Server Options

I know it’s a little premature at this point, but I’ve started to think a bit about server options. There are a lot of different things I could do, with various cost/reliability/control considerations.

The primary decision is broken into one of four options:

1. Host it from home.
This would require configuring dynamic DNS and would probably be a slow connection. I have 512Kbps upstream, so that wouldn’t be too slow unless a significant number of players connected. What it would save in hosting costs it would certainly eat up in electricity costs. I’m not sure the exact amount, but leaving a computer on 24 hours a day costs me somewhere betwen 25 and 40 dollars per month in electricity. All in all a generally bad idea.

2. Sign up for co-location or a dedicated server.
An expensive route, but there is no shortage of control. At somewhere like I could get a nice dedicated server for $99/month and a passable (celeron 1.7GHz w/512MB) server for $49 per month. I would be able to host all of my other domains and webspace all in one place. Other services offer similar packages, but pretty much none start under $50. This would probably be overkill for the web presence I have.

3. Try to get “free” hosting.
I might be able to find someone I know with server space available or find someone willing to host the MUD. This would be a good idea right until the point where whoever was hosting got sick of doing so. Too dangerous considering you get what you pay for.

4. Sign up for shared MUD hosting. This is probably the most sensible route for now. Here’s a comparison of what can be had at the various hosting services for $20 per month:

MudMagic: 300MB disk, 50MB RAM, 4% CPU, unlimited connections.
GenesisMUDs: 400MB disk, 55MB RAM, 15% CPU, unlimited connections. [actually $19.50/month]
Silverden: 100MBdisk, 20MB RAM, (CPU not listed), unlimited connections.
MUDDrake: 500MB disk, 48MB RAM, (CPU not listed), unlimited connections.
Dune Internet: 500MB disk, 60MB RAM, (CPU not listed), unlimited connections. [actually $16.00/month]
InfoLaunch: 600MB disk, 45MB RAM, 10% CPU, unlimited connections. 500MB disk, 75MB RAM, (CPU not listed), connections not listed.

Silverden is offering the most ridiculous of packages, woefully inadequate to any sort of task, and since they are offering a Pentium 200 dedicated server I’ll have to assume that they’ve gone out of business and just hadn’t bothered to take their site down.

Dune internet and Mu-Host look the best, especially since the major consideration has always been RAM more than processor in any MUD I’ve worked on. Right now, with only a couple zones connected, the server uses 18 megabytes of RAM. This is the debugger-profiler version, so it’s a bit more bloated, but it’s not unrealistic to expect to be using about 40-48 megs when fully assembled.

The irritating thing, though, is that most of the companies that list CPU percentage don’t bother to list the TYPE of CPU you’re getting a percentage of. For all I know MUDMagic could be offering 4% of a Pentium 200 while GenesisMUDs is offering 15% of Pentium Core Duo e6700. All CPUs are not the same.

If I were to pick a service I would probably go with Dune.