21 Nov

What Dedicated Server To Choose If You Don’t Want To Compromise On Performance?

You’ll require a dedicated server, either when your shared or VPS hosting account is no longer capable to meet current hosting needs, or you’re planning to launch a brand new project which demands higher server resources. In either cases, you don’t want to compromise with the server performance, right?

Choosing a dedicated server with the best performance is actually difficult, when there are significant options available in the market. It’s indeed an important decision so you just can’t head to any other web host and order a generic dedicated server. So this guide will explain some basic principles how you can choose a dedicated server with the best performance without spending a fortune.

Processors

The desktop-grade processors like Intel’s Core i5 or i7 are adequate for many small businesses with just basic requirements. However, to deploy a huge CPU processing, definitely you’ll need business-grade processors like Intel’s Xeon series CPUs.

These processors produce great processing power due to their Hyper-Threading architecture, multiple cores, bigger L3 caches and ability to handle intensive loads, which make them more suitable for server environment.

Also, Xeon series CPUs support ECC (Error-Correcting Code) memory, which can detect and correct most common data-corruption even before it takes place, ensuring the data integrity and stability of the system.

To get the best out of your high performance dedicated server, we’d suggest you to go with the Xeon E7 v6 family – the latest generation of high-end processors with improved performance and efficiency. Though you may still find v5 and v4 Xeon servers available in the market, and they are quite capable to deliver decent performance till date. You can also get the latest generation of low-end Xeon chips like E3 and E5, typically used in entry-level servers.

If you are an AMD fan, then you can go with its business-grade processors launched under

Opteron family, ranging from the entry-level 3000 series to powerful 6000 series.

Memory

For the entry-level servers, RAM typically ranges from 8GB to 64GB, which can be further expanded from 128 to 512 GB for high-end servers. These memory modules come in different types and speeds, which are dependent upon the processor and motherboard. For example, 2,400MHz ECC DDR4 memory is the standard for most entry-level Xeon-based servers.

However, RAM speed has far less impact on overall performance of a dedicated server, so it’s okay if you go with lower MHz memory modules. Also, your server must have capability to upgrade the RAM for the future expansion, so you don’t have to migrate to another server.

Storage Type

While configuring the server, you can choose between solid state drives (SSD) or a traditional option of hard disk drives (HDD). HDDs feature a spinning platter and a read/write arm that uses magnetism to store data. SSDs don’t have moving parts and keep information in flash microchips. For these characteristics, SSDs are much faster and more expensive.

For the best performance, we’d suggest mounting all SSDs on the server or go at least with the hybrid option for better performance. With the hybrid option, operating system is installed on SSDs, and standard HDDs are used to store files.

The hybrid option does not deliver the performance like all SSD setup, but it can be considered as a good compromise between performance and price.

RAID

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is vital for any multi-disk dedicated server as it increases the performance and reliability of data storage. The most common types of RAID are:

  1. RAID 0: It stripes data across multiple drives to improve the performance, though one of the drives fail all the data will be lost.
  2. RAID 1: It mirrors/copies the same data on 2 drives, so if one of the drives fail there’s  still a complete and usable copy of the data on the other drive.
  3. RAID 5: It requires at least 3 drives. It stripes the data and adds “parity data” so that any one of the drives fails, it can be replaced with the new drive promptly without losing the data.
  4. RAID 10: It’s the combination of the striping and mirroring.
  5. RAID 50: It’s the combination of the striping and parity.

Many entry-level servers come with RAID 0 or 1 with limited options, but it’s better to go at least with the RAID 5 or RAID 10. For the Windows-based dedicated servers, hardware RAID is more common, wherein its advantages are better realized. In contrast, software RAID is more popular in open-source systems, wherein its low-cost makes it an attractive option.

Traffic & Bandwidth

Traffic or “data transfer”, is the volume of data transmitted between your server and the web over a certain period of time (monthly in most cases). It is measured usually in gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB). So if you buy a server with 100TB traffic limit, that means there’s a limit of 100TB of data that can be passed between your server and web during the month.

Bandwidth is described as a data transfer rate of a dedicated server, or the amount of data network is capable to transmit over a given period of time. It is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps) and sometimes Gigabits per second (Gbps). Dedicated server bandwidth typically ranges between 100 Mbps and 10Gbps, with 1 Gbps a common bandwidth for high performance dedicated servers.

Some providers offer dedicated server with unmetered traffic, but unmetered does not mean unlimited. In fact unmetered plans often restrict the amount of data you can send-receive because data is transferred at a very low speed.

