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godsenddeath

Seeking suggestions for hosting

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I've recently started playing around with the Android SDK, and I'm looking for a server to respond to requests and whatnot. I read the FAQs (specifically Q20) and I'm looking for some opinions.

What I need is a simple, cheap host that will allow me to run my own software. The FAQs mention self managed and virtualized hosting. I'm not very knowledgable when it comes to the ins and outs of different server options, hence the call for help.

What are the most cost effective options? The storage and bandwidth I would need for my projects would be miniscule, as it would be just for testing purposes.

I don't need the server to be dedicated, just a simple host which allows me to install software I've written to handle communications between android devices.

Thanks

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Nobody will allow a server where you install software that is not somehow dedicated to you, unless the software is highly partitioned, like PHP-in-Apache. This is for security reasons -- someone else could much with your software, and vice versa.

If you can build your software as a HTTP web service, then you could get a PHP web host. There are lots -- I use dreamhost.com, but there are many others. (Use referral code L33TN3SS to get $50 off your DreamHost sign-up and a free domain registration if you go there :-)

If you want to build and install software in a less "managed" environment, you'll probably need a "virtual private server." Again, DreamHost has an offering starting at $15/month. Linode starts at $20/month. Amazon ECC "micro" instances cost $0.02 per hour, which works out to about $15/month. However, the first year, you get one micro instance free! Also, if bandwidth used is small, there is a "free tier" for AWS. The other nice thing with AWS is that you pay by the hour, not by the month, so you can turn it on when you work with it, and off when you don't need it.

All of the VPS services give you a way to get to a Linux command line as root on your virtual instance, and some amount of dedicated RAM, disk and bandwidth.

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Yeah if you're looking for running your own code then VPS is the way to go. I'm using gandi.net and have been really happy with them. A linux VPS is easy to find and cheap (around $15/mo). A Windows VPS is much harder to find (with a host that isn't terrible) and will cost at least $50/mo.

Or you can use your own computer as a server.

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If you're just experimenting, then EC2 is hard to beat with their 1 year free tier. Gotcha: coarse grained metrics with overage charges + self administration. So if someone DoS' your server or your script gets stuck in infinite loop requesting that 1MB file over and over, you'll pay for every byte over limit, no excuses.

For minimal traffic, there's Azure and AppEngine. They come with indefinite free tier, but are very constrained (relative term). In addition, they impose strict limits on what can and can't be done. These are mostly limited to responding to HTTP requests and perhaps performing a handful of trivial DB queries.

For budget VPSes, you can look around for hosting deals. Like airlines and hotels don't like empty seats and rooms, data centers don't like idle servers. There are several sites (they elude me right now) where you can get "last minute" deals. Such as VPS for $2.99/year. Gotcha: quality, reliability and durability are anyone's guess. You may end up with top notch 5 nines server or a server that will vanish two weeks from now. But it's cheap.


For commodity and large scale hosting, REST/HATEOAS has proven itself for static or minimally interactive content. It can be served from just about any host in any language, all you need is ability to respond to HTTP. Even if not ideal, the abundance of resources makes it worth investigating if your communication can be expressed as these.

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I've used webfaction for a few years now. I actually had a C++ server application for a game running on it for 6 months straight, but it was highly optimized to use nearly 0% CPU. You can't install software, but you can run standalone software on their servers under your user as long as you don't go above their memory requirements. That is you'll end up SSHing in and running your software. (Some people use cronjobs to make sure their software is always running. The servers pretty much never restart though).

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