

5 Tasks to Eliminate Server Management Stress:

  1. Start with the basics. FTP, SMTP and Backups, understanding each of these areas is critical. Ignore them and I guarantee you will regret it. See tasks for shared hosting.
  2. Don’t ignore logging. Find out what’s logged on your server and how the logs are rotated. For example, on Windows the FTP and W3SVC logs, will grow until you run out of disk space. We apply a scheduled task to zip them daily, and delete them after a period of time. Make sure you know for sure how they are handled, or risk ending up with a disk full and unusable server.
  3. OS Updates & Software Patches. Be sure to ask how the host handles patches and updates to installed software. There are two main benefits.
    1. You’ll know when/if the server is rebooted why.
    2. You’ll know how to ask for an update if it’s not automatically done for you.
  4. Monitor your server. Minimally monitor the home page, but even more thoroughly, monitor important parts of the site like the shopping cart etc. Your host probably has options for monitoring the resources such as RAM, DISK SPACE and CPU, use them.
  5. Use a control panel. Some people won’t need one (rare), but you can save time by using a control panel to manage your websites. We provide a control panel as part of our Windows VPS (ColdFusion Windows VPS, Lucee Windows VPS), cPanel VPS (ColdFusion Linux VPS, Lucee Linux VPS). The price is included with the hosting, because we feel it’s important to make the hosting management as easy as possible.

I promise that if you focus on these areas you’ll avoid having to manage the most common problems when you least expect it. There’s more complex ways to manage your server, and this may not apply to you but it’s a great start.

We’re always willing to help with your hosting strategy. If you’re serious about learning how we provide 99.99% uptime and more about our VPS managed services use the links below.

Free VPS Consultation (strategy and help getting started with Cloud Based Virtual Servers)
Shared Hosting Questions (choose “sales” from the department dropdown)

We hope you enjoyed this article, if it helped you please let us know via Twitter or Facebook.

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To BitCoin or Not?

BitCoin has a lot of potential but there are a few things to watch out for if you are thinking about accepting this method of payment.

As I was reading a Wall Street Journal article a few days ago on big investors getting involved with BitCoin, the thought hit me to share a real world experience with BitCoin in a business environment.

Business BitCoin Experience - Hostek

As a business one thing that is always being monitored, or at least should be, is the cost of doing business.  Part of this cost are the fees that are associated with processing customer transactions.  This is one area that BitCoin excels in.

With BitCoin being purely a digital currency, the fees, if any, are very minimal which can have a positive impact on reducing transactions fees.  From a business perspective this could be the leading reason to think about accepting BitCoin as a payment method.

It is hopeful that as BitCoin gains a wider acceptance and user base, that it causes pressure to be put on PayPal to reduce it’s PayPay to PayPal (since these transactions are purely digital also) transaction fees.  This would be a nice side effect for businesses.

What to Consider Before Accepting Bitcoin

Ok, that was the positive side of BitCoin.  Now, as a business owner, here are some things for you to consider related to BitCoin.

The long term success of BitCoin is still in question.  Holding on to BitCoins can be a risky move.  I am not a financial advisor, so take the following comment as my own opinion:  Unless you are in the business of holding risky investments hoping the market goes up, then you should not hold BitCoins.  Instead, if you do decide to accept BitCoins, have the transactions immediately converted to your local currency via BitPay.com.  In simple terms, think of BitPay as a clearing house for BitCoin.

At Hostek.com we started accepting BitCoin sometime in mid 2014 after a few customers inquired about paying via BitCoin.  After researching and knowing we did not want to hold the volatile currency, we opted to use BitPay as our BitCoin payment gateway.

As far as BitPay goes, our experience has been great.  Just as their site states, if you charge $1, the business gets $1; and the funds are in our bank the next day.  If your business accepts cards or PayPal, you know that is a big difference from what you would get via either of those methods..

Your first thought is probably, wow, this is perfect.  Well, it can be, but you must proceed cautiously.  We found that there was a lot of fraud activity with BitCoin payments.

We still accept BitCoin as a payment type, but only for customers that have been with us for a while and have demonstrated the ability to pay with more traditional methods.  For us, this has eliminated the fraud activity related to BitCoin while still providing our customers with the ability to pay using their digital currency.

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4 Hosting Rules Every Developer and CTO Must Follow

Only a few rules, when followed, can protect every developer and CTO from major disaster. Learn them, follow them, or be at risk of spending countless hours frustrated or worse having to start projects completely from scratch.

