When upgrading to a hosted dedicated server, it is important to remember that not all dedicated servers are the same and neither are the hosting solutions offered by service providers. As it can be difficult to know the key features to look for when finding a provider, we’ve put together this list of those we think are the most essential. Hopefully, they will give you a clearer insight into what to look for.
1. Operating system choices
One of the factors in choosing a dedicated hosting solution is the freedom to have your own choice of operating system. The applications you need for your business may require a specific type of operating system, such as a Windows Server OS or one of the different Linux distributions. In some circumstances, the software you run may only be compatible with a legacy OS version. Make sure that the provider you go with enables you to run the OS you need.
2. Server configuration
It’s not just the choice of operating system that is important. Another key requirement is the ability to have total control over your server so that you can configure it to meet your needs. You may, for example, need full root SSH / RDP root access.
3. Hardware choices
As dedicated servers can be expensive, always look for a hosting provider that offers plenty of hardware options. This way, you get a hardware setup that has the capacity and performance capabilities you require, without having to pay for something that is far more powerful than you need.
Ideally, you should have a range of options over the CPU model, number of cores and speed, the size of RAM, the type of RAM (e.g., DDR3 or DDR4), hard disk capacity, hard disk type (HDD or SSD), bandwidth and RAID.
4. Control panel options
Great control panels make it much easier to manage your server and the applications which you run on it. While vanilla control panels may be sufficient for some companies’ needs, many benefit from using cPanel & WHM (for Linux servers only) or Plesk (now for both Windows and Linux servers).
Easy to navigate and with a wide range of incredibly powerful, built-in management tools, cPanel and Plesk are industry leading control panels used by millions of businesses across the globe.
If your server is hacked, your IT operations could be taken offline and your company put at a standstill. If there is a data breach, there’s also the risk of huge fines, reputational damage and customer legal action. This is why 60% of hacked companies go out of business within 6 months.
With this in mind, security should be a decisive factor when choosing a dedicated hosting provider. You should consider everything from the location and physical security of the datacentre to the range of security features your host provides as part of your package and as additional services.
You should look for next-generation firewalls, intrusion prevention, web app security, DDoS protection, and malware and virus prevention. In addition, they should also provide SSL certificates, dedicated IP addresses and spam filtering.
6. Server management
Outsourcing server management to your service provider not only makes things easier; it could also save you significantly in the long run. This service will include such things as OS updates, patching, application installation and server monitoring. Server monitoring constantly checks the health of your server and its performance to ensure it remains in top condition.
7. High availability
If your server runs critical applications, you cannot afford for it to go offline. The consequences could be disastrous. This is why it is essential that you choose a host that can guarantee high availability – i.e., that your server will stay online for 99.95% of the time or higher. If this is not good enough for you, here at eUKhost we can offer 100% uptime, guaranteed by SLA. This is because our N+1 datacentre model means we have a redundant backup of everything waiting to take over if a failure happens.
8. First class technical support
There may be times when your IT team needs your service provider’s technical support to carry out a task or to troubleshoot an issue. This support should be an inclusive part of your contract with the provider and, very importantly, be available 24/7 by phone, email, live chat or ticket. After all, if your dedicated server goes offline on Friday night, you don’t want to wait until Monday before it gets fixed.
Technical support differs entirely from customer support. By technical, we mean having a specialist IT team available that can provide solutions at the point of contact. They will have the necessary expertise and be actively able to deal with any problem.
Aside from person to person assistance, a good hosting provider will also publish a range of helpful online resources for their customers, such as knowledge bases, tutorials, technical forums and ‘how-to’ blog posts.
Dedicated servers offer companies a high-performance, large storage solution for hosting their applications. However, to get the best from your dedicated server, you need to consider a number of options, such as your choice of operating system, hardware and control panel, your freedom to configure the server as required, the security, server management and technical support put in place by a provider and the guaranteed uptime offered.