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How do I host my company off of a T1 line?

Posted on 2004-04-23
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Last Modified: 2010-04-20
We have a website that receives over 90,000 hits/day (over 4,000 sessions served). The commerce solution we have chosen will charge $1300/month. (INSANE!)
We have a T1 with a static IP. Currently our server is W2k. We will need to use ASP and would also like to add streaming media (QT, WMV, etc). We have over 5,000 products to display. What is involved in setting oneself up to be a webserver? Is it relatively easy if you have a good general background?

My guess:
I need software to communicate with the world (web server software)(recomendations?)
I need to change our IP address with my DNS (how?)
I need to purchase/configure a firewall (How? recomendations?)
I need to purchase and install streaming media servers (Easy or impossible?)
I need to shell out $ (roughly how much?)
Anything else?
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Question by:hyperspider
8 Comments
 
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by:ryanscool
ID: 10914202
I would keep with what OS your IT is familiar with. It sounds like Windows. Personally I would recommend a Windows 2003 Server with IIS6. 2003 runs anywhere from $999 - $3999. (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/howtobuy/licensing/pricing.mspx).
Is there a reason you need to change your IP? You can use the one you currently have.
The firewall that I use is Norton Internet Security. That runs about $70.00.
With Windows 2003, Media Streaming Comes with them. Its fairly easy to install and maintain.

Good Luck,
Ryan Gyure
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by:justintx
ID: 10920855
a couple of thoughts.... first, is outsourcing an option?  if not, what about hosting the server at a 3rd party that will manage firewall access and provide uptime guarantees, etc. ?  if your intent is to run this whole project from your site, i recommend a hardware firewall instead of a software version installed on your server.  You want to actually block all traffic before it hits your web server.  look at a low-end cisco pix firewall or its equivalent.  as far as which web server to run, apache is good.  iis is integrated into w2k as well, though.  i don't know anything about streaming media servers, but i think overall you have a rather large job ahead of you.

good luck,

justintx
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by:hendridm
ID: 10953865
A T1 line, which is 1.53 Mbits/sec, might not be enough.  Many cable modems go faster than that (although a T1 will likely come with a sustained transfer gaurentee and better support).  If it was me, I'd consider outsourcing.  You can get a Windows host with terminal services and full access for fairly cheap (http://www.serverpronto.com/), and you'll get oodles of bandwidth to boot.  If you're looking for better support, you might try The Planet (http://www.theplanet.com/, awesome speed) or Server Beach (http://www.serverbeach.com).

I frown upon hosting my own because a) you can't compete with the cheap bandwidth web hosting companies are throwing at you these days and b) if it goes down, it's their problem to get it running, not yours.  It's just so much easier to let someone else deal with the uptime, and usually a lot cheaper than having your own network and staff.  My $0.02.
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philjones85 earned 135 total points
ID: 11005255
I have to disagree with hendridm.  While it is the hosting company's RESPONSIBILITY to get it back up and running, it's YOUR problem while it's down.  I like knowing that I'm in charge of fixing any problems with my servers immediately and have the capability of doing so.  I may have gotten a bad hosting company in the past, but they weren't exactly quick at getting my site back up and running when it went offline (which wasn't uncommon).  Then again I did go with a cheap provider, but if you don't then you're not exactly getting a CHEAP BANDWIDTH HOSTING COMPANY anyway.

My suggestion, since you already have a T-1 line, buy about 5 more IP addresses, get a couple more computers and setup your own DNS, mail, and web servers.

Software is completely subjective, use what you know; if you don't know any, pick one.
You don't need to CHANGE your ip, you just need to know what it is and to set up your DNS servers accordingly
If you get additional IP addresses, your T-1 line will probably be configured through a router which would have
     firewall capabilities (my T-1 provider takes care of this for me)
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by:hendridm
ID: 11005484
I still don't see how you can compete with the Terabyte of transfer a lot of these companies are offering versus a T1 line.  A terabyte+server can be had for as little as $99/month.  I've had good service from the likes of EV1Servers (although I'd avoid them because of their position on the SCO thing), ServerBeach, and The Planet.

I also don't think a T1 is going to provide enough bandwidth for his needs, but perhaps I'm overestimating.  I've always outsourced my clients and I'm more familiar with their monthly transfer than I am with worrying if the connection is going to be enough.  The bandwidth is always plenty.  They use T1's for the secretary's phone line at most modern data centers (kidding).

This would ESPECIALLY be a concern if you are streaming media.  I can't imagine it would take too long to clog that T1 with several open streams, depending on the client connection.  Let's hope you never post anything that appeals to the University crowd ;)

You can get a remotely-accessible hardware firewall with your outsourced server from many providers, including The Planet and Server Matrix.
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Author Comment

by:hyperspider
ID: 11007023
I am sorry- I never used this service before...I valued both of your final answers and wanted to accept both, because as we know, there is never only one right answer, but a collection of ideas and viewpoints that lead to a best possible solution. I have 55 points left in my account and am willing to toss it to hendridm. Thanks hendridm and philijones85!
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Expert Comment

by:AxiServices
ID: 21235476
I dont really care about the points, but i think this may be another option.   Host the site on your IIS with the T1 and have the content hosted with a 3rd party like akami or another one that mmay be a little cheaper.  This way you host the functionality and the big stuff like images and vides or music (whatever) comes from another network.  
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by:philjones85
ID: 21235496
my how things change...  3 years ago i was just coming off a bad experience with a hosting provider and wanted to do things myself so that wouldn't happen.  i learned the hard way that paying a little extra for a reputable company to host a dedicated server and letting them manage it is sooooooooooo much better and cheaper.  i guess i owe hendridm an apology.  looking back, you definitely deserved the poinits...  too bad the guy took my advice over yours.
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