Dedicated server plans


#1

Where can I get information about DreamHost dedicated server plans? I also need to weigh the pros/cons of private server vs. dedicated server.

Any help appreciated.


#2

Long answer :
Pros and cons are specified here :
http://www.dreamhost.com/hosting-dedicated.html

But DH don’t really provide dedicated hosting, they only have an agreement with hosting.com

They will provide Virtual servers soon.

Short answer : if you don’t know if you need a dedicated server or not, stick with shared hosting (I use both but if i’ll do only web hosting, i think i will use only shared hosting)


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#3

DreamHost does actually provide a Strictly Business Enhanced dedicated hosting plan. It’s actually something of a managed hosting plan:

[quote]The pros:

  • We monitor ALL aspects of your server 24/7 at no charge, as well as email and mysql services.
  • We handle all software and security management for you, at no charge.
  • We handle all hardware replacement, even upgrading you to our latest state-of-the-art servers in the event of a failure, at no charge!
  • All your files are kept on our redundant network attached storage, with hourly versioned backups.
  • You still use our cool web panel to handle everything on your account automatically.
  • Nobody but you can crash your server, just like a regular dedicated box!
  • You get to name your machine!

The (potential) cons:

  • You don’t get root access to the server.
  • Your email and databases are still hosted in a shared environment.[/quote]
    They partner with hosting.com for traditional dedicated and virtual private servers.

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#4

Thanks guys! Perhaps you can help me clarify what I need and if DH is the best solution.

I currently have a shared hosting plan with DH for my own projects, but I am finding I want better performance from my hosting than I am getting from the shared plan. So I am trying the Private Servers and hoping that I can get improved performance at a good price.

That’s for my personal projects.

I also have some clients (I am a php/mysql developer and project manager) for whom I am thinking about offering to manage their hosting, but I have minimal server admin knowledge/skill.

Would I be foolish to offer to manage their hosting (i.e. I would be setting them up with DH hosting)? These clients currently pay $40-$60/mo for a shared hosting plan that is no better than DH, but I would want to set them up on something better than the bottom rate shared hosting, but not a dedicated server (there are onlt 4 of them).

Is Private Servers a good step short of a dedicated server? Can I rely on DH to handle the admin for Private Servers, and will it be more reliable that the shared hosting?


#5

I think it is. Practically speaking, PS combined with MySQL PS insulates you from all the problems of being on shared hosting. The downtime you experience will be restricted to:

  1. NFS issues
  2. Other issues that would be the same if you self-managed a co-located server - power and network, plus DNS issues.

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#6

(Flash from the “where in blazes did this guy come from?” department…)

If you have a DH Private Server and you are using your required shared account for Apache, PHP, MySQL, etc, then you are still subject to all of the issues of shared hosting.

If you are in a DH PS and you want to get full isolation from us shared riff-raff folk - that is, you don’t want to use the DH Apache, PHP, MySQL, etc - then you need to maintain all of this yourself, no? Seems like a lot of admin responsibilities for someone focused on apps.

Like the OP, I’m not a qualified LAMP admin, nor do I have the time for that sort of work. Since a site is required to have a shared space in addition to a private server, I personally would host multiple client domains in the shared space and only call back to private space for special things that one can’t get from shared space. For example, I would get a DHPS for alternative databases, Mono, Java, testing OSS Enterprise apps, general Linux development, and low-profile persistent processes/services that might serve as a back-end for shared web space. If I have more clients that will fit comfortably in a single shared space, or any client prefers to have their own secure space, then I would get them a separate shared account but still make use of my PS environment as an app server.

The only exception to that is a site hosting apps (game forums, do-it-yourself blogs, Ecommerce) where better performance is desirable and the client is willing to pay for it. In this case I would consider one or more MySQL PS environments just for that. As long as DH is managing this, there’s no headache and supposedly the performance should be much better.

Have I stated anything here that doesn’t fit the reality of this offering? I’m seriously considering jumping on soon too.

Regarding porting over clients that are currently paying $40+ for private services elsewhere: If you’re managing their environment, then it doesn’t matter if you have them in a $6/month shared server or a $15/month private server. They are paying you for your management services, and your services are worth some $/month. If they don’t want site management they can manage their own host and see how much it costs them. Whatever you do, make sure that the services that you purchase don’t cost you everything you’re getting paid in maintenance time. If providing services becomes time-intensive you will be losing money because it’s time you’re not spending writing code. Also, document a firm policy for exactly what you intend to provide your clients for the money they give you. Some clients pay the fee and you never hear from them. Others will consume 40 hours per month for the $40 (or less) that they’re paying you. Establish cutoffs, additional fees for extended efforts, and clearly define your responsibilities, otherwise it will suddenly be your responsibility to fix everything that happens on the internet - in the client’s mind and perhaps legally too.

If all of this is accurate, maybe this is wiki material? If not, I’ll humbly crawl back into my shared hole. :slight_smile:


#7

I don’t consider the use of applications that are maintained by the DreamHost support staff to being subject to the dangers of shared hosting. As you yourself have said, thats actually a benefit. I liken it to the benefits of managed hosting where your datacenter staff actually supports and maintains your server and application.

I mean, is there anything that you as my neighbor could do to screw up the Apache installation, the PHP installation, or tha MySQL installation? I hope not. You could misuse them, but the resource implications of that misuse is isolated from me by DreamHost PS.

