January 24, 2009

Making Money with Proxies - Part 2

So now that you have chosen your proxy script, and you have a great domain name registered you need a place to host your proxy. As with domains if you already have other websites you may have a company that you prefer to host your website with.

Very Sever Intensive
Hosting a proxy is not like hosting a regular content based website. Proxy hosting is VERY SERVER INTENSIVE! This is not a problem, you just need to know what you need going in, so you don't crash your server, or get kicked off. Either of which will cause you to lose money short term and long term. So first lets talk about the 3 different kinds of hosting:

  • Shared
  • VPS
  • Dedicated

So lets define. Shared hosting is just that, shared. It is where there is a server and the hosting company just creates a bunch of accounts on the server and sells them and everyone shares the servers resources. Since there is no limit on resources one site could use all of the resources and take them away from all of the other sites. Shared hosting is intendintended to be used for content sites or other sites that are non server intensive.

Again proxies are very server intensive so they would hog all of the server resources and that would not be fair to the other users. In order for hosting companies to make money with shared hosting they have to put a large amount of sites on the shared server. If one site, like a proxy hogs all of the server resources then the hosting company loses money. Shared hosting is
great for content sites, because it allows webmasters with low intensive sites to get started rather inexpensively. Let me just be blunt - Shared hosting is NOT for proxies.
If you try to run a proxy on shared hosting your hosting company will kick you off of that server. It is a violation of all most all major server companies TOS to run a proxy on a shared host, not to mention not fair to the other people on the server. In the range of cost, this is the least expensive type of hosting, but is not for proxies. So on to VPS.

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. A virtual server is basically a mini server running on a box with several other mini servers. Unlike shared hosting VPS have allocated resources. So you won't just get full access to all of the server resources, you will only get access to a portion of the server. This is regulated by software on the server and you get as much access as
you pay for. With your VPS you get a certain amount of Guaranteed resources. This is how much you can count on. With some VPS there are what's called burst resources. Let me define. Burst
resources are resources that belong to someone else on the box, but you are allowed to use if they are not using them at any given time. So if you get 1GB of RAM guaranteed, with a burst of up to 2GB of RAM it would work like this. You will always be able to use the 1GB of RAM, if someone else is not using 1GB of their RAM at a time when your RAM is all being used up,
then you can use their 1GB. However if at any time they need some or all of their RAM then you don't get to use it any more. It works opposite too, if they need it and you are not using it then they can use yours until you need it. It actually is an ideal system because it optimizes server use. It works even better if you happen to be on a server where you need the resources and
the other people on the box are not using the resources. :) However I would not count on more then what you pay for, but bursting can be a nice plus. Bursting is not something that you need, I just wanted to explain it. That having been said, VPS is an ideal choice for a startup proxy - as long as you get at least a decent one, more on that shortly. In the range of cost, VPS falls
into the medium category. Now for Dedicated.

A Dedicated server is, you guessed it dedicated. When you get a dedicated server you get the entire server and all its resources all to yourself. This is the ultimate way to run a proxy, but is not necessary to get started. Also bigger is not always better in the realm of dedicated server. It is sometimes better to get two smaller dedicated servers then it is to get one larger one. Its
all about efficiency. This is where a good host can help you out by making a recommendation. Dedicated servers come in all, sizes and prices. Dedicated servers come in three types. Managed, Semi-Managed, and Unmanaged. Basically a Managed server is completely taken care of from
the aspects of setup, uptime, and server problems etc.. A Semi-Managed server is partially managed, to what extent depends on the host. If your considering semi-managed then I would ask your host what that covers and tell them the type of site your running. With any luck they will have experience hosting proxies and will know whether or not semi-managed will
work for you. As for Unmanaged it comes in a couple of flavors as well. Some unmanaged
server will actually setup the server and then its your job from there to make sure everything works. While other unmanaged means they plug in the box to the network and give you the IP addresses and its your job from there. So dedicated is the ideal way to run a long term proxy network. In the range of cost they are the most expensive.

Which one is right for you?
So what to use? If you are planning on hosting just one proxy site, or just getting started then I would say use a VPS, cheaper to start out, just get at least one with 256Mb RAM. If you are wanting to run a proxy network then you could start with a vps, but plan on shortly upgrading to a dedicated server.