The SME guide to dedicated hosting management
Dedicated hosting is one of the best pathways to getting your online presence alive and available for audiences around the world. With a dedicated server, you can be sure that computing power is dedicated to your website’s uptime and performance. However, there is a huge range of options when it comes to dedicated hosting and even small businesses have a lot of choices. Here are some of the most important dedicated hosting management aspects you should evaluate when you consider a dedicated hosting solution.
The most important dedicated server management aspects
Choice of operating systems
It’s important that you have flexibility in the choice of operating systems (OS). The OS you choose to launch your website on will have an impact on your website and how it functions for many years to come, and you don’t want to be forced to make a certain choice just because a hosting company restricts you.
Most good dedicated server management companies give you a choice between a range of Windows and Linux operating systems. Typically, you can choose which operating system you would like to install when you check out your hosting package. It’s a good idea to add the OS to your shopping basket when you check out to make sure it is pre-installed on your dedicated hosting machine.
Server security is paramount on the internet. Almost every website is constantly under attack from thousands of sources and you need to make sure your server is secure at all times.
That is why you should closely review your dedicated server management’s security features before you plump for a dedicated server provider so that you can avoid any chance of hacks and viruses. Look into the security provision in place in the data centre of your provider of choice, and make sure their team properly controls for security factors when they interact with customers.
Websites grow over time: not only do they attract more traffic, they also grow in size and scope. So, the dedicated server you started out with may not be sufficient within just a few months or years. Make sure your dedicated server provider can easily help you to upgrade a server, scaling the amount of computing power that is available to your business.
Flexibility is also an important factor, in case you wish to move your website to a different type of platform. Cloud and hybrid hosting environments can ensure flexibility, while your hosting provider should be good at transferring applications from one environment to the next, in case you need an upgrade without re-configuring your entire website from scratch.
Other factors you should consider
Getting the basics right is important but in the long run some of the smaller factors can end up having a really big impact on how you run your website. Here are some of the other dedicated hosting management factors that we think are important.
Dedicated server customization
Some websites make use of very advanced technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and you need very capable hardware to do so. In fact, you may need specially customized hardware to enable AI and machine learning applications.
To future-proof your site it is worth looking at a hosting company which can help you customize your dedicated server management solution to enable more advanced computing requirements. The ability to offer this level of customization is what will distinguish a run of the mill service provider from a company that can provide solid hosting solutions.
Budget companies will be able to provide you with fixed, pre-built solutions only. Professional hosting companies can provide you with a customized solution, fully meeting your requirements.
Software for dedicated hosting management
Instead of simply providing you with remote access to a server, a solid hosting company will provide you with more advanced control panel access. In other words, a control panel that can let you manage the advanced features of a single server, or batch manage a group of servers.
You have a lot of options to pick from when it comes to dedicated server management software, including Plesk and cPanel. Other control panels you could consider include ISPConfig and Ispmanager but each of these has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Plesk is perhaps the most popular, with this particular control panel in use for over ten years. It allows extensive automation across web hosting applications and makes it easy to manage the day to day tasks. Plesk Onyx runs on both Windows and Linux and works seamlessly in the background, managing performance requirements and access rights. It’s one of the most advanced dedicated server environment management platforms.
Help with troubleshooting
It is easy to get stuck when configuring and maintaining a dedicated server management platform. Though you could rely on technical support, sometimes looking up tips and troubleshooting sheets can be a lot quicker.
Good hosting companies will provide an extensive and user-friendly range of tutorials and tips that can help you in dealing with the most common issues on their platforms. You should find plenty of reliable and relevant information in these libraries, and they can even be referred to by technical support in case you need step-by-step instructions on a topic.
Audio and video manuals
Sometimes the easiest way to get a point across is using an audio or video tutorial. While online tip sheets are a must, and incredibly useful, many dedicated server management tasks are simply better explained using multimedia. Look out for a host running a YouTube channel or Vimeo page explaining some of the more difficult management tasks. Tutorials in video format are very easy to follow, and you can easily share them with your co-workers to spread the knowledge.
We’ve outlined a number of important factors that should make it easier for you to choose the right host for your requirements. Perhaps the most essential of these are the issues surrounding scalability and upgradeability, but we would also encourage you to look out for customization options and an assurance of solid support in the future.