Pls help with tech specs for server to host phpBB board

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newsbee
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Pls help with tech specs for server to host phpBB board

Post by newsbee » Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:50 pm

Sorry, maybe this question has been asked and answered, but I can't make your Search work for me - it returns a blank page.

My question is about minimum server tech specs to run a busy discussion board, up to one hundred users online simultaneously.

Is it necessary to have a dedicated server? VPS? What to look for in the potential host? Bandwidth, traffic... Please help.

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Post by abusedemailaddress » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:44 pm

This forum is not here for server setup support. Optimizing servers for their tasks depends upon many, many factors. Optimally, you will have a server for the web portion, optimized for its function, and a separate server for the database, optimized for its function.

Database wants lots of RAM and fast disks. Not sharing that RAM with other server processes is a good thing, too.
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Post by newsbee » Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:48 am

I'm not asking for support.

I'd like to find out about minimum requirements to run a discussion board with 100 users simultaneously online.

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Post by espicom » Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:51 pm

At best, that's a question for the Discussion area, rather than support. And the answer would be highly dependent upon things like:

How many and which MODs you intend to install?
What are those 100 users doing?
Do bandwidth limitations get in the way, meaning you run out of bandwidth long before you overload the server?
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Post by drathbun » Tue Jan 23, 2007 4:14 pm

Moved to phpBB Discussion.

Here's something to think about... 100 concurrent users is a lot. :-) I manage a large board with over 20K members and we average about 100 concurrent users online during the busiest parts of the day. The average online users for the past two weeks for this board was 86, the minimum was 7, the maximum was 368. Over four weeks I had an average of 83, min of 7, max of 480.

Since I've been keeping track the average is 71 and max is 1,805. :shock:

What is this leading to? Two things. :) First, in order to average 100 concurrent users you need to have a much larger userbase. I don't think it's typical to have 100 users concurrently online with a total memberlist of only 1000 users. The numbers seem to run about 0.5% to 1% of your total users online at a given time. So that means 10-20K total users.

Second... I run on a dedicated server. 100 concurrent users means you have a decent number of HTTP and database requests being made. In order to handle those you need - as has already been suggested - lots of RAM, and faster disks help as well.

If you are truly expecting 100 concurrent users right away then you probably need to size accordingly. The big board I mentioned did not start out that big, of course. It's nearly five years old at this point. For the first year we used a shared hosting account. For the 2-3rd years we were on a dedicated server, but a very cheap one. It was about $70 a month for a single cpu celeron box. Now we're on a dual Xeon cpu with 4gb of RAM.
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Post by newsbee » Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:02 pm

drathbun, thanks for your reply!

I started my board on a shared host about a year and a half ago, it has over 3000 registered users now. On an average, there are 50 to 70 users concurrently online during daytime, and it is at 70 concurrent users that troubles begin. I guess other clients on the same shared host contribute to the problem...

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Post by buckyjunior » Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:21 pm

newsbee and drathbun,

This was exactly the thread I was looking for. I would like to start up a forum for a non-profit conservation group. I had contracted for a virtual hosting situation (optimistically) thinking that I could run the web site, a mail server, and a forum on the site. Not enough RAM, not enough CPU, and not enough disk space to run web and even the simplest of mail.

So, I'll be searching for a reliable host for each of the forum and mail. I don't expect heavy usage, perhaps <2000 members and drathbun's estimate of no more than 1% on and taxing the system at a time.

From memory, I think something like GoDaddy's $150-200/year would handle our needs. I would accept anyone's contradictory opinion and alternate suggestions.

Bucky

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Post by drathbun » Thu Jan 25, 2007 4:20 pm

buckyjunior, we're free to discuss technical aspects of hosting, but requests for actual hosting suggestions are not allowed here. In the past that sort of topic has always degenerated into a spam / flame war as people tout their host only to see someone else come back with "they stink" comments. :-)

We suggest that discussions about actual hosts be posted on www.webhostingtalk.com as that is their dedicated purpose. Thanks.
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Post by buckyjunior » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:16 pm

Thank you drathbun for the gentle reminder/clarification.

