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I have been doing a bit of research on stream hosting. I am trying to make sense on how they justify their stream host pricing. A typical 128k SC stream with 100 slots for instance, most of the prices are in the range of US$90-100 a month. (I cannot fathom why it costs this much.) I have found a few that have the same service but only charge about US$25-40 a month. I guess I am trying to get my head around how they justify that much of a price difference?!? Of course I am not including the "unlimited" streaming plans for "unlimited" users as they appear a bit dodgy. I have used quite a few stream hosts in the past few years and have experienced good and bad customer service. I cannot say that I have found that much of a difference in the quality of their streams though. But price does not seem to be the defining factor on what kind of customer service you will receive. The hosts that claim 100% up-time are the really comedic ones. My wife and I are both in IT customer service delivery sector and even large corporate service providers cannot guarantee 100% up-time.

 

Has anyone else done this type of research? What were your results? Please no stream host providers wanting to "toot their own horn", but honest knowledgeable answers from experienced broadcasters. I would like to get to the bottom of this issue!

 

What are we looking for in a stream host provider? Nothing fancy. Port 80. No Auto DJ as we do everything live from our studio. We currently use about 1-1.5 TB of traffic a month. I like the stats in Centova that report least popular tracks to help with our programming. WHMSonic apparently does not offer that.

 

Thanks.

Edited by andhow

Reverend Aquaman | Station Manager | andHow.FM

Where it's *ALL* about the music!

A world-class, always eclectic, commercial-free, alternative, modern, retro, indie rock radio station.

Jamming the free world, one person at a time since 1998. Got Indie?

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  • 3 weeks later...
If a stream host can and does advertise uptime is 99.9% what is the need for staff to justify the higher pricing. Just curious?

Staff still needed. Uptime issues are not the only reason why customers contact support.

What is your definition of "high pricing" by the way?

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Staff still needed. Uptime issues are not the only reason why customers contact support.

What is your definition of "high pricing" by the way?

 

Choose three stream hosts and you can find three different prices one will be higher and all quote the same uptime. My definition is the higher of the three.

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you can run a streaming service with no staff, automated deployment from website signups (WHMCS or similar integrated with Centova for example), pay for a server and leave it running... in theory go out to a day job and leave your nice little streaming business caring for itself whilst you are away...pull in a few punters, loose a few, advertise high uptime and bobs your uncle. Or, you can employ admin and techs 24 7, monitor and care for your clients and really deliver high uptime because your livlihood depends on it... truth of the pudding is always in the eating I guess... also knowledge of the staff is so crucial... before i worked here I was in radio for 17 years and have been in the broadcasters side of internet streaming since it kicked off.... boy have i had issues with "tickets" taking 48 hours to get a reply etc. One thing that can let some stream hosts down is their lack of knowledge... say there is an issue, many cant deal with the teccy stuff so refer it to the likes of Centova who may take 2 days to reply... hence client waiting... the higher priced ones probably have experienced tech staff who can deal with things like this in house but price is not always the only thing to consider.. more expensive isnt always the best... speak to people and ask questions!

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OK, so lets look at what really needs to be looked at:

 

The Datacenters Network- Physical.... More pairing can be bad pairing. If you want your streams to drop on your clients, pair with bad but cheap bandwidth from your options at the Datacenter.

 

Network mixers and cutting corners- Their are some host that choose to not use as many mixers, and even go as far as closing Fsoc for protection. Check out how meta fairs with these.

 

Local homebrewed protection- Some streaming host find it easier to cook something up locally for protection against crawlers, that will come and REEK HAVOK against your DNAS. Try running a stream when your DNAS is being DDOSed

 

The little things- Port 80 streaming. With Centova, your host can screw you like no other if he doesnt know what hes doing when it comes to PORT 80. Not just with the interface, but with porting, BIG TIME.

 

Then you have all the factors of bandwidth.

 

BURST.... JITTER..... Not knowing how to mod centova ICES when you want to transcode. CMD for dealing with on demand, ect. list goes on and on.

 

AND the overselling of bandwidth. Thats a whole different ballgame. Not even gone into that. The general theme of streaming is the more successful you get, the more you are punished. Unless you have found a successful marketing niche/ loyal donating listeners consistently.

 

But yes, staff is important, not for when everything is going right, but when everything is going VERY wrong.... like....