Conclusion

We hope going through this post you’d have a better idea as how to choose the best dedicated server without compromising on performance. Since, there are plenty of good options available in the market, we recommend to do your own research before purchase. In case, you still have questions or would like to get a professional advice, you can always contact our expert sales team.

25 Oct

The Best Dedicated Hosting Options Under $100/Month

A dedicated server, the topmost hosting tier, is typically reserved for enterprises having large demands for computing power, bandwidth, and storage. As its name implies, entire resources are dedicated to propelling hosted site/application with the maximum performance.

Going for a dedicated environment is indeed a big investment, but it can pay you dividends when you find the host that brings the most value to your purchase.

The phrase, “best dedicated server within the budget of $100/ month” may sound a bit contradictory. But at Softsys Hosting, we always excel to offer “bang for the buck deals” to customers. At this post, we’ll go through configuring a dedicated server and check some preconfigured dedicated server options under $100/month.

Configuring a Dedicated Server

Operating System Choice

Windows operating system is particularly used to host Windows or Microsoft based technologies like ASP.NET, MS SQL, IIS, MS Access, and Visual Basic. Windows servers are shipped with the GUI, so operating system could chew through a lot of computing resources. On the other hand, Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora come with both GUI and core. But ideal server environment should be installed with core OS rather than GUI.

Control Panel

After choosing server hardware, your next big decision would be how you’d like to manage your server. Either you can manage the server through SSH/RDP or you can install control panel. Hosting control panel provides you with the web-based GUI to perform complex tasks within few mouse clicks and to automate processes.

cPanel for Linux machines and Plesk for Windows systems are the best choices. Plesk and cPanel both are very easy to operate. Plesk is cheaper than cPanel and is compatible with multiple OS but mostly paired with Windows systems.

Storage Type

While configuring the server, you can choose between solid state drives (SSD) or a traditional option of hard disk drives (HDD). HDDs feature a spinning platter and a read/write arm that uses magnetism to store the data. SSDs don’t have moving parts and keep information in flash microchips. Because of this characteristics, SSDs are much faster and more expensive.

Support

When you’re going to buy premium hardware, 24/7 technical support is also essential. With the price tag under $100, less likely you’ll get a managed server but you can certainly get a basic managed server.

Note that unmanaged dedicated servers only cover hardware and infrastructure, whereas managed dedicated servers cover server infrastructure, hardware, backup and core elements of the stack.

You can also consider the managed hosting which includes around-the-clock managed support, software configuration, patch installation, update installation and maintaining all aspects of the environment.

Softsys Hosting offers 2 tiers of managed services, unmanaged and fully managed services whereby our experienced technicians manage customer’s server and supply best-effort support for third-party software.

Addons

Along with the hardware/software configurations, you can also choose amongst various addons as per the requirement, like additional IP address, bandwidth, RAM, DDoS protection, daily backups, DDoS protection, RAID, etc.

Softsys Hosting Dedicated Servers

Softsys Hosting offers a basic dedicated setup at $59/month which includes an IP address, Intel Xeon E3-1230 Quad Core, 8GB RAM, DDoS protection, SSD/HDD storage and 1 Gbps connectivity without any setup fees.

You can also have your choice of OS, RAID level, location and control panel makes Softsys Hosting an easy pick for affordable dedicated server configurations. Here are some pre-configured dedicated servers available under $100.

Windows-Based Servers

Configuration #1

» Intel Xeon E3-1230v1/v2/v3 Quad Core w/ HT (8 vCores)

» Location: Chicago, IL – USA/Denver, CO – USA

» RAM: 8GB DDR3 ECC

» HDD 1: 500GB SATA II HDD OR 120GB SSD

» Operating System: Windows Server 2016/2012 R2/ 2008 R2 Std Edition

» MS SQL Server 2016 Express

» Control Panel: MSPControl

» Network Port Speed: 1Gbps Dedicated $0.00 USD

» Bandwidth: 10TB per mon

» IPv4 Addresses: 1

» Service Level: Basic Managed

» DDoS Protection: Automatic Detection / Null Routing

Monthly: $84.00 USD


Configuration #2

»  Intel Xeon E3-1230v1/v2/v3 Quad Core w/ HT (8 vCores)

» Location: Chicago, IL – USA/Denver, CO – USA

» RAM: 16GB DDR3 ECC

» HDD 1: 500GB SATA II HDD OR 120GB SSD

» Operating System: Windows Server 2016/2012 R2/ 2008 R2 Std Edition

» MS SQL Server 2016 Express

» Control Panel: MSPControl

» Network Port Speed: 1Gbps Dedicated $0.00 USD

» Bandwidth: 10TB per mon

» IPv4 Addresses: 1

» Service Level: Basic Managed

» DDoS Protection: Automatic Detection / Null Routing

Monthly: $93.00 USD

 