Whether you’re starting a new project or responsibility. You can completely cover your back from disaster and turbo charge your efforts with just a few tweaks to your criteria for choosing a hosting provider. Even better, you should (MUST) adopt these principles for all digital assets of your business.

Alone - Hostek Helps CTO and Developer

These Four Rules Every Developer and CTO Must Follow

  1. Backup Your Files – There are two acceptable general strategies for backing up data. For files, you should backup minimally daily. You could suffer a problem and at the most lose 24hrs of data. For databases incremental backups are wise. For example every 4-6 hours (or more depending on your needs). We backup each and every server nightly, and also fully replicate each server, to insure minimal recovery time from any disaster.
  2. Monitor Your Web Properties & Servers – There’s basic monitoring, and more granular. For general web-hosting it’s often enough to monitor using a 3rd party site like Pingdom. For servers, ping or a specific URL page can be acceptable. For any server we think it’s a good idea to monitor disk space, memory and cpu if it’s over a threshold (95% let’s say) you should be notified – check out New Relic’s Application Monitoring. We include basic monitoring for no additional cost.
  3. Have Great Support – Support can be great. Support also can be a joke. We’ve experienced support (through vendor contracts) that gave us almost no benefit whatsoever. You’ll know the difference when you experience it. Part of our Core Story is helping people. We believe one of the best ways to do this is by offering stellar support, which to us means quick and accurate.
  4. Know Which Tools Help You – Strip away the complex. Make sure you have tools you use frequently, and how to adjust them. For example almost every developer uses FTP. Having a hosting control panel exposes control of FTP accounts and more. Embrace the benefits of a great control panel, and learn how to use it to save you time. We build our own Windows Control Panel (you can demo) and chose cPanel for linux shared and VPS because it’s so widely used and also well supported (our #3 must).

We realize that every developer and CTO doesn’t have the time to invest in researching all the possible solutions and choosing which one’s are the best.

Today’s cloud offerings many times don’t address these challenges that Developers and CTO’s face. You have to have a strategy of your own within many of these services. Don’t ignore that. OR..Choose NOT to face big challenges alone by having a Hosting Provider that does all this for you.

We have taken the time to invest into the best performing hardware we can find, the best backup solution and the best storage solution for virtual servers. This means we are not the cheapest solution, but we’re a great solution.

If this post has helped you and you want to know more or you feel exposed to risk, schedule an appointment to consult with us. It’s free and completely pressure free, and costs you nothing but less than 3o minutes of your time.

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4 Step Visual Guide To Migrate Your Website

84% of Migration Projects Fail – 72% of Migration Projects never even get started. The reasons for these staggering numbers? Failed follow through, poor planning in advance and downtime & risk. Most don’t even know when something has failed, and find out from their customers. You can avoid most of these pitfalls with a tactical and easy to follow plan.

We have covered the process of a hassle free migration in some detail. Recently a well mapped out yet easy to follow plan caught our attention, though. We can’t take all the credit, one of our customers shared theirs so we’ve adapted and simplified for you. Use this plan for migrating sites from shared hosting, or VPS & Cloud Servers.

This article is co-written with Jake Hand, our wonderful ColdFusion & Lucee Systems Analyst. He spends his time strategizing on ways to improve service delivery (fancy word for uptime). But most importantly he improves our lives by helping the team understand the intricacies of LuceeColdFusion, and their dependencies. An all around good chap.

Why Should I Follow This Guide?

You might ask, why should I follow this guide VS just winging it. Good question.

Workflow has become a fascination of mine. It can provide the grit, including discipline, focus and repetition to get something done. When so many things are constantly competing for attention, it can also lend the strength to eliminate distractions.

In the book Essentialism, Greg McKeown describes how Michael Phelps (Olympic Gold Medalist) executes the same premeditated win, his FLOW. In short, executing steps he’s practiced over and over, paying heed to the mantra “Repetition is the mother of learning.” Taking advantage of this guide helps you use the same approach — experience wins during the migration of your website.

We did all the homework, having migrating thousands of websites. You can download this guide for free, benefiting from our experience to make you look like a rock star.

The Visual Guide: How to Migrate

4StepsWebsiteMigration

[PDF] Download 4 Steps Migration Guide

If it is a challenge for you to find time, or technical help for moving a site we’d love to get involved. Simply email us with a description of your migration needs and we’ll get right back to you. Often times there’s $0 cost involved for a migration.

For larger migrations involving a dedicated, cloud or VPS servers, Consult with our VPS Team. We will put together a hassle free migration plan and complete it for you.

