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Server Planning

How am I going to use the servers I buy to meet my needs, wants, and budget?

Linode

Linode provides a reliable service with a safety net. They keep automatic backups that can be deployed to brand new servers with a click. If something goes wrong I can instantly launch a copy of the working server from yesterday, or last week, or last month.

Linode also provides a nice DNS architecture to provide slave DNS servers for all of my domains.

One other advantage: if you bump into the resource limits of your server you can resize it and keep going in real time.

They do, however, require one to pay for their service. They are fairly priced but not bargain priced.

Linode is currently serving most of my websites. I use VestaCP to allow my wife, brother, and father to manage their own domains, databases, and sites on my Linode server.

Embarrassing, but I also have a super subjective reason to want to keep a linode running. I love the IP address that I was randomly assigned. If I turn off my last linode that IP goes away too.

This should not carry any weight in choosing a server, but it does and here we are.

Wishosting

Wishosting does not provide servers-at-a-click, nor backups, nor DNS service. But they do provide a lot of resources for the money. Their permanent offerings are a good value and their daily specials are true deals. I've watched their site long enough and moved from one offering to another enough times that I've now got two systems that each have 2 CPUs, 4 GB RAM, and 400 GB SSD or 800 GB HDD.

I'm running a NextCloud instance on my 800 GB HDD and a WireGuard VPN on the other.

Alternative to Linode backups

Wishosting does not provide fully supported backups the way that Linode does, but such a complete backup may not be necessary in the realm of websites, databases, and emails administered by VestaCP. Vesta provides the ability to backup user accounts, and then reload those accounts from the backups. So if you send Vesta backups for all users to a remote server and then your Vesta machine has a catastrophe, you can simply start a fresh server, install a fresh Vesta, and then load the backups to restore your websites, databases, and emails as before.

We can test this idea if you want by using backups from banot to populate aster with users and websites.

Differences

Wishosting lends itself to a permanent, stable server. It doesn't allow me to quickly spin up a clone to test configuration changes on. Anything changes you make to a server there is going to be something of a high wire act.

Linode does support spinning up a clone to test changes on before putting them into the production server. It also supports automatic backups.

Linode also comes with a DNS infrastructure that I can use for free while I have an active linode.

So, best host for web server? If your web server is stable then Wishosting will provide you with the most CPUs, most RAM, and largest disk. Those things are important for a web server if it gets loaded.

Now, my web servers have never suffered much load at all. Linode has always done fine, but in theory Wishosting is better.

Strategies

So what do I need for each type of server?

Email Server

Email delivery is rather resilient. I don't want my mail server going down all the time but mail delivery will retry if my mail server is spotty.

Alternatively, my host might block port 25 if my server IP gets blacklisted for spam. I should handle the possibility of spam as seriously as possible. Allowing my web users to email from my web server might invite abuse. Allowing them to control their DNS records likewise.

Email backups are more important because once the mail is on my server it has to be safe until the user deletes it.

Vesta CP allows users to create email accounts but Wishosting blocks port 25. That means any users who need email need to be hosted on a Linode machine. (Which isn't entirely true because I can request that port 25 be opened on a wishost, but that's one more thing outside of my control that could slam closed on me and cause me days of investigation and trouble.)

So then the decision is do I host a VestaCP on Linode only for the domains that need email? Or do I run a mail-in-a-box at linode and any domains that need email have to use MIAB as their DNS server?

Web Server

A web server seems to benefit from multiple processors. Maybe that's like saying two is more than one. Any web page load is going to result in multiple requests to the server for html, images, css, and js files. A machine with multiple processors can work on more of those things at once.

A web server also benefits from more RAM, though not in a straightforward way. More RAM allows running both nginx and apache web servers at once. Running nginx as a reverse proxy to serve static files (html, images, css, js) means that most requests are handled with great speed by nginx. Then apache handles the more server-intensive tasks like PHP scripts and user modifications to .htaccess files.

VPN Server

This one is easy. VPN uses very little server resources, it just needs bandwidth and low pings. Any server could perform this role.

Host Bandwidth per month Bandwidth rate Ping
banot 2 TB 1 Gbps 15 ms
lund unmetered 250 Mbps 25 ms
aster 10 TB ?? 40 ms

Lund or aster are the obvious choices for total bandwidth. I'd suggest starting with aster because you probably won't use anywhere near 10 TB per month on VPN traffic, and it might provide it at a higher rate than 250 Mbps.

Another thought would be to use the one with the lowest ping since all of your traffic will travel there and back again on the VPN. Okay, looking at the ping results suggests lund might be the best VPN option.

Email on Linode

What if I said “all domains that need email get hosted on Linode”; and conversely “All domains start on Wishosting and get moved to Linode if they need email.”

Plan

So I should move all of my web server business to one of the wishosts. Vesta can serve as the DNS server for the domains on that machine that don't use email. I can also create slave domain servers for them at Linode.

I should install MIAB at Linode and use it for email. Any domain wanting email uses MIAB as its domain server.

server_plan.txt · Last modified: 2019/07/30 19:25 by jason