Over the past several years I've been running a reasonably successful online game as a two-man venture: I program the systems, he manages the volunteers among the community who provide artwork and community moderation.

Lately I've been having some issues with server admin stuff. I know just enough bash to get myself in big trouble, so I've been paying for managed hosting. Most of the time things go very well, but sometimes... well let's not go into that. I'm patient with them though, because I used to work with them and have a very good relationship with the hosting company, including significant discounts.

Anyway I'm considering looking into hiring a sysadmin to handle the server (singular, most likely plural by the time s/he's done XD) however I'm concerned that trying to hire a full-time one would face some issues:

  1. We work from home, we have no office, so it'd probably be full-time remote. Not sure if that's an issue or not but just putting it out there.

  2. I have never hired anyone before and it's quite intimidating. That one's more on me.

  3. Considering how rarely I actually contact my current managed hosting sysadmins, I'm afraid that most of the time would end up being twiddling thumbs until something goes wrong. But, when something does go wrong, a quick response is essential.

  4. Just... where do I start?

I'm seriously intimidated by all this, but I'm reasonably certain this is the correct path. Especially because so far all our growth has been organic and I'm going to need help with scaling when the time comes to actually advertise a little.

Is it reasonable to try and find someone on a contract-basis? Would that be more of a consultant role? Or should I be looking into something more like part- or full-time, even if I'm unsure there will actually be work to do all the time?

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    You're not looking for an employee, you're looking for a service provider. Your hosting company might offer this kind of support. There are thousands of companies both large and small that specialise in this. There are individual contractors you can get on retainer or just on a contract basis. I suggest doing some research on this because this kind of question is almost certainly off-topic here. – Lilienthal May 18 '17 at 9:07
  • @Lilienthal Thanks - I figured it probably is off-topic, but I really appreciate the pointer because I'm at a loss. – Niet the Dark Absol May 18 '17 at 9:10
  • If you don't know where to start have a look at [startups.se] and the chat here (The Workplace Chat) or on that site. – Lilienthal May 18 '17 at 9:15
  • Most important question though, what kind of game? – Raoul Mensink May 18 '17 at 9:26
  • @RaoulMensink Browser-based collectable game. It's on my profile. – Niet the Dark Absol May 18 '17 at 9:38

It looks to me like you've got two needs:

  1. Reviewing your current setup and get it in order to be able to sustain growth (scalability, power, etc.)

  2. Getting better service availability (less downtime) with a faster response time in case of trouble.

If I were you, I would get each need filled by a different entity.

  • Get a consultant to review your setup. You only need to pay them for the time it'll take to upgrade your systems to a level you find satisfactory.

  • Once you know what you need, get another host for your new architecture, one that can guarantee a maximal uptime.

It'll most probably get more expensive at first, but on the medium to long term it will be way cheaper and you'll get a better QoS for your players.

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    Your advice lines up with the general idea I have in mind, which either means I'm on the right path, or we're both fools :D Thank you. – Niet the Dark Absol May 18 '17 at 9:53

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