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Finding a suitable webhost solution part 1/2.


Posted: January 25, 2007 by signex

I know this topic isn't really about CMS Made Simple, but I see quite allot topics in the forums with problems that would never occur if everyone had the right web hosting company for their CMS Made Simple website. Basically this post is split in 2 entries; Part 1: Finding out the right solution for your website which suits your needs. Part 2: Finding a suitable company, comparing price vs. options, testing the chosen company. Step 1: Decide what kind of website it will be, and what kind of hosting it will need. basically this can be divided in 3 options.
  1. A small personal website - Shared hosting will most likely fit your needs.
  2. A corporate website (small or medium sized) - Most company websites need to be more stable a need en more secure hosting platform, but sometimes a whole dedicated server just isn't worth it. Go for a VPS (Virtual private Server).
  3. A big community/corporate website - Go for a Dedicated machine just for you.
I'll try and sum up the pro's and con's about these 3 options. 1. Shared web hosting.
  • Its very cheap.
  • Less secure, if other people use broken scripts and a hacker gets in, most of the time the whole server gets defaced.
  • Less stable your websites speed can be heavily affected by other users.
  • Not really flexible in most cases.
2. VPS Hosting.
  • Cheaper then a Dedicated machine, more expensive then shared hosting.
  • Way more stable then Shared web hosting, you'll get guaranteed RAM(on Linux vps'es you'll also get burstable RAM) and CPU. Therefore you are not affected by other vps users on the same server.
  • More Secure, if another VPS on the same server crashes because of software errors or gets hacked, you`re not affected.
  • More flexibility, you can choose your own Operating System, your own Control Panel, and basically all software you need.
  • You can do remote Reboots, you can get SSH access (possible on shared hosting too, but not many web hosters will let you gain access).
3. Dedicated Server.
  • Pretty expensive, you cant divide Control panel licences to multiple users also.
  • Most secure option .
  • Most stable option.
  • You can be in total control.
Remember when choosing for option 2 or 3, packages are managed or unmanaged. It's also different per web hoster what they see as managed and what not. Some web hosters say its managed when they only install the OS and Control Panel for you, and others will also keep everything updated, fix problem etc. etc. So make sure what you want is what you get. I would advise you to let the web hoster make of contract of what will be managed by them so no mistakes can be made, and you both have an agreement on paper. When you have decided which hosting package is the right one there are a couple other choices you have to make. Step 2, is choosing your OS. Which OS do you prefer. I personally Like a Linux OS for servers. But CMSMS will run on both Linux and windows. If you don't care what OS your package has, go with the one your web hoster has most experience with, this can handy when kernel panic arises. Remember though that Windows hosting is more expensive because of the licences needed. Step 3, will be choosing a Control Panel. CMSMS runs on all Control Panels, so this is a choice you can make on what you prefer, I personally like Cpanel because is has allot of functions and options, and its very stable. A downside about CPanel is that its WAY more expensive the most other Control Panels. Here are some well known Control panels.
  • Direct Admin ( easy of use, but not many function, its cheap though)
  • Plesk ( not much experience with it but don't like the interface, more expensive then Direct Admin)
  • Cpanel (Lots a functions but its really expensive)
  • VHCS (Open source, when I found CPanel, this wasn't a stable control panel then, but have no recent experience)
  • Helm / windows only ( No experience with that one at all)
So that choice basically comes down on budget and personal preferences. Step 4, Configuration options and other software needed. This is a just a list of things that you'll need to run a cms website smoothly.
  • Apache when using Linux, or IIS when using Windows
  • PHP 5.x (php 4 will run with the current cmsms but cmsms 2.0 will require php 5)
  • MySQL Databases (only 1 Database is required for cmsms, but make sure you get at least 3 to 5, for testing other software, or beta's.)
  • PHP safe mode OFF (This isn't required but Safe Mode ON in php, I think, really is annoying, and doesn't work well with CMSMS)
  • PHP Memory Limit set to at least 16MB (default is 8MB, and this works well for simple CMSMS websites, but bigger ones with lots off modules will need at least 16MB)
  • PHP Max Upload set at 10M (default is 2M, find a host which is willing to set this at 10M, again this isn't required though)
  • GD or Imagemagick (not really required but very handy)
Those are basically the things you need for running a CMS Made Simple website smoothly and stable. Any other functions and options you can decide by yourself, things as off-site Back-ups, monitoring etc etc. Do remember though that there are so many ways to configure a server that its always important to ask for a test account for like 24 hours, before signing a contract or placing a order. You can use that time to make a install and playing around with it, install and un-install modules test if your site still runs smooth when 7 modules are called upon the same page. Part 2 will be done in the next 2 days, I hope. If I forget sometimes, or made a mistake, please comment. Regards. Signex / Benjamin

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