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#8

I think we’re on the same page but I’ll elaborate just to make sure. Again, if we can get some agreement from our colleagues that these comments are valid considerations, then I will volunteer to Wiki them - along with a note that these are perceptions subject to error in practice and we’ll only know the real pros and cons once a reasonable number of sites are running in PS.

On the downside of using shared services (SS) for a front-end with PS as a back-end:

  • DH staff can hit some erroneous switch for the entire shared side of the business, and that will impact PS users.
  • Someone with PS and shared LAMP can have a perfectly healthy PS but SS can be a bottleneck during peak times. A site that’s resource-intensive in page hits or data queries will feel the pain of sharing with everyone else. Even file serving from SS is subject to creating peak-time bottlenecks. These performance issues are not isolated from a PS environment which will not perform at peak capability while it’s subject to delays in processing from the SS.
  • If you are pumping files through a SS website and storing those files in PS space, then (I don’t know the topology there) you may be incurring network transfers at DH from PS rack to SS rack before that data is sent through the HTTP server (on another rack?) to the HTTP client. Think about it - how are you referring to PS files from SS? The SS space is a client to the PS space, there is no magic pipe from PS to the HTTP server if services are going through SS. And if you’re processing data in SS with PHP or some other language, then those programs need to request source data for processing, then return some form of that data back to HTTP clients. So while you’re separating your CPU and RAM from SS space, you’re adding a (much slower) transfer tier within the DH data center. It doesn’t matter if the PS server is in the same rack as the SS environments, you’re still pumping data over TCP/IP, and that’s very slow compared to serving all processing and data from a single server. I’m not saying this is unusual - we use web services and network resources all the time. I’m just saying that distributing an application across multiple tiers introduces some new penalties - you don’t get something for nothing.
  • If you are opening your PS for use with your SS, then you have to recognize that your PS is open for others to access too. I have no idea what sort of permissions are in place for PS to restrict access to SS not owned by yourself. So what if you have multiple SS pointing to your PS? Have you thought about how you’re going to prevent someone else’s SS from peeking and poking into your PS? If you are running PS I believe this is now your responsibility, especially if you’re offering some service to fellow DH customers.

On the upside of using SS in conjunction with PS:

  • You don’t need to do sysadmin for LAMP services. Yay! As Lensman says, having DH do this for you is a major benefit. For every one “oops” DH is performing a ton of valuable services to save you a ton of time that most people aren’t qualified to do or getting paid to do. If you’re qualified to do full admin for LAMP then you should get a dedicated host and start your own hosting business, or get a job with a company like DH.
  • If you have clients in your SS then you can restrict them to accessing the SS. If you have clients and no SS then you may need to let them into your PS to do file operations or process data. The more people have their fingers into your stuff, the more chances there are of something going wrong. So isolating end-users from the PS can be a good thing.

#9

That’s a fine piece of analysis!

I think we differ in what we think executes in “shared space” vs “private space”.

I believe that the Apache environment and the PHP installation is “shared” from the filesystem perspective, but actually executes in your own private space. It is certainly the case with PHP since PHP is executed as cgi rather than mod_php.

I speculate that you actually get an Apache instance in your private server that runs independently of other user’s Apache’s. After all, why else do you need any PS at all for a static site?

So all of my conclusions are drawn from the assumption that the “shared services” are actually only shared from the installation and configuration standpoint. They all run in your own sandboxed execution environment that is your Private Server.

BTW, you are 100% on the mark about NFS services. Those are indeed shared with other users and if their use of NFS somehow bottlenecks your web applications, you’re out of luck.

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#10

I believe that this is correct. I am not certain, but this makes more sense.

This also sounds correct to me, and I think the NFS observation you have both made are likely accurate.

–rlparker


#11

This has been extraordinarily informative. Thank you!

While I’m better informed, I’m still not sure I need PS.

This whole thing was prompted because the last couple of weeks, a MySQL-intensive script that I run once a day was failing to complete. I was able to muddle through by breaking the script down into steps, but it was a little disheartening (that process is only going to get more intensive as I add users, and I have few users now).

Apparently the problem I was having was due to a DOS attack problem that DH was having. Today, my script is running fine without having to do it step-by-step.

My assumption is that if I had PS MySQL, then I would not have been affected by the problem that DH was having – and that periodic performance problems is the price I pay for inexpensive shared hosting. If I want more reliable hosting, I need to step up and pay for PS.

My confidence in shared hosting has been shaken by the performance problems of last week. Was it a rare event? Or can I expect and plan for that to happen regularly? Is PS a good, reasonable and cost effective way to restore my confidence? Or do I just need to get over it?


#12

The most common problem in shared hosting is someone else on your server going wild (well, it’s not the actual person who goes wild, but is generally either some misbehaving script or a non-optimized script running with unexpectedly high load).

There are “systemic” problems like the one you’ve described with a DOS against the nameservers. These seem to happen with increasing frequency but are not unique to shared hosting. These won’t be solved by going to PS. These wouldn’t even be solved by going to a non-shared host.

Actually, my personal suspicion is that large shared hosts are victims of these attacks more frequently because:

  1. They have more former customers who hate them.
  2. They host more sites that have people who hate them.

Don’t give in to hate. That leads to the Dark Side.

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