Yet another presales question, errrr, make that questions.



Starting up a new site that's going to be 99% forum-based. While starting from scratch it should have a decent user base porting over from another site and hopefully will grow fairly quickly. I'm assuming a load of maybe 50-70 concurrent users at peak on a typical PHP/MySQL forum package like SMF, PHPBB3 or vBulletin. In the past I've done other sites on cheap-o shared hosting, but they were less MySQL intensive and used fewer resources, so I'd rather skip the process of getting kicked off a cheap "unlimited" host and go with something better from the beginning. My skill set is advanced HTML, barely competent with PHP, databases and javascript and able to run an WAMP environment on my Windows box for development. It surely doesn't stretch to administering a dedicated server or an unmanaged VPS plan, so if going this route it would have to be fully managed.

So, my questions:

1) Is a VPS the right choice for this type/volume of site or can I get by with a high-volume, shared hosting package?

2) If VPS, can you offer a ballpark at to what package would comfortably handle the CPU/memory/bandwidth requirements for that user volume? I assume storage won't be an issue.

3) Would either PHPBB3, vBulletin or SMF offer advantages over the other packages in terms of reduced server load, less memory usage or less page weight to save bandwidth?

4) Assuming I'm comfortable with an FTP client for file transfers and PHPMyAdmin for database administration, are there any other tasks I might face that are beyond my skills and that might require a control panel?