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November 03, 2004

Choosing a Dedicated Server

When choosing your next dedicated server it's important to make sure you are always comparing apples to apples. Often shoppers searching on price alone find themselves months into their deal frustrated with lack of service, while others use overkill, and end up paying for services never even used. For the very basics, here are a few things to consider for your next dedicated server.

Operating System
Your choice of platform will depend to a large extent on the types of applications you are using and the skills and knowledge you already possess. The two most well known operating systems are Windows 2000 and Unix (which includes the Linux, and Solaris platforms). Typically your purpose for the server will determine what platform you will need. If you are looking for a cost effective way to host a bunch of web sites, Unix is probably your best bet. If you have a site that uses ASP and needs Microsoft SQL server then you are going to need a Windows server. If you are using a dedicated server for something like an email server or a firewall then it can really boil down to what you are most comfortable with. There are great applications for these cases available for both Unix and Windows environments.

Data Transfer / Bandwidth
Data transfer options are getting more and more generous as the industry gets more and more competitive. Beware, just because a host says you can have unlimited transfer, does not necessarily guarantee that they can make it available. Most dedicated server plans are going to offer anywhere from 50 - 500 GB of transfer each month. Take note of who each host uses for their internet connectivity. A dedicated server provider should have at least 2 redundant internet connections from various providers but most have even more than that these days.

Managed Services
Look for our upcoming feature about managed vs unmanaged dedicated hosting services - so we won't go into great details here but - be sure you know what managed services you will need from your provider and whether or not it is included with your plan. For example, some hosts may perform various monitoring, upgrade and backup services with your plan, while some provide nothing but the server. A crude analogy may be something like renting a parking space in a big city - some places may charge the battery once a month, wash it and make sure your radio does not get stolen, while others may simply be providing a place for you to park your car.

06:06 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink