We always hear a word Data Center, when we speak about Web Hosting industry. Most of us are more worried with the location of Data Center. What actually is a Data Center? What is the importance of it? Let us try to learn and get a brief idea about Data Center.
A data center also spelled as datacenter or datacentre is also called as server farm. Sometimes, it is also known as server cluster. It is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It comprises all the security features with connections for redundant data communication, power supply for backups and air conditioning, fire suppression to make the environment secure and safe. It often has backup servers. If the primary server fails, these backup servers can take over its function.
A data center can be setup in one room of a building, one or more floors, or an entire building. Most of the equipment is often in the form of dedicated servers mounted in 19 inch rack cabinets. These are often placed in single rows forming corridors between them. In this way, people can easily access the rear and front end of the dedicated server.
The size of server can differ. There are few equipments like storage devices or mainframe computers which may be as big as the size of rack itself. These are usually placed alongside racks. There are large data centers which use shipping containers. These shipping containers can be packed with 1000 or more Servers. This is more costly. How? Because if there is a need to upgrade or downgrade or repair a server, whole container is needed to be replaced. A single server is neither upgraded/downgraded nor repaired.
In short Data Center is a room with multiple servers. We will learn about the physical layout of the Data Centers shortly.
Introducing benefits of Dedicated Server can be the part of initials/basics of hosting. The previous posts can be helpful for you to know how really can a Dedicated Server be helpful and beneficial. However, I would like to shortly bring all at one place to make it easier for visitors to locate the benefits without any efforts. As you all know that in order to launch a website, the most important thing is kind of hosting you select, hence it becomes essential to know the hosting options available. Most of us know the types of web hosting services available starting from shared web hosting service, virtual web hosting service, semi-dedicated web hosting service, and dedicated web hosting service. Among the options available, virtual web hosting server and dedicated web hosting uk server are power-packed and very versatile.
For the new users the Shared web hosting service or the VPS/Semi-Dedicated Servers features might be suitable, however, they could face problems associated with them. It is simply because these two types share the web server among multiple users. The shared environment of a web server cannot fulfill a professional site's requirement. Such sites might need a complete control over the web server. Also, control over the resources like web space, bandwidth and the privilege to install additional software and applications is a part of efficiency.
The top quality professional websites hardly accepts instability and less reliability of shared web servers. Hence, considering any of the Dedicated Server is only the best solution. If you want your website to run independent of other users, the resources to function reliably and get 24/7 nonstop performance then the Dedicated Server is the the way for you to go. With Dedicated hosting service, you not only get the complete control over the Web Server but also on the hardware and software that are used to run it.
If you look Dedicated Servers with the support point of view, you can be assured for the top quality support. It is a common practice to offer top quality service and support to the top customers. If you own a dedicated server, you are one of the top customers for the hosting company and hence you must receive the top level of their support. The hosting provider would not only look after the maintenance and the uptime of your server but also take care of the applications and hardware installed on the server.
Opting for dedicated server assures you no problems with memory allocation, bandwidth, the disk space. You will also not undergo any other system errors that the shared web servers normally face. However, you may find a dedicated server to be expensive at times as it needs the actual hardware, operating system, and other necessary applications and tools to be installed for just one customer. Hence, it is recommended to be considered only if it is affordable for you.
If we speak about the management of Dedicated Servers, there is no standard set that can clearly define Dedicated Server Providers' role about managing the servers. It differs from provider to provider and on their Standard Terms, how they defnie it. Each provider can define the management role differently. Few hosting providers define Fully Managed Dedicated Server as owning a web based control panel while few of them define it as to have System Engineers available 24/7 round the clock to handle all server and network related functions.
Which services are included in Server Management?
It can include the following services:-
Regular Server Monitoring
Restoration and Backup
Software/Application Installation and Configuration
Note: - All the above-mentioned services are Server side. In other words, all of them are accessible to the Dedicated Server Providers only. A server owner gets many other services, for e.g., root or remote access to the server.
With most of the providers, they do keep Administrative maintenance. This includes upgrades, daemon updates and sometimes its configuration, adding, creating and managing user accounts, email accounts, domains etc.
