I'm working on a web-application and need to figure out the best way to host it. I'm looking to minimize "Total Cost of Ownership," but it's more important to keep hosting costs low than labor costs in my case.

Potentially, some day, it will grow quite large (in terms of user-base) with heavy traffic but, of course, it will start out pretty small.

So, does it make sense to start out with a low-end virtual private server hosting plan, grow the server slice until it stops being cheaper than running my own servers, and then buy servers and set them up at a colocation provider, with all the pain of migrating everything,

-OR-

Buy my own server, set it up at a colo provider, and waste most of the server capacity to start, but reduce the pain in scaling from small to large significantly?

Has anybody tried both of these options? Are there pros and cons beyond the ones I'm considering?

Thanks.

Addendum: Thanks for the suggestion, but a shared hosting account probably wouldn't cut it, since I need to run persistent processes and access things like sendmail configuration files. I'm looking at either a VPS or my own server(s).

Accepted Answer

I would highly recommend going with a VPS account. I've had clients who have spent many thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to get a perfect dedicated hosting environment setup and then never came close to needing it's capacity.

With VPS, as long as you use the virtualization technology that you want to stick with, it should be very easy to migrate/replicate the whole "server" to a new dedicated box when needed.

If you need SQL Server, I'd recommend starting with a Shared SQL Server rather than purchasing a full SQL Server license or using SQL Express.

Written by EfficionDave
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