Advice on switching from cloud-hosting to self hosting

canuckfan

Neophyte
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
4
Hi there,

First time poster. I have a long-running IPB premed advice forum, which is cloud-hosted through Invision.

I have been funding these forums out of pocket, but given a recent spike in traffic, my cloud-hosting costs have jumped through the roof. At present, there are 350 members and 830 guests online. This is due to admissions offers going out, so we have many more visitors and posters than usual. Typically, we would have a combined 300 members and guests during an average week.

I'm exploring different avenues to keep the forums sustainable. I have resisted ads, as I want to keep these forums non-commercialized. I'm hoping that a self-hosted solution could help lower costs enough that I can keep the forums ad-free.

I did a quick search here to look for prior threads for self-hosting, but didn't find many, and they are all several years out of date.

I'm seeking some advice. I'm not a particularly savvy admin. My forums are pretty much stock, and I don't have a lot of interest in doing heavy customizations or adding lots of plug-ins.

1) For the above usage, what sort of hosting package would I need to go self-hosted? I assume this would be some sort of VPS package? Are there any webhosts who specialize in hosting IPB forums, or forums in general, that are recommended by this community?

2) How difficult is it to migrate from cloud-hosted to self-hosted? Again, is there a particular webhost which is likely to have experience with this sort of migration? How much downtime would be likely?

3) Is it even a good idea for a relatively non-savvy admin to go self-hosted? I'm willing to learn, but the reason I went with the cloud-hosting package for so many years was to let the experts handle the work. I am a physician by training, with no formal admin training.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!
Ian
 

TLChris

Administrator
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Messages
208
Hey Ian,

Congrats on having an active and successful community. As the saying goes, you don't know what you don't know....
Are you going to go with a service that offers technical support, specifically figuring out and troubleshooting issues regarding your PHP scripts, protecting ports etc?

What are you trying to gain by going self hosted? Is it lower cost?
 

Alpha1

Administrator
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,992
For the above usage, what sort of hosting package would I need to go self-hosted?
A managed VPS would do.
Are there any webhosts who specialize in hosting IPB forums, or forums in general, that are recommended by this community?
While I don't have the answer to this question, IME it's extremely important to pick a host that specializes in your forum software. As your community is accustomed to IPS, I would not switch platforms.
Again, is there a particular webhost which is likely to have experience with this sort of migration?
Most hosts are not forum migration experts. But there are some exceptions.
Is it even a good idea for a relatively non-savvy admin to go self-hosted?
Yes, it can be a good idea. It can save you a lot of cost and allow you to modify your site according to your desires. But you do need to find a full service host, a tech admin and it will likely cost you time. As a physician you are smart enough to get the hang of it. But be prepared to jump out of bed in the middle of the night because your site is under attack. There is hassle involved which you do not have with hosted.

mysiteguy could you share your thoughts on this topic?
 

canuckfan

Neophyte
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
4
Hi there,

Thanks! I tried to insert a link to my forums in my initial post, but it was rejected as a possible spam. If you google "premed101 forums" you'll see my forums.

As a reply to TLChris, I am really only considering self-hosting due to the costs. I've been happy with cloud-hosting otherwise. With the latest jump in user numbers, I'm now looking at a monthly cost of $590 per month using IPB's cloud host.

I am assuming, perhaps wrongly, that I could find an appropriate webhost familiar with IPS self-hosting, that could handle the migration as well as any major issues that arise, for under that cost. My other option is retain cloud-hosting, and pay for the additional costs, perhaps with advertising. However, I'd like to keep the forums ad-free if possible.

I am running essentially stock IPS software, with no customizations nor plugins. Users mainly post as text messages. We have few to no graphics/images. I authorize an update to the newest software whenever I receive a message indicating an update is available. Everything else has been running seamlessly. I guess the trouble is that I don't know how much of that is due to Invision's cloudhost performing as touted, or because I have what I assume is an extremely simple setup, or perhaps both.

As a reply to Alfa1, I agree that I would want to stay with IPS. I migrated these forums to IPS off a long-extinct free forum platform called EZBoard. I don't want to migrate to something new ever again! I agree that I would want a full-service host, as well as a savvy tech admin to oversee the forums. Is it likely to be able to find a full-service host with tech admins that are familiar with IPS? I assume I would be the first point of contact if something goes wrong in the middle of the night, but I would hope that I could open a ticket, pay the relevant service costs, and have them deal with it? (please excuse me if this seems extremely naive.)

Thanks!
Ian
 

DigNap15

Adherent
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
304
I am new to this game.
But my website is quite busy
1,000 members, aroud 80 on line at busy hours and 1,800 posts a day.
I went from Shared to Cloud fairly quickly
What I have found is that its the number of vistits and actions on your forum that costs the bandwidth etc. Every time a page loads it uses rescources.