To be clear, (which apparently I wasn't,) I am curious about users' experiences with general technical specifications such as, RAM, CPU, disk space, bandwidth. Those things that hosting providers advertise.

Say for instance, if I were to use a host that offered 1GB RAM, 80GB disk space, 2.8GHz CPU, and 100GB bandwidth/mo, could I safely expect to run PHPBB reasonably with, say, 2000 users at 20-40 users at a time?

I'm _certainly_ only guessing as potential usage of our conservation group.

Or would the above be overkill? Might I run both a mail server _and_ PHPBB with such a hosting setup? Obviously, my question here is mostly about the requirements of PHPBB.

And yes, I WILL head on over to the site you suggested to continue my research before spending any of the organization's money.

Thanks again,
Bucky

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Post by drathbun » Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:03 pm

buckyjunior wrote: Say for instance, if I were to use a host that offered 1GB RAM, 80GB disk space, 2.8GHz CPU, and 100GB bandwidth/mo, could I safely expect to run PHPBB reasonably with, say, 2000 users at 20-40 users at a time?

Is that a dedicated server, meaning you are the only site on it? If so, I suggest that you could run in that configuration. It might not be as comfortable as a bigger server, but I'm thinking it would be okay. I ran for a year on a single Celeron with 1GB of RAM and unless someone did a really intensive search it ran fine.

As far as running a mail server too? Sure. :-) Mail puts a different stress than web servers. If you have a lot of mail to send out, just schedule it so that it runs when your forum is not busy.
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Post by espicom » Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:23 pm

With 1GB of RAM, 512MB of it should be dedicated to MySQL, by changing the configuration... There are suggested my.cnf files distributed with MySQL for several different "levels" of RAM. Giving MySQL most of the memory is going to do more good than giving it to other processes, on a busy server.
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Post by newsbee » Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:58 pm

2 Bucky

I've spent some time at that forum: it is exactly what you guys don't want this forum to be ;)

Anyway, having failed to find "Host Right", I'm trying to figure out what specs to look at. Some providers mention "the number of simultaneous process", which I assume is important, but, unfortunately, many don't publicize them and some change them at will, which happened with me once and seriously affected one of my forums' usability.

Let us compile a list of tech specs.

So:

RAM: 1 GB, with 512 assigned by MySql
Hard drive: 2 GB ? - forums don't really need much, unless you post photos, of course. Or is hard disk space important for other things?

Simultaneous processes? Is it the same as DB queries?

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Post by drathbun » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:38 pm

newsbee wrote: Simultaneous processes? Is it the same as DB queries?

That's probably the "concurrent users" I've mentioned before. Suppose the setting is 10, that means you can have 10 users hitting a page at the same time. If you have 20 users online, some of them will be reading a page (no connections or activity) while others may be searching or querying a page. I think that what they're talking about is how many "active" users you can have.

Active users are not the same as logged-in users, as some logged-in users are not active at that exact second.

I would ask the host for their definition, as mine is just a guess. :-)
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Post by IgnorantNewGuy » Wed Mar 07, 2007 1:21 am

I really appreciate this discussion as I think the best place to learn about these issues is right here with people running the same basic application. Other locations are very difficult because if they aren't running what we're running, we're talking apples and oranges.

That said, I just moved to a live environment and am on a semi-dedicated server with Celeron 2.4 GHz, 25GB space, 500GB bandwidth (dedicated to me) and 1GB RAM (shared between 4 users) so 256MB. I'm running CH 2.1.6 and ezPortal (50 queries on avarge for portal.php) and the danged thing is SO incredibly slow I don't know what to do.

I ran a websiteoptimization analysis and that actually was quite favorable compared to another site (.asp) that I know of.

Is my problem the RAM issue? I think it is, but I'm not sure.

I'm thinking of moving to a dedicated server with at least 1GB dedicated RAM and 1GB dedicated Bandwidth.

I expect LOTS of users and advertisers jumping all over this site right away because I'm really busting out the marketing on it. I can't afford to have them see a dead site that won't load.

Check it out, it is so slow! here.

1. Would my 1GB/1GB setup take care of business?
2. Is it more about RAM than bandwidth?

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