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Dedicated Server Hosting Tips
Dedicated Server is basically renting a whole server solely for your use (dedicated). It is much like having your own server but the biggest difference is you do not need a large initial investment to set it up.
This means you own the machine but have a hosting company maintain the server for you. Dedicated Servers give a company the flexibility of having a dedicated machine for their website(s).
Last Updated - 15th October 2005
Who Needs Dedicated Servers?
- If you have sensitive or proprietary material on your website and want an intranet or secure site, you should consider using dedicated servers.
- Dedicated servers are ideal for hosting resellers, web developers, site flexibility, better reliability, security, faster speeds and more. Dedicated servers also work well for online gaming, streaming media, chat applications and sites which need the full capacity of the server to function at peak performance.
- Companies who have inexperienced server administrators should consider a dedicated server hosting service who will provide all of the maintenance and repair necessary for your server.Web Hosting Benefits Of A Dedicated Server
- You can manage to avoid most of the variables affecting the reliability and stability of a server, commonly experienced by shared hosting accounts; variables such as: overload, bad codes and scripts from other users (especially beginners); and, too many applications and components uploaded, and so on.
- On a dedicated server you will install only software and applications you want to use, while on a shared hosting server you will find a host of other software and applications installed for other users.
- By the very nature of the account, a dedicated server: reduces your dependency on the web host; and bypasses time delays and possible expenses incurred from these. With dedicated server hosting you can provide instant support to your own clients whenever required, which is not possible if you are on a shared server. A reliable and fast support service is vital for your own business growth just like the stability and reliability you wish for your own website. In business, reliability is reflected through word-of-mouth as one of the most effective promotional activities.
- For people with clients, such as Graphic Designers and Web Designers a dedicated server is invaluable. A dedicated server will bring extra income into the studio, not just as a hosting facility, but, as a designer knows only too well, for the extra 'bread and butter' income value. If you have 24 hours access to your own dedicated server then you can adjust, correct or update a clients website in minutes, allowing you to keep the dollar back in your studio and not in someone else's. Ready availability results in reduced labor costs for the client, but higher studio-income frequency for the designer. Hence you will see the return of all your regular off-line clients, bringing their web work with them.
- For a business, a website that is quickly downloadable and up all the time gives the visitor encouragement that your service is just as reliable, hence you will be more likely to make a sale. It will also enhance the company's image and encourage existing customers to refer your service to others. This will result in more sales for less promotion.
When choosing a dedicated server, there are several things to consider:
- Operating System
- Data Backup & Monitoring Service
- Hardware options
- Technical Support.
The Operating System of a server is similar to that on your own personal computer; once installed, the operating system enables one to perform tasks more simply. There are a bevy of server operating systems available today including Linux-based and Windows-based software.
The operating system you choose should be directly relational to what operations your server will be performing, which types of software you'll need to install and also, what you're more comfortable with. Some common operating systems used for hosting at present are Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), FreeBSD, Fedora (previously known as Red Hat Linux), Debian, and many other flavors of linux.
Data Backup, Monitoring and Automation
If you run a site, which is constantly being updated, you will need to back it up frequently. This can be a hassle. Many dedicated hosting providers will provide a back up service for you - usually for an added fee, but the convenience may be worth it. Your server will need to be monitored constantly to prevent service interruptions.
Check to see that your host can provide such monitoring, and how frequently it is done (e.g. every 5 min.), and what measures they use to deal with problems, which are detected.
Running a dedicated server does usually require a greater level of technical knowledge than shared hosting. However, those who lack technical expertise may still be able to operate a dedicated server --- if the host offers some form of web-based automation to simplify the process of managing a server. Check to see if your host can offer such automation (if you think you may need it).
Hardware Options are also something to consider when choosing a dedicated server. You'll need to pick a processor that's up to the task. Regarding the amount of memory you wish installed, firewall options, and the size of the hard drive.
Celerons in general do not perform well when you start hosting several large powerful applications or web sites, Pentium 4's (P4's), perform much better as they also have a larger cache, Xeons on the other hand can perform much better, especially Dual Xeon processors. One should also take into consideration the AMD option, Dual (and single Options) have been shown to outperform Dual (or single) Xeons by a margin of 30% or more in some cases. These are quite often cheaper to purchase, so therefore a more suitable solution.
When looking at hard disks, you should remember that all hard disks fail at some point or other so it is a necessity in a server environment to have off-site backups or onsite backups of some sort. Having a second mirrored (RAID-1) is a great solution. If you require fast access and high reliability and are willing to pay more it is a very good idea to go for SCSI as they have much lower access time and much lower failure rate.
A certain amount of bandwidth is generally included when renting or leasing a dedicated server. Once you have ascertained how much bandwidth you will require, you can adjust that limit with your service provider. The space you'll be given is generally directly relational to the size of your hard drive. Some hosts also give clients the choice of uplink port speed (usually 10Mbps/100Mbps but can go up to 1000Mbps). Bandwidth can be provided using the 95th percentile rule, or simply the via an alloted bandwidth (which is quite often around 1000GB/month).
Are you a novice or an expert? This is a question that you need to seriously think about. For the novice, a managed provider with 24/7 support is for you. You most definitely do not want to find an unmanaged provider that does nothing but point you in the directions of the "FAQ or Documentation Pages" when you need help. Not only will it upset you, it will cost you money that should have never been spent in the first place as you have no business being with an unmanaged provider.
When your monitors suggest a fault or possible fault occurring, you will need highly skilled and qualified resource to deal with the problem. The minimum number of support staff required to deliver a robust 24 x 365 support is 8.
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