Dedicated Server: Choosing the right one

If you’ve decided that a dedicated server makes the most sense for you or your company, the next decision you have to make is just as important. Choosing the right dedicated server will be the difference between this being a good decision and one that is a complete waste of money.

The first thing you have to consider are your own resources. Specifically, do you have the technical knowledge necessary to handle the maintenance required for system administration? If you don’t, does someone in your company (most likely in the IT department)?

If the answer is “no”, don’t worry. It just means you need to pay for management services from the hosting company. Literally tell them that you have no experience with handling administrative duties and they’ll know what you need.

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Now, let’s take a look at your website. Do you utilize CPU-intensive scripts? How about video-transcoding servers, SQL servers or servers you leverage for virtualization? Do you have chat servers? Do you host gamers? For any of these purposes, it’s best to have dual processor servers – they’ll provide plenty of strength and multiple processors.

Memory is a vital feature to consider. No website will survive if it takes longer than four seconds to load, so get all the memory it takes to keep this from happening. RAM (Random Access Memory) is basically how much data storage you’ll have available on your server. The more of it you have, the faster your server will be. When in doubt, always pay for more RAM rather than gamble on having less.

Storage is also essential. However, you may not need as much as others. Does your website or company’s functions really need more than one hard drive? It might not, but it’s not a bad idea to have one for backup purposes, especially if you have a lot of sensitive information.

There are also different types of storage – SATA, SAS and SSD. SATA is the slowest (and cheapest) of these three, and is what you would primarily use if you require a lot of space, but do not put much load on the storage. SAS is faster than SATA, but is more expensive (but not as expensive as SSD). This type of storage is used where you don’t require a lot of disk space, but disk speed is important (for example, database access). As for SSD, it is the fastest and most expensive of these types of storage. SSD drives are usually small, but incredibly fast. These are mostly used where disk access speed is the most important feature.

Finally, there’s bandwidth. You’ll want to think about two things here. First, how much traffic are you currently getting to your site? Then, you’ll need to forecast how that number may change. Are you switching to a dedicated server because something your business is doing may significantly up your traffic?

At the end of the day, buying a dedicated server is a lot like buying a car. Once the salesman understands your needs, they’ll be able to guide you through the process. Nonetheless, you want to be sure you understand the basics to ensure you’re comfortable with your purchase.

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