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#1 Vextor  Icon User is offline

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Cheap Webservers

Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:33 AM

All,

I'm in the process of trying to launch a personal web project as a potential online business. There is a fair amount of red tape to cut through before it's all said and done, but i'm starting to look at some of my hardware requirements.

I searched around the forums a bit and didn't find anything on this topic, but I could easily be missing it - let me know.

In any case, I don't have a whole ton of cash to throw into hardware at this point so i'm looking for some cheap equipment and i'm wondering if anyone here knows of some good places to get it. Being a start up i'm sure I can get by on some older/refurb equipment, but nothing too old either.

The application is being written in ASP.NET MVC and uses a Microsft SQL Server 2008 SQL DB, so i'll definitely need a web server and a DB server at minimum and likely a firewall, UPS, and potentially a storage array too.

I'm wanting to get my own equipment, instead of hosting with a service, mainly because I don't have a solid timeline for launch nailed down, I would like to have access to the equipment directly and i'll move it to a data center if the project shows any potential.

Some of the MS SQL Database hosting I've found online is pretty expensive and I'm not convinced of the flexibility of some of the solutions, though i'm open to suggestions or solutions otherwise.

Thanks in advance!

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Replies To: Cheap Webservers

#2 supercorey  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cheap Webservers

Posted 02 June 2011 - 08:33 PM

I'm going to make the assumption that you are planning on building the computer from parts.
If that is the case, or even if not, I would suggest TigerDirect.com. They sell just about any part you could think of in any price range. They almost always have sales going on. I managed to get an AMD Athlon II x4 630 for $65!

As for my personal experiences I could use to help guide you, I built a server running Apache and MySQL (it's database software. I would expect MS SQL to be a tad more needy, though.) for $350. It doesn't get many visitors, but it always processes data quickly and the only slowness is the fact that it is running out of my house and the internet connection isn't the quickest.

I believe the most expensive part of this whole thing will be Windows. Since you are using MS SQL, I believe you have to use Windows. As far as I am aware, MS SQL Server will not run on *nix or Mac OS X.

Just some of my experiences and personal favorites. Hope this helps you to make a decision. Good luck!

EDIT: Right after I posted, I saw an advertisement for a hosting site with MS SQL for $4.95/month. I know you said you didn't want a hosting service, but I just thought I would show you. http://www.winhost.com/

This post has been edited by supercorey: 02 June 2011 - 08:35 PM

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#3 zem107  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cheap Webservers

Posted 03 June 2011 - 07:45 AM

First of all, running a website from your own webserver takes A LOT of work. Also, if something goes wrong, you are the only there to to fix it. Plus you'll be spending a lot of money on this equipment, hundreds of dollars minimum. You could get a service to host your website for a lot less.

But after all it is your decision. So to start yourself off, your going to need a server. For a project like this, get yourself a refurbished Dell. Dell doesn't make the greatest quality products, but right now you can use anything you get, for the cheapest you can get.

Then you need software. The Dell will most likely come with a version of Windows XP pre-installed. That's good. Then get yourself a connection to the internet. For ASP.NET and other Microsoft technologies you will need IIS. This may cost you some money. Then you upload all your files to that server.

Now you need a Domain name, once you get one point it to your server.

Remember, these are just basic instructions, if you need anything more indepth just ask.


Recommended Equipment:
IIS
Domain name
Dell Poweredge-2006/2007 model(your decision)
Genuine Copy of Windows
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#4 Vextor  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cheap Webservers

Posted 03 June 2011 - 07:59 AM

Thanks for the replies.

Yeah, after I posted this I did some more searching and found several possible solutions through hosting services. It seems like these services have gotten much better, even in just the last year or two. I'm not sure I want to go that route, still, but if they can work out they will definitely be cheaper in the short term.

I'm pretty familiar with what I need though and i'm more interested in finding it for cheap. Dell refurbished have definitely caught my eye, and i'm also comfortable putting together my own if need be. I'm curious to find out if there are any other suggestions out there too.

Software is going to be a hurdle, I agree, but once I get the red tape out of the way i'm going to try and get in with the Microsoft Biz Spark program, which will get me access to Microsoft licenses for much cheaper or even free. I work for a company in the network now, and it seems like a pretty good possibility. If I can't do that, then a hosting service will likely have to do for now as SQL Server licenses are *very* expensive.

I already have a domain, so I'm good there and I actually have a legit copy of server 2008 that I have never even installed. That should cover my IIS needs, though if I have 2 servers i'll need to get a hold of another.

If all else fails and I can get this thing ready to launch I could just beg my family to help out too, but I would like to avoid that if all possible. :)
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#5 lando786  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cheap Webservers

Posted 06 June 2011 - 11:11 AM

I'm not affiliated with these guys but have used their services and they have a huge sale going on $5 for 1yr of hosting with this coupon.

http://cookiehost.com/ccc.php

Hope it helps, word of advice, they don't have a telephone but they do answer e-mails in a good amount of time, so keep this in mind.

EDIT: Sorry they don't use ASP, but I'm not sure to delete in case someone else is looking for a deal.

This post has been edited by lando786: 06 June 2011 - 11:12 AM

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#6 NotarySojac  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cheap Webservers

Posted 11 June 2011 - 09:25 AM

First I gotta say that $5 for a year sounds a bit sketchy to me. Some of these hosts oversell their boxes to the point of non-usability, so the price tag actually says something.

My question is, what are you going to do about bandwidth? I've always wanted to host my own server, but for me to buy "passing" bandwidth makes the whole thing cost prohibitive.

If you have the answer to that question, I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, I'm planning on switching to these guys when my current lease expires.

Also, MS products are extremely powerful, but that power comes with financial burden. I can see why you would want to build it yourself, but you should really be paying license fees for your OS, MS SQL, and ASP, that's why those hosts have to charge so much for their solutions, they're trying to be legit. If it's a small project that doesn't require enterprise level support, I would consider moving to a more portable database solution, two of which are MySQL and PostgreSQL (they're each pretty awesome, MySQL is lazer quick right out of the box for low traffic too!). I'm not exactly sure how ASP licensing works, but given the scarcity of hosts advertizing it, I want to assume that's just a part of the windows server license bundle. The link I shared offers windows server 2008 as a build it options for $12. If you go that route, you should verify that you don't need to buy the OS yourself or anything.

In summary, does anyone know how to get production grade bandwidth to their house please? :hehe:
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#7 supercorey  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cheap Webservers

Posted 11 June 2011 - 10:02 PM

Production-grade bandwidth in your house?
Here's how:
1) Pray to God that your ISP will have service for it in your area.
2) Stop eating to save enough money to pay for the $100-$150 per month cost of a small-business plan (commonly a T1 line)
3) Contact your ISP about a small-business internet plan.
4) Continuing praying
5) Profit (or not. Just depends on how good you are.)
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#8 lando786  Icon User is offline

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Re: Cheap Webservers

Posted 13 June 2011 - 07:00 AM

View PostNotarySojac, on 11 June 2011 - 09:25 AM, said:

First I gotta say that $5 for a year sounds a bit sketchy to me. Some of these hosts oversell their boxes to the point of non-usability, so the price tag actually says something.


I was just as skeptic as you but I did use it to host my personal site. I didn't renew it as I only used it for testing but it was a pretty solid host. Just my 2 cents. :bigsmile:
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