TTZ Media Network Server Upgrade

We recently completed a server upgrade to the TTZ Media Network in order to handle the influx of new affiliates. The new setup consists of the following.

  • Two Load Balancers Servers
  • Two Dual Quad-Core Xeon Clovertown 2.0Ghz web servers with 8 GB of RAM and RAID 1 hard drives
  • One Dual Quad-Core Xeon Clovertown 2.0Ghz database server with 4 GB of RAM
  • One Pentium E 1.6GHz backup server, 512 MB of RAM, 4 x 320GB IDE, 960GB Usable Space, RAID-5
  • One router for inter server communication

The six server monster was supplied, set up and configured by BlueFur Web Hosting at a cost of $3,000 per month (get 15% off when you use the JohnChowRock coupon code). We are still doing some fine tuning. A setup like this is like a high end sport car – it need to be tuned to get maximum performance. Right now, we are trying to improve the syncing of the two web servers so information updates across both servers at the same time.

Many people will say the above setup can be had for a lot less than $3,000 per month and they would be correct – for unmanaged servers. However, this is a fully managed setup. If anything goes wrong, I don’t have to go down to the data center – it’s BlueFur’s problem, not mine. I’m not a server admin so I want a fully managed installation. You pay more but you have piece of mind.

How Much Should You Spend On Web Hosting?

This is an often asked question. Most people don’t have a problem paying $5 to $10 per month for web hosting. However, when it starts pushing into the thousands, it’s another story. My general rule of thumb is web hosting should not consume more than 5% of the site’s online income. That means if you’re paying $3,000 a month for web hosting, the site better be making at least $60,000 a month.

Many web publishers like to put off an upgrade for as long as possible but I think that is a mistake. You maybe saving money but I guarantee you any savings would be completely wiped out (and more) if the server goes down because you were too cheap to upgrade. At the rate TTZ Media is growing, I expect this upgrade to last a few months before I need to upgrade again.

53 thoughts on “TTZ Media Network Server Upgrade”

  1. I’ve tried that cheaper route with hosting, and it’s always bit me in the ass. All though I wouldn’t overpay for Rackspace hosting, no matter how great it is!

    1. RackSpace is worth every single penny if you want a solid hosting and support. In any case with $3000 John has made a good deal (and would have done the same deal with RackSpace as well), what I see tho is that the backup server might be a bit weak (but depends on the needs).

      1. Yes I think there is room for improvement, too. This setup is not really a cluster. The database server is a single point of failure. And from what is says about syncing data in his post, he is not running the web sites off an NFS share either.


  2. I spend $25 a month for unlimited hosting accounts, unlimited space/bandwidth etc.
    I have 13 sites and it only costs me $25/month. I love the company I’m with. :mrgreen:

    1. John Chow says:

      Ya, they claim unlimited but if any of those sites ever get really big, watch how fast they kick you out. 😈

      1. So you must be making 60,000 a month plus 23,000 a month plus other sites thats atleast 100,000 a month dam that’s alot of denero

        1. Remember, this is in U.S. dollars. This makes him really poor in Canada. =P

    2. And how are the download/upload speeds for that plan? Do you get shell access or the like?

      1. I’m with Fat Network.

        1. Oops, forgot to answer your question. Shell access is included and the speeds I can get around 1.5mb up and down.

          1. Very nice! Wish I’d known about it earlier… I’m looking for a dedicated server or VPS now.

    3. You really believe in unlimited offers? I wonder how do those “companies” dare to claim something unlimited when even the machine itself has the limits. If that company ends up hosting huge sites lets say like or something even heavier like a very trafficked online gaming site or a forum they’d end up using that server for two sites only.

  3. It’s hard to find a reliable host provider these days for an affordable price

    1. I really don’t have a problem with Dreamhost. Granted, it’s not dedicated hosting, but I’ve had no downtime issues in the last year I’ve been with them.

      I paid $20/year for the middle plan with a coupon, so I really can’t complain at all.

  4. worknplay says:

    I spend about $20.00 a month for web hosting. Hopefully the blog gets popular enough to get every penny out of it 😉

    1. lol, as you’ll see above, I paid $20/year for mine after a coupon or two. I’ve already made more than that back. =D

  5. Hosting can be a total pain in the ass if you originally went for the cheapo ones.

    The second your site gets popular or spikes in popularity. They can just kick you out. The few good ones at least warn you that you’ve gone over “x%” of server resources before they kick you when you use a shared hosting service.

    I think a good way to do it is find a company who doesn’t kick you out without a warning and also look for a company that has easy upgradability for when you need to move up.

    Another warning is that if your site gets popular fast and you need to upgrade servers, you’ll need another hosting setup which requires a new IP which could have adverse effects on SEO if your site is only less than 6 months old.

    I can’t wait till the day I own a dedicated server though. That means you’ve made it or are incredibly stupid!

  6. I pay $0 😈 but thats only because I’m bumming off my friends account. If I had to pay it would be $20 a month

  7. Domtan says:

    That is a monster of a set up. And only for a “few months” too, till the next upgrade? Extraordinary.

    1. Jeff Kee says:

      Well we are getting millions of views a day already…

      I’m working feverishly to optimize everything etc. It’s not a piece of cake, obviously.. a network system like this is bound to be difficult and complicated to maintain.

      At least the fully managed server took a load off me to re-boot the server when it went down under loads! 🙂

      1. Hehe.

        Don’t you love how servr upgrades are both blessings and omens?

