OK, you have got your standalone sim up and running, and maybe even got it connected to the OSGrid. If, like me, you are hosting your sim on your home PC then one of first things you may notice, when visitors come calling, is lag. If you experience lag, then it will probably be due to your upload speed.
Finding your Upload Speed
Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) quote the download speed when offering their services. This is because the requests that your browser makes (or other software that connects to the internet) are quite small, and do not need to be fast, but the amount of data sent in response to those requests (such as a movie downloads) can be quite large, so faster download speeds are the prime consideration. However, when you want to host a server, (which supplies data to a client requesting it), then the upload speed is the prime consideration, and this is the problem you need to solve.
So, what do you do if your ISP does not quote your upload speed? The answer is - you measure it. Use one of the internet connection speed measurement services. The one I like best is SpeedTest.NET Just select the recommended server to test with (click on the yellow pyramid), and it will measure first your download speed, then your upload speed. My download speed was 3.6Mb/s (megabits per second) while my upload speed was a paltry 0.376Mb/s. As soon as I got one visitor it took a couple of minutes for them to go from grey to me seeing them, and my region took a couple of minutes to fully rez for them. If I had two visitors then the experience was too bad to enjoy. It was now time to move my standalone onto a proper server.
Virtual Private Servers
Buying a dedicated server can be costly (although Cari.net provide a great offer for their Celeron service for around $54/month when paid for annually), so most people wanting to have their region hosted go for the Virtual Private Server (VPS) solution. A VPS is a single physical server that is divided into a few “virtual machines” with the help of the required software on the server. In a VPS hosting service, the server’s resources like RAM, disk space, etc are shared, but at the same time each VPS gets its own allotment and operates completely independently from the others. Due to this facility, you can run software or even install a different operating system, without creating any effect on the other virtual servers on the same machine. At the most basic level, you can treat a VPS as just another drive available to your PC that you can install your programs and files on.
Sizing a VPS
To host a single region, with around 10,000 prims, and a reasonable number of textures and scripts, and with just a few friends visiting, you will need between 5-10GB of hard disk space, at least 512MB of RAM (the more the better), and a monthly traffic or monthly bandwidth allowance of around 300GB. All these parameters are just rules of thumb, and can vary a lot depending on your particular set-up (please let me know your region setup and VPS parameters, and your experience, so these sizing parameters can be tuned more precisely).
Choosing a VPS
When comparing VPS service providers, you will notice that they offer a range of services. Managed or unmanaged services, available in Windows or Linux operating systems, and with or without Control Panels (a program to help manage your VPS, but is designed to be most useful to those wishing to host a web-server service, rather than a virtual world). Usually the Linux-based systems are cheaper, as there are no license fees to pay, unlike the Windows operating systems. An OpenSim region requires no Managed Service, so do not waste money paying for this, nor is a Control Panel essential, as long as the service provider tells you how to upload your files to the VPS, and how to perform restarts.
I have looked at 20 VPS service providers, and the best entry-level services are the remarkable Level-1 deal from TekTonic, at just $15 / month. For this you get 13GB of HD space, 500GB of monthly traffic allowance, but only 294MB of RAM. However, this performance is adequate for many region owners, and if your region is not ‘overdone’ it could well be what you are looking for. The other great entry-level service is from OVH, they offer 10GB of HD space, unlimited bandwidth, and 512MB of RAM, for £9.99, or $18.57, at today's exchange rate. The best of the deals for a well-specified system come from two suppliers, EasySpace with their Custom service. For example, chosing 15GB of HD space, 640MB of RAM, and unlimited* monthly bandwidth (*there is a fair-use policy in effect, which equates to an average of 100MB of traffic monthly, but they will not penalise you, or throttle back the service, if you exceed this occasionally, while keeping under the average figure), will cost UKP21.18, or at today’s exchange rate, around $39. The other came from Hosting Source, who provide 20GB HD space, 1,250MB of monthly traffic, and 512MB of RAM, also for $39, for a Windows system. For speed, with their extra RAM, EasySpace have the edge. However, if you have a lot of assets, then maybe the extra HD space is more valuable to you. The best of the prime deals comes from CheapVPS (Linux only, I’m afraid), their 1024 deal gives you 54GB of HD space, 1500GB of monthly traffic, and 1GB of RAM, for UKP27 or around $47.
- Creating More Regions
- Terrain File to Cover Multiple Regions
- Using Toad for MySQL
- Upgrading OpenSim
- Running two Instances of OpenSim
- Choosing a Server
- Got my own Server
- Tips and Tricks
- Moving a MySQL Database
- Updating the World Map
- Renaming a Region or Estate
- Deleting A Region
- Performing an Automatic Daily Database Backup
- Using Streaming Audio
- ▼ November (14)