Linux-Based Servers

Configuration #1

» Intel Xeon E3-1230v1/v2/v3 Quad Core w/ HT (8 vCores)

» Location: Chicago, IL – USA/Denver, CO – USA

» RAM: 8GB DDR3 ECC

» Operating System: CentOS 7.x x64

» Network Port Speed: 1Gbps Dedicated

» Bandwidth: 10TB per mon

» IPv4 Addresses: 1 (Included)

» Service Level: Basic Managed

» DDoS Protection: Automatic Detection / Null Routing

Monthly: $59.00 USD

Configuration #2

» Intel Xeon E3-1230v1/v2/v3 Quad Core w/ HT (8 vCores)

» Location: Chicago, IL – USA/Denver, CO – USA

» RAM: 8GB DDR3 ECC

» HDD 1: 500GB SATA II HDD OR 120GB SSD

» Operating System: CentOS 7.x x64

» Control Panel: cPanel / WHM

» Network Port Speed: 1Gbps Dedicated

» Bandwidth: 10TB per mon

» IPv4 Addresses: 1 (Included)

» Service Level: Basic Managed

» DDoS Protection: Automatic Detection / Null Routing

Monthly: $94.00 USD

 

If you don’t find your choice of configuration, you can contact our sales team to discuss your custom setup. Our solutions architect will work with you to design a tailored environment in accordance with all your needs.

18 Oct

What Control Panel To Choose For Your Dedicated Server?

It’s a great news as your business has grown to the point that you require a dedicated server to host your website. But this will also add additional responsibilities of managing and maintaining your dedicated hosting environment.

Managing a dedicated server without a control panel is difficult. Even to perform the smallest task, you might have to go through a list of steps or a series of shell commands. That’s where control panels come into play to simplify the process of handling servers. Additionally, managing these hosting control panels does not require expert knowledge of server administration.

There are many paid and open source hosting control panels available and you can choose your best as per your need and budget.

Available Control Panels For A Dedicated Server

If you are new to the dedicated server environment then you want a control panel that is user-friendly and intuitive at the same time. With so many control panel options available, choosing one for your dedicated server is little tricky. The best way to make this determination is to know what you are looking to achieve and what a particular control panel has to offer.

In general, control panels are designed for the specific operating systems, which usually distinguished to Windows and Linux.  Some of the most popular options include cPanel, Plesk, and MSControl, all of which are very reliable.

cPanel

Being one of the most feature-rich, powerful and widely used control panels, cPanel/WHM has become the industry standard amongst users and web hosting providers. It comes with both user-interface (cPanel) and admin-interface (WHM), offering intuitive hosting and site management tools to end-users, resellers and dedicated server administrators. A cPanel server includes the WHM login and the cPanel client login for management purposes.

Single cPanel license allows you to host an unlimited number of domains, websites, databases, etc.  which is a quite valuable feature especially if you intend to offer reseller hosting. It has a wide range of plugins to further expand its functionality and it can be integrated with your existing billing software like WHMCS.

Thanks to AutoSSL feature, free SSL certificates are automatically installed and renewed for every domain hosted on the cPanel server. These SSL certificates are absolutely free, provided by Comodo and Let’s Encrypt, and they will be kept renewed as long as you have an active account with your web host. Its EasyApache 4 feature makes managing packages and dependencies simple and super speedy.

cPanel is available as a demo, so you can familiarize yourself with cPanel and WHM before purchasing the license.

Plesk Panel

Plesk is yet another powerful control panel, having 75 to 80 percent share in the European market. Plesk supports various Linux Distributions (CentOS, Ubuntu, CloudLinux, etc)  and Windows OS as well, which is a strong pull factor differentiating Plesk from cPanel. Also, Plesk comes in several editions, each tailored for specific hosting use cases.

It also comes with both user interface and admin features. Like cPanel, Plesk also has a clean and user-friendly interface. Plesk is also used by some of the big hosting companies.

Unlike other control panels, Plesk offers support for Git through its Gitman extension, so you can track changes and site updates. Plesk’s Docker Integration feature allows you to launch Docker images straight from Plesk without touching the command line.

SSL certificate installation has always been a pain to set up and renew. Plesk is integrated with the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority, which allows you to install the SSL certificates on your site within a single click. Plesk is available for both Windows and Linux dedicated servers, so make sure you get the appropriate version for your server.

