May 29, 2008

Time for a Bigger Machine!

Posted by in category: lifeboat


We are currently hosting on free web space provided by Due to the growth in our traffic plus more general activity on this server, it would be best if we had our own server.

Note that we have additional space from on a shared server (shared with many domains) but the shared server is always rather loaded since it has so many domains on it so we don’t host our main pages on it. (We use the shared server for backups, file transfers, and less important domains.)

Our current solution is to stay with the same provider as but to move to our own machine. (This should simplify the transition.) The current provider is We plan on getting: Intel Xeon 3210 Quad Core Kentsfield Processor, 250GB HDD, 4GB RAM, 2500GB bandwidth, 10 IPs, 100mbps uplink — $199 monthly / $25 setup.

We welcome any feedback. We are currently on a system equal to: Celeron 2.0, 80GB HDD, 1GB RAM, 750GB bandwidth, 5 IPs, 10mbps uplink — $89 monthly / $0 setup but don’t have access to all the systems resources. We just finished completing an upgrade so both our blog pages and regular web pages are cached, enabling us to handle a lot of traffic but it doesn’t help much if the server has activity on it besides ours which is not cached… We also upgraded our spam filter so it runs about one thousand times as fast which was rather helpful.

Our traffic is around 150GB but obviously if it surged a lot it is easier to pay for more bandwidth than to get a new machine on the spot. Also our current machine is running FreeBSD — we plan on getting Red Hat 5 since we have a choice.

We welcome your input on this!

UPDATE: Jaan Tallinn, cofounder of Skype, the only major IM client that both securely authenticates conversation. participants, and encrypts the communication, gets us started with a $300 donation. Our goal is to raise $2,500 to pay for a faster machine for a year.

UPDATE II: Chris Haley agrees to become System Administrator for our new machine. He also donates $1,500 bringing our Bigger Machine Fund to $1,925. Only $575 to go!

SUCCESS! We were able to quickly raise $3,400 for our Bigger Machine Fund — far exceeding our goal of $2,500. Additional funds raised will be used to pay for additional months, for improved network/software/hardware security, and for a backup plan. Long-term, we plan on hosting our site with more than one provider for the ultimate in backup plans. The more you donate, the more infrastructure we will implement.


Comments — comments are now closed.

  1. Kaj Sotala says:

    …Skype, the only major IM client that both securely authenticates conversation. participants, and encrypts the communication…

    Erm. Was this really necessary? I don’t know if making blog entries sound like paid advertisements is very good PR for a non-profit.

  2. robomoon says:

    Wouldn’t it be much cheaper to take old blog entries from Lifeboat and host them separately with another provider? For e.g., Blue Chip Hosting allows 500 GB data transfer for $9.50 per month. It’s not paid PR, I name this provider because of the reliable free hosting for from them.

  3. ek says:

    “Wouldn’t it be much cheaper to take old blog entries from Lifeboat and host them separately with another provider?”

    Pretty much no one looks at old blog entries, that is not a major traffic problem. Anyway, our site is MUCH BIGGER than a little blog, and shared hosting solutions are far from ideal.

    For example, we recently had a situation where the site where our nameservers are hosted was knocked offline for awhile due to a transformer blowing up. But since we currently have access to half the power of the dedicated server we are on, we quickly activated our own nameserver on our server saving the day for us. This nameserver will also be transferred to our new server, giving us additional redundancy. And since it is directly on our server it is pretty much guaranteed to be running as long as our server is running.

    One last example is that Michael Anissimov is hosting his blog on a shared host for similar bucks that you are talking about. But when he had a huge spike in traffic (greater than that of they took him offline for a couple days saying he had exceeded his allowance for network connections even though he was well under his total allowed traffic limits.