How to Choose the Best Dedicated Server?

Read about three main factors that should be considered when you’re shopping for a dedicated server. Learn how to bring your requirements into correlation with providers’ possibilities and your budget.

Choosing a dedicated server can be a very challenging task, because everything should be taken into account, including technical metrics, quality of hardware, performance and cost. This short guide will help you to make the final decision and select an appropriate option.

These factors should be considered when choosing the best dedicated server for your business.

1. Technology

For technology to satisfy your demands, you need to assess the following requirements:

  1. Operation System. There are two types of servers used today: Linux-based and Windows-based. If you are going to host ASP.NET code, MS SQL Server or to exploit Microsoft IIS, you definitely need a Microsoft Windows Dedicated Server. If you plan to use an open source software, for instance, Apache/php/mysql (LAMP) or Ruby On Rails, you should opt for a Linux server.
  2. Web Server or Database Server. Depending on your technology requirements, you might need a server with a sufficient supply of RAM, especially if server work is based on Windows, Java or Ruby, all of which are pretty resource-demanding.
  3. Those who are going to be engaged into SQL, video-transcoding, virtualization, or development and running of special applications like game or chat servers, should consider a multi-processor server, for instance, dual Xeon server.
  4. If you’re going to host a lot of multimedia files (flash videos, etc) or images, you need to consider bandwidth and uplink speed guaranteed by hosting providers.
  5. You’re not a tech-savvy user, and don’t have much experience of administering your own server, you should consider a managed server. Decent web hosting companies offer competent customer support on 24/7 basis, as well as expert advice on how to balance load, tailor the environment, handle technical issues, and so on.
  6. Pay attention to the location of the data center and compare it with the location of your target audience. The consistency of web host is also crucial: ideally, uptime should be 100%. But it’s not possible even for the best dedicated server, so opt for solutions with 99,9% uptime.

2. Budget

When searching for a dedicated server, you need to know which kinds of costs you’ll have to cover to understand the total expenses.

  1. Monthly fee. Look at the monthly traffic included in the price.
  2. Setup fee. Some hosting providers can configure your servers absolutely for free.
  3. Software licensing fees. These include expenses on database or virtualization software, as well as proprietary operating system. If you’re going to use open-source environment, you shouldn’t bother about those. Sometimes you may need to enter the sales process to check the prices.
  4. Cost of upgrades. Extra hard drives and resources can appear to be pretty expensive. Besides, you should keep in mind the maximum upgrade capacity of the initial chassis and the motherboard.
  5. Additional services and management. As a rule, dedicated server packages already include either several hours, or unlimited customer support per month. Additional measures and support are typically charged at an hourly rate.
  6. Cost of extra traffic. Some companies guarantee unmetered traffic, but, as a rule, in this case traffic is usually limited in some other ways like bandwidth. Find out how much traffic is included in monthly price and compare it with what you expect. This way, you can calculate how much it will cost you, if you exceed traffic limit.

To top it off, you should consider some possible minor costs that are often neglected:

  1. Scalability expenses – can you scale up your server to deal with more traffic?
  2. Downtime costs – although you cannot fully eliminate the risk of hardware failure, you can do all possible to reduce it. Compare the cost of downtime with the cost of a high-availability solution.
  3. Backup options and recovery plan. As a rule, hosting providers charge for data protection and backups separately, because not all clients require it.
  4. Training of your technical staff.
  5. Decommissioning expenses and migration. If you want to migrate to another server, or just cancel your subscription, it may not always free. Rare providers refund clients in case of cancellation of services.

As soon as you calculate all of these expenses, you will find out that the prices between providers differ considerably. You should understand your exact hosting needs, extra expenses you may incur during the service period, and what’s included in the price. Don’t orget that it’s always better to do business with a trusted and proven web hosting company. Think how much you are ready to pay to reduce risks and maintain peace of mind. Investment in reliability, support and new technologies means a lot in long terms.

3. Business requirements

Additionally, you may have some industry-related requirements – don’t ignore them and select providers who satisfy your needs. Here are some widespread considerations:

  1. Secure access to dedicated server and data integrity.
  2. Security options, including protection against DDoS attacks, setting of VPN, firewalls, etc.
  3. Disaster recovery.
  4. High availability.
  5. Email and calendars.
  6. PCI compliance.
  7. Management of large-scale files.

Now when you’ve taken all technology requirements into consideration, you are ready to shop for a dedicated server and find a perfect solution.