MSPControl

MSPControl is a hosting control panel for Windows systems to automate the provisioning of a full suite of hosted services on Windows servers. MSPControl gives users simple multi-tenant point-and-click control over Windows Server applications including Microsoft IIS, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Sharepoint, Microsoft RemoteApp, Skype for Business, Microsoft Online Services and Hyper-V R2 Deployments.

MSPControl comes with 3 licensing schemes, Free, Basic and Standard license. A free license is sufficient for all kind of non-production environments like a demo, lab, test etc. The basic license is good enough to run small web hosting company. Standard license suits mid-sized hosting and managed hosting providers.

Conclusion

When you host your site on a dedicated server, you should be prepared for the different level of complexity because you are only responsible to ensure that your site stays online. The control panel will enable you to create the best site possible by putting the administrative power and flexibility in your hands. Programs such as cPanel and Plesk are very popular and extremely easy to use for Linux systems. While MSPControl is a viable option for Windows systems.

20 Sep

Some Software Choices You Inevitably Need To Be Installed On Your Dedicated Server

Most web hosting providers deliver a dedicated server with just OS installed and a few bare minimum components. Right after receiving server logins, you’d need some important software on your server to make it more secure and easy to manage. In this post, we have compiled a list of software that will help you with easy server management and better security.

Software For Windows Dedicated Server

The software choice for Windows systems mainly depends on the fact how you are going to utilize your server. Let’s say, you are going to use it as an ASP.NET development machine, you’ll need the complete Visual Studio suite installed then.

Similarly, to host a Radio server or Forex trading platform, you are required to install respective software on the server. In such a way, we’ll discuss some generic software every Windows server must be installed with.

Web Control Panel

Unless you hold the years of experience with Windows systems, it’s a bit difficult to manage Windows servers through remote desktop connection. That’s where control panel comes into play.

A hosting control panel gives you web-based GUI which helps you manage all web services under single login very efficiently and quickly. It also allows you to manage websites, domains, SQL databases, DNS records, email accounts, FTP accounts, file functions, disk space availability, bandwidth usage, and lot more.

WebsitePanel, SolidCP, and MSPControl are the most popular free control panels. If you’d like to have some paid alternative, you can go with the Plesk panel.

Microsoft Web Platform Installer

Unlike Linux systems, Windows server requires a lots of individual components to build a functional web server. Having said that, you are required to go to individual websites, find the compatible dedicated server software version and install it manually. This sounds a little bit tedious and takes hours to complete. To get rid of this, you should install Microsoft Web Platform Installer (Web PI) even before you run Windows updates.

It’s a tiny tool that fetches the latest components of the Microsoft Web Platform, including Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, .NET Framework, PHP, MySQL Server and lot more. It can also install the most popular free scripts for blogging, and content management system (CMS) within a few clicks.

Software Firewall

To ensure your dedicated server is protected against online threats and malicious traffic, a solid firewall is a must have thing. As we know that Windows systems also come with an effective built-in firewall that adds a layer of protection to your server. This default firewall is powerful enough and works quite well for most of the servers.

In case you’d like to make your server more secure than you can consider personal software firewall. ZoneAlarm Free Firewall and Comodo Free Firewall are both excellent free alternatives you can think of.

Antivirus & Anti-Malware Software

Malware is no imaginary problem, especially for the Windows servers. Hundreds of new virus definitions are spread daily across Internet and antivirus labs have to detect them and find solutions.

Having RDP access for the dedicated server, if you or one of your colleagues visit a phishing website or download uncertain files by mistake, your dedicated hosting platform may infected by dangerous malware.

Even some viruses are distributed through emails, freeware tools, and pop-up messages. As such malicious software can completely damage your dedicated server functionality, compromise security or erase sensitive data.

So, it is essential to have a good antivirus software to detect & remove viruses before they harm your system. Antivirus software detects suspicious websites and files that contain malicious programs before they enter your server and blocks malicious scripts from being downloaded.

ClamWin is an excellent free antivirus program supporting most of the Windows desktop and server OS. There are also plenty of paid alternatives available on the market so you can choose according to your requirements and budget.

Remote Desktop Guard

RDP (Remote Desktop) allows users to connect to a remote server from anywhere. Indeed RDP is a very useful feature however, it also has several security issues. When a malicious user launches the network/port scanners or RDP brute-force attacks on Windows servers, thousands of failed login attempts are generated and pages of events are being logged. Such attacks abuse your dedicated server resources (CPU, RAM, Disk Space and