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Old 19th August 2008
JMJ_coder JMJ_coder is offline
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Default Bandwidth needed for internet servers?

Hello,

How much bandwidth would be needed to run internet servers - web-hosting, email, ftp, file repository?

For example, my DSL company offers a static IP with up to 6Mbps downstream and up to 768 Kbps upstream (well, that's what they offer in my price range ). Would this be enough for the above applications? Would using it as a users internet connection affect this?

Also, while I know that many use older, less powerful systems (i.e., 266Mhz, 256MB RAM, etc.) to run these services, would this be enough to run anything more than static pages - say a forum, blog, online store, email, or file repository? On just one system, or is a cluster needed?
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Old 19th August 2008
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FWIW, there are entire chapters (and entire books) on capacity planning and performance tuning. You can get granular and scientific about your approach where the situation requires it.

What sort of traffic volume are you expecting? And who are your customers? (Friends or paying clients?)
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Old 19th August 2008
JMJ_coder JMJ_coder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anomie View Post
What sort of traffic volume are you expecting? And who are your customers? (Friends or paying clients?)
By the time I would be getting this rolling, I would be expecting a similar amount of traffic as is seen on this site (forum(?) and blog), as well as ftp traffic to download my organization's project(s) source code (binaries?). I'm sure some of my friends will be there, but the clients will be those interested in learning about and contributing towards the organization and potential customers interested in contracting work. The organization is a professional organization that I am trying to get started.

Right now I am having the site hosted, but want to consider my options for the future when this will (hopefully) take off the ground (a year or two?). Of course, by then I might be funded enough for a T1 line .
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Old 19th August 2008
dk_netsvil dk_netsvil is offline
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I run a medium sized ISP and there are so many details involved in defining your traffic requirements that your best bet might be to try and find someone who will allow you to grow and renegotiate your contract quarterly. Given that 1 Mbps rate-limited connections can provide for approximately 308 Gigs of monthly traffic you would need to know what volume of traffic is destined for web, email, ftp and other uses like backups. Unfortunately there is no one-size fits all definition for how much bandwidth a site with X number of users is going to consume - variables like the average page size served, availability of downloads, frequency of indexing (if that's something you need done), and the availability of web-based forms will have an impact.

Additionally, the number of email users, file sizes, attachment limitations, etc will all play a role in the volume of bandwidth you need available for you.

Many of my e-commerce customers require better than 20 Mbps for at least one quarter of the year which amounts to several gigs of data per month before mail, backup and FTP traffic is added in. Some ISPs offer you rate-limited bandwidth which is capped - 1,2,4,X Mbps and others will offer so many gigs per month with a per-gig cost for bandwidth overages. For those worried about costs spiraling out of control I generally recommend a rate-limited service over the all-you-can-eat model.

It sounds, though, like you are considering having a dedicated line (T1) delivered to your facility. Since many ISPs provide what they call a business class DSL/Broadband/WiMax connection you may want to see what kind of service is available in your area, but you also have to consider whether or not you're going to require VoIP service in the future, which doesn't require it's own dedicated connection but it sure helps, you should be aware of your facilities raw data requirements for office traffic which is a function of number of users, etc, as well.

Even a small office can saturate a 6 Mbps connection - and many providers offer non-symmetrical ul/dl rates.

I may be biased, because I'm a racker, but I'm not a huge fan of the in-house web presence. For those who make their living using their web system I think colocation is the way to go - not only is the bandwidth allowance generally more reasonable but your local facility can suffer all manner of trauma without directly affecting your cash-cow.
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Old 19th August 2008
ddekok ddekok is offline
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768kbps upstream doesn't give you much. If you're just using it for development purposes, that's fine. However, a production system would be choked by that upstream.

A quick example. 768kilobits per second = 96 kilobytes per second. That is a maximum which you will probably never reach do to protocol overhead and line conditions. But, let's assume 100 kilobytes per second upstream.

You can have 10 people downloading from you at 10 kilobytes per second, or 20 at 5 kilobytes per second. These are very low transfer rates and will lead to slow page loading times. 10 concurrent users is nothing either if you have an interesting site.

The hardware you mention is quite weak for dynamic sites. It will work, just very slowly. Clustering it wouldn't really help either because the hardware is still underpowered to server a single request for a dynamic site.

