Two outstanding development teams for SocialEngine, Hire-Experts and SE Tweaks, now provide hosted solutions for SE PHP. We’ve asked them some questions about what they offer so you can get a feel for the services they provide. We think anyone moving forward with building an SE PHP community will benefit from checking this out. Let’s get started!
What made you decide to start a hosting service for SE PHP?
SE Tweaks: Well, there are many SocialEngine site owners who deal with performance issues and slow page loads, and many webmasters, after not finding any solutions, just give up. Since we noticed there are not really any providers who actually provide SocialEngine optimized servers, we decided to bring this service to the SocialEngine community.
Hire-Experts: SocialEngine based sites are growing up – more users, engagement and rich features. Over the years, we’ve received tons of complaints from our clients about the slow speeds of their sites. We’ve worked with our customers and found a lack of hosting software, parameters and settings. These hosting services are not optimized for SocialEngine and the result is such speed issues. That’s why after our investigation we decided to start our own SocialEngine PHP hosting service.
What types of hosting solutions are you offering?
SE Tweaks: Currently, we provide dedicated servers. We have four plans listed on our site with various CPU cores and RAM sizes starting at 6GB of ram to 24GB. We also provide other server specifications per client’s request that are not listed on our site. Resources have no limits. We’re also considering cloud servers, but at this moment our optimizations are only for dedicated servers.
Hire-Experts: We’ve partnered with a reliable hosting provider – Hostiso. They’re highly skilled and very understanding guys. Their experience helps us provide optimized servers for SocialEngine PHP. Depending on community sizes, there are various hosting solutions available. Semi-dedicated hosting plans start at $70 per month, and dedicated servers start at $240 per month.
What kind of performance can I expect to have with your server plans?
Hire-Experts: Experience shows that our customers lose new and active members due to slow page loads. Hire-Experts and Hostiso teams have solved this issue by providing optimized hosting servers and optimized SocialEngine core files and plugins via small tweaks and our custom optimizer module.
What sizes of communities are you currently hosting?
SE Tweaks: We’re hosting communities with hundreds or a few thousand users. The number of users can really be anything. Scalability is one of our goals. Not only can we upgrade the servers, we can also combine more than two servers with load balancer, or separate the web server from the database server. Our system administrators discuss the solutions with our clients so they can choose the best option.
Hire-Experts: We host active and engaged social networks with tens of thousands of members and up to 50 thousand pages (using our Pages Plugin). Our hosting plans also accommodate small to medium sized communities.
How does your hosting compare to the big name providers out there?
SE Tweaks: The results of our optimizations are very impressive and I will give the results at the end. Let me first explain the difference between us and other providers. The big server providers are selling servers and hosting that are commonly used for all types of scripts. SocialEngine has a powerful core, and this core has special needs to operate seamlessly, especially when you install extra plugins. When owners host SocialEngine on a raw or non-optimized server, performance issues and page loads will show up. That’s why we used our experience with SocialEngine to provide these SocialEngine optimized servers.
Caching is our main focus when optimizing the servers. We use APC in our servers for PHP caching. Any other hosting provider can install SPC on their servers but we optimize APC settings for SocialEngine. Many experiments and tests with APC configurations led us to an optimal configuration, and these configurations are also different based on server plans and hardware. Another caching related optimization that we do is configuring an optimal MySQL caching setting for SocialEngine. We also make sure that the Apache web server has all the modules that SocialEngine needs and doesn’t have the modules that will cause performance issues or errors in SocialEngine. We do the same with PHP directives and extensions too.
We decided to focus on the server and apply our configurations on the server instead of making changes in SocialEngine or making addons to increase performance. Providing an improved and ideal environment (server) is our solution. Then the client doesn’t need to worry about SocialEngine upgrades, and we believe that an ideal server can be much more effective than optimizing the application. Other included free features are full server management service, 24/7 server monitoring, automatic kernel and OS updates, cPanel license, host migration, SocialEngine installation, and free premium themes from our store.
At the end, all these configurations that we make will bring fast page load speed to our clients. With other providers we have seen up to 40 seconds load time for each page, but with our optimizations and servers that load time is decreased to approximately 1 second, when the static resources are cached in the browser.
Hire-Experts: The hosting solutions from well-known hosting providers are simply not optimized for SocialEngine PHP, and they provide standard hosting plans to all customers. On the contrary, we know SocialEngine very well and provide specially optimized hosted plans. For some details, we provide large server memory from 6GB to 64GB of RAM, a power CPU (from Intel Core i7-3770 Quardcore to Intel Core i7-3930K Hexacore), free 100 GB backup, free CDN and DDOS protection, free server manage and SocialEngine support, and of course, free setup and migration. It takes very little time to migrate to hosting. Also, we optimize SocialEngine and all plugins to speed up page loading.
As experienced SE PHP developers, does your experience effect the quality of service you provide with hosting?
SE Tweaks: Of course! We know how SE bootstrap operates, which MySQL queries are executed more, and which MySQL tables are called more than others. These experiences help us optimize the server.
Great, thanks! Any news or plans you’d like to share with the community?
SE Tweaks: There’s a new SE PHP theme coming this month. We’re really excited about it. We’ve had great success with our current themes and SocialEngine owners are saying our Transformer theme is currently the most popular theme, but the new upcoming theme will even top Transformer! Like our Facebook page to keep in touch with us.
Hire-Experts: As mentioned earlier, we’d like you, community owners, to focus on your business. Great software and reliable and fast hosting are small parts of success, and they cannot be compared with community building, marketing and content generation. That’s why we have launched our hosting service and Hire-Experts standard subscription plan which allows you to get access to all of our plugins (including future) and full support for them for a small $39 per month fee. In the coming weeks we’re going to release a Premium plan which gives you access to all Standard plan’s features and iPhone/iPad and Android applications. A demo version for iPhone and iPad applications will be available very soon. That’s not all! We have prepared a few other surprises: new Profile Highlight plugin and new Advanced Search plugin. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Stay tuned!