Real Estate Website with MLS Listings

These last few months we’ve had the pleasure to work together with someone who is not only a realtor and broker, but also a visionary. It’s been exciting, challenging, and rewarding for everyone involved. Although we’ve been working with realtors in the past, this was the first time we were asked to connect a website with the MLS, map all fields, and sync (nightly) not only the active listings, but the complete library of listings within the Hawaii MLS. Approximately 150,000 property listings. That’s not a small database we’re dealing with.

Fortunately, we did not run into any major issues. We did have some hickups. This kind of undertaking is too big for a server in a shared hosting environment. It definitely requires a Virtual Private Server (VPS). A VPS is pretty much like a dedicated server but in a virtual environment. That is, it acts as a dedicated server but resides on a server that may house multiple virtual servers. Anyway, setting up a VPS was not enough. Since performance is a priority, the VPS was setup with an inode (file) limit of 1 million. We soon realized that this website would exceed that number of files. Realize that we are dealing with 150,000 property listings that most likely all have multiple photos attached. Halfway through, we had to raise the inode limit on our server to allow for such huge file volume.

For those of you who are looking to do something similar, we first opted to go with the Snappy 1000 VPS at Hostgator, but later upgraded to the Snappy 2000 VPS package. We used to have great words for Hostgator, but lately they’ve come short in both performance and support response times. Therefore, we moved this particular VPS and some other web properties to Knownhost. Knownhost is known for their VPS packages. Actually, that is all they do, and they do it really well.

Not all web hosts set inode limits on their servers. For most people, this will never be an issue. I’ve been in the web development business for many years, and it’s the first time that I’ve reached the limit. The reason inode limits exist is so the web host can maximize performance on each VPS. If you believe that you will host more than 2 million files on your VPS, it would probably be wise to go with a VPS web host that has no inode limits, or at least a very high limit.

Aloha!

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