Different terminologies in Server Management:-
Hosting providers use few terminologies depending on the level of service they offer. Let us see what they are.
Fully Managed - Monitoring, software updates, reboots, security patches and operating system upgrades are included in this. Customers are free from any kind of "headache", if server goes down.
Managed - This includes medium level of management, monitoring, updates, and a limited amount of support. Customers can perform limited tasks.
Self-Managed - Only regular monitoring and some maintenance are included in this. Customers provide most operations and tasks on dedicated server.
Unmanaged - The uk web hosting / server provider is not at all responsible. The only responsibility is to offer Network connection and the resources depending on the plans. It is all customers’ responsibility to provide all maintenance, upgrades, patches, and security.
If you are on shared hosting plan or are hosting a site on VPS, you may need to upgrade in future as the traffic of your site increses. We have seen when do you need to consider Dedicated Server. However, there is one more service offered in this industry. It is known as "Co-location".
When you have decided that you need a dedicated environment which would be non-shared, you look for either Dedicated Server Hosting or Colocation. It is really an important decision to be made. There are many comapnies offering Managed Dedicated Servers and Colocation. Let us see if you really need to colocate a server or leasing a dedicated server is the fine solution for your hosting needs.
To understand what actually colocation is, I would say it as: The service where customer's resources or hardware are hosted in hosting provider's data center. The hosting provider is only responsible for offering Power and Connectivity. If you are looking for colocation then you are responsible to provide hardware, hard drives, wires and all other resources required.
Colocating a server gets expensive when you pay for the resources, hardware and the hosting provider asks you for an amount that equals to the cost of dedicated server. Be notified that this charges are only for the power and connectivity that a hosting provider offers to you. Also, there you will be responsible for any kind of hardware failure. Thus, making the service more expensive. If you need more resources in future then upgrade also needs to be done by you. Some web host uk providers may also charge you an additional cost if you need high connectivity speed.
So far, I believe that leasing a Dedicated Server is only the solution for you. If so, when shall you opt for Colocation of a server? Yes, there is a time when you shall colocate a server rather than leasing a dedicated server. If you have more boxes or hard drives, you have multiple dedicated servers then you shall opt for Colocation Server.
If you decide to purchase a control panel for your Dedicated Server, you might think of the options available for you and the one that you shall buy. In general, most of the web hosting companies offer cPanel and Plesk control panels. These are the two most popular control panels offered so far. The basic purpose for providing such control panel is to enable users to create and modify their website easily. Their functionality is designed in such a way that even if a user does not consume high technical knowledge, he/she can use it easily, following the tabs and options available within the panel.
cPanel is commonly used with Linux Dedicated Servers. Plesk is compatible with both Linux and Windows though it is commonly preferred for Windows Dedicated Servers. Comparing reviews for both, Plesk and cPanel, it is concluded that cPanel is mostly preferred amongst the users. Many of us who use Windows were eager to see a cPanel version compatible with Windows OS. Since 2006, it was said that it was supposed to be launched soon, however, no one was aware of how and when would it happen. Finally, cPanel has released the beta of its first Microsoft Windows Server® 2008-based product. cPanel has renamed this newly launched control panel from "cPanel Server Suite" to "Enkompass". Though Enkompass has been launched, it is currently in BETA TESTING. So, the hosting providers are still providing Plesk control panel with Windows Dedicated Server. We still have to wait to see Enkompass control panel to pass the Beta Testing and get popular amongst the website owners and Windows Server owners.
While choosing a control panel, you must think of few aspects and then make a decision about which control panel you must select. The most important factor is to consider a control panel that is easiest and has better in-built web utilities. Now, we have two options to select from, cPanel and Plesk. There are other control panels also; however, as mentioned earlier, these two are the most popular ones. What all they can manage? What are their features?
The basic features offered by both cPanel as well as Plesk are similar. Creating, editing, deleting and managing your email accounts, managing your primary domain, add-on domains, sub-domains are the main features of both these control panels. Thus, providing the access to users for creating and modifying their websites is the initial aim of these panels. In addition, there are various add-ons available under these control panels using which one can install/uninstall the software like billing software, to say. Hence, to conclude we can say the compatibility and capabilities of both are sufficient for them to be the best control panels of all.
