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Networking The Almighty Buck Hardware Linux

Home Server Or VPS? One Family's Math 380

toygeek writes "Which is cheaper: Running a server from home, or renting a VPS (Virtual Private Server)? We're trying to pinch pennies where we can, and my son Derrick suggested upgrading an extra PC we have and running his Minecraft server at home. Would it save enough money to be worth it? I wanted to share the results of my analysis with my Slashdot brethren." The upshot in this case? "Overall it is VERY cost effective for us to run the home server."
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Home Server Or VPS? One Family's Math

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  • Free Hardware (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @11:05AM (#42871301)

    The problem with his analysis is that he assumes the hardware is free. Also, not many people pay a marginal rate of $0.066/kW-hr for electricity.

  • by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @11:11AM (#42871351) Homepage

    I think you can get a better deal. []

    For eg, I have a box from and I get a box comparable with the one in the article for £4.25/month.

  • by GrBear ( 63712 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @11:11AM (#42871353)

    The costs calculated are likely flawed, as is the performance. First off, the majority of ISP's forbid running any type of server (with a world facing connection) on a residential package service.

    Secondly, as one who used to run a Tekkit server for some friends on a co-located (i5-3550k/8GB RAM) Ubuntu server, Minecraft requires good upstream speed to host more than 3-4 connections. Even at 10Mbps upstream, having more than 5 people on started to lag everyone slightly.. the more users of course, the worse it got.

    It's one thing to run a intranet for XMBC, but whole different ballgame once you start have a world facing server.

  • Re:Free Hardware (Score:4, Informative)

    by dec3 ( 89926 ) * on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @11:18AM (#42871443)

    Price of electricity clearly depends upon where you live. I recently moved to Ohio (from California) and find that $0.0649/kW-hr is a pretty normal price (depending upon who you selected as an energy provider and when you locked in your rate, etc., etc.)

    I know from a California point of view, 0.066/kW-hr might seem really cheap, but California has its own problems when it comes to power.

  • Here's a benchmark (Score:2, Informative)

    by kilodelta ( 843627 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @11:20AM (#42871463) Homepage
    Around here we pay 14 cents per kWH for electricity. A server draws about 800W so 800 * 24 = 19.2kWh per day. Times 30 days it's 576kWh which comes out to $80.64 per month just for electricity.

    VPS can be had for $7 to $20 per month.
  • Re:Uh.. bandwidth? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jb11 ( 2683015 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @11:34AM (#42871629)
    Also keep in mind that many ISPs frown on running home servers. If the server gets popular it could be a problem for the provider.
  • Re:Free Hardware (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @11:38AM (#42871671)

    Germany here. We have around 0.25 EUR / kW-hr. That's about 0.34 USD.

  • ISP Terms of service (Score:4, Informative)

    by CptNerd ( 455084 ) <> on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @12:14PM (#42872097) Homepage

    Someone needs to mod the parent up, this is important. Comcast's Internet service TOS states specifically that any server is a violation and they will cut you off if they find one, and pretty much any other non-business ISP will do the same. This is because they pay for packets going out of their network but get to charge for packets coming in, and so they throttle subscribers' outbound side while opening up the inbound side as much as technically possible.

    Putting a server on your computer on their network means that lots and lots of people will be pulling packets from your server onto the network, and the ISP will be paying for it, and they don't want to pay for it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @12:22PM (#42872179)

    This is incorrect.

    The balance of payments for electricity generation in Germany has been positive.

    They have sold their renewable increased peak time generation capacity to nuclear-hobbled France and bought less and cheaper night time electricity from France.

    Their net payments are an influx of billions a year from France.

  • Re:Uh.. bandwidth? (Score:4, Informative)

    by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @12:29PM (#42872275)

    It gets nice and toasty, even idling, but it's in the basement which stays cool year-round and keeps the fan noise where it won't bother anyone. The waste heat is pointed at the water heater a few feet away (only place the rack would fit), so hopefully it's saving me a few bucks by keeping that a little warmer.

    Anecdotally, don't trust whomever wired your building. Found out the hard way that one outlet in the basement is, for unknown reasons, on the same circuit as the entire second floor... including the master bathroom. Got my girlfriend a new hairdryer for Christmas and didn't have any UPS units then... you can see where this is going. On the bright side, it only fried the power supply of the backup server ($20 to replace). I spent the $50 to get a trio of 1500VA UPS off Craigslist and moved the whole thing to it's own circuit that it only shares with a few CFLs in the basement.

  • Re:Uh.. bandwidth? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @12:29PM (#42872281) Homepage Journal
    Minecraft is pretty bad in this regard too. Each player connected to a server needs about 1mbps if they don't want to stutter when running around the world. I run a Minecraft server from my house, but it only serves 4-6 people and I have a FiOS connection with 25mbps uplink.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger