[Guide] Choosing a good hosting plan

Discussion in 'Hosting Advice' started by stefatorus, May 2, 2018.

  1. A good & sustainable host is one of the keys to a successful server. In this guide, I want to show you some of the mistakes people do when searching for hosting, and what you should do to get a good & cheap host.

    Analysis
    The most important thing you need to do is to understand your needs. You need to think how much processing power your server will need, what places players come from, etc. Take into account everything, and always leave a room for error.

    RAM, RAM, RAM!
    One huge misconception about hosting is that ram is very important. It was much more important in the past, but now, CPU is the most important thing to look for. You can keep 70 players on 3 GB with ease, but that's not the same with a weak CPU. One trick I use to check how many players can a processor sustain is a simple calculus using the benchmark score from here.
    Code (Text):
    (!) These are approximations. You can usually keep more players than this (especially for minigames), but you shouldn't count on it. It's better to have an error margin here.

    Note: Minecraft is mostly single-threaded. Never buy a CPU with a lot of cores and weak single-core performance and expect good performance.

    1.8-1.10 Servers - Single Thread = Score/15
    1.8-1.10 Servers - All Threads = Score/15*Nr Of threads

    1.11-1.12 Servers - Single Thread = Score/23
    1.11-1.12 Servers - All Threads = Score/23*Nr Of threads
    I should get a dedicated server in the beginning, to be safe.
    Or you could instead use all that money to buy advertising. A dedicated server has no use if you don't have enough players. Many people buy dedicated servers without having a lot of players and end up closing down very fast due to that. Start with less, buy when you need more. Don't waste performance.

    Shared Hosting / VPS / Dedicated Server
    This is not only a discussion about performance, it's a discussion about scalability, experience in Minecraft servers and flexibility. Choosing the best for you is very important, and not that hard either.

    Shared Hosting

    Shared hosting is the most recommended kind of hosting for starters. It's usually very intuitive and easy. Your hosting company will take care of system maintenance and will make it simple to boot a server. The disadvantage in that is that they decide how your server will run, and you can't optimize your infrastructure for you. This means worse performance (due to selling more ram & CPU than they actually can sustain for higher profits) and almost no flexibility.
    • PROS
      1. Easy to use
      2. You don't need to focus on the system maintenance.
      3. Super Intuitive
    • CONS
      1. Almost no flexibility.
      2. Overselling is almost everywhere (Eg: selling 32 GB of ram while your system has only 24)
      3. If something breaks on their servers, you will be at their mercy. Allways make backups yourself, and be prepared for 1-2 day downtimes.
      4. Optimizing your own infrastructure (low level) is very hard, and usually not allowed.
      5. Never expect more features than the ones listed.

    Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
    I recommend VPS-es almost everytime. If you know where to look and purchase them, a VPS will be able to maintain 130 players with ease, a super easy scalability and a lot of flexibility. Not only can you keep multiple Minecraft servers on them, but also your website, forum, MySQL database, and more. Not only are they a good way to host a server, but also a gate to knowledge. Knowing how to administrate a Linux system is very useful when wanting to delve into dedicated servers, and is also a good thing to have on your CV.

    • PROS
      1. Very flexible.
      2. You can run anything you want on a VPS. Your forum, website, bungeecord server and 3 servers can all run on a decent VPS.
      3. Easily scalable. Most times, hosting providers allow you to upgrade your VPS without changing anything or moving any files.
      4. Super Safe - VPS-es are your own. Most hosting providers will almost never touch vps'es (except when changing their equipment, and even that without inspecting what's on them).
      5. Best Bang for the buck. A good VPS provider will always offer better prices than most dedicated or shared hosts. You can even run more servers and a website on your VPS.
      6. High Uptime. You don't need to be bothered about system upgrades, fixes and random issues. VPS providers usually just let their servers be and rarely have any downtime.
    • CONS
      1. Harder to use than shared hosting
      2. You need to know (or learn) how to maintain your server, how to set up your own firewall, install java and more. This is not that hard, but may be confusing in the first 1-2 days.
      3. Not recommended for bigger servers (100+ players).

    Dedicated Servers
    Dedicated servers are the best kind of hosting. Even if they are expensive, if you know where to look, you can get a very good quality host for less. They are super scalable, but harder to migrate (don't expect a simple "upgrade" button for a dedicated server). They also offer the highest efficiency and flexibility. You shouldn't buy a dedicated server if you are fine with shared hosting / a VPS.

