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Server administrators must be able to apply kernel upgrades, service packs, and software patches, as well as provide ample security, monitor traffic, update server applications, balance server loads, and configure email, FTP, and DNS services.
In exchange for competency in above functions, best uses for a dedicated web server environment would be:
· mission-critical sites requiring custom server management and software implementation. · dedicated hosting resellers, web developers and designers who need greater flexibility, reliability and security for their clients · backbones of corporate intranets · robust and dependable servers for streaming media, online gaming, and e-mail or chat applications · complex application sites with high traffic and secure information such as ecommerce, database, and multimedia sites. · enterprise-level web sites · Web sites which may have content restrictions if hosted elsewhere (e.g. adult targeted sites.)
How to decide: Overall, cost, security of data and equipment, bandwidth availability, knowledge and integrity of web-hosting provider, uptime, hardware maintenance, and any technical support offered by dedicated web host are important deciding factors. Although your specific dedicated web hosting needs may be unique in a few ways, generally, one can make a decision on a dedicated web server provider by considering following things:
Data Transfer Rates: Data transfer will need to be determined based on amount of information that will be downloaded, as well as type of content a site will be sharing (general text vs. high resolution graphics and multimedia). A dedicated web host will generally have various packages that will allow one to choose data transfer level, normally measured in “gigabytes per month”. Higher levels of data transfer rates normally mean more cost, so utilization of first few months to correlate data transfer rates and traffic patterns is key.
Platforms: The two most common systems available are Windows based servers versus some flavor of UNIX (Linux and Solaris). Windows is historically more expensive, but is generally regarded as more user-friendly, especially with ubiquitous presence of Windows-based pc’s and administrators. Linux, on other hand, is less expensive to install, but harder to maintain, as a steeper learning curve exists for those unfamiliar with it. Therefore, operating system installed on a dedicated web server should depend on a couple of factors.
First, platform should be conducive to coding in which website and necessary applications are developed. Next, since administration of dedicated server will be done by subscriber, necessary skill base to support platform must be in place. Commands and administration techniques are definitely platform-specific.
Monitoring: Dedicated server monitoring works to prevent service interruptions. The web host will provide a service that can, at a pre-set frequency, check a website to see downtime.
Automation: Although dedicated web servers may require a greater degree of skill, certain dedicated web hosting companies may offer software that will automate common procedures, thus lessening high level knowledge necessary to maintain servers and implement new services.
Data Backup: Some dedicated web hosting providers assist web hosting subscriber with data backups. Finding a dedicated server provider who will assist in this process could alleviate hassle of doing it yourself and can allow one to devote time to other things.
Scalability: Dedicated web hosting providers should be able to account for major growth. Progressive expansion can be accounted for by asking a web host if modules of extra space, bandwidth, or better yet, larger packages can be purchased to allow easy transition to better hardware and software.
Service Level Agreements: More dedicated web hosts are publishing their SLA’s, which thoroughly documents what they will do in exchange for what customer is responsible for. For instance, some dedicated server hosts are offering features such as: 100% uptime guarantees, unlimited live answer technical phone-based support, free upgrades of patches, hot-fixes, personal Dedicated Sales account managers, maintenance staff with spare parts for all server configurations, and more. A full understanding of commitment that a dedicated web host is offering will help in a decision to utilize that service.
Rodel Garcia is a freelance programmer and web developer. Owner and webmaster of http://www.web-hosting-service-directory.com/