Source: Bloor Research

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Unofficial Guide to VPS, Cloud and Dedicated Servers

Cloud adoption is growing. The multiple options for hosting, and their variations make choosing the right solution challenging. I found that even community experts were defining Cloud, VPS and Dedicated Servers in their own and often confusing way.

Let’s jump right in to what these three options are (and are not). I won’t cover heavy technical detail because that’s not the purpose. Instead we will quickly touch on these three major areas. I hope to leave you feeling informed, and not out on a ledge unsure.

 Unsure About Cloud - Like Climbing Upside Down

Describing VPS, Cloud and Dedicated Servers

Every hosting plans requires hardware. This is the “Bare Metal”, what takes shape within the “Bare Metal” changes in these three scenarios. Quite simply, VPS and Cloud Servers use a slice of the Bare Metal. And any server that hosts an application needs an “Operating System” (OS) such as Windows, Linux or OSX – every VPS, Cloud Server or Dedicated Server will have one.

What is a Virtual Private Server? (VPS for short)

It’s your own OS to do with what you please, using a portion of the Bare Metal (ram, cpu) and *storage (read #6 below). These vary based on sizes of resources. Some hosting plans provide a high number cores for example but never mention what Ghz (speed) you’re limited to which matters. We make this clear by stating the Core count and Ghz speed.

What VPS’s are a good fit for:

  1. Full control of your server to install software not allowed on Shared Hosting.
  2. You’ve outgrown Shared Hosting.
  3. Compliance. Feel free to read how Hostek meets Physical Hosting Standards for HIPPA requirements to better understand what this means.
  4. The flexibility to scale resources such as RAM, CPU and Disk.
  5. You want to launch a small test, and only be billed for a short period. We bill monthly because our core business focus of providing amazing managed service caters to those planning a long term engagement.
  6. You want additional reliability offered by Cloud Based Virtual Private Servers. The magic is possible with storage thats accessible to many Bare Metal servers. So if one Bare Metal server dies, your VPS can be restarted within minutes on new hardware.
    NOTE: Not all hosting companies offer this some simply host on hard drives installed in the physical servers (Bare Metal). We do because we believe that to provide the amazing service customers expect, we need to do everything possible to ensure the availability of their servers.

What are Cloud Servers?

The differentiator for Cloud Servers is full control of your hosted environment and other services through the use of an API. Some Hosting providers have utilized the “Cloud” portion to automate High-Availability of VPS’s into their offering, this is what Hostek does explained in #6 above. Under the surface we manage the Cloud part for the customer, that’s how we deliver such high uptime.

What Cloud Servers are a good fit for:

  1. When you need full control of many servers and plan to use automation to manage, scale or increase availability.
  2. You want to launch a small test OR maximize use of automation to launch new servers during peak periods, saving money with hourly billing. Keep in mind a hefty amount of automation knowledge is required by the customer to achieve this type of flexibility. Tools like Chef & Puppet can help simplify the automation process.
  3. Most of the reasons above listed under VPS. CAUTION: Cloud Servers may not include fully managed service or high-availability. You’ll want to have a well thought out plan for monitoring, backups, etc.

What are Dedicated Servers?

You receive the Bare Metal resources to utilize fully.

What Dedicated Servers are a good fit for:

  1. Performance. In most cases a VPS is a much better fit because it can provide protection from hardware failure, and scalability. Because virtualization is so versatile there’s simple ways to make use of VPS, and the benefits outweigh downsides.
  2. Cost. People often point out dedicated servers as being expensive. It’s true, if your speaking heavily equipped Dedicated Server. But some low cost dedicated servers are equipped with large amounts of storage like 4TB making it a cheap alternative VPS or Cloud Servers which are provisioned lightly with scalable disk space.
  3. Complete isolation for compliance.

In summary we’ve covered these three hosted server solutions. VPS, Cloud and Dedicated Servers. There are still so many variations of each variety one post is hardly sufficient, but is a good introduction or refresher.

If you need help deciding which direction to go we’re glad to help. We make fantastic relationships with new growing businesses and work great with established companies. Really anyone wishing to make use of reliable hosted solutions with incredible US based support. We act as a powerful extension to your team by caring for your hosted resources. Consult with our Business Solutions Team for detailed answers in how we can help you.

