Quick Intro for Hosting

In the past month I thought quite a lot about hosting.
Shared hosting or a server, virtual or dedicated, root or managed? How about the ominous Cloud?

The answer is both simple and annoying: It depends!
How many sites do you want to host and how many visitors do you expect? Are you familiar with server administration and what about emails and other stuff?

1) Shared Hosting
If you have only one site with just a dozen visitors per day, like a private site ot for a small business or club, this is most likely the best solution for you. Kirby’s requirements are so low, it runs on almost any space. Most providers have one domain included and give you email hosting as well. Make sure you get good support though! Cheep providers let that slide.

2) Virtual and Dedicated Server
If you expect a view 100 visitors a day, you propably need to think about your own server. Virtual means, it behaves like a own server, but actually there are running multiple virtual server on a real, physical server in the farm. If the real server has 16 Cores and 32 GB of RAM, it can be divided into 8 virtual servers with 2 cores and 4 GB RAM each.
Some of them run an own email server - others are web server only. Pay close attention if there is a web panel like plesk to administer your server or if thats your responsibility. It’s a common mistake to bite off more than you can chew…

3) Root vs. Managed
Root access is really really great if you know, what you are doing. But if you’re reading this you probably don’t know. And in that case it’s really really bad. Managed services include updates, firewall, backup, anti-span and much more. This affects the price tag, but if you aren’t a server admin, you need this for a professional website! Don’t let hope and greed cloud your judgement.

4) The Cloud
Basically Cloud Server are VPS (virtual private server) running on a server cluster. That means, the Cloud is just a (scalable) virtual server. (yeah, yeah, I know, theres more to it, but in this context it’s good enough).
The biggest provider is Amazon (EC2), the hippest and cheapest is maybe DigitalOcean. Most of them aren’t manageged. (There are exceptions like the Managed Root Cloud by hostnet.de) And there are services like serverpilot, that kind of manage your Cloud and divide it into smaller virtual Hosts.

Soooooo, what Server do you need?
Again: If you are reading this your expertise is most likely not that high.

  • For a single small kirby site - shared hosting is the best solution for you
  • For multiple kirby sites (hosting small sites for your clients) look into special reseller virtual server, or maybe serverpilot?
  • If there’s no included mailserver (e.g. with serverpilot) consider an externel mailserver. This way you can keep your VPS for kirby as clean as possible. Since kirby doesn’t need a lot of php extensions or mysql you can deactivate these services, which saves a lot of RAM an is much more efficient and less likely to break.

That’s it for now. I’m not a guru either, but I wanted to share my knowlege. Please feel free to correct me, add something or ask, if anything is unclear.


I’d like to add something regarding shared hosting:

There are shared hosting providers that don’t support gzip/deflate (which leads to reduced page speed results) or some that don’t let you have an .htaccess file. More often than not, this is not documented anywhere, so you should really contact your future provider to find out in advance before you enter into a contract. I’ve come across this several times now with customer’s existing hosting providers (e.g. German providers Telekom / 1und1).

And one more thing:
If you’re using Git, you might like to have a look at http://cloudcontrolled.com. CloudControl offers free developer accounts, which makes it easy to deploy your projects to the cloud while developing so your customers can follow along with what’s happening.


URL doesn’t work for me. I believe, you mean https://www.cloudcontrol.com?

Is this similar to dploy.io?

Ah, sorry, yes, should have been https://cloudcontrol.com, the cloudcontrolled.com domain is used for the subdomains, so I mixed this up.

@chrisburton: I didn’t know dploy.io up till now, but it seems to be similar, indeed.

Edit: After having had a second look at dploy.io, I find it rather different from CloudControl:

  • CloudControl is a cloud hosting platform, comparable to Heroku etc. If you develop using Git, you can easily deploy your project directly by pushing and deploying via a command line tool they offer. Using the free developer accounts, they offer an easy way to publish your projects during development (e.g. if you can’t publish on your customers servers during development and don’t want to use your own servers either).
  • dploy.io, in contrast, offers a way to deploy your repos automatically to any sort of hosting platform, either ftp/sftp or cloud.
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BenSeitz, thanks for this valuable post!

But in my opinion your limits are quite small.
I know people running websites on a small VPS with 1K daily visitors on a small VPS (1 core, ~1Go RAM).
There is this guy on Twitter saying that he has 25 websites for 30K daily visitors on a VPS from ovh.com (2 cores and 2Go RAM for 9€/m). He probably really optimized everything (he talks about Nginx and Varnish).

In my experience, I would say:

  • Shared hosting is good up to 5 concurrent users (it could be 1000 daily visitors, depending on how long they stay on your website of course). I agree that quality of a shared hosting plan depends a lot on the providers.
  • VPS (virtual private server) are great for almost any traffic volume. I would use them from 500 daily visitors up to few thousands. Amazon EC2, DigitalOcean, OVH are all good providers.
  • Dedicated servers are better when you have specific uses, a lot of websites, high traffic…

That’s my contribution :smile:

A problem I have when I try to evaluate Paas providers (like CloudControl, Fortrabbit, Anynines, Clever-cloud…) is how much do I need? How many processes/scalers/workers/instances? They are all very creative with fancy names to describe basically the same thing.
Any feedback with Kirby sites?

Do you only use them when you develop, or also host there?

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Is there a list of the PHP extensions that Kirby requires (or which ones can be safely disabled) ?

Kirby requires only mbstring, but for thumbnail generation you need either GDLib or ImageMagick. I think that’s about it.

I’d suggest trying to disable every other extension and testing if everything still works fine. :wink:

A post was split to a new topic: Using Kirby with HHVM