When you are ready to buy a Dedicated Server, let us first think over the configuration of the server. Many hosting companies offer Control Panel free on shared hosting plans, however, they charge for it, on VPS or Dedicated Servers. Thus, before investing any amount you shall know that if you really need the control panel.
Basically, control panel is used to manage your domains, your email accounts, your FTP accounts and install the one-click applications etc. There are many other advanced features of control panel. However, it is not the topic what I want to discuss. Coming to the point, if control panel has these features, can you manage the server without control panel? The answer is, yes! You get complete RDP Access or full root SSH Access to the server. That helps you to manage your server. If it is so then why shall one look for the control panel option?
To answer this, if you do have much technical knowledge, you are not much familiar with the concept of Dedicated server, you cannot manage it without anyone's help, you need a control panel to help you when you are in need.
Hence, if you know the working of Dedicated Servers, you can play with it using the remote access then it is always better to consider it without a control panel. Control Panel is resource consuming; sometimes, it may require more resources than what your site consumes. To keep yourself released with the frustration of unwanted resource usage, it is better to consider a server without control panel. The point here is, you must be a tech-person.
Now, when you have decided the server-side Operating System, there is one more thing that needs to be decided. There are both Managed and Unmanaged Servers available in the market.
There are many hosting providers that offer Unmanaged Dedicated Servers. So, what actually is Unmanaged Dedicated Server? Unmanaged Servers are all your responsibility. The hosting provider will only be responsible for the hardware, network and reboots that you may require. There might be restriction on number of reboots per day or month. You will to take care of all the software that you may install or even if server gets infected or compromised. However, if you want the provider to help you then they will charge you the administration fees.
Thus, if you are familiar with how dedicated servers work, you can simply opt for Unmanaged Dedicated Server. However, in case if you get stuck and you really need them to help you, the cost is so high that can't be affordable. Hence, the best solution is to start with Managed Dedicated Server only.
So, how does it work?
We have briefly seen the way Managed Dedicated Server work in an article "Do I need a Dedicated Server?" in this blog. Just to be specific, if you consider Managed Dedicated Server, you are free of the unwanted headache that you might have with Unmanaged Dedicated Servers. This is because; everything related to the server is cared by the hosting provider. You are just responsible for the application that you may use. In short, Managed Dedicated Servers worth the cost.
If you have decided to consider Dedicated Server and you think that it is the only solution for you to host your website then it is now time to decide the server-side Operating System. Usually, there are two OSes preferred; Linux and Windows. Looking at both the options available, many of us think that they should opt for Windows, as it is the generally used on the home PC. However, they are wrong in what they think. Why?
The concept of server is very different. We cannot compare a PC with server. It is easy to use Windows than Linux on our PC as it is user friendly OS. Many of us do not know commands for Linux and it is not that easy to use them as well. Getting confused with, which one to select… I have an advice for you:
Just use any of the search engines, say Google; and search the System requirements for the application/program you wish to host. Check if it is supported on either of both the OS and consider the best that suits your application. Either way, you can also decide it in this way; if ASP, FrontPage, ASP.NET environment, Windows Streaming Media, Access, MS SQL Server or any of the other Microsoft’s owned technologies are used for the development of your site then you should opt for Windows hosting. Otherwise, you can consider Linux Dedicated Server also.
We shall always look for the Fully Managed Hosting provider, so that even if we get stuck somewhere then there is someone to take care and help us. This will definitely help our website to be in a helpful and creative environment. So, let’s decide for the best hosting provider and I believe it is here.
Dedicated Server gives high flexibility and more options for your website. Shared hosting plans do not supported many features. Thus, it becomes necessary for you to move to either VPS or Dedicated Servers. Usually you have root SSH /admin RDP access to the server on VPS as well as Dedicated Servers. You can manage and modify various aspects of the server behavior - software running, configuration etc. Therefore, if your site needs more than what any shared hosting plan can offer or if you need to install any specific application then VPS and dedicated server are the options for you. In addition, if you have a VPS or dedicated server, you are free to host unlimited number of domains and can have unlimited email accounts, FTP accounts etc, irrespective of the server-side OS.
