I need a server to host some websites or a reseller account, or something, help

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by MrBrotato, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. MrBrotato

    MrBrotato New Member

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    I think I created a thread once before about this but never really found any good answers.

    I am doing some website design/updates/hosting for businesses/individuals around my town and I need to host them so that they can have access to a control panel. I have looked at www.serverbeach.com and I can easily get one of the $79-99 servers with Plesk or Cpanel, but what about security and updates? Is there a company that I can get a "managed" server from for a decent price?

    I don't have much experience with Linux as a desktop OS much less managing a web server remotely to keep it updated, secure and just plain working. I thought about using my current shared hosting account, but these people are paying me for web hosting and I would like to offer them their own control panel that would allow them to set up e-mails and what-not, and I can't really control how much space/bandwidth each gets if I'm using a shared hosting account.

    What is the solution to my problem?
     
  2. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    I recommend getting an unmanaged box for now. There are many firms that can provide varying degrees of system administration for reasonable cost.

    Server beach is good, btw.
     
  3. MrBrotato

    MrBrotato New Member

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    How much is there to managing my own box really? In windows I hit "install now" every Tuesday or whatever, but its just my home PC, is it much more involved if I go with like a Redhat server?
     
  4. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    definitely more involved. RedHat Network makes it fairly easy. There's a learning curve, but an inclined user can manage.
     
  5. MrBrotato

    MrBrotato New Member

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    Hmm, maybe I will go for it, maybe there are guides somewhere for people like me? I will try to look on Google. Like a n00bs guide to managing his server or something.

    Any preference: Plesk/CPanel? I haven't got to checking out demos yet.
     
  6. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    I prefer plesk. however, hosting customers prefer cpanel.

    (that said, I would go with plesk)
     
  7. MrBrotato

    MrBrotato New Member

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    So what kind of routine stuff might I have to do?
     
  8. mrj

    mrj New Member

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    You don't want a managed box for a reseller account.

    I'm an engineer in hosting environments, trust me, you'll pay a fortune for crappy support, and double that fortune for good support.

    Running your own server is fine. Read all of the best practices that you can find for the operating system you choose, and follow them.

    Get the server 100% how you know it needs to be BEFORE bringing customers on board.

    Install Apache/IIS, install .net/php, asp, get all of the front page extensions, sharepoint, whatever, get it all 100%.

    Cpanel is honestly the best bet if you don't have Linux experience. It's also a very good draw for customers. They expect a control panel.
    But it's not cheap.

    It's licensing is based on the number of domains/etc. I believe an unlimited license was $5k+, a 1-2 domain license was $600? I forget.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2007
  9. MrBrotato

    MrBrotato New Member

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    Hmm, I think the server comes with all that installed... It comes with CPanel so I'd assume they already have Apache, PHP, MySQL installed. I'll be running my own sites on it for a while just to make sure I don't screw anything up though. I'm going to go through serverbeach and it doesn't list a domain restriction on the CPanel servers, it also doesn't charge any extra per month for CPanel. It does however, for Plesk, and lists like 100 domain license or unlimited.

    https://shop.serverbeach.com/powerline_2.php?os=redhat&proc=2200

    That is what I was looking at getting.
     
  10. mrj

    mrj New Member

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    And when cpanel breaks, or one of your customers throws up a cron job on their site that destroys your server everytime it runs, how will you track it down with no Linux administration know how?

    IMO, there are far too many people who know nothing about administration that get into the reselling business.
     
  11. callistorec

    callistorec Point it at Jupiter

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    Just a short word of advice: Don't run mail on your servers. It's the biggest pain in the ass ever.
     
  12. mrj

    mrj New Member

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    He'll have to run smtp at least, or his customers will bitch about forms.

    He can probably get a hosted mail account for cheap from the same company he's hosting with, and have them add domains and create usernames from there, though.
     
  13. callistorec

    callistorec Point it at Jupiter

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    Everybody has got to learn somehow... some people like it rough. But yeah, if you're reselling space on your server and allowing scripts of any kind I'd expect some problems... especially resource problems. Don't run mail.
     
  14. callistorec

    callistorec Point it at Jupiter

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    Yeah, SMTP should be part of the base installation.

    You're right, by not running a mail server he won't have to worry about imap, qmail, or spam assassin, or any of that junk. Using any open source server he should be able to use the basic install and close down 25 to incoming traffic. That will save a lot of trouble.

    A couple of years ago I typed up complete instructions for getting a mail server going, so If the one I had failed I could get another one up in no time. Even with those instructions it still took me about 2-3 hours to fully install a mail server. Unless you know mail or know someone who does it's really not worth it. Save the time and have someone else host it. You'll save on processing power too.
     