Posted in Virtual Dedicated Servers, VPS Hosting | Comments Off

3 Outstanding Reasons to Love Your Hosting Provider

At a leading developer conference, we surveyed over 10% of the attendees. The results were not surprising. Over 34% of the respondents, of companies like Amtrak, Boeing, Kroger, Non-Profit Organizations and Universities said their greatest desire was excellent support, over performance guarantees (21.43%), reliability (17.86%) or strategy (10.7%).

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Speaking to real people who craft new and cutting edge ideas on the internet, we hear a similar urgency. Having a partner who cares about their needs is paramount to their business.

Recently a client was describing their growth challenges. His company is a web/marketing agency with a proprietary Content Management System. They are located in multiple cities in North America, and continue to grow substantially.

We talked about their challenges and growth. They have scaled from hosting their platform on a few Virtual Private Servers (ColdFusion VPS, Windows VPS with SQL) to a cluster of Web Servers. During each step of the process, we worked closely with them. They are experts at design and marketing, but recognize that hosting strategy is not their strength.

The owner said:

“See, this is why I am glad to have found Hostek. Because I can talk to someone who will work with us”

We recognize that people want to feel that they are special, they are recognized and noticed. They want to feel less like a number. Even though they are one of many, they want to be prized like they are the only one.

These three questions are a great start to determine if you’re in good hands. If you answer all three with a YES you’re most likely well cared for and will continue satisfied for many years. Fill in the blank with your hosting provider’s name.

1. Is ___________ improving; are they addressing challenges that matter to me?

2. Is ___________ quick to respond and helpful when I have questions or need help?

3. Is ___________ a company that has solutions for my growing business?

These questions help uncover the true value of your hosting provider. Being careful about what you read and hear, or take for granted. Asking good questions before it’s time to make a decision on short notice is a good practice.

Move on, move forward. Use technology to ramp your voice and move mountains. Reach the world. The voices of hundreds of customers, who we have spoken with tell us their stories – you can learn from their past frustrations and capitalize on it. We hope to live up to the standard which they desire.

Remember, under all the great graphic design, marketing, buzz-words and intimidating changes is the heart of the company. Seek these answers out and determine if your passion fits your provider. If you can say yes, celebrate it. If you’re unsure we would love to consult with you, even if we don’t earn your business.

For general questions contact our Sales by email, or for VPS or Business Solutions you can schedule a consultation and we will call you.

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How to Cost Effectively Support 150,000+ Visitors A Day

How do you successfully scale a site from 2400 to 150,000+ visitors per day? Carefully, methodically – and if done right affordably. By using a proven framework. We used the these steps in planning the environment for a program launched by one of largest cities in the US. It literally saved them thousands but most importantly, they stayed online during their largest campaign.

Blitz Load Testing Rush - 700

We began the planning for this project months in advance and it was my pleasure to work with each person on this city’s IT team. Everyone brought good questions to the table, and momentum. If I could mention each individual I would. Hostek is under NDA so we can’t disclose which city, program or the individuals involved.

On the technical side, they were not stuck on a particular solution. This can’t be overstated, it made our conversation open and constructive.

For this project, however they wanted to make use of Highly Available – Virtual Private Servers & Load Balancing. They couldn’t be locked into a long term contract and needed one on one help planning the scalability.

4 Step Framework for Scaling:

DISCLAIMER: You MUST adjust for your particular situation. Your exact solution will likely be different.

1. Determine Outcome Goals

  • How many visitors do we plan to serve?
    • Example: 7000 concurrent visitors, for about 30 days.
  • Where will visitors spend the bulk their time?
    • Example: Home Page, Registration Page & Form Submission.
  • What is the maximum acceptable page load (or response) time?
    • Example: 4 Seconds.
  • What is the maximum CPU/Memory threshold for a single machine.
    • Example: 40% CPU, 80% RAM.

2. Start Small & Test

If you’re already on a virtual server (VPS), you may be ready to test. If you’re on shared hosting, it’s probably not a good idea to load test. It may get your account suspended.

For our initial tests we chose one Web Server and one Database Server. We also implemented a virtual private network for fast web-db traffic.

Load Test Parameters: 1-minute in duration, two pages (home & registration), 2 second delay between pages, ramping from 0 to 700 concurrent users (approx 10% of full scale).

Load Testing Tools – For load testing I recommend two tools. 

JMeter – This tool might seem intimidating at first, but it’s free. If you’re on a tight budget with lots of technical talent, this is a good fit. The downside is you’ll need another virtual server for JMeter and it can be memory intensive.

Blitz – This is about as easy as it can get. Plug in a URL or multiple URL’s and choose the duration & number of users. Has nice reporting. Downside, expensive.