 

1) Someone that creates a new stream player for Ios/Droid that doesnt configure it right for Icecast, and then ends up attempting to reconnect to the port (but not mountpoint) 1000 times a minute, un-intentionally DDOSing the server.

 

2) Reverse that roll. Someone tries a "new" "experimental" streaming interface, that doesn't want to connect to the listening port, but tries 2000 times a minute. Or just a new streamer, that keeps )@#*()( up his listening connection, as he doesnt know the difference between the admin password and streaming password, and successfully hoses all the streams on the same box.

 

Seen both of these instances.

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KNSJ.org / 89.1 FM San Diego
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  • 4 weeks later...
I'm not sure why some of them charge so much. My host charges $7.50 a month for 125 slots at 128kbps with centova. The unlimited users servers always seemed a bit fishy to me as well. Good luck with the search :)

 

A couple things come to mind. A provider charging 7.50USD for 125 slots @ 128k makes me ask the following:

 

1 - Are they using un-metered bandwidth?

2 - Is the line "shared", or is it dedicated?

3 - Do they have a 100mbit line (or less), or do they have a 1gig line (or higher)?

 

Un-metered bandwidth, if dedicated, can be very pricey. If shared it can be inexpensive depending on some things. The datacenter and it's network is also a factor. If your server is at a low rated datacenter, then you can get a dedicated server for a ridiculously low price, but the trade off is that reliability of the network may not be so good.

 

If the line is shared, then it is possible that their cost for the dedicated server is reduced, and thus allows them to offer a discounted price. However shared isn't all a bed and roses as you are also at the mercy of other customers on the same line - something the your SHOUTcast provider will not have control over. I've seen and used many SHOUTcast providers using shared lines, and it's nothing but buffer and skipping during peak hours.

 

In terms of the line itself, keep in mind if they are on a 100mbit line, they can get maybe 750 - 800 concurrent listeners @ 128k. Higher lines (i.e. 1gig, or higher) will of course allow for a higher limit, at extra cost to the provider. So it is possible the lower pricing is a result of them drastically overselling their servers. In essence they are betting you and all their customers never hit the limit they are paying for. I'd almost guarantee you that if 50%-70% of their customers were maxing out the servers, they'd be forced to raise their pricing considerably.

 

I would bet that if they had a dedicated 1gig line or higher, with un-metered bandwidth, they are most likely losing money.

 

Always keep in mind - there is no such thing as "unlimited". What they don't show you upfront, is probably buried in their terms of service (which very few people take the time to read). That is where you will find what their limits really are, especially when you get to their fair usage terms.

 

So... why some providers charge high prices is simple. You get what you pay for. A very good reputable datacenter with premium bandwidth and network coupled with a reputable SHOUTcast provider with solid knowledge, and support staff 24/7 with the ability to troubleshoot issues as they appear , etc will cost you more than a provider that is a one-person company, at a cheap datacenter with, at best, an average network.

 

If your low end provider has never failed you, fabulous. You got lucky. But, if it ever does, consider what you pay per month. You really can't complain. Instead you'll have to grin and bear it.

 

Surf around to different datacenters and see pricing for dedicated servers (and I'm not talking about those with an atom in it. You need some beef in the server), then search for reviews for those datacenters (webhostingtalk is a great place to read up on what is good and what is not).

 

I prefer to have better reliability and stability. If it costs a bit extra, I don't mind simply because I like to sleep at night.

________

 

Lou

 

Bigloo Christian Radio

http://www/biglooradio.com/

 

digiSTREAM SHOUTcast Hosting

http://www.digistream.info/

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If you are serious about this you really need to get your own dedicated machines. Relying on another company (most cheap ones will make you pull your hair out) and the hosting companies that offer quality hosting are just as much if not more than renting your own dedicated machine.

 

Now the drawbacks of having your machine is that you need the knowledge or deal with the growing pains of learning. But you have full control over your entire company.

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If you are serious about this you really need to get your own dedicated machines. Relying on another company (most cheap ones will make you pull your hair out) and the hosting companies that offer quality hosting are just as much if not more than renting your own dedicated machine.

 

Now the drawbacks of having your machine is that you need the knowledge or deal with the growing pains of learning. But you have full control over your entire company.

