Running forum and no of users


You would think this would plastered everywhere but I cant find any specific numbers on this. Im sure they are plastered somewhere but I havent seen it. Like many people Id like to try running a forum. One of the basic things you need to know obviously is how many users can a average 10-20 buck
account handle? If its 5 users then obviously most people have hopes of more users than that. Whats the reasonable amount of users various costing accounts at webhosts can handle? Id like to get a general rough idea.
Most webhosts try to hem and haw and say “It depends”, but obviously they have SOME idea. Id like to know the
growth path of a decent forum and the kind of accounts I might need. Also can you easily grow from a small account if its needed? I guess Id like some info like — well the usual small forum gets XXX users and that can be handled by a $20 account but as you grow to XXX members which generally happens then you need a $50 account and most commercial sites with XXXX members use their own managed server for 50-100 blah blah. That sort of thing. Obviously if a 10 buck account can only 3 users at a time it would quickly be uuseless if you had any ambitions to grow at all.


That would highly depend on which software you’re running. Is it the text-only efficient-SQL one, or the image-packed/fancy-PHP/poorly-designed-database one?

So, no, I wouldn’t think that the answer you seek would be plastered all over the place.



Yeah I understand that part. Ive been searching around and people point out mods to your forum software and the type of actions going on from users all impact resource usage. Obviously if you have tons of video downloading or other resource intensive usage it will be very different from a simple forum.

But if you are planning on running some forum software — say Vbulletin or SMF you need some ball park figure no matter how gross the estimate.

If the reality is you cant have more than 5-15 users running Vbulletin on a modest forum realistically obviously its probably a waste of time if you want more users. Ive seen some wildly varying responses. Some users say they had problems at various webhosting firms running Vbulletin and having 5-10 users per hour while some claim they have a fair sized forum running on a shared DH account. Despite the possible variation, webhosting firms running zillions of accounts, many many of them with forums must have some kind of general idea of whats possible even if theres a lot of variation. It seems like webhosting firms dont like to discuss that topic at all so I was mainly wondering what the actual users experience was.


That “It depends” is much less of a “hem and haw” than it is an “honest answer.” It really does depend very much on a number of things, including but not limited to the choice of forum software, the mods/add-ons/plugin installed, the options selected in the operation of the forum, and the type of traffic.

Yep! And I suspect they are very likely telling the truth in most instances. 10-15 users an hour with a poorly scripted, inefficient, forum with "all the bells and whistles (even poorly programmed ones) enabled, huge avatars, the ability to attach images and files, etc. can bring a shared host to it’s knees. Other software, well-programmed, light-weight graphics, limited (if any) ability to attach files to posts, etc. may be an entirely different matter. There is a "massive* difference in resource usage among forums … not only that directly attributable to the software used, but also attributable to the way the software is configured and the patterns of the forums users.

Why would you think that? It seems to me that you are almost complaining that a webhosting company is being too honest with you by insisting upon qualifying their answer. I think they are doing the right thing in doing that, particularly given the lack of technical understanding and sophistication of many shared hosting users, in that they are being careful not to make misleading representations.

Just as soon as they make a “ball park guestimate” and say “We think you should be able to run N users”, some twit will get bent because his crappy code can’t run that many users on a shared host forum. :wink:

The same danger applies when evaluating others’ claims regarding their sites - the operative rule here really is “YMMV”.

This is a perfect situation for DreamHost PS, as you can dynamically “power” your site by tweaking your resources as necessary depending upon how your forum works. DreamHost even gives you some idea of what kinds of performance you can expect with a given resource configuration on their DreamHost PS page.

[quote]"Honestly, since you can always adjust your amounts in real time, it’s okay to just start randomly and then move it up (or down) if your site seems too slow (or too fast)!
Nonetheless, here’s a very rough guideline:

We do recommend you start on the HIGH side though, and adjust down. Really ANY problem you may have with your DreamHost PS is ALWAYS due to not setting your levels high enough and running out of ram!"[/quote]


I agree. I think the key parameters to forum load are:

  1. Searches
  2. Thread views
  3. Posts
  4. Number of threads/posts in the database.

The number of actual registered users is pretty irrelevant.

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They’re Dreamhost coupons!


yep… the number of registered users may be irrelevant (after all, it’s just another table in the db), but the average number of active users per hour is not…
I can have 10,000 registered users, each logging in only once in a while (let’s say, 5 active users per hour… a slow moving forum) and have no trouble… but in another host, I ran a forum with 500 reg’ed users with an average of 150 active users at any time of the day and I was really pushing the resources my host had allocated me

the amount of simultaneously active users is the key here


If it helps at all my board has about 30,000 posts and about 250 members. It doesn’t lag at all now (we’re not that active though) but back during our most active period around September, we experienced some slowdown with about 15~20 members online, but that was at the peak of all of the really bad server troubles, so I’m not sure if it would slow down with about 20 members online. Generally we get maybe 10 members and guests online at our peak of the day and we don’t experience any major slowdown. The 150 active users would probably be pushing it, though…