Dedicated servers can be costly. How can you get the most value out of one? The first step is to avoid these common pitfalls.
- What is a Dedicated Server?
- Getting the Most Value
- Error #1 – Poor Cost Management
- Error #2 – Lack of Attention to Authorizations
- Error #3 – General Security Neglect
- Error #4 – Failure to Test
- Error #5 – Excessive Concern with the Server Itself
Cloud computing has been growing incredibly over the last few years, but many companies still choose to adopt dedicated servers (whether run in-house or at a Hosting service’s data center) instead. Many businesses are attracted to the fact that they have total control of the machine and that their system is operating through a distinct physical piece of hardware.
What is a Dedicated Server?
Think you know what a dedicated server is? It’s a single server used by one company, right? Actually, the meaning is a bit different depending on context.
Within any network – such as the network of a corporation – a dedicated server is one computer that serves the network. An example is a computer that manages communications between other network devices or that manages printer queues, advises Vangie Beal of Webopedia. “Note, however, that not all servers are dedicated,” she says. “In some networks, it is possible for a computer to act as a server and perform other functions as well.”
When the context is a hosting service, though, a dedicated server refers to the designation of a server for one client’s sole use. Essentially you get the rental of the machine itself, which typically also includes a Web connection and basic software. A server may also be called dedicated in this sense outside of a hosting company, to differentiate between a standalone server and cloud or other hosting models.
Getting the Most Value
While getting a dedicated server seems to be a solid decision theoretically, it is often cost-prohibitive to go that route. Along with the generally improved performance of cloud VM’s, they are also significantly more affordable than dedicated servers are. If you do decide to implement a dedicated infrastructure, you don’t want to make any mistakes that could diminish the value of your investment.
Dedicated hosting is naturally more sophisticated than other types of hosting such as shared, VPS, or cloud. It’s a great idea to be more proficient with your IT skills if you choose a dedicated setup. Otherwise, it’s easy to make errors – errors that can sometimes become incredibly expensive.
Here are five top mistakes made by businesses with dedicated systems, so you can avoid running into issues with your own server.
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Error #1 – Poor Cost Management
The problem that you will run into with dedicated solutions is the money, notes Rachel Gillevet of Web Host Industry Review. “Although there are no hidden costs or setup fees associated with most dedicated hosting plans,” she says, “many organizations tend to underestimate the amount of money they’ll need to expend on IT or – in the case of unmanaged hosting – maintenance costs.”
Since every organization wants to reduce the size of its tech budget as much as possible, you want to fully explore cost before deciding on a dedicated system. What is the total cost of ownership (TCO)?
Error #2 – Lack of Attention to Authorizations
When you actually have access to the dedicated server, it’s time to check three simple tasks off your list:
- Create a sophisticated, hard-to-crack password
- Disable root access
- Make sure that only a specific category of users has the ability to add, remove, or modify back-end files.
Those three tasks may sound very rudimentary to many tech professionals. However, skipping them is a common mistake for people who have never used dedicated hosting and aren’t aware of the need for care with logins and permissions.
Error #3 – General Security Neglect
A strong host will make sure that security safeguards are in place, and they should be able to prove it – with certifications for standards such as SSAE 16, ISO 27001:2013, and ISO 9001:2008 (all three of which are held by Superb).
Although it is good to check that hosting services are following industry standards, it’s also important to realize dedicated servers require more of a focus on security from you as the client. Specifically, you need to manage your own security applications and keep an eye on traffic to verify that breaches aren’t occurring.
Error #4 – Failure to Test
If you are still getting to know how your server works, it’s too early to bring it safely online, explains Gillevet. “Make sure you know how to properly use everything,” she says, “and learn the best practices for monitoring and security.”
In other words, you want to be prepared rather than trying to pick everything up “on the fly.”
Error #5 – Excessive concern with the server itself
A common area of oversight is focusing too much on the hardware. It’s incredibly important that the hosting service’s network is capable of delivering strong performance continually. Since that’s the case, you want to go beyond looking at the capabilities of a dedicated server when you choose a host. You want a strong network, with multiple built-in redundancies so that your system is reliable and properly protected from an isolated failure taking down your entire environment.
It’s easy to make mistakes with a dedicated server, especially if it’s a new form of hosting for you. If you do work with a hosting service, make sure you choose one that cares about its customers.
“I would not even consider another web hosting company as my experiences with you are always so positive,” says Superb client Diane Secor.
Image via Wikimedia user Victorgrigas
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