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    How to calculate


    I've got a real newbie question, so I tried searching around quite a lot before coming here, but in the end I found that I'd prefer to complement with a question here.

    I'm working on setting up a forum, something which I have no previous knowledge whatsoever about, so I'm currently reading up like crazy on everything from web host qualifications to control panels to php. If you know of any good tutorials or primer sites on the subject I'd be happy for recommendations!

    But the thing I really want to ask about here is how to actually asses how large a web host account I need. If everything goes well we're expecting a huge amount of traffic; it's not unreasonable to expect a few thousand visitors per day, many of them registered members eager for discussion.
    Like I said, I'm aiming to actually learn how to work with this stuff, so I don't mind in the least getting redirected to technical literature; though a few short answers, if possible, are always welcome!
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    use something like phpbb or vbulletin (or any forum in a box type package). They are mostly idiot proof.

    If you are genuinely going to have thousands of hits a day, in an interactive environment, you will probably be best at looking at a dedicated server. If your site is slow, has time out issues, or is generally a pain in the butt to use, you wont have thousands of visitors a day....

    there are 10 million forums out there, so you need to either have a forum that is completely different in the way of content to all of those, or is far superior to other forums in your genre.

    The bottom line is that the internet is pretty cut throat, and it is very hard to walk in with a different twist on an established site.

    Not trying to put you off, just giving you an idea of what these interwebs are like!
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    Yep, I've already earmarked vbulletin as my platform; I tried out a few dozen but that one came out on top in every category. The old rule of you get what you pay for.
    On that note, I'm by no means alone in this or the top technical expert; I'm the instigator and organizer of the whole project, but I need to know this stuff in order for the project to work out.

    Yea, as for servers I've singled out two web hosts in my own country, seemingly good prices and superb 24/7-support, offering large accounts. What I'm interested in is finding out a reliable basis to calculate the need for various levels of traffic. That is, we start relatively small and scale up as interest increases, but for it to work we always have to stay a little bit ahead of the flow.
    As for attracting people, well... my party alone has several thousand members, by the polls a few millions intend to vote for us, and at the moment there isn't a single discussion forum of any of the parties in our coalition. We're spread out across innumerable blogs and a worthless youtube account; there's not only an interest, there's a need bordering on desperate. Besides, I'm of the Homo Interneticus sub species, so yea, no need for basic lectures on the reality of life!
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    ok, i figured this was one of those typical "hey i heard you can make money on the interwebs, so i figure i can make a website that will get 2000 hits a day and make millions with no experience" situations.

    It does sound like you have a decent amount of interest already. The reason I say dedicated server is that the only resource usage / traffic is your own. Otherwise you end up in a situation where other peoples traffic effects your site's performance.
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    Fair enough; I really should have realized that possibility myself.

    Yea, maybe I'll end up going for a dedicated server in the end, but it's a bit of a special situation, a bit complicated, and probably quite boring for anyone not actually running around with the problem every day. Bottom line is that at least for a start up period the best realistic option is to find a web host who offers plenty of bandwidth, space and good support. But for all my reading so far I still feel a bit in the dark when it comes to making an estimation as to how much is actually needed for a given level of traffic.
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    traffic is hard to estimate due to it's varying nature.

    The only thing i can recommend is to find a forum running vbulletin which has the same sort of content you expect to have on yours - ie the same mix of text and images etc. Then find a free online page size calculator and get it to calculate the size of a few key pages on that site. That should give you an idea of what the average hit will cost you in terms of bandwidth and transfer. Assuming you have projected visitor numbers, you should be able to calculate your requirements from there.

    As far as size / space goes, the actual website size will remain static (depending on how you handle images) however your database will grow. You can manage that if you want to go down the archive path. Threads which dont need to be there beyond a certain date could be removed when they are finished with etc.
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    Aaah, now why didn't I think of that? Ah well, something new to learn every day. Thanks for the advice!
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    sir_drinxalot is right, traffic can be very hard to calculate especially with no base. If your website is just simple php the traffic amount will be quite small, but you throw in some images, some downloads, anything and it can change drasticly.

    Please by all means do not get caught up in oversold or unlimited shared hosting packages. Please know that a datacenter is paying $10-$25 per 300GB of bandwidth (unless they have a large commit on a budget bandwidth provider) so when you see the $3 package with 100GB bandwidth it is not possible.

    Your absolute best bet is to go with a VPS, even if it is somewhat low end it can be scaled on your needs, and obviously if your needs get to 4GB+ ram etc then you should go with a dedicated. If you dont know how to manage a VPS then get a managed VPS and a managed dedicated when the time comes. That way you just have to understand your site and not the backend of the OS/Apache configuring/etc. Hopefully you will get a good managed provider that will help you optimize also.

    Please let us know if you have any questions on providers or setup, we are glad to help.
    Brian Kearney, CEO Stealthy Hosting Inc
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    Email: sales@stealthyhosting.com Phone: 253-880-1233
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    Yea, I'm a quick study and good at key word reading so I've already formed a pretty good idea about Apache config; and don't worry, I didn't believe those big-numbers-small-prices offers even before I started reading up. As a first step I'm choosing between two hosts based in my own country; both have been in the business for a long time, offers plenty at reasonable prices and can point to large numbers of satisfied long time customers and good reviews by professionals. I'm looking especially at their support section, plus the possibilities for quick upgrades and simple contract termination if it becomes necessary. One of the main reasons that I'm going this way is to keep from forcing the learning curve into giant right angle leaps; keeping it manageable for me and have the security blanket of paid pros handling the server itself. It's not ideal - I'm certainly not the most ideal person to be running this show in the first place, but no one else does it and it should have been done years ago, so here I am.

    Anyway, once I realized - thanks to sir drinx - that there are on-line apps you can use to calculate the size of sites I checked up on a few dozen, so now at least I've learned a little about how to judge my own requirements.
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    If you don't mind could you pm me the 2 you are looking to pick from and I'll help you pull up some good non bias reviews, and maybe help you spot some stuff you might not like that they do.
    Brian Kearney, CEO Stealthy Hosting Inc
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