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Author Topic: Finding a good host.  (Read 14192 times)
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lonnyl
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« on: May 07, 2006, 06:34:42 AM »

After having trouble with some web hosts I thought I would share and hopefully help others avoid the same problems.

So.. you want to find a host for LOTGD.

First off... LOTGD is a huge game and database intensive.  This means that your host will need to be a hearty one.

You are going to need some basic things.
PHP
MySql
If they don't support one or the other you can continue your search.

PHP requirements.
1) You are going to need at least a 16mb maximum script size if you would like to install any number of modules.  Preferably you should have control of this number or at least be able to request it set higher.  The more modules you run, the higher this number will need to be.

2) LOTGD runs properly on PHP4.  Make sure at this point you are able to run PHP4 and that the webhost keeps the php version up to date.


On MySql.
1) A number of hosts do not allow LOCK_TABLES.  You WILL NEED this.  You either have to have it by default or be able to request LOCK_TABLES access.

2) One trick many hosts use is to limit the max_questions.  This is a hard limit on the number of questions on the database per hour.  If a host has any limitation at all, they will not be suitable for LOTGD.

3) Some sites also limit the number of databases that you can have.  LOTGD only takes one database, this may not be a problem UNLESS you intend on running others scripts on the site as well.

4) Some sites will also limit the number of tables per database.  You will need at least 60 tables to be safe running LOTGD.  Of course a higher number of tables will give you more future flexabiltiy.

Web site Restrictions
1) For the most part MOST hosting plans will have a bandwidth limitation.  The lower the limitation, the fewer users the site will be able to handle.  I have no real statistics as to how much is enough.  But the more the better.  I would say you will want 100gig a month if you want to have a site with a decent amount of traffic.  You should also have the option to upgrade at a reasonable price.

2) Server Load seems to be an issue with many web hosts.  Many will limit your server load to only 1% of the servers cpu capacity.  This is NOT an option running LOTGD.  You will need to specifically ask if this is a limitation and what the number is.  LOTGD WILL run at 2% or higher on these hosts.  Hopefully the host will disclose this information, however some do not.

3) Disk Space.  One will need at least 50mb to host LOTGD and have some room for future upgrades.

4) Spam considerations.  If you have e-mail notices going out to your users, as most of us do.  You need to make sure that your host isn't going to suspend you for spamming.  AOL will put you on their spam list IF one of their users reports you as spam.  Some hosts will frown on this and suspend you.  One method of preventing this is to not allow new users to use AOL adresses (I hope to have a module out soon that will allow you to do this).


Features
1) mod_deflate.  There is a module (and some others like it) called mod_deflate for apache.  This module will zip up the web page before sending it to your user (if and only if their browser supports it) which is then in turn unzipped by the clients browser.  Effectively speeding up dial-up users (broadband users will notice little difference) AND reducing the bandwidth that your site uses.  This is not needed to run LOTGD, however is something I prefer to see.

2)  mod_dosevasive.  This is a module for apache that will hamper DOS attacks.  Again it is not needed but a preffered feature.  LOTGD does have some built in DOS protection, however this protection requires LOTGD to query the DB, write to the DB, and run PHP.  Dosevasive will stop the attack before getting to LOTGD, thus doing to more effeiciently.  I believe that this is a VERY IMPORTANT thing for the web host to be running.

3) IP BANS.  You NEED to be able to block certain IP's to effectively protect your site.  I see this as a MUST HAVE.

4) PHP optimization and pre-compilation.  Many hosts run PHP pre-compilations modules, including ZEND, DarkWare, Turck, and others.  This is not a required feature to run LOTGD, but will increase the speed of the game and reduce the load on the server.

5) Backup.  You are going to need a good backup.  As we know in this da5 and age backup is important.  A host should allow you cron jobs that are capable of automated sql backup.  You also should keep a current copy of files and sql dump on your local system.

6) Upgrade options.  You should always have a place to go from here.  And there should be multiple upgrade paths that will be in what you feel will be within your future budget.  Hosts with only one shared hosting plan will not be right for you if you plan to upgrade in the future.  Hosts should have multiple shared plans as well as dedicated plans.


Price
1) Have you ever heard the term "You get what you pay for."

2) There are a great many hosts offering much more for less money.  It's highly competative and what costs more at one host may not be comparable to what another host is offering at the same price.

3) Dedicated Server.  While this option is definately better than shared hosting you most likely will not want to spend $100+ per month to host the game.  And even at that I have read a number of issues with some hosts "Dedicated" plans.  You very well may be able to get on what is called a "shared" plan where many web sites are hosted on one server and get the same or sometimes even better performance than a dedicated plan.  Being on a dedicated 1Ghz celeron with 256mb ram is by no means going to run LOTGD all that well.  Again researching the webhost is the only way to make a proper descision in this matter.

4) More isn't always more.  Again one restriction on processor usage can make your generous 400Gig a month transfer limit unattainable.  You would be better off with a 100Gig a month limit and no restriction on processor usage.


A hearty host will reduce your stress load and make the game fun to run.  The improper host WILL cost you extra money and headache.

Google is your friend.  Find the hosts, research them, interview them and take your time. 

