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This question was migrated from serverfault, where it was closed as not constructive.

Personal note: This type of questions are not appropriate in this place nor on serverfault. It's my opinion that it should be a place in the SE family of sites. Please take that into consideration in the future. Thanks.

I have been trying to answer this question but I haven't found an specific answer to my situation. As I want to pay for what I need, I thought I could get a good answer here.

I have a custom made forum (rather than a built-in forum like the ones you can find in plugins, e.g. WP-Forum or phpBB type of software) in Django. I don't want to use Apache and modwsgi because it's usually very memory-hungry and I can't afford a big server. I prefer a combination of nginx and gunicorn which I think is very efficient (maybe you can also tell me what you think about that).

I'm expecting to receive 10,000 to 20,000 visits each month with 15,000 to 30,000 page impressions. I have reviewed some cloud services like Amazon EC2 or Rackspace and other more traditional services (Linodo). This site won't use videos or big images and I certainly don't need a huge amount of bandwidth (200GB would be definitely too much). I need shell access so shared hosting is out of the question.

What do I need to run a website like that without problems? What about RAM? 256MB would be enough (that's the amount of RAM offered by small instances in Amazon and Rackspace)? Do you know of any alternative to those I mentioned?

If you need more information to provide a useful answer, please don't hesitate to ask.

By the way, I was told that Linodo is not all that different to Amazon EC2 but this website is supposed to work 24/7, so I can't take advantage of Linodo's flexibility regarding creating and deleting instances.

Thanks in advance.

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Sorry Robert, but this is just as off-topic on programmers, as it was not-constructive on severfault not to mention the fact that it is considered bad form to cross-post the same question on multiple stack exchange site. Please please read the FAQ to see how you can improve your question next time. Generally speaking product and service recommendations make poor questions on stack exchange sites as they go out of date too quickly to be useful to future visitors. –  Mark Booth Jul 3 '12 at 11:02
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Sorry. I have seen some questions of this type here and they seemed to be well received. I'm sorry to hear they're not. I asked what other SE sites could be appropriate but I didn't receive any answer so I had to migrate it here by myself. I also tag my question in serverfault for deletion but it's still there. I could change my question to something more general, although it could be not so well-defined. –  Robert Smith Jul 3 '12 at 15:08
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As the close reason over on serverfault states As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. While that is no less true here, more importantly is off-topic here. If here were a suitable place for that question it would have been migrated here by serverfault rather than closed, that's why cross-posting is bad - it just wastes everyone's time. –  Mark Booth Jul 3 '12 at 17:15
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@MarkBooth Certainly there was no attempt to migrate this question here or somewhere else (which of course, it's not my fault as I intended to delete the question on serverfault, quite the opposite to cross-posting), which means there is no conceivable place where this question is appropriate to ask and yet I received quite a bit of support and interest before some people downvoted for the reason you exposed. You should have a place for this kind of questions as there is a lot of interest on this topic. –  Robert Smith Jul 3 '12 at 18:59
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I have seen a duplicate on webmaster.stackexchange. –  Fahad Uddin Jul 3 '12 at 19:10
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closed as off topic by Mark Booth, Walter, gnat, Ryathal, maple_shaft Jul 3 '12 at 17:50

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2 Answers

Linode vs Rackspace vs Amazon WS .... definitely I go for Amazon WS, it is much more flexible than the others, also is cheaper. One of the advantages to work with AWS is that you have access not just to cloud computing but a lot of services like:

  • S3 for storage
  • RDS (Relational Database Service: MySQL, Oracle and MS SQL Server),
  • SES (Simple Email Service)
  • Route 53 (DNS)
  • VPC (Virtual Private Cloud)
  • Load Balancers

And these are just a few. There are a lot of services to choose from.

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Thanks a lot. Certainly, Amazon is the most complete hosting provider, however, do you think that based on the description of my site, I'm going to need that kind of services? As for pricing, I think that Rackspace is chepear for small instances and more expensive for big instances, although maybe I'm misreading something. Do you mind to clarify? –  Robert Smith Jul 2 '12 at 22:58
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at least with amazon you pay as you go, what I mean with this is that unlike Rackspace, in AWS you can "turn off" your instances. This means that you can have an small or medium instance and use the auto-scaling feature to grow horizontaly when you have traffic pikes. After those pikes the auto-scaling service will turn off the other instances. –  PachinSV Jul 2 '12 at 23:08
    
By the way I do not have experiencie with Django, but in AWS you can do almost whatever you've dreaming of. –  PachinSV Jul 2 '12 at 23:11
    
That's convenient. A was checking small instances but as I don't plan to shutdown instances often, that means I have to pay $59 which I find a bit expensive. Do you have experience with micro instances. They seem much more affordable. –  Robert Smith Jul 3 '12 at 1:15
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AWS has a "free usage tier" you can have a few micro instances for free for a full year =D ... so you can start with those without paying a cent. –  PachinSV Jul 3 '12 at 5:55
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A traditional VPS, e.g. Linode or Slicehost. Your requirements are very modest and you're not going to need to scale to multiple instances or use a cloud computing API. You need one solid, reliable, simple instance that you can maintain. With the high quality VPS providers you're going to get near 100% uptime, but it's likely that you don't even need more than 99.5%.

Using Linode as an example, if you wanted to get additional redundancy by adding a second node, you can do that by cloning your existing node and using their built-in failover system. It's mostly point and click through their interface.

I'm a very experienced *nix sysadmin but in my trials with AWS I found it unnecessarily complex. Granted that was only a year or so after it debuted, but I doubt that it has simplified to the point where it would fit your needs.

As for RAM requirements, Linode's current smallest plan (512MB/20GB storage/200GB transfer) seems adequate for what you're describing. I've run simple nginx setups on that without issue.

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+1. Thank you very much. Just to point out that Slicehost is now Rackspace and they offer 256MB and 512MB as small instances (small instances for me, anyway). As I said, 200GB sounds like too much. Unfortunately, Linode doesn't offer a 256MB instance, although maybe I will get into troubles with that amount of RAM. What do you think? –  Robert Smith Jul 3 '12 at 1:25
    
I'm running simple nginx setup on a Slicehost 256MB instance with 36MB free and 221MB free in the buffer/cache. I don't really know about Django but I'd recommend starting off with a 256MB instance. You can always upgrade. I haven't upgraded with Slicehost, but with Linode you can do that very easily with little or no downtime. –  Animism Jul 3 '12 at 21:25
    
Thank you very much for your comment. Can you elaborate a bit about the distribution of memory you are using? I thought they give you a 256MB instance and that was it, unless I wanted another instance. Or do you mean you're using 221MB for your caching system (e.g. memcache)? If you don't mind to tell, what kind of application you are running? –  Robert Smith Jul 6 '12 at 1:22
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