I am with Xenforo and I am paying $80US a month for my webhosting.
I am relying on donations only.

Those prices I see from Invison of $590 a month would scare me.
(But I think that is due to Invision pricing stucture for all the extras, eg pages and shops etc)
 

tony45

Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 1, 2014
Messages
119
aroud 80 on line at busy hours and 1,800 posts a day.

I am with Xenforo and I am paying $80US a month for my webhosting.

Those prices I see from Invison of $590 a month would scare me.
(But I think that is due to Invision pricing stucture for all the extras, eg pages and shops etc)
At this moment there are 360 members and 790 guests online. Do the math
 

DigNap15

Adherent
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
304
At this moment there are 360 members and 790 guests online. Do the math
Are some of those guests bots
If they are genuine guests, then surely the owenr of the fourm needs to try to convert them into members so he can then ask for donations
I told my members that I am a one man band and need some finacnial help to continue, many have donated as they really value my forum
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
811
Hi canuckfan

There are IPS clients who specialize in hosting. You can contact Astrapi or Makoto, both are very experienced in configuring and managing a self hosted server or VPS.
 

Alpha1

Administrator
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,992
OVH for your server, centminmod for software and you're pretty much set.
OVH, VULTR, Linode are good VPS providers. Centminmod is excellent. But unmanaged centminmod is not advisable for a non-savvy admin. It needs to be managed by a good server engineer(s) who takes the hassle out of your hands.
 

canuckfan

Neophyte
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
4
Thanks for the replies!

OVH has been mentioned a couple times already as a good VPS provider. Some previous threads here on OVH say that it is a good provider, but doesn't have a lot of hand-holding. I looked up Centiminmod, and that's definitely out of my expertise.

I'm looking for as much hand-holding as possible, for migration of the forums, as well as any initial forums optimization. To that end, of the recommended VPS providers above (OVH, VULTR, Linode, and BuyVM), is there one that is known to have better service or familiarity with IPS? Most of my traffic is also from North America, Canada in particular, so a North American site would be best.

Joel R, you've mentioned Astrapi and Makoto. Are these users? I can't find them through a search here.

Thanks!
Ian
 

Alpha1

Administrator
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,992
To that end, of the recommended VPS providers above (OVH, VULTR, Linode, and BuyVM), is there one that is known to have better service or familiarity with IPS
No. You will need to find a server engineer who specializes in IPS. Often such person or company will resell VPS from such VPS platforms. I would check out the companies below like Joel R recommended:
 

jair101

Participant
Joined
Nov 17, 2012
Messages
67
You need managed VPS or unmanaged and a guy who can handle installation, updates, etc.

Out of the two mentioned I would choose Makoto, I haven't tried it myself, but I had bad experience with Astrapi.
 

overcast

Adherent
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
486
There is also RAMNode that nobody mentioned before think of it as a good replacement for OVH.
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
811
Thanks for the replies!

OVH has been mentioned a couple times already as a good VPS provider. Some previous threads here on OVH say that it is a good provider, but doesn't have a lot of hand-holding. I looked up Centiminmod, and that's definitely out of my expertise.

I'm looking for as much hand-holding as possible, for migration of the forums, as well as any initial forums optimization. To that end, of the recommended VPS providers above (OVH, VULTR, Linode, and BuyVM), is there one that is known to have better service or familiarity with IPS? Most of my traffic is also from North America, Canada in particular, so a North American site would be best.

Joel R, you've mentioned Astrapi and Makoto. Are these users? I can't find them through a search here.

Thanks!
Ian
Those are users in the IPS community, which would be a better place for this kind of inquiry. They're both users who offer migration services + managed server administration.
 

canuckfan

Neophyte
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
4
Thanks all. I will touch base with Makoto first, and see where that leads.

Ian
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
811
In the future, I would encourage you to directly post on the Invision Community forums for other Invision clients to help you :)

TAZ is heavily biased to other software.
 

TLChris

Administrator
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Messages
208
In the future, I would encourage you to directly post on the Invision Community forums for other Invision clients to help you :)

TAZ is heavily biased to other software.
TAZ offers advice from admins with decades of experience, and a wide range from just one software type, freeware, paid, or hosted.
Sharing experiences outside of a bubble can be great for growth.
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
811
TAZ offers advice from admins with decades of experience, and a wide range from just one software type, freeware, paid, or hosted.
Sharing experiences outside of a bubble can be great for growth.
There are plenty of Invision Community admins with decades of experience as well with a variety of exposure to different platforms, and we can help him with intra-community requests such as this.
 
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