    • PROS
      1. The most flexible.
      2. As on the VPS, you can run almost anything on a dedicated server. You even choose if you want fallback IP-s (more IP-s for your server, that can be migrated automatically between more dedicated servers).
      3. Uptime and security at it's best. Most datacenters have extreme security: biometric scanners, guards, very many locks and even barbed wire to protect your servers. Employees usually need permission from you to even take a look to see what's on your server. A tier 3 datacenter has generators, multiple power sources, offering a whopping 99.98% uptime (1.6 hours downtime per year)
      4. Amazing performance - I have had 800 players running without lag on an I7-4790k Processor.
    • CONS
      1. Harder to use than shared hosting
      2. You need to know (or learn) how to maintain your server, how to set up your own firewall, install java and more. This is not that hard, but may be confusing in the first 1-2 days.
      3. No cheap support. Everything is in your own hands. If you break something, fix it.
      4. More expensive.

    The best hosting companies

    This is an objective look at what companies have to offer, and why I recommend them.
    • Shared Hosts: No reviews here. I have rarely used shared hosts, and most of them are quite the same. Support is the only difference, honestly. Some will help you with anything (even if it's your own fault), and some will just tell you it's your problem. Just make sure they offer a good CPU and let ram be the second most important spec.
    • VPS Hosts:
    1. OmgServ - Their VPS SSD host was quite good, but it looks like their performance has decreased. They have moved from OVH to a worse datacenter (Weaker DDoS protection). Even if that's true, their prices and support are quite good, and you can count on them until you have around 70 players online.
    2. HostMyServers - A OVH reseller. Its prices are quite good, and being a lesser popular hosting company, they don't oversell that much. If you can navigate around a semi-french site, then they are a very good option. Their game VPS'es rock, DDOS protection is amazing (Thanks to OVH and their obligatory protection). This is my main recommendation for a good VPS-es.
    • Dedicated Server Hosts:
      1. OVH (SoYouStart) - Best in terms of specs, pricing, and DDOS protection. Their datacenter infrastructure is very good, with efficient cooling, extreme security and the best DDOS protection you can find this cheap. Their SoYouStart branch is the best in terms of price/quality ratio, with their GameServers being able to keep 500 players online with ease. (Paying 0,14 euro / player). They lack in support though, and don't expect them to fix something except hardware issues.
      2. MyLoc (Webtropia) - The best in terms of price/performance, but they do lack in their DDOS protection. With a quite good support and good prices, you can almost surely count on them. I suggest using them through a GRE tunnel that can fix the DDoS issues, or running a bungeecord server on a third party. They also support a lot of payment processors, including paypal, paysafecard and more). Considering that you pay 60$ for their Ryzen Pro offer, along with a third-party ddos protected server, you can keep over 800 players for 0,07 euro / player.

    Conclusion
    Never buy more than you need, and always think about everything. Remember that CPU is more important than ram these days (Cpu price > Ram price). Calculate all the pros and cons of each hosting company, and get your infrastructure running. Don't ever buy a better dedicated server if you have a very unefficient plugin on your server: fix that first! That's a mistake I made myself, and now regret doing it.
     
    • Useful Useful x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Are you affiliated (in any way) to the above listed Companies?
     
  3. Yes, he's obviously affiliated with OVH, MyLoc, OmgServ, HostMyServers.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  4. No, I just bought services from them, and I had decent results. I decided including them because people can learn from others' experiences
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Great guide. A few things worth noticing:

    - VPS hosting better priced than shared hosting:
    90% of the time this isn't true. Yes VPSes give you more flexibility but chances of finding VPSes that are cheaper than shared hosting are near impossible. This is due to the fact that most hosts overallocate more resources than they have available which leads to lower pricing. This isn't
    necessarily bad if it's done within safe boundries since servers never use the max amount of ram. This can also happen with VPS hosting which is the reason that KVM is 99% of the times more expensive than OpenVZ.

    - Shared hosting has more downtime than VPSes:
    I don't really know why this would be true since VPSes and shared hosting both run on dedicated servers so I don't know why the one would have more downtime then the other. It mostly comes down to the provider. If you have a shared host which goes down for 1-2 days I'd recommend switching asap.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. I usually recommend OpenVz VPS-es, because the fact that they are oversold makes the price decrease; and usually, smaller servers use VPS-es, so it's fine.

    Definetly, KVM is much more expensive, but also better when it comes to pure performance. Sometimes though, you can even buy a dedicated server for the same price as a KVM vps.

    Downtime due to hosting providers is not necessary, but it happens. This is because there are more clients and the chance of something going bad grows. It definetly isn't THAT large of an issue, but there is a small decrease in uptime for shared hosts (in general)
     
  7. I've been lurking for a couple days. Just saw this and wanted to say it's very well-written, and thank you!
     
  8. VPS's are usually much more expensive than shared hosts.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1

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