Category Archives: Web & Hosting Tips

Selecting the Best Geographical Location for your Hosting

Choosing the best geographic location for your hosting

How to choose the best  geographic location for your hosting.

Selecting the best geographical location for your hosting is as difficult as your needs are or are not.

We have a simple four-step process to help you get started in determining the right geographical location for your hosting.

1. First, you need to establish who the audience is to be served from your hosting.  Is the audience yourself? Is it local or regional businesses? Or is it something more complicated?

2. Second, you need to establish where your audience geographically is located.  Is the audience in a single state or multiple states?  Are they in a limited geographical region like say the US Northeast? Or perhaps they are are mostly in a country like France?

3. Third, you should try to determine (where you can and where dealing with a limited audience) who their upstream providers are (read: their ISP).  If your audience is small and anticipated to be focused on a limited geographical area this is doable.  If your audience is large or broad geography, then this step probably isn’t able to be accomplished.

4. Fourth, you should try to determine the network route between your hosting and your audience. Is there good local or regional peering in place, or do packets travel the long route states away.  This travel will add usually unnecessary latency.  This step is highly relative when you have local and regional audiences.

Tools to Determine Routing and Latency

Linux has several tools you should become familiar with that will help in solving network issues, viewing latency, seeing how packets travel, etc.  There are similar tools available in Windows by default.

The most common tools to become familiar with are:

ping – returns a simple time value for each packet indicating the time for packet to be sent to the remote location and acknowledgement to happen and be received by the origin location.  This is the easiest form of latency testing, but only shows a portion of the total network picture.  The lower the ping ms value the better.
(note: some networks may ignore or drop ping requests – it indicates a traffic management policy and does not mean their network is failing)

Example: ping 4.2.2.2

PING 4.2.2.2 (4.2.2.2) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 4.2.2.2: icmp_req=1 ttl=56 time=77.3 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.2: icmp_req=2 ttl=56 time=83.0 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.2: icmp_req=3 ttl=56 time=80.7 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.2: icmp_req=4 ttl=56 time=81.4 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.2: icmp_req=5 ttl=56 time=82.5 ms
64 bytes from 4.2.2.2: icmp_req=6 ttl=56 time=89.1 ms
— 4.2.2.2 ping statistics —
6 packets transmitted, 6 received, 0% packet loss, time 5007ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 77.346/82.382/89.139/3.557 ms

traceroute – shows you the hops or steps your packets are traveling from your origin server to the remote location.  This will help you to see how far your hosting is from your audience.  The fewer the hops, usually the better.

Example: traceroute 4.2.2.2

3  xe-0-0-1-3602.cr1.tor2.ca.nlayer.net (69.31.143.109)  79.876 ms te0-0-0-34.215.ccr22.yyz02.atlas.cogentco.com (38.104.251.245)  81.321 ms  80.824 ms
4  ae0-30g.cr1.tor1.ca.nlayer.net (69.31.143.24)  79.119 ms be2437.ccr21.alb02.atlas.cogentco.com (66.28.4.197)  85.997 ms  84.276 ms
5  be2106.ccr21.jfk02.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.3.49)  87.131 ms ae2-50.tor10.ip4.gtt.net (199.229.230.89)  79.409 ms  79.704 ms
6  * as3356.tor10.ip4.gtt.net (46.33.80.42)  76.615 ms be2063.ccr21.jfk05.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.47.58)  78.647 ms
7  4.68.62.25 (4.68.62.25)  90.480 ms * *
8  b.resolvers.Level3.net (4.2.2.2)  89.036 ms  88.008 ms  90.349 ms

mtr – is essentially a more refined traceroute that continues to make attempts, averages times, shows the high and low ranges.

Example: mtr 4.2.2.2

3. xe-0-0-1-3602.cr1.tor2.ca.nlayer.net                                   0.0%     8   70.5  87.8  70.1 146.8  27.6
4. ae0-30g.cr1.tor1.ca.nlayer.net                                         0.0%     8  130.8  86.9  66.9 149.3  33.2
5. ae2-50.tor10.ip4.gtt.net                                               0.0%     8   73.2  75.7  63.1  98.0  11.2
6. as3356.tor10.ip4.gtt.net                                              37.5%     8   79.0  86.8  72.4 128.0  23.4
7. ???
8. ???
9. ae-72-72.csw2.NewYork1.Level3.net                                      0.0%     8   98.1  87.6  81.8  98.1   6.3
10. ae-2-70.edge2.NewYork1.Level3.net                                      0.0%     8   83.1  86.1  79.9  96.8   5.6
11. b.resolvers.Level3.net                                                 0.0%     7   81.2  82.1  78.3  88.4   3.1

mtr and traceroute may not be included in your default OS installation.   In Debian, to add these simply become root and type:
apt-get install traceroute mtr-tiny

Simple Facts

The closer your servers are to your audience, will almost always  result in better performance.  The closest you can get without exotic hosting arrangements is to be on a direct peered network.  Networks are often oversold by internet providers and have undue latency.  So no two networks will perform identically even if they are on paper identical.   Latency for instance might be low (which is good) but throughput on one of the networks might be severely limited (which is bad).

