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Dedicated Server Woes

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Hey guys - so I've hosted a few websites before with simple hosts where CPanel and an FTP client were all I needed. Now I'm looking to launch something a bit bigger, and am thinking about getting a dedicated server to do so.

However, I'm a little intimidated by the thought of having to set everything up myself (Apache, Firewall, PHP, MySQL, etc.) on an operating system I've never touched: Linux. I want to learn, but I also want to launch this website in a reasonable amount of time without too much ongoing hassle. I also am scared I won't be able to secure it correctly (e-commerce on the website), as I'm so new to it all.

So my question is this: is it worth it? My priority is speed and security, not necessarily low-level control. Thanks for any help!

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If all you're hosting is a web server, why do you need a dedicated one? Tons of web hosts provide a variety of features and security, including reasonably priced SSL support.

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[quote name='Chris Reynolds' timestamp='1331886530' post='4922523']

So my question is this: is it worth it? My priority is speed and security, not necessarily low-level control.[/quote]

Definitely not worth it.

If you were an expert in the field and it were your primary role, then dedicated can be more secure and faster. But lacking experience and not being a priority means just about any free/cheap managed host will offer more for less.

It might be worthwhile to think in general direction, but going on your own for sake of security and speed will deliver none. If anything, you'll discover a world of endless obscure errors if you're lucky. If not, you won't even know they exist and that 1/4 of your visitors experience random errors.

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If you want to learn about (Linux) system administration, and it's definitely useful to have at least some basic knowledge of it, get and old PC and set up your own local development server. You can crash it and burn it and spill coffee on it as many times as you need without risking your business.

Having a dedicated machine doesn't necessarily mean better performance and security. This all depends on the hardware, the setup, the network etc. However, if it makes sense for your project, you can ask your host about the possibility of renting fully managed dedicated servers.

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Ok, thanks for the info guys. Not going to jump into the deep end with this venture. Maybe some time in the future, but I can't afford to have a flimsy backend for this website.

Thanks!

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Do you really need a full dedicated server, why not go with a managed VPS? You will have full control over it, but also the backup of having a support team behind you if you screw something up.

I wouldn't worry too much about setup - whenever you buy a server (either VPS or Dedicated), it will be configured for you, and PHP, Apache, MySQL etc will already be installed. Although it might be worth learning how to install / configure it, as one day you may wish to upgrade or reconfigure it.

Although I would suggest setting up a linux server at home first, so that you can experiment and learn without affecting your love site.

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If you just want to play and learn, Amazon's EC2 will give you a free "micro" instance for a year if you're a new customer. Something like 512MB RAM, low-power CPU, 5GB hard drive space, 15GB monthly bandwidth: [url="http://aws.amazon.com/free/"]http://aws.amazon.com/free/[/url]

You get full root access, and if you (unlikely) use a lot more resources, you'll just get charged some tiny amount for the actual overage (like $0.15/GB of bandwidth).

If you are more worried about launching your site than learning new skills, though, it's a complete waste of time. Learning how to go from a clean box to a working web server is going to take a while. Heck, even figuring out how to SSH into a remote server can take a bit for someone new.

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