Why is this ?

Posted on 2002-04-04
Last Modified: 2010-03-17
I have been reading up on ADSL and every service provider seems to always include a note that says that ADSL is not recommended for use in providing Web services.

By this I am assuming they mean that trying to run IIS/Apache behind an ADLS connection is a bad idea because they can't guarentee the upload ( or download from the clients perspective ) bandwidth.

My question is, Is this really an issue ?
I mean isn't a 256K uplink (512 downlink) ADSL almost always a better solution than a 128K ISDN (I know a guy running a Web Server behind a single channel ISDN line which he gets for free, so he keeps it connected all the tiem.  Accessing his site is a little slow, but not terrible).

In the bad old days, I ran a BBS (wildcat !) on a single 9600 baud modem, and everyone at the time was quite happy - even though it was possible that often the modem would be busy, and you would have to call back later.

How can 256K always on, always available to any number of users, be that undesirable ?

Are they refering to heavy loads causing user dissatification or is there some other issue I should know about ?
Question by:PinTail

Expert Comment

ID: 6918999
I think you've hit it on the head for the most part. It's slow traffic speed and customer dissatisfaction (along with the ADSL folks not REALLY wanting to support your web services).

Keep in mind your friend's site might not be accessed by many people whereas one you create may be accessed by more people. Imagine one person connected to a 128K ISDN linked website vs. 300 people connected to that same site at the same time.

I remember the ol' BBS days. You brought back some memories! A BBS is a whole different creature compared to today's websites with java, ASP, midi files,PHP, Flash, etc. There is a lot more to download than just text, nowadays.  :-)

LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 6922042
ADSL, DSL & cable are all not designed for web services as they are all subscriber services and cannot guarantee uptime and some use logins and timeouts to even prevent you from doing this.

ADSL is a little better than cable because it is usually a fixed rate whereas cable tends to be variable. Kind of like the difference between a fixed and variable rate credit card. Sometimes with variable you are on top, sometimes below.

ADSL is also usually better because a lot of them work on ATM networks so they have fixed packet lengths and good ping times. (Great for gamers).

ADSL & cable are designed for web hosting but that has not stopped me in the past or many, many others.

Author Comment

ID: 6924838
This is what I mean, really.

I don't see how ADSL could be any worse than most other lower bit rate connections, and since it looks like it behaves better ( ie: a lot like ATM anyway ) I can't see where there would be any real problems.

OK, I am not expecting 99.9999% uptime, I don't need that kind of reliability, I'll settle for 99.0%, which most of these companies exceed anyway. For the difference in price, I'm sold !

Any serious disagreement, please explain ?!?
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Expert Comment

ID: 6948924
Before you do it make sure its in your ISP's TOS (Terms of Service) agreement. Some of them are starting to crack down on hosting from user lines. My ISP lets me host, but most don't, esp cable companies, because of the shared bandwidth. I really don't see where your connection matters if your not running a high traffic site.

Also some DSL companies don't use internet accessable IP addresses. Some ISP's will assign you an internal IP address and forward all your external requests to your internal IP address. So check on that as well.

Expert Comment

ID: 6995381
If you do not have lots of hits on your web server and don't mind the slower upload speed (comparing to the large hosting firms), you sure can use DSL to host web server.

I personally hosted 5 websites and Exchange service on ADSL connection.  It didn't have blazing speed, but it got the job done.

Most DSL/Cable service providers do not allow users to run server applications on their service.  If you spend sometime searching for providers, you might able to find one in your area that allows you to host servers on their service.

If you live in Canada, you can try  They permit you to run any server application, and you can add multiple static IPs to the service.

Good luck with the search!


Author Comment

ID: 6995859
Well, I have set everthing up, and then tested it from a remote site, and frankly I am amazed at the speed.

I did have to call my ISP to get them to open up port 25 (SMTP) but other than that I have had no problems.

For those interested in a preview, bear in mind this was simply thrown together to test.

I expect to have a 'real' site up and running within a few weeks

Expert Comment

ID: 7025321
Another caveat to keep in mind....uptime is horrible on most xDSL lines; you'll be extremely lucky to get your 99.0%.  The technology is a jury-rigged kludge; old copper infrastruture was meant for voice (with echo cancellers, etc.) and not for that kind of bandwidth.  Also, there's no money in it for the providers so they don't much care about it.  The DSL CLECs all went under and the RBOCs have no more love for it than they did for ISDN.  If it goes down, it is often down for days at a time.  It's something to keep in mind; if it's a personal site, that may be no problem, but I wouldn't bet the business on DSL.

Expert Comment

ID: 7025351
Most ISPs Terms of Service for residential lines don't allow websites, mail servers, etc.. that are for personal monetary gain, or for business uses. However personal use of say Apache and the like, and a Mail Server, for my own personal use, have gone over very well with my ISP, Cox Communications. Good luck on your venture.

Expert Comment

ID: 7049920
I am alos running WEB hosts behind ADSL lines and it really works fine.
It is alimitaiton on the upload speed, but as previous comments states, it is still
much faster than ISDN and similar technologies

Author Comment

ID: 7058749
Well, still a bit of interest here.

I had a relatively enormous amount of traffic on my sight yesterday, over 1,000 downloads of a few of my freeware apps.  

Average size is about 175,000 bytes, so call that 1.75 Mbits (with the various protocol overheads that's pretty close) x 1,000 = 1.75 Gbits in a 24 hour period.  Now divide that by 86400 seconds  ==> 20.25 Kbits per second.

Now consider that I have 255 Kbits per second available, MAX, and I am getting a utilization rate close to 8%.

Most networks begin to saturate at about 20% (the point at which additional bandwidth usage begins to affect performance in a significant way ), and I still have about two to three times as much available as I have used on a high usage day.

Of course this doesn't touch on burst issues, but I am a small time operator, if I start to get that much usage, I'll upgrade and start doing something full time.

I am thoroughtly impressed with the technology !
LVL 13

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ID: 7155358
I am running Cable, with an 4 port router, each machine is testing at near T-1 speed, but then again, here in Houston, we have fiber optic Cable.  Had ADSL and was so completely unreliable, I had better luck with a 56k modem. So then I changed to DSL, same problem, the further away for an uplink station the weaker it became, so on to Direct PC, and made them sign off on speed guanentee.  Not good either.

So sticking with Cable, cheaper dependable in high usage areas, easier to work with Routers than DSL and no problems running server apps.

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ID: 7299864

Expert Comment

ID: 7300942
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Experts Exchange Moderator

Expert Comment

ID: 7314826
You probably have a dynamic ip address?  That is a major hurdle in order to provide reliable services from behind a adsl line.  How are you going to provide reliable name resolution if your ip address can change any time?

Bandwidth does not have to be a big problem.  Make sure that your web pages are sober designed and do not carry unnessecary graphics.

2 questions:
- Did you actually TEST your uplink and downlink speed on this adsl line?

- Do you have plans to grade this question?  It is open for more that 6 months now.

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