My Search for Game Hosting Begins

I’ve been looking round for the best hosting deal for my web games and it’s not easy. I’m writing my own game processing engine, which needs to run perodically, fetch data from a database, process it and update the database so that a logged in user on the website can retrieve it. My requirements are:

  1. Root Access to Linux to install and run my own server software
  2. Multiple LAMP websites (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)
  3. At least 512 Mb ram
  4. Reasonable traffic limits
  5. Be affordable but also scalable, so if I make money then I can easily upgrade my server

In other words, I need some kind of Virtual Private Server (VPS) around the $20 a month mark. This is a halfway house between a full dedicated server ($60 a month minimum) and a website reseller account (about $7.50 a month). Reseller accounts don’t usually let you run your own software, while dedicated servers are nicest but quite costly.

The scalability seems best satisfied by Xen VPS. This is an open source package that runs multiple versions of Linux, Windows, etc., on powerful hardware so that each instance looks like a real server. It’s run as a cloud server VPS and is offered by many companies.

A cloud server means that the resources are configurable and can be scaled up or down according to demand. Normal servers don’t scale, you get them with fixed memory, disk space, etc.

With Xen VPS hosting you can start with a single instance but change it to use more memory, disk space, CPU etc. The good thing with most VPS hosting is that you don’t have long contracts, but pay by the month and can change vendors quickly.

There is a lot of difference in what’s on offer, including:

Traffic Data. This can vary from as low as 5 GB to a whopping 5000 GB a month. More is always better. If one player uses one MB of traffic each day then 1,000 players will use 30 GB in a month, 10,000 players will use 300 Gb a month. Don’t even think about the super platforms (Facebook, BigPoint.com) unless you can support a minimum of a million players (30 TB a month!) or have some way of controlling access and are financially well backed!

Backups. Some hosting companies give you unlimited snapshots of live data, others do daily backups, and some charge extra. If a game crashes, how far back do you need to restore, how quick can it be restarted? It’s a business so customers, especially the paying ones demand that your game service be reliable.

Control Panel. Are you an Apache expert and can configure extra websites, databases, etc.? If not, then look for hosting that includes cpanel, plesk or virtualmin. These are easy to use control panels that simplify setting up multiple websites. Many hosting companies charge extra for these. If all else fails, install Webmin (free from http://Webmin.com), which is excellent but needs a little bit of techy skill to get the best out of it. There are other open source admin tools, such as Kloxo, but that works with just one flavor of Linux at the moment.

I’ve short listed it down to one or two and will put an order in in a few days.

Comments

  1. BY Michelle says:

    Did you read about Amazon’s cloud NoSQL service yet? The copy says it’s perfect for online game hosting.

  2. BY Jessy says:

    I’m curious for games like BC2 “though you can’t host them yourselves, and upcoming BF3, or just games in general, how much upload speed do you need to have a lag free dedicated server host for around 64 player games?

    I am thinking about making my own server on a server PC of mine. Though I need to know how much upload speed is good enough to host one.

    Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-00-00-00-00-00-00-E0
    DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : No
    Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes

    Tunnel adapter Local Area Connection* 10:

    Media State . . . . . . . . . . . : Media disconnected
    Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
    Description . . . . . . . . . . . : isatap.9A293409-ACA9-4BC0-9276-671778CAA
    C62
    Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-00-00-00-00-00-00-E0
    DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : No
    Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
    |Im looking for a two sided discussion here not something like ” ohh cod sucks get BF3″
    And if you are comparing BF3 to the OTHER CoDs dont cause its not about that.

    Also we cannot compare realism, BF is a war simulator and Cod isnt
    Also this is about MP not campaign
    Lets begin !!

    Campyness : BF promotes camping E.g bush camping + camping at extreme choke points ( by the time the time you notice the enemy laid down you will already be dead )

    Campyness : Mw3, Robert bowling has said, the maps more flat and less cornors (kinda like BF3), also point streaks are totally different to killstreaks ( you are being rewarded for being objective not just camping for kills hence the name)

    Spawns: BF is very easy to spawn kill, I have done this my self, I flanked all the way around behind the enemy laid down where they spawned and kept on killing them, it was so easy since they spawn on a player,

    Spawns : Mw3, they have changed the system to spawns, its now not possible to spawn trap and have total map control, this is due to taking in feed back from the community

    Killcams : BF has none which makes it super hard for someone that just starting to playing to learn from their mistakes and how to improve, it also makes it easier to camp because people cant killcam watch ( all you get is looking at the face of your killer )

    Killcams : Mw3, Killcams can be good for all players, since they can learn from their mistakes, stupid campers can be killed easily

    Health regen : Bf is more realistic so it has none therefore it requires teamwork to heal and a MIC or just your self

    Health regen : can be annoying in CoD when they run away, luckily its a face paced game, the chances of that person running into someone else is high. ( however Mw3 is not a simulator )

    Vehicles: now loads of people are hyped up about vehicles because they are great in BF, Mw3 will actually have remote controlled vehicles but not on the same level as BF

    servers: BF, dedicated servers are great after it takes about 2 mins to get in one, it makes the game more fair since theres no host advantage and no lag which is great !!

    Host : Mw3, has changed its hosting system, its not possible for one person to have host more then once in that lobby, this makes it ‘fair’ and the problem with it is that if we get a crap host everyone will be lagging everywhere this is a major problem in all the CoD’s LAG!!

    Community: Generally the people on CoD are annoying but the mute button is always there. BF community is amazing no squeaky kids etc

    Modding : I’ve never seen modding on BF, but i have on the really OLD CoD’s which isnt a major problem as its possible in both games ( more likey on CoD ) but still rare

    Producers : BF3 is out there are tiny glitches but works fine IMO – Mw3 has teamed up with 3 producers, this can be really unhealthy or amazingly good

    Feedback : BF3 i havent seen much feedback gone into BF, theres still 4 classes which are very limiting

    Feedback : Mw3, they are taking in huge amounts of feedback from the community just like Blackops did ( but that game was crap because of the servers not anything else )

    Guns : in both games they kill really quick ( BF is like hardcore mode ), IMO guns will never be balanced in CoD’s

    Gamemodes – To put it simple Mw3 has more then BF3 so theres more to do ?

    Wow if you got up to here well done, feel free to leave any discussions.

    * There will be some dude just raging at me ( if you are going to get angry PRESS ALT + F4 )

    anyone that wants to have a civilized discussion feel free i will get back to you ASAP or if you want to add anything

    this was just to point out the facts not to ‘dis’ the other game
    Spread the word if you can copy and paste the whole thing i dont mind, i just want to get rid of all the hate people have for each game
    Nevuna: I can still compare it cause people have played it
    }

  3. BY David Bolton says:

    Jessey, please add this to the discussions. It’s a bit too long to go in comments. I have both games on PC and will gladly discuss it there.

    David
    Online Game Development Guide

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