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searching for the right server to host your magento site is a job in itself, I've been shopping around and some host told me i need minimum these specs on a dedicated server to make it run smooth 2x Hex Core E5-2420

  • 600 GB Disk Space RAID-10
  • CDN Data Traffic
  • Redis Cache & Memcached
  • 24 GB DDR3 1333Mhz RAM
  • 650 GB/mo Data Usage
  • 1 Dedicated IP
  • Unlimited Additional Stores
  • E-mail Hosting Included

and others told me, this will do the job Quad Core 3Ghz+ Xeon CPU

  • 8 GB Dedicated RAM
  • 2 IP Address
  • 60 GB SSD and 500GB SATA HDD
  • 1TB Bandwidth

And obviously between these 2 configurations there is quite the price difference, any advice on this please, thank you

Jay

  • You are probably best off approaching the hosting companies you like the sound of and getting their opinion - my advice would be to have something scalable towards the lower end of what you think you might need and then scale up as required after seeing how the site runs. – Jonathan Hussey Nov 1 '14 at 8:24
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Both specs you have provided are pretty poor.

The E52420 is an extremely slow, low clock speed CPU, so your page load times will be capped at the speed of a single core at 1.9GHz. The memory is also only 1333, which again will hamper memory access performance. RAID10 is completely unnecessary, the average file size in Magento will not exceed the stripe size on the array, so only a single disk will be serving requests. Not to mention, Magento isn't IO bound, so you'll get no gains from it.

If speed is remotely important, that machine is a very poor choice.

The second machine isn't really worth talking about. A single consumer grade SSD and single HDD provides no redundancy or reliability in a failure scenario. There's also not nearly enough RAM.

For 5,000 unqiues per day, you require around 16 cores for consistent performance. Memory wise, you should maintain a ratio of around 2GB/Core, so 32GB minimum.

There's some good reading on sizing and selection here,

But the most important consideration is not just hardware selection, that will dictate the best speed, but not necessarily the final speed.

For example. If you misconfigure an extremely fast server, you will likely have performance that matches the slow server above (if that was properly configured).

So hardware selection absolutely goes hand in hand with server configuration. Once you have obtained the right hardware, it needs to be properly configured to perform at peak levels.

Configuring a server properly is NOT just installing Varnish and hiding poor speed behind it, it is not just installing Redis and hoping that the default configuration will actually offer you any benefits over file based caching, it is not just installing the Percona flavour of MySQL because you read it was faster. The list can go on and on, but a fast Magento server is not made up of the software you install on it, it is how you configure, tune and refine the software level configuration of each individual component.

Again, that doesn't mean copy and pasting a blog article or even Magento white paper conf. snippet. It means understanding the software, what the change in settings mean for your store, does it resolve your bottleneck etc.

Which brings me on to say, when picking your hosting provider, pick one that knows what hardware is going to fit your stores requirements (ie. they should ask detailed questions about your store during presales), pick one that wholly focuses on Magento - and most importantly, pick one that will do a free demo of your store on their solution. With the final point, you can see for yourself, whether your speed is acceptable or not, and a good provider will be able to tell you if there is further gains to be had in your store (and NOT by suggesting a cache).

Your question shouldnt be "What hardware do I need", it should be "What hosting provider is going to fully cater to my needs as a merchant, who will fully manage and take ownership of server planning and configuration, so I can focus on what I do, selling goods on my store".

  • Come on, this is a sales pitch. – user15339 Nov 4 '14 at 2:10
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    I did not see it that way, for me there were several takeaways that I did not know before, so @Sonassi - thanks for your unbiased article! – Henry's Cat Nov 4 '14 at 9:57

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