A question may come to your mind that if you get root SSH /admin RDP access on VPS as well then why to go for Dedicated Server? The answer is that if you consider Dedicated Server then the whole CPU and memory is on your disposal. Your site is the only one that uses the server resources. The resources are only leased to you, thus, unlike VPS; there is no one to share them. Memory and CPU allocations for a VPS are far lesser as compared to a physical dedicate server. In addition, you can install whatever programs and software you wish. Many applications need more resources than they are offered on VPS. In this case, it becomes necessary for us to consider Dedicated Server only.
Most companies rent dedicated servers for a monthly fee providing certain amount of bandwidth, disk space and one or more dedicated IP addresses. Unlike any other plans, we can even have additional RAM, disk space, bandwidth etc.
The greatest disadvantage of a dedicated server is its price. It costs much higher than a shared hosting plan. Next, if you are on Shared hosting plan, the web-hosting provider takes care of the server upgrades, security, hacker attacks, etc. However, if you are on a dedicated server, these tasks in most of the cases are your own responsibility. Thus, making it necessary for you to be familiar with system administration before going for a dedicated or at least hire a system admin to take care of your server.
Many companies offer the so-called "Managed dedicated" servers. These server are completely opposite of Unmanaged servers. The provider will take care of every thing you require on your server, from installation to configuration. They will also monitor the server for you, maintain it regularly, carry out the System Administration tasks and will also login into the server in case the services gets crashed. Most probably, providers of Fully Managed Servers do not provide direct root access or Administrator access to their client to keep the servers safe or to make sure that the client does break them all the time.
Some dedicated servers, also known as High End Dedicated Servers, come along with a lot of software installed. This includes regular features as email, database server, web server etc. and the management software or Control Panel eg. cPanel, Plesk etc. with web interface to manage different aspects of the server such as configuring websites, creating mailboxes, ftp user etc.
When do I need a dedicated server?
There is no simple answer to that. In general, you may need a dedicated server in any of the following cases:
Security - Being on a dedicated server, you are on your own. The server is not shared amongst any other users. Nobody can have access to the server. Therefore, you can be sure that your data is safe. For example, on a shared host, in case of wrong configuration of server, any other users on the server might be able to read your data. If you own VPS, there is System Admin to read your data. However, if you own a dedicated server, there is nobody who can access the server, except you.
CPU power - If you own a shared hosting plan or you have a VPS then CPU, RAM and I/O resources are shared with other users on same server. If, in case, any user exceeds the use of CPU and/or RAM, the server performance can suffer greatly, sometimes enforcing it to go down. In this case, you do not have any option other than waiting for hosting provider to take necessary action. This is not the case with dedicated server; the CPU works only for your site. It does not mean that the server can never go down, however, sometimes, you have control on the situation to work on it and get it up as soon as possible.
Performance - Every thing that we have discussed in this article, directly or indirectly relates to performance. As there is no one to share the server, indeed, you get best performance.
Indeed, the Managed Dedicated Server is the best service offered in Hosting Industry.
Now, when we are aware about how important it is to select the Web Hosting provider, we shall also know the importance of selecting the Web Hosting package. Few of us use the hosting services to run their businesses online or personal websites, whereas few of us use it host files, run game servers, email marketing etc.
While making the decision for web hosting plan, we shall first decide what we want to host. When we know the actual need for hosting plan, we shall get an idea about the disk space that website may require or if there is any specific program that we wish, host then we must know the system requirements for that particular program. We shall have an idea about the number of visitors and accordingly know the bandwidth usage.
Selecting the server side Operating System also pays an important role. There are 2 OS used as Server Side OSs, Linux and Windows. If you intend to develop your site using ASP, FrontPage, ASP.NET environment, Windows Streaming Media, Access, MS SQL Server, or any of the other Microsoft owned technologies then you should opt for Windows hosting. Otherwise, we can opt for Linux or cPanel Hosting.
Thus, we can select the right hosting package, if we know a bit about our website or the best solution is to contact the Web Developer for help to select the appropriate small business website hosting plan.