Possible to run high volume website on managed hosting?


These days, obtaining managed hosting is very easy. You can get a reliable managed dedicated server from a reputable host for just a couple hundred of dollars per month. Is it possible with the addons available or using multiple managed dedicated servers to host high volumne websites such as blogs or ecommerce stores. For instance, would techcrunch or ebay survive on multiple managed dedicated servers from an online hosting solution? I'm wondering at what point you absolutly have to supply your own hardware/servers and maintenace to go along with it.

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asked Jan 12 '12 at 05:30
344 points

4 Answers


You don't need that. Just get on Amazon Web Services. Right now I pay about $50/month and the scalability is tremendous.

answered Jan 12 '12 at 05:47
Paul Cezanne
649 points
  • I'm not interested in Amazon Web Services. I'm strictly asking about managed dedicated hosting services. – Sk24iam 12 years ago
  • Not a problem, I'm curious though, why? My startup is on AWS and it seems like a good deal. Perhaps at the upper end of transactions level it isn't, is that what you are trying to determine? – Paul Cezanne 12 years ago


Amazon does have dedicated instances as well: http://aws.amazon.com/dedicated-instances/.

answered Jan 12 '12 at 17:49
163 points


Yes, this can be done. We grew from a solitary server to 1B+ page views per month and 10s of thousands of requests per second on managed hosting. (We complement our managed hosting with a variety of cloud and 3rd-party services that we deploy and decommission freely.)

One advantage is the degree of control you wield over your infrastructure. We achieve high volume, low latency, low variance responses at the infrastructure layer in part because of our ability to run in isolation on equipment we select and are able to monitor closely. Similar to cloud-based hosting, you can effectively amortize your start-up costs and gain fractional access to network and sysops staffing.

At the same time, they will make mistakes, and you may find as you grow that the strain sometimes breaks their processes or exceeds their expertise. Because your success (or failure!) affects you much more directly than it affects them, I recommend that you approach the relationship as a partnership. You must take an active interest in the work that is performed on your behalf and manage it actively.

The only point at which you simply must supply your own hardware/servers/maintenance (run a private datacenter) is when your ability to do it provides a significant price or execution advantage. I don't think it ever makes sense when you're thinking in terms of a single server or a couple thousand dollars per year.

answered Jan 13 '12 at 09:41
Matt Dusek
26 points


I think they would survive on 'multiple' managed dedicated. But I can't imagine ebay running on a single machine no matter how awesome it was. That thing has to be load balanced, server farmed, database sharded... thing is probably distributed across a lot of dedicated servers.

Something like Stackexchange (this entire system) I think I read runs on a single dedicated machine. I think it's something huge and bad ass because they have their SQL Server setup to essentially cache in memory everything. Something nuts like that. But it sounded like it was a single machine not a web server / database server. Could be wrong... max (as of a podcast I listened to 6 months ago) it's a dedicated web server and a dedicated db server.

Maybe not the type of specs you could provision for a couple hundred a month though.

You'll have time to scale, you shouldn't outgrow a dedicated machine over night.

answered Jan 12 '12 at 15:36
Ryan Doom
5,472 points
  • Your "somthing nuts" is standard best practice for sql server. Ever seen a 250gb sql server? There are tons of those out there in the wild for real database amounts ;) I work on a 21000gb database server. – Net Tecture 12 years ago
  • Your 21 terabyte system has it's web server, sql server and everything on the same dedicated machine? That is wild, how much ram then? – Ryan Doom 12 years ago
  • No, that is ONLY a database server. We have 3 of them (production, hot backup, development/testing). Every "cluster" (2 database nodes, 3 storage nodes) has 96gb ram and 96 hardware threads IIRC. They run a special version of Oracle (with the storage nodes prefiltering the data). Cost is in the 250.000 euro range per system. Oracle EXADATA. Btw, you think this is wild? This is the SMALLEST (!) configuration they offer. – Net Tecture 12 years ago
  • I think you missed what I thought was nuts. It was that stack exchange was running it all on 1 machine, not that it was an impressive setup. How you are describing above sounds like a pretty good setup for you guys. – Ryan Doom 12 years ago

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