Serving your customers from multiple timezones away or from opposite side of a country in a place like the United States is introducing too many unknown variables over that packet path.  Slow throughput could be on either end, it could be an overloaded network hop along the way, it could be QoS intended to shape traffic for the common good (i.e. to stretch the finite commodity of their bandwidth).

Sample Scenarios

Your audience is in New York City, New York, USA.  They use many different providers.  Your solution would be to choose a hosting plan in a facility with diverse upstreams (multiple upstreams) including peering to the popular NYIIX public peering exchange.  Ideally much of your traffic will stay local and go via the peering exchange or via other routes where there is an often common upstream provider on both ends.

Your audience is in a lesser tier city like Syracuse, New York, USA.  You should be able to focus in lower tier cities on incumbent telco providers and the franchise agreement issued cable company to address most of this audience.  Locate an IP addresses for the telco and cable franchise where such a duopoly exists.  Perform ping, traceroute and mtr tests between you hosting location and audience in Syracuse.  If you are lucky, a market like Syracuse will backhaul traffic to New York city to get out to the rest of the internet, and you can deal with a hosting provider in New York City or nearby that has multiple upstreams and NYIIX peering.  If you are pushing lots of bandwidth or latency sensitive applications like VOIP or video you may do best to host within the incumbent networks and within the actual geographic market you are serving.  This approach of dealing with incumbents and within their network often is rather expensive and limited only to very large companies (due to cost and complexity).

Your audience is in France, a country you know not so much about.  Fortunate for you, latency in Europe is noticeably lower than say in the United States.  Your testing simply would  be focused on major European peering exchange points (amsix, LINX, DE-CIX, etc.) and latency/time to major internet providers within France.  You want a provider, as always, with diverse upstreams and peering exchange transit.

Do these approaches work 100% of the time for every member of audience? No.  However, those on healthy modern networks with good routing and minimal network QoS or other introduced delays will absolutely see a noticeable increase in performance.

One other way to partially address these other audience members is through use of the third-party CDN service.  While CDNs are more advanced solution, they aren’t perfect either.  You will pay heavily for a proper CDN worth considering and implementations can be rather complex.

In future related post we’ll discuss CDNs (Content Distribution Networks), when and where to use them, and content caching, why you need to cache your content.

About tmzVPS

tmzVPS offers affordable large resource virtual hosting solutions (VPS) from three different geographic locations in the United States, and one location in the United Kingdom. We offer unmanaged VPS packages for the more technically adept, and managed VPS for those just getting started.

tmzVPS servers use RAID10 disk arrays for data redundancy, and we perform daily backups of all servers for peace of mind. Our upstreams are diverse and they have peering to major internet traffic exchanges.

Contact us today to learn how tmzVPS can help you with you choose the best geographical hosting location to serve your audience.
sales@tmzvps.com

openvz logo

How to fix OpenVZ quota issues

While searching various forums, posting & chatting, I have realized that many VPS providers are having issues with their quotas on their VPS plans. If your clients cannot set specific disk space limits, and everything shows as unlimited than second level quotas are not enabled. Here is a small tutorial on how to do this.

1. Login into the host-node.

2. Find the CTID of the VPS that is having the quota problem.

3. To enter that specific VPS input this command into SSH. Remember to change the CTID with the # from that specific VPS.

 nano /etc/vz/conf/CTID.conf

4. Once in the configuration file, under “# Disk quota parameters” add this line:

QUOTAUGIDLIMIT="500"

5. Click CTRL + X then Y to save the file and then ENTER.

6. Restart the VPS.

7. Go back in the VPS again and run these two commands.

/scripts/initquotas

And then:

/scripts/fixquotas --force

This will fix the quota issue your client(s) are having. If you have any questions feel free to post in the comments.

choice

Top 9 Reasons Why You Need A Managed VPS

Are you and your business loosing valued customers due to your website being slow or not meeting the growth of your business? Then a Managed VPS is a very affordable solution solution that many businesses rely on today. It can be setup the same way as shared hosting, just a lot more secure and much more room for your business to grow.

Below are the top questions which you should ask yourself to see if a scalabe, flexible & powerful Managed VPS is for you.

1) Does your business depend on your website?

In the past 10 years, many businesses have completely switched their business online. For the business to operate correctly and to keep clients satisfied it must be running 100% of the time without any slowdowns or performance issues. A Virtual Private Server gives you a number of benefits that Small & Medium sized businesses require.

