Shared hosting business on cloud server

MrIver

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Feb 24, 2020
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Hi Guys,

For som time now we have been operating our shared hosting service on two dedicated servers.

However, we would like more flexibility and more GB space to offer our customers, without increasing our server expenses too much.

Therefore we have been looking at a cloud-solution where we can add volume (extra GB) on the fly.

But the big question is... Would you recommend running a shared hosting service on a cloud-solution?

We know that we would need a dedicated IP for our software licenses (eg. cPanel, Cloudlinux etc. ) on the cloud-server, but other than that, what would your pro´s and con´s be on running a shared hosting service on a cloud-server?

Anything we should pay extra attention to?

Thanks
 

cPanelLauren

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My biggest concern for shared hosting on virtual environments is always the resources available on the host node, while on most platforms you're allocated specific resources it makes no difference if the host node is under strain/overloaded, you will inevitably see this affect the performance of your server. There are some security concerns since you most likely won't have access to the host node. Flexibility is the biggest pro, along with overhead, and disaster recovery.
 
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MrIver

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Hi Lauren,

Thank you for your input.

Regarding your concern about resource availability, then we are looking at a solution with dedicated CPU´s. However it might sound like you would argue, that this would not make a difference in cases with strain/overloaded of the host node.

We will look further into the pros and cons and welcome more insights if anyone have some :)
 

cPanelLauren

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Hi Lauren,

Thank you for your input.

Regarding your concern about resource availability, then we are looking at a solution with dedicated CPU´s. However it might sound like you would argue, that this would not make a difference in cases with strain/overloaded of the host node.

We will look further into the pros and cons and welcome more insights if anyone have some :)
Right, it wouldn't. Generally speaking, you have your allocated resources i.e., what's assigned to your environment/container/etc.. Keep in mind that VPS/Cloud/Virtual servers are all essentially just virtualized servers existing on a hardware server or group of servers. That hardware server or group of hardware servers has a finite amount of resources that are shared with all tenants on the server/s. I've managed a virtual environment using Xen at a previous job which btw is a fantastic virtualization platform but should the host/s be under strain (overloaded/too many virtual servers present, under attack, etc.) the containers will inevitably be affected. A lot of times this comes in the form of unexplained high I/O wait. This will result in the virtual environments being unable to function or extremely slow to function.

Now, I am absolutely not saying this is the experience you will definitely have, the hosting provider I worked for just overloaded their servers frequently. It's simply a con to be aware of.
 

MrIver

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Thank you again for your feedback Lauren. Our customers are pretty low resource entensive, and the severes where they are located now are greatly overpowered. Therefore we would be ok with a change to cloud and periodes of low resource avaliability, since our customers will most likely not register it at all.

Right now we deal with issues like server restarts, hardware crashes and bills for servermanagement due to this, so question is if this is not worse when comparing it with the con´s of cloud :)

What all cloud solutions have you looked into so far?
Right now we have been looking at EU datacenters such as OVH and Hetzner. However since Hetzner is where we have out dei´dedicated serveres, we are leaning towards using the again. Their service is pretty cost effective and we like their setup.
 

MrIver

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Just another question regarding our cloud aventure ;-)

So, at the moment we have a 8 CPU hypertredding dedicated machine hosting 210 clients. Theses clients only use 100% CPU (1600% avaliable on the machine), so its geatly overpowered.

The question is, if we try our luck with Cloud, what server should we go for if we want to host 630 clients?

Would a 8 dedicated vCPU cloud server be enough?

Our logic is that 210 clients use 100% (our clients are predominantly small WP sites), then 630 must use about 300%, thus a 8 dedicated vCPU (800%) cloud solution would be plenty?

Or are we in the wrong?

