Cloud hosting, is it worth it?

By Posted on 3 min read 1149 views

I mentioned just before Christmas, that my hosting company support has been getting worse and worse.

I’ve looked at moving a few times over the last eighteen months, but now I’ve decided that it has to happen.

Since I’m moving, I’m also going to take the opportunity to create a better structure.

This means I want a web server and a database server, which allows me to optimise each for their specific function and provides better security.

I will also create another mail server. Currently I use a small one with my current hosting, a managed one (through a great email consultant), and Amazon SES.

However, I can’t use Amazon SES for our gambling emails as they don’t like them.

So why another one?

Because it’s a good idea when emailing is your primary source of income, to have a few delivery servers for your emails. It means if one goes down you still have backups 😉

Anyhoo, the choices for hosting are…

1) Amazon AWS
2) Liquid Web Private Cloud
3) Unmanaged Dedicated Server from Hetzner

I’ve played with Amazon AWS, I’ve used LiquidWeb in the past and I’ve been recommended (and know someone using) Hetzner.

I’ve been mulling over these options for the last few days.

Amazon AWS is very tempting, the ability to auto-scale and keep everything separate is appealing.

However… it’s also very complicated, will require a lot of managing (which will cost) and on price/power comparison it’s by no way the cheapest. I also understand that the auto-scaling isn’t quite as automatic as it sounds and the companies that do it successfully have to design their code and structure specifically to use Amazon’s platform.

LiquidWeb provide a private cloud. This is essentially a dedicated server which you can create your own virtual servers on. You can then split the power of the dedicated server up amongst your virtual servers.

Pretty neat.

Because it’s a cloud based platform, if one of your virtual servers is under-powered you can move it out onto a dedicated cloud server.

Oh yeah, and it’s managed 😉

The server I would need to start with would be $389 per month, plus backup costs. And, to be honest, I’m not sure it will be powerful enough once split.

Again, like Amazon AWS, I like the idea, but it seems like it could end up costing me more than I’m paying currently, and part of the plan is to reduce costs.

So… it looks like I’m going to end up with two servers at Hetzner.

I’ve been looking at their pricing, and for about $70 I can get a server that’s pretty much equivalent to the LiquidWeb server.

Of course, that’s unmanaged, so I’ll have a $29 management fee and a $20 cPanel fee on top, bringing to the total $119.

Still… that means I can get two of those, one for a web server and one for a database server, and still be paying $151 less per month than one equivalent server at LiquidWeb, which would need to then have it’s resources split up!

In fact, I don’t think I need quite that much power for my web server, so I may reduce that a bit lower and increase the RAM on the database server.

Overall this is going to be an interesting process. Having been with my current hosting for around eight years, it’s a big move, and slightly terrifying.

Hold you’re breath, and I’ll keep you posted.



P.S. Oh… I’ll probably use Amazon AWS for an mail server because I know there’s no gambling restrictions on their EC2 platform for the mail that goes out. This means you won’t be shut down, but your mailing reputation is in your hands.

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