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How to Choose a Dedicated Server?

Published on 3/4/2011 by

Dedicated servers are a type of Internet hosting used by clients who lease an entire web hosting server. If you’re in the market for a dedicated server, do you know how to choose one that will be a good fit for you? Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a dedicated server.

How much do you want to spend?

Your budget should be the first thing to factor in before even glancing at dedicated server options. Dedicated servers come in all price ranges and with a variety of options. Before looking at the many different types of dedicated servers on the market, understand just how much you have to spend. Most companies bill monthly, some charge for setting up your server, and others charge for add-ons like IP addresses and firewalls. Knowing your bottom line ahead of time will help to narrow your choices.

What operating system do you wish to use?

When you invest in a dedicated server you’ll be able to choose which operating system is installed.  For most, this means a choice between various flavors of Linux or Windows, though there are a few companies now specializing in Mac OS X servers. Just because your home computer runs Windows does not mean you have to stick with a Windows server operating system. Familiarize yourself with each operating system and know which is the better choice for you.

What are your basic requirements?

You’ll be presented with many choices when it comes to setting up your web hosting server.  What do you need?

  • Metered or unmetered bandwidth
  • Managed or unmanaged server
  • Hardware specifications (processor, RAM, hard drive, second hard drive, etc.)
  • Operating system
  • Control panel
  • Virus protection
  • Location of datacenter
  • Uplink/port speed
  • Dedicated IPs
  • Firewall

What do you need from your web hosting company?

Just as you’ll need to configure your server to work optimally to your needs, you’ll also be in need of a web hosting company that can live up to your high standards. What do you require from a web hosting company? You choices include:

Uptime guarantee:  This is the amount of time per month your hosting company will guarantee your server will be online.

Level of support:  Do you need a host who’s available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Do you prefer phone support or would you like to email your host for assistance?

Free setup:  Some hosting companies charge a fee to setup your server and get it online and others do not.

Contracts:  With some hosts you’ll be on a month-to-month contract and others require you commit to six months or a year of service. Which option works better for you?

Once you’ve narrowed down your needs, budget and server requirements you’ll have a better understanding of what type of dedicated server hosting will be best for you. Read a few reviews to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs and ups and downs of each company, and don’t be afraid to speak directly to sales representatives about your web hosting plans.