3. Test at Scale

The small goals (step 2) to serve 700+ visitors were met. We knew based on our tests and for this particular campaign the bottleneck would likely be web-servers.

The full scale environment included a load balancer, 7 web servers, db server and failover db server.

A consideration for testing at scale – Depending on the maximum number of users you’re targeting, it may be best to test during off peak hours. Especially if testing your production environment. 

4. Review Outcome & Adjust

If the full scale testing was successful, great. If not it may take additional tweaking to get things just right. We’re extra careful about providing full protection, redundancy and security. For example we provide Intrusion Prevention and Firewall protection for all VPS’s. So for this particular project testing we had to customize concurrent traffic limits.

The outcome of testing for the this major city project was a success. We were ready for their opening day, and they could depend on this solution to deliver.

Outline of Hosting Costs

Here’s a breakdown of the single server, small scale test, and full scale environment. This particular customer utilized ColdFusion which licensing costs I excluded because it’s very specific to their application. Their bandwidth averaged around 4Mbps at peak usage, we predetermined a specific price (not included) for them to prevent overspending.

Single Server (Hostek)
Windows Business VPS, Web Server and Microsoft SQL Web
Total: $159.95/month (Pre and post campaign)

Small Scale (Hostek)
Windows Business VPS, Web Server $99.95/month
Windows Business VPS with Microsoft SQL Web, Database Server $159.95/month
Total = $259.90 (Full month before their campaign for testing)

Full Scale Environment (Hostek)
7 x Windows Business VPS, Web Server $99.95/month
2 x Windows Business VPS with Microsoft SQL Web, Database Server $159.95/month
1 x Large Load balancer $99.95/month
1 x CloudFlare Business Plan $200/month
Total = $1319.50 (Full length of their campaign, 1 month)

Full Scale Price Comparison (RackSpace) 3/6/15
7 x General Purpose 1-8 with Windows $270.72/month
2 x 328.32 General Purpose 1-8 with Windows and SQL Web $328.32/month
1 x Load Balancer Instance, 7000 Concurrent Connections, 1 SSL Instance $814.40/month
1 x CloudFlare Business Plan $200/month
Total = $3608.44

All our VPS Packages include Managed Service with no extra cost. We also provide project consulting and even help you load test when it’s time. If you have project questions or are considering Virtual Private Servers. Setup a consultation and request to speak with me.

Posted in Cloud Hosting, Success Stories, VPS Hosting | Comments Off

3 Steps to Plan VPS Scalability or Upgrades

It’s not difficult to know when to scale or upgrade virtual servers. But it’s not often that businesses make a practice of reviewing their strategy. This simple process could save you thousands of dollars per year and numerous headaches.

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I’ve been honored to listen to hundreds of sincere business owners and developers describe their hopes to deliver the best experience to their users. During a VPS consultation we usually cover basic strategy like determining when to scale or upgrade. This should be an easy conversation. It is sometimes; but why not every time?

Differing objectives & ideas. There’s often not one single “right” answer.

It is important to have insight from all angles. Business owners know that when usage grows, cash flow will likely increase. Likewise developers know their application may need more horsepower or a change in implementation. Both are excited with the thought.

With three questions, you can be better prepared for the next phase of growth.

3 Questions to Demystify When to Scale Or Upgrade Your VPS

1. Define Triggers: At what N (% Ram, % CPU, % Disk space) should we revisit our hosting strategy?

  • We often get asked about server performance so we built usage reporting right into our Windows Control Panel for Windows VPS Hosting, but these metrics are also available with simple command line tools in Linux and cPanel for cPanel VPS.

2. Determine Goals: When a limit is reached, what is our aim? Deciding what matters gives you the opportunity to identify successful changes. A few examples:

  • Our home page (or whatever page is important) should respond within N ms.
  • We feel best when average server usage is between N% and N% [RAM, CPU, DISK].
  • Our budget is $N.

3. Decide on Next Best Steps: What options should we consider? It’s often most cost effective to upgrade a single resource vs adding additional servers. We also highly suggest a CDN to reduce the load on your web-server when applicable.

These questions will not resolve every upgrade or scalability question. But can be used as a framework to help proactively identify when change is necessary and avoid paying for resources that are not needed when you’re just starting out.

Add a reminder to your calendar 2-4 times per year or more to review them.

If you would like to discuss your options with us, schedule a time to speak with our VPS Hosting team about your big plans – we love to help.

Thanks to Daniel G. for the image used in this post.
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