  15. tyrionlannister

    tyrionlannister New Member

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    You can setup GMail at your customers domains now in less than 5 minutes.

    Plesk > CPanel on both price and system resources, but CPanel looks very shiny to a customer who doesn't know what they're doing.

    Be careful with all of that installable software, though, they'll want your help in setting it up or fixing it if it goes wrong (even though it clearly says you won't support it before they click the Install button).

    You'll probably want Nagios, as well, if you're dedicated, to monitor those services. It's annoying when apache or mysql crashes and your service is out for a couple of hours because you weren't aware you needed to login and restart it.
     
  16. MrBrotato

    MrBrotato New Member

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    I completely agree, I've been running my own websites for years now and I've been with some bad web hosts that were probably run off some kid's Gateway. I'm not going into the hosting business though, I'm taking local businesses in my community and building websites for them, hosting them is a secondary part of my plan, that is why I was originally looking for something managed for me. I still might do that. I was also considering going with a Windows server because I'm pretty much a Windows expert and have good experience with Windows Server 2003 as well. The fears of something going wrong with my server and how to manage it are what I'm stumped on right now. I'd like to do it myself if it is possible though.


    As far as scripts go, I won't have much of an issue here. I'm designing the websites I'm hosting and the local businesses are paying me to manage them. So some newbie isn't going to install a mailing list script and spam 10 million people or something stupid.

    And for mail, I'm not sure how to go about this, I didn't know this could pose a problem... I wouldn't want my site hosted with a company that I couldn't have a [email protected] e-mail address.. I'm going to be starting very small, wouldn't it be ok to do this for a while and get a seperate server just for mail as I expand? I probably won't have more than 5 domains hosted on my server in the next year.
     
  17. peerk

    peerk New Member

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    Google apps is pretty slick. It is definitely worth checking out.

    https://www.google.com/a/
     
  18. tyrionlannister

    tyrionlannister New Member

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    In all honesty you should get a reseller account. Most "local" websites don't get much traffic to them. A lot of the reseller accounts will let you transfer accounts out to another server (aka your own if your traffic ever warrants a dedicated) if it's the same type, eliminating a lot of work.
     
  19. mrj

    mrj New Member

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    If you have a webhost host your email, you'll be able to either add the domain.com domains or have their admins add them.. You're not going to use [email protected]. You'd use your own domains email, it would just use their server as the mx record and be hosted by them.

    I'm an ex-Windows admin/engineer in webhosting. I'm completely comfortable with IIS but I'd use a linux cpanel/plesk server for reselling.
     
  20. MrBrotato

    MrBrotato New Member

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    I've thought about this, but is there any good resellers you could recommend?
     
  21. MrBrotato

    MrBrotato New Member

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    Wow I just read up on Google apps, that is a pretty sweet deal. So what I would do then is just setup the hosting as normal but then on my server point their MX record to Gmail, and sign up their domain for the free google apps service? Am I understanding it to be this simple?

    I guess I'm back where I started then, my biggest issue is the learning curve to managing a Linux box. I'm still not sure how I feel about that.
     
  22. tyrionlannister

    tyrionlannister New Member

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    That's basically the gist of Google apps. You can also customize the logo people see instead of the GMail logo. Check out one of my sites for an example, http://mail.hockeyzombie.com with user demouser and password demouser for an example.

    I've been using Myriad Network for about 3 years as a "reseller," though I do mostly project sites, and have absolutely no complaints. They're a little more expensive than many others you see, at $26.96/month (they lock you in at that rate, though, if they ever increase it. I'm at 23.95), but I've never had any problems and this is a lot cheaper than dedicated or virtual dedicated (without the extra work). I'm on their most basic reseller plan, but I generally only transfer about 130gb of the 200 alotted on it but I've had no problems as of yet. Their servers aren't oversold to the point of collapse like many others and their support has always been very prompt and courteous.

    They once gave me a bit of extra bandwidth (when I needed it) at no charge due to my longevity as their customer. Send them an email to their support email address before you sign up to see how quickly they respond, you'll probably like the result.

    I once had a dedicated server, but the monthly bills and maintenance involved quickly educated me on the principle of simplicity.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2007
  23. MrBrotato

    MrBrotato New Member

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    Very good info :bowdown: to posts like these. I may do that reseller plan at least as a start. So you get enough control to change the MX records for your hosted domains? With my current host I have no way of doing that... unless maybe I e-mailed them.
     
  24. mrj

    mrj New Member

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    That's a DNS issue, whoever is hosting your DNS (i use freedns) will have the ability to change your MX record. It takes 2 seconds max.
     

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