  8. Mike says:

    My site makes nothing so I guess Im overspending! Oh well, I like to live large! haha! 😛

  9. MoneyNing says:

    I have more than my fair share with web hosting service and good support/no problems combination is almost priceless. Since bluefur is local to John, he is getting a great deal especially since he is getting his site hosted for free (+ all those free dinners) 🙂

    The extra personal attention/support he gets is also an added bonus for him.

    I used to have the blog in a hosting service which SUCKED. It was very painful and I moved it over to a new one that is only $5-$6 a month. I now have 30k uniques a month and I haven’t had a problem with speed yet. Once it hits 50 – 100k I will probably have to move but so far so good!

  10. Etienne Teo says:

    I guess this is not where i want to be since i don’t pay money for my blog’s hosting, but i do have some other sites which have web hosting going and i must say at $25/mth,it’s not the cheapest but i like the space given. :mrgreen:

  11. John Chow is making more than $60k a month with TTZ. Wow. Not bad John.

    1. Kym Huynh says:

      HOLY MOLY… show me those monies. O_O

    2. Too bad we’ll never see his true monthly earnings.

    3. MoneyNing says:

      I’d say he will (if not already) make way more than $60k a month with TTZ 🙂

  12. great008 says:

    Well if your site gets big, cant you just upgrade your hosting plan?? I mean at least you would hope so!

  13. whydowork says:

    So can it be assumed your TTZ Media Network is clearing $60,000 / month profit for you?

    If yes, I’d like to see you spend less time blogging about making money online and more time getting yourself a gold plated enzo ferrari 😉

  14. Terrence Thurber says:

    Quite right John, nothing hurts more than an unexpected outage that stems from a delayed upgrade cycle which turns into long outages b/c of new boxes needing to be configured, reconfiguring load balancing or BGP.

    One project of mine, delayed SQL upgrade from 2x dual core + 4gb ram. Two days down, 400 new members losts and lots of untracked hits / joins etc to affiliates.

    Newest project has me growing at 50% per month on servers to handle opt-in mailing out. Hardest part about pulling the trigger on the next box is actually wondering how much you might have been able to squeeze out for effiency on your current setup.

    Unlimited b/w is a sham to everyone that swears by it, usually very bottlenecked ports, and you’ll never get true burst speeds. and when your pushing upwards of 30mbps and higher, b/w gets cheap fast.

  15. bmunch says:

    Using your equation, I should be spending $0.25 per month on hosting (do the calculations yourself). Anyone got a plan that cheap?

    1. I’ll host your site on my Commodore 64 that I added ethernet to. It has a BASIC web server that can barely serve up HTML.

      Your connection to the net will be on my Comcast cable, which likes to go out 2-3 times a day for 5 minutes at a time. Sorry, e-mail isn’t included. Just FTP to upload.

  16. BareFly says:

    So TTZ media is making $60,000? If that’s true, I gotta say you are a truly successful marketer. Is it because opportunity comes to you or you think ahead of the time and some how figure what should be done in order to make grand?

  17. Mike Huang says:

    Not all blogs make income Mr. Chow 🙂

    As for the upgrades…just WOW 😀


    1. Kind of sad when a server farm for a small advertising network is more powerful than your home PCs. =D

      Time to upgrade!

  18. Kym Huynh says:

    By the way John, I tried signing up to TT Media (I’m from Australia) and the thing wouldn’t send my registration … an error about “Address Line (1)” kept coming up.

  19. I think 5 % sounds very reasonable. Will keep the figure in mind: for later

    1. David J. says:

      Personally I’d consider that far too low. If you’re relying on your infrastructure to bring in the cashflow — spend whatever is necessary for a reliable system with proper contingency plans.

      Having any pre-set ‘%’ to aim for would be a silly idea. It all depends on your needs, not revenue.

  20. TTZ is doing well on my Xbox 360 site

  21. Wow, thanks for sharing that with us John. As a server admin myself, it’s great when people are open about their server configurations. Now that will be my next upgrade when we reach 100,000 visitors per day. :mrgreen:

  22. Robert says:

    Occasionally seeing gray boxes where there used to images. Is this problem getting fixed?

  23. Mubin says:

    Congratulations on your success. A sites success can be seen by the servers it resides in, and it seems like you have a nice hefty server.

  24. This is very useful information. Part of the problem in making money on line is that as you keep increasing your involvement, costs like this keep going up too. The complexity also increases and the time taken to manage would also keep going up. This is something that bloggers intent on making a living out of it have to keep in mind.

  25. Mike says:

    cool it will be interesting to see how much faster everything runs!

  26. Steve Poland says:

    John — some server probs on this URL:,query-$linkin_id*8032453$SF*6$BEFID*96481$NM*10$pgnum*1/ttzcategory-10,subcategorytitle-Classic%20Console%20Games

    Warning: fsockopen() [function.fsockopen]: unable to connect to (Connection timed out) in /home/www/ on line 103

    Warning: DOMDocument::loadXML() [function.DOMDocument-loadXML]: Start tag expected, ‘<‘ not found in Entity, line: 1 in /home/www/ on line 61

    Fatal error: Call to a member function get_elements_by_tagname() on a non-object in /home/www/ on line 224

  27. I think mine was $40 for the year but my blog is pretty small. I’m really happy with the service I’ve had though – they’ve paid for my fee just in the help they’ve provided!

  28. johnny card says:

    ttz media would be great on my site, if i had any readers. our site is averaging 15 visits per day. but we only officially launched last month, so we’ll see what happens.

  29. bloggernoob says:

    spending 3% so im good. can’t wait to start paying 3k tho

  30. Needs another upgrade man… whole network is down.

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