 

Dedicated server hosting is out of reach for most hobby and small stations budgets. Stream hosts offer the ability to stream at a much lower TCO than a dedicated server host. A dedicated server host usually charges for bandwidth in addition to the bare metal and/or managed hosting costs. With a stream host the monthly, quarterly or yearly cost is much more suitably priced.

Reverend Aquaman | Station Manager | andHow.FM

Where it's *ALL* about the music!

A world-class, always eclectic, commercial-free, alternative, modern, retro, indie rock radio station.

Jamming the free world, one person at a time since 1998. Got Indie?

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Dedicated server hosting is out of reach for most hobby and small stations budgets
Only less than 5% of our customers get a dedicated server for their streaming. Why? Probably because it's un-managed, as are most dedicated servers, and it takes a lot of knowledge to keep it running and lock it down from hackers. A managed server usually costs 2 - 3 times the monthly cost of an un-managed server.

 

True, if you have the technical ability and the money to get one, and have the # of listeners to warrant it, then it can save you money. Most of our clients have 100 or less listeners, so getting a dedicated server is borderline profitable.

 

Even our biggest clients (FM & AM radio stations) don't use a dedicated server. They have enough going on and don't need the hassle.

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You can get a VPS or even a dedicated machine from a reputable company for $20-$40 a month. Check out webhostingtalk forum and you will find a lot of top notch companies. Although make sure you get a reputable company and not a fly by night hosting company.

 

Take the time and learn linux. Most streaming companies oversell their servers which will cause your stream to be choppy. Having full control over your machine is worth it.

 

If you cant afford that then I guess you are kinda at the mercy of shoutcast hosting companies. I have tried A LOT of shoutcast hosting companies before I got my dedicated machine. The best one I have ever tried would be this company http://www.reliastream.com/

 

 

 

 

Dedicated server hosting is out of reach for most hobby and small stations budgets. Stream hosts offer the ability to stream at a much lower TCO than a dedicated server host. A dedicated server host usually charges for bandwidth in addition to the bare metal and/or managed hosting costs. With a stream host the monthly, quarterly or yearly cost is much more suitably priced.

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Only less than 5% of our customers get a dedicated server for their streaming. Why? Probably because it's un-managed, as are most dedicated servers, and it takes a lot of knowledge to keep it running and lock it down from hackers. A managed server usually costs 2 - 3 times the monthly cost of an un-managed server.

 

True, if you have the technical ability and the money to get one, and have the # of listeners to warrant it, then it can save you money. Most of our clients have 100 or less listeners, so getting a dedicated server is borderline profitable.

 

Even our biggest clients (FM & AM radio stations) don't use a dedicated server. They have enough going on and don't need the hassle.

 

Agreed.

 

It's really up to the end user. Most people just want to get up and running without a large hassle, cost and learning curve. This is why stream hosts are so popular with shared bandwidth servers. It's the same with web hosting.

 

Sure, if you have the knowledge and time to learn Linux/operating servers, you may take that up. But in the end, people aren't dumb. They will go for what suits their needs at the time. It's called scalability and not spending too much for something you don't need.

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  • 5 months later...

up to 5000 Slots

unmetered traffic

128Kbit up to 320Kbit

as vtec in good old germany inklusive TEKLAB starts at 9.99€ and ends at 31€

 

as stream only with autdj:

128KBit up to 320KBit

50 Slots up to 200 Slots

3GB AutoDJ up to 10GB AutoDJ

5 Slots Teststream

Starts at 10€ and open end if u have special ideas for your stream

 

u can order a komplett webradio station form 15€ up to 35€

 

if anybody lookin for some off them u can find it here : http://g-factory.de

 

bets regards

Ralf owner of http://netsoundradio.eu

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up to 5000 Slots

unmetered traffic

128Kbit up to 320Kbit

as vtec in good old germany inklusive TEKLAB starts at 9.99€ and ends at 31€

 

as stream only with autdj:

128KBit up to 320KBit

50 Slots up to 200 Slots

3GB AutoDJ up to 10GB AutoDJ

5 Slots Teststream

Starts at 10€ and open end if u have special ideas for your stream

 

u can order a komplett webradio station form 15€ up to 35€

 

if anybody lookin for some off them u can find it here : http://g-factory.de

 

bets regards

Ralf owner of http://netsoundradio.eu

 

I'd love to see how long I could stream a 500+ user station on this host before I got axed...

