Even if your business is pretty small, the choice of a web hosting server can be a challenging process. With hundreds of providers and resellers around it’s hard to decide where to start from. In fact, you should consider several aspects to make the choice fairly simple. Take a look at what matters for making the right decision.
Which kind of server is ideal for me?
Doing your own research while selecting a dedicated hosting server can appear to be enlightening and interesting, but we still recommend contacting provider and consulting support agents to find out which hosting server would be the best for your small business. Trust well-established companies that have thousands of clients and know which server exactly will be tailored to your needs.
What is a small business server is like?
A dedicated server is a remote computer that has permanent connection to the Internet. It may be applied to host the whole spectrum of applications and services that can be accessed via the Net, including:
- Safe email hosting.
- Hosting of a website or online store.
- Hosting SaaS applications, for instance, customer relationships, invoice generation, workflow management, or software for collaboration.
- Combining multiple virtual servers.
- Backing-up mission-critical data.
- Storage and edition of documents.
- Virtual desktops for employees.
Even a small business needs such services, because they can boost efficiency of work considerably. A truly powerful dedicated web server can support all of that at the same time, though you can divide the functions among several small servers instead of trying to build a one-fits-all solution. Set off by considering this important factor.
Mind the operating system
Selection of the appropriate operating system for your web hosting server is what defines whether your work will be in order or in chaos. Why does it matter? Despite the fact that a server in its nature is very close to a desktop PC, it differs in a number of ways. While desktop machine is created to interact with a single user, a server is a multi-user aggregate that may provide the whole range of services to tens or thousands of people that access it via network connection. Since dedicated servers are exploited differently depending on users’ aims, there is a need for a server-specific OS.
The vast majority of servers have either Linux, or Microsoft operating system. Linux was designed to deal with multiple users and is available in a huge number of distributions – each includes a complete server operating system together with a package manager for user to install software (for instance, an email server, or a web server). CentOS, Ubuntu, and Debian are the most widespread Linux distributions.
Microsoft Windows Server is another operating system created for web hosting servers. The package includes instruments for virtualization support, special web server applications and security tools together with a firewall.
From one point of view, Linux-based server operating systems are preferable, because they’re typically free, supported by professional system administrators, and are compatible with a huge number of high-quality open source software, most of which is free as well.
From another point of view, Linux-based operating system may turn out to be challenging for business owner, because it requires at least basic technical knowledge. If you know how to manage Windows and would rather control your dedicated server with a GUI instead of the command line, Windows Server is an obvious solution. If you need to exploit Microsoft software such as Sharepoint, Active Directory, or MS SQL, you don’t have any options except for Windows Server.
Your small business can benefit from two basic types of servers: dedicated server and cloud servers. Both allow using reliable, safe and consistent environment, but hardware is used differently in these cases.
Dedicated server is a physical server that belongs to one single business: it’s similar to a usual desktop computer. However, its hardware is more reliable and usually way more efficient and powerful than in usual PC. Undoubtedly, this is the most productive solution for small business. There’s a wide range of web hosting dedicated servers on the market starting from minor servers to maintain one busy website and finishing by massive apparatus with dozens of processors and hundreds of gigabytes of storage space. A decent dedicated server can easily process traffic from popular websites and eCommerce stores, applications with thousands of concurrent visitors and large-scale databases. As a rule, dedicated servers are leased for monthly or yearly payment.
Cloud server can be viewed as a part of a physical server. Every cloud server is a separate environment that is similar to a dedicated server from user’s perspective, but in fact, it is a virtual machine that runs software on large-scale server hardware. Therefore, one physical server can include several cloud servers. The main advantage of this option is strikingly fast deployment via a web-based control panel, use of as many cloud servers as you need, easy scaling and flexibility. It may also work with Linux or Windows OS.
Which is best for my business?
It depends on your requirements.
Dedicated servers should be chosen when the performance is the key factor. It’s a perfect web hosting platform for traffic-intense websites and eCommerce stores, analytics of bulky data and applications with a huge flow of users, and high-load storage and databases. Additionally, a dedicated server is a better option in case when the organization wants to make sure only its employees and authorized people will access the software.
Cloud server provides exceptional flexibility, and if you need to test, develop or host a new product, you should opt for it. If you need extra resources, you may also consider a hybrid server – it’s cheaper than a dedicated server.