Thanks!
 

dalem

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Your Logic sounds good in theory but in practice you mileage may vary.
I will give my 2 cents worth from feed back from our clients
We have had clients do the opposite move from the cloud environment to dedicated

As cPanelLauren pointed out you loose your control

there are 2 types of clients, there are the ones than come from the low end cheap side of the house what I call the fake clouds & the ones the come from the big players AWS, Google, Microsoft, etc

typically the the high end break down into 2 groups

  • The ones are overall happy with their servers but the costs are enormous as they were using when they find out they we can give them dedicated server with the same resources for 1/3 the cost they were paying they are ecstatic .
    • note: these are high cpu High BW clients .

  • the ones that their AWS server keeps crashing from resource usage Move them to a dedicated machine happy clients.

typically the the Low end break down into 2 groups as well

  • ones like yourselves with multiple users usually find out that they a limited with IP's & software licensees IE: cpanel & they do not save a whole lot moving to a cloud like environment.

  • Then there is the user that just hosts a few of their own sites they are happy either way but when the get into the high end side of things IE: high memory & high disk use a dedicated server becomes cheaper in some cases.

The pro of the cloud is resource on demand but if you plan ahead you can avoid the pitfalls of running out of resources.
The con you loose control.


If you have a large enough server you can carve it up and become your own cloud provider & eventually in time you can colo your machines.

One of our clients came from a cloud environment I do not remember which one . We built them a custom colocation server to house multiple VM clients they had no idea they could save so much $$ & they control the resources 100%. They continued to close the out the cloud & move to colocated 1U rackmounts.
They could not be more happy they have since moved to a full rack as we pointed out it was cheaper just to pay for a switch & PDU instead of paying buy the U for space.

my 2 cents :)
 
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MrIver

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Hi dalem,

Thank you for your 2 cents!

What im am mostly interesed in within your reply is "they a limited with IP's & software licensees IE: cpanel & they do not save a whole lot moving to a cloud like environment"

What cpanel limits do you see? I dont see a difference between cloud and metal cpanel licenses.

Right now our main issue is that we have overpowered dedicated servers with limited space. This means that we have to setup a new server often, and because most software-licenses (Litespeed, CloudLinux) and Servermanagement services are alle IP-based, we are paying for these for every server.

In our case we have 2 x 1 TB (RAID) on the server, which means we can have 200 clients on one server (5GB) each. So for every 200 client, we need a new server, new license, management service etc.

With cloud we could get one server, that mathes our CPU needs for 600 clients (about 8 vCPU´s) and fill it with maby 600 clients. This way we would only pay once for software licenses, server management etc.

The alternativ, as we see it, is to find a suitable server with at least 2 * 3 TB (RAID), but this seems to be pretty hard to find.

We are looking at Hetzner Cloud.
 

dalem

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not all but a lot of the cloud providers just provide the infrastructure an you get 1 IP and you are own your own with the software licenses & when you go with a cpanel partner you get cpanel at a lower cost

Had some former clients move to cheap cloud but after paying for software licenses they were paying more I just shake my head as it made no sense ( Math is hard )

I just see it from the opposite point of view since we get new clients that are tired of the cloud hype and our existing VPS clients will upgrade to a dediacted box when the outgrow the VPS


Like I said if you have a overpowered server just carve it up into a VPS node so you can allocate the resources more evenly
that's what we do
 

MrIver

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Thanks again ;-)

Sorry, but what do you mean with " just carve it up into a VPS node so you can allocate the resources more evenly", the issue is the space. We have 1 TB nothing more - so plenty of CPU for the 200 users.

We also have the opportunity to add a disk more to the server, but we are unsure how this will work with raid and if we can place users on this new disk and still have everything work.
 

MrIver

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We can add one more drive (we use 2/3 now) of either 1TB, 2TB or 4TB.

As you have probably already gussed, we dont know much about server-setup and configuration, so we have no idea of how to expand the space on the server and making it avaliable to our WHM /cpanel installation (while still running RAID).

Thats probably why cloud seems like a better solution for us ;-) (its a bit more simple)