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I'd love to see how long I could stream a 500+ user station on this host before I got axed...

 

i have this configuration since 29.7.2011 and for now i have only 4 times probs with it.

 

2 times was my own fold. i have delete in a running system the pid's

1 time there was a servercrash in the rz

and 1 time it was a fail by a worker with his catapillar :) they think its funny to cut a fiberglass :)

 

if u want test it, a can give u a testsream without autodj but with 500 slots and 128/192/256Kbit.

u must only send me a mail over my radiowebsite http://netsoundradio.eu and the needed bitrate. then u can test it... i will say 4 weeks.

 

this offer i will give to 4 more guys.

 

is the configuration okay for the tester he should make a contract. if the contract over me, we could make a deal with the price. if the deal with my hoster, i cant change the price.

 

Deal or not...

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Different companies offer different pricing, some of this has no reflect on the quality of the service you receive at all. I have had customers coming to us stating they are paying 3-4 times as much, and we offer them a better service for a lot less with better support etc - though generally, once a stream is set up there hasn't been much need for support in my experience.

zFast Technologies Ltd | Affordable Web Services

Web & Reseller Hosting, Domains, VPS & Streaming since 2009

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I agree. Most stream host providers are not professional companies, just individuals renting out space on a server they rented. They are hoping some day they will rent out enough space on several servers to quit their day jobs. And all of them offer old Shoutcast/Icecast technology. Suckers are born every minute as the old saying goes.

 

I'm just using some spare power from my OVH (SoYouStart.com) box that I use for game servers. I pay about $55 for it (E3/32BGRAM/SSD) with enough bandwith/data transfer to never run out. Their network has been pretty good so far I even had a ping running in Tmux that I forgot about from my Montreal OVH server to my Paris Kimsufi server and it ran for 42 days lol with 0 packet loss shown.

 

You can get a $20 VPS with more than enough power to run your station.

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You can get a $20 VPS with more than enough power to run your station.

Power maybe, but what about control panel, statistic reports, monitoring (auto-restart Shourtcast if it crashes)? Having a VPS is hardly a benefit compared to shared stream hosting. With VPS you'll have to manage everything yourself while you still share one physical machine with other users, and it's also more expensive.

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RADIOBOSS.FM Icecast/Shoutcast stream hosting.

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Power maybe, but what about control panel, statistic reports, monitoring (auto-restart Shourtcast if it crashes)? Having a VPS is hardly a benefit compared to shared stream hosting. With VPS you'll have to manage everything yourself while you still share one physical machine with other users, and it's also more expensive.

 

I beg to differ running a VPS can be a lot cheaper than paying a streaming host. We pay around $5 a month for a one can't get a stream host that cheap for our requirements.

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I beg to differ running a VPS can be a lot cheaper than paying a streaming host. We pay around $5 a month for a one can't get a stream host that cheap for our requirements.

It could be better for your situation... But what about control panel, statistics, monitoring, DDoS protection? How much bandwidth they offer for that sort of money?

RadioBOSS Radio Automation Software: http://www.djsoft.net

RADIOBOSS.FM Icecast/Shoutcast stream hosting.

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Power maybe, but what about control panel, statistic reports, monitoring (auto-restart Shourtcast if it crashes)? Having a VPS is hardly a benefit compared to shared stream hosting. With VPS you'll have to manage everything yourself while you still share one physical machine with other users, and it's also more expensive.

 

Well its not like people are stupid and can't learn how to install and set up all those services. Obviously its not for everyone but its an option that can give you way more control for less prices. Besides probasbly 1/2 of those hosts are just like other web hosts that run reseller servers and pay someone else to do server maintenance.

 

Besides not everyone needs those services. I'm non commercial and don't have to report stats, I don't need a fancy web panel as using the live mount and fall back for auto does the job if I want dj's to connect. Now that is my situation and your mileage may vary but its a good option.

Edited by deaddred
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I think, that is a good reason to learn, but....

 

the provider that i use since 2011 is not a reseller.

g-factory.de is number 3 in gameserver-hosting.

since 2010 he is also in streamservermarket and he does a very good job.

 

i sayed that i will give a test-acc to my vtec to test 4 weeks a 500 Slot streamserver.

 

What u think i will do that on a highly performed and setup server?

No!!!

I will do that on the same server on that my streamserver are running.

 

u didnt belive it?

then u should take a try.

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