I will edit this posting as I get more time and make it more information so please check back.
I would also invite others to respond or PM me with additional tips, which I will then try and integrate into this post.

Lonny


P.S. Please don't use this thread to tout the great host you are on or post affaliate links as there is a thread already created for that.  I would like this to be for advice only. 

P.S.S.  If you find this helpful... please up my karma a notch!  Grin  I'm feeling a little down being at +12/-6!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2006, 07:27:16 AM by lonnyl » Logged
Nightborn
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2006, 07:52:20 AM »

http://dragonprime.net/index.php?topic=4345.0

just my 2 cents.

lonny is absolutely correct =)
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Talisman
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2006, 11:14:42 AM »

Good info, Lonny...thanks!  Smiley

I can see this turning into a FAQ or required reading for new admins...
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Zaclegend
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2006, 10:26:06 AM »

3gb site space
unlimited bandwith
plus more
http://www.diyhost.co.uk/
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Torne
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2006, 07:13:45 AM »

I have just a couple of brief comments re lonnyl's (excellent) FAQ: first, it shouldn't ever be a problem to only have one database since LotGD supports table prefixes, which is enough to get 'out of the way' of any other webapp you want to run even if that app doesn't support prefixes. Second, php already has gzipped output support which is more efficient (when used with PHP apps) than mod_deflate - just set zlib.output_compression to 1 in php.ini (or with ini_set, it's not restricted). Other than that this is a great document Smiley
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Nightborn
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2006, 07:40:21 AM »

side note:

in 1.1.1 all traffic will be gzipped wit ob_start of the gziphandler in the common.php
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2006, 08:39:48 AM »

Further to Lonny's comment about the load on CPU, there is an inherent problem with ANY host specificying that your load must stay under a particular percentage. MOST shared hosts will not TELL you what the CPU of your boxxen is, nor will they tell you how many sites are hosted on the same box. So you are trying to calculate a percentage of an unknown number with an unknown load share.

While running the TWG module, just two servers pushed the load up to almost 30% CPU and I was warned to get them under the ~5% limit or I'd be moved to an abuse server. I was fortunate that the host was helpful and worked with me until I realised that the TWG module was the culprit. With it deactivated, the load fell to 1.2% and they closed the ticket, thanking for me for fixing the issue.

But... I still have no idea what 1.2% actually is, though! And talking to other admins, their hosts are just as fuzzy with the numbers given out as limits. So use caution if there are percentages as your limits. It would be BETTER to find a host that says, "If your site causes undue load, we will throttle your speed." It sucks when your site is slowed down but this is much better than being moved to an abuse server or suspended. You can then look at upgrading the plan to deal with heavy load, if your player base grows large enough.

I'm now running five servers, including two with a lot of translation, and staying under the limits. And this isn't an expensive plan (~$200 per year). So I would suggest - choose a host that someone else is already hosting LoGD on - they can tell you their experiences with the host and warn you of any potential things to be careful of. Find someone with a game of around 100 players and ask them about their plan. Don't start out with the one Nightborn uses. No matter how great you think your game might be one day, it's stupid to pay for that plan and watch your three whole players bounce around in a hundred-dollar-per-month server all by themselves.

I would stress Lonny's point that you get what you pay for. Don't expect that you can build and grow your game to 100 players, on a $3 per month host. There will be SOMETHING in their fine print that lets them suspend you or remove you once you hit the normal running load of LoGD's basic setup.
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SaucyWench
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2006, 04:42:44 AM »

in 1.1.1 all traffic will be gzipped wit ob_start of the gziphandler in the common.php
The PHP docs claim that zlib.output_compression is more efficient than using ob_gzhandler.
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kira
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2006, 08:43:47 AM »

That is some good advise minus one.  I would not google a host.  Usually the top 3 are the absolute worst hosts ever (I have experience in web hosting).  I suggest you go to http://webhostingtalk.com and search there.  You can find information on hosts that you are considering.
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2006, 08:54:48 AM »

thanks kira!  Smiley

info for that site has now been added to the dragonpedia discussion on hosting.
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2006, 09:54:34 AM »

Lonny wasn't suggesting you use Google simply to find the host in the results listings - he was suggesting you actually research the hosts that come up (and presumably this is to say, read others' experiences in hosting with them).  Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2008, 05:33:12 PM »

can anyone recommend a good comprehensive site for non-commercial reviews of web hosts?
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2009, 05:18:26 PM »

No, I can't, but I can tell you that www.free-web-host.me is very good, and if you don't want to pay for a domain name, you only have 200u added in your url. don't use www.000webhost.com or www.714.com
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2009, 09:41:25 PM »

My host has seperate pages, and I can also view in my Cpanel, server load, CPU usage, mem usage, free memory,ect ect on my shared server.Services status ect.Is it just me?I know alot don't but surely some others must?Prices are also VERY reasonable.If you looking for a good host, that doesn't oversell like hostgator,godaddy,ect, give'em a look.


http://servers.coreisp.nl/
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2010, 07:30:37 AM »

Using http://www.byethost.com/ in conjuction with http://www.dot.tk/en/index.html?lang=en for a domain is the ultimate combination my site has never gone down!
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