Now, you may see this as a bunch of nay-say, but don't let that discourage you. This sort of setup can work for development purposes. My company's development computer is a celeron 2.2ghz with 512mb of RAM on a connection with 110 kilobytes upstream. This works fine for a development environment. However, when you reach the production stage, you will want something better.

For the early parts of production, you may want to consider hosting somewhere like DreamHost (http://www.dreamhost.com/hosting.html). You will get better throughput and a more powerful system for cheap.

From there you can grow to dedicated hosting or co-located servers. That will require more in-depth cost-benefit analysis.

[edit]
Regarding the T1 line - recently I was speaking to a friend who said the company he works for has a T1. He was complaining that their T1 (~1.5 megabits per second) was saturated and he couldn't understand why they didn't go with a business internet package from the incumbent cable provider. Apparently you get much more bandwidth that way for less than a T1. I can't say anything about reliability though.
[/edit]

Last edited by ddekok; 19th August 2008 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 19th August 2008
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Safe to say 100 kbps = 10 kBps taking packet headers, footers, start/stop bits and the kitchen-sink into account.
Abandonned my super-featured pocket calculator years ago.
Makes me think: hard drives are sold with capacity in bytes base ten. How much base 2 GigaBytes does my 500 G hard drives has. Shouldn't have trashed that calculator in secound thought.
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Old 19th August 2008
cajunman4life cajunman4life is offline
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If Cox is available in your area, I'd check them out. I have the business class internet and it's faster* and cheaper than a T1 line. As far as reliability/stability, I've had absolutely no problems. As part of my contract, I get same day (if requested before noon) service, and next day service otherwise (on-site service). And for upgrades, all I have to do is call my account manager and shortly thereafter my bandwidth is increased. They even waved installation for me signing a 1 year contract (I can't even get this good of a deal shopping for cell phones). I'm impressed with reliability considering I'm in a "rural" area.

*A note on bandwidth: My downstream is nearly 3x that of a T1, but my upstream is a tad slower. But for $79 a month (total, no extra "taxes" or fees), it's clearly the better option. Not to mention I can upgrade to a speed well over a T1 and still be much cheaper than the over $300/month quote I've gotten in the past for T1's.
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Old 20th August 2008
JMJ_coder JMJ_coder is offline
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Thanks for the replies.

The problem I'm going to have, is that I'll be, more likely than not, on a shoe-string budget for awhile.

One of the primary reasons I want to host my own site is to be able to choose the software that goes on it. It is easy enough now to be able to find a Linux server for hosting (my sites are currently hosted on Linux servers - CentOS, I think). But it is very hard to try to find a hosting company that uses *BSD. I found one that used FreeBSD, but they were a little pricey. I would like to choose which services, databases, etc. are being employed (I guess I'm a control freak).
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Old 20th August 2008
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A dedicated, unmanaged server from multiple hosting providers allow you to install whatever the heck you want on the server... even the OS. I know this because I work for one

But perhaps a cheaper solution than a physical server is a Virtual Private Server ... a VPS. I understand that there are solutions for most major flavors of BSD in VMWare's VPS solution, so look into a hosting provider that offers that product and you should be well on your way.
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Old 31st August 2008
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You may be surprised how little bandwidth is actually needed. I run a fairly good sized message board. We get about 13,000 page views per day and about 5 million total hits per month. I have an 1.5mbs connection up and down and my monitoring software tells me I am at about 10% of my bandwidth most of the time. The siet uses SMF and TinyPortal, with a MYSQL backend. It's a FreeBSD host running on VMware. No issues. DSL provider is Qwest. I hate Cox BTW. I am moving to a new house shortly where I can get a fiber connection to the house at 20mbps. Woohoo! More servers in the rack.

Of course, YMMV.

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Old 2nd September 2008
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5mbps upstream here. My servers, all together run HTTP (roughly 8 different websites of varying sizes) and all together get ~120,000 hits a month. One of the website accounts for 55,000 hits monthly on average, and it's a picture gallery, so compared to the rest it's a pretty heavy hitter. There's also an FTP server for external use that sees quite a bit of use, not a lot of users, but each user sucks a lot of files off of it every time. I'd estimate it pushes ~5 GB per month. Another server hosts a game server that chews ~200 kbps up AND down per player connected to it and it averages 2 players over the month, although it does have days where it spikes to as high as 28 players for several hours, but the end average for each month is around 2 players.

Bandwidth usage average percentage is nearly 5%. Although I do have spikes, mostly the game server, where I'm chewing finger nails because the upstream is saturated.
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