Dedicated Web Hosting

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Welcome to this guide on tips and advice for choosing a dedicated server.

Low End and High End Servers

There are many different types of servers these days, but mostly 2 categories:

  • Low end servers
  • High end servers

Low end servers are ones with not so much power, whereas high end servers are usually better, and faster. You may find these terms when buying a server.

Choosing what type of server you need

Depending on what kind of site you have, the type of server you will need will have to match your site.

If you just plan on running 1-20 websites, then you will probably be fine with a low end server. Requirements above this would usually need a high end server.

If you plan on running many bandwidth/CPU consuming applications (Such as proxies and CMS's) then you will probably need a high end as well.

How to tell between low and high end servers

There are 2 ways to tell between high & low end. High end are:

  • More expensive
  • The have more/better features (Hard Drive, CPU, RAM etc)

Whereas low end servers are generally the opposite.

OS's. What they are and choosing one

If you have ever owned a computer, then you should know what an operating system is. An operating system is what the computer/server runs on, such as Windows XP. There are many types of operating systems available these days, but they are split up into 3 categories.

  • Linux

Linux is generally used for running servers and for people that are more computer literate, and also for people who do not generally like windows. In particular web applications utilising a MYSQL database are usually faster running on Linux.

  • Windows

Windows is what most home computers run on. It is also commonly known as MS-DOS. It is the most graphical & generally most user friendly operating system today. It is also becoming more used as a server OS since the release of server 2000.

  • Macintosh

Macintosh Operating systems (Mac-OS) is based of a Linux base. MacOS is generally used in home & office PC's but can very rarely be found as servers.

Which one should you choose?

The operating system you use depends on what you plan on using your server for. If you plan on running general websites, web applications or web hosting companies, Then Linux is the operating system that would most suit your needs. If you plan on running ASP.Net sites or sites that are specific to the windows platform, then windows would be your obvious choice. MacOS is only offered by a very select few hosts, and is generally very expensive. There is not really a reason in which to have a MacOS server.

The different OS's and what they do

This section describes the different OS's offered by different companies, the advantages and disadvantages of different OS's and the costs.

Microsoft Windows Windows Server 2003 Series:


  • Easy to setup and run with minimal knowledge, and the advantage of being able to run applications and scripts.


  • As the Microsoft Windows OS's were made for user interaction, they are usually filled with stuff that is not needed, which can make your server slower.
  • The downtime when using this platform is higher that any other operating systems.
  • Windows costs money, Unlike Linux.
  • Windows Server Technicians are generally harder to find if something goes seriously wrong.
  • More bugs that any other operating system.
  • Requires a relatively high end server to run.

Windows Server 2007 Series:


  • Easy to setup and run with minimal knowledge, and the advantage of being able to run applications and scripts.
  • As it is a newer version of windows, It runs better and more efficiently but requires a real high end system to run (2GB+).


  • Full of bugs, as it is only the first release.
  • Requires lots of updating, which can be bandwidth consuming and can also slow down your server.
  • The downtime when using this platform is higher that any other operating systems.
  • Windows costs money, Unlike Linux.
  • Windows Server Technicians are generally harder to find if something goes seriously wrong.

Linux CentOS:


  • Very widely used.
  • Easy to find somebody if it needs to be fixed.
  • Free!
  • Made especially for servers.
  • Not prone to viruses.
  • No updating.
  • Not very bandwidth consuming.
  • Comes with everything you need, As soon as you download it.
  • Easier to transfer files/settings if you need to change server.
  • Most web hosting control panels run on CentOS.


  • Requires a lot of command line interface.
  • Hard to learn.
  • Will be confusing to beginners.



  • Very widely used.
  • Free!
  • Great as a desktop operating system, Or a server operating system.
  • Not prone to viruses.
  • No updating.
  • Most web hosting panels run on Fedora.


  • As it is used as a desktop OS as well as a server OS it has a lot of unnecessary resources that are not needed to run your server.
  • Requires a lot of command line interface.

There are many other Linux/Unix operating systems, but these are the 2 main ones. All other flavours (Versions) of Linux/Unix are similar to the above, but will not offer the same performance.

Choosing your OS

Choosing the OS you get on your server is a crucial part of how your server runs, what it can run and how it operates. If you choose the wrong one, it can affect your server performance and most companies will charge you extra if you need to get a different OS later.

A brief guide to what Os is suitable depending on your needs:

If you plan on running 1-20 websites with no control panel, Then Fedora or Windows server 2003 is the operating system for you (Depending on your budget).

If you plan on running 1-20 websites with a control panel such as cPanel or DirectAdmin (Described below) then the ideal operating system for you is CentOS.

If you plan on running a web hosting company, or a company that is based directly on your server, such as a game server, Then CentOS is the operating system for you.

If you plan on running any number of websites with ASP.Net scripts, or if you prefer windows then the operating system for you is Windows Server 2003 or 2008 series. If your site does not fit into any of the above categories, then the operating system for you is probably CentOS if you have a low budget or Windows Server series if you have a higher budget.

All the features explained

Space/Hard Drive/HDD – This is the size of the hard drive which will be inside your server, It is how much you will be able to store.

Bandwidth – The term "bandwidth" is often used metaphorically, to describe the amount of data that can be transferred to or from the website or server, measured in bytes transferred over a prescribed period of time. This can be more accurately described as "Monthly Data Transfer.

CPU – This is the speed of the server, this regulates how fast and slow the server runs. The full term for CPU is Central Processing Unit.

IP addresses – IP addresses are a series of numbers that make your server unique. These are used for Name Servers and to identify your server.

Control Panels

There are many different control panels out there for web hosting and website management. The prices range from $0-$1000 per month for the most advanced. I have listed the top ones here which can be used for everything from managing a basic website to running a full blown web hosting company.

zPanel (Soon to be RapidCP)

This is currently the best free control panel around. It can be run on Windows or Linux, Making it very popular. It can run on a very low end server, and still run very fast. This control panel can be used for up to 100 sites. It can be found here.


This is currently the industry standard control panel. It is the most widely used control panel for web hosting. It requires a relatively high end server, And uses up quite a few resources but it is well worth it because of the amount of features that it has. It currently only runs on Linux but is currently being tested on the Windows server 2008 platform. It has a monthly license cost of $47. More information about cPanel can be found here.


Plesk is currently the most used control panel on windows. It also works with Linux, but as it is quite expensive, it is generally not used with Linux as the instability is huge because of the difference between windows and Linux. Plesk currently costs $70 a month. More information can be found here.

Reputable Providers

There are so many reputable providers out there in the industry today, but it would take 100's of pages to list them all, so these are the most popular.

The Planet

This provider has been running since 1999 and has a great track record. They have brought out 3 providers in 2 years, extending their already huge network. They own their own datacenter (Building with lots of servers in it) and offer great pricing from $69 and up. They also offer management on most servers.


This webhost started small, running off a reseller account and slowly made their way up to become a great hosting company. They currently offer from shared hosting to dedicated servers. Although their servers are un-managed, Because of TrexHost's cheap pricing you can always afford to get an outsourced manager.

If these providers are not what you are looking for, there are many other ways of finding a Dedicated Server Provider. The most commonly used place is WebHostingTalk. It has about 5-15 listings from dedicated server providers per day. You can find the dedicated server offers here.

Dedicated Server Management

After you have chosen your operating system and provider, you will need to find someone to manage your server. If you provider doesn't offer management, Then there are plenty of companies who will do it for cheap.

WebHostingTalk has offers from all different outsourced companies starting from $15 per month. The System Management offers can be found here.