2. Do you notice any performance issues on your website currently?

On a shared server, you most likely see slowdowns from time to time. It’s a common problem, since the server is usually shared with 300+ clients. Medium to High traffic websites benefit from a VPS because it’s not affected by the traffic demands of other sites, as can be the case on a Shared Server.

3. Do you have any security concerns or host sensitive data?

With our Managed VPS plans, your data and database remains on a secure partition, completely not accessible by other customers. All of the data, information you collect will be stored in a secure area so your customers are ensured complete privacy. A Managed Dedicated Server has the same thing, but a VPS is way more cost effective and scalable at the same time.

4. Are you experiencing rapid growth?

You may not be able to predict your websites growth over the next few months, but you do know you are growing. A dedicated server to start with is most likely unnecessary. With a VPS plan you can start small and simply upgrade without any downtime or committing any major monthly overhead.

5. Is more than 20% of your business revenue generated online?

If that is true, than that automatically makes you an ecommerce business. That simply means that you can’t afford for your site to have performance, security or downtime issues, because that will result in customers losing interest before completing the sale. With our Managed VPS plans you can expect 100% Uptime and High performance giving you higher conversion & sales rates.

6. Have you ever had an immediate need for more hosting resources?

We all have at some point. If you run a promotion that increases your traffic by 100% for example, you will need to spend a lot of money to upgrade your dedicated server or find a different solution which might cause downtime in between. With a VPS you can scale up and down as you like. If you project high traffic, simply upgrade your VPS plan to the next level. Once it drops down you can always scale back. It’s that easy and usually done with a few clicks. This means you have the benefit of On-Demand resources to meet your demanding needs.

7. Can your business afford downtime or slow page loads?

How much do you think 30 minutes of downtime costs your business? How much business would you loose if your site is sluggish and has performance issues? Can you afford to loose any amount of business revenue especially in this economy? Most businesses can’t. A high-performing, fully managed VPS plan may cost you $30+ a month but can easily save you 100x in revenues.

8. Is your time better spent building your business instead of managing your own server and configuring the VPS?

All of our Managed VPS’s include full management. You do not have to worry about configuring it, making sure everything is up to date, securing it etc. We will do all of the work in the background, and if you simply have an issue feel free to contact our Command help desk. Compared to hiring a Systems Administrator or Developer, a server concierge VPS plan is a fraction of the cost.

9. Concerned that you might need to upgrade to a dedicated server in the future, but not ready today?

Here is another great reason why upgrading to a VPS should be your next move. Your VPS plan is completely portable. Meaning that if you ever purchase a dedicated server, we can simply do a live migration which makes the transfer painless, and your customers will not notice any of this.

Keep these questions in the back of your mind as your business grows and constantly changes. You might even want to schedule a periodic audit of your business to determine if it’s time to upgrade or not. If you have any specific questions feel free to contact our sales desk to discuss any options available to you that will best suit your needs.

Differences Between Shared Hosting and Managed VPS Hosting

If you are trying to decide whether to use shared hosting or managed VPS hosting (Virtual Private Server hosting), then there are a few differences that you should be aware of. This might also be true if you are presently using shared hosting and are considering switching to managed VPS hosting. When you arm yourself with a few facts, it is easier to make the best decision for you.

Shared hosting is exactly what the name implies. When you use shared hosting, you are being hosted on a single server with several other different websites. This is the most economical route to take, but it might not be the best choice for your business. Shared hosting allows many customers to share the services of just one server, but it does not allow for the customization of software configurations or any type of administrative access. With all of the websites sharing the same server hostname and IP, the clients of shared hosting are unable to run the applications they choose, because it is not feasible for each client to make individual choices of that nature. Due to the lack of flexibility, shared hosting does not work well for all sites. Sites with high traffic might suffer the most due to the fact that it might not be possible for the websites with the most traffic to remain separated from the other sites that are sharing the same server.

By comparison. managed VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is much more flexible. Using Managed VPS hosting is very much like having a dedicated server with their choice of features to use as they wish. With managed VPS hosting, each of the numerous clients has their own private virtual space, that doesn’t infringe on any of the other sites sharing the server. This allows each client to host or run the application of their choice. You are in control of your portion of the server’s virtual space, with the administrative control necessary to make decisions on what you wish to run and when. With managed VPS hosting, you are also able to install customized software and applications. You are able to configure the server to your own needs, instead of accepting what is being chosen for you. Other benefits to be gained from managed VPS hosting is that you control disk space, bandwidth, your own unique file system and CGI-BIN. You get all of these features, which are similar to having a dedicated server, for a much lower cost. Most people agree that managed VPS hosting, with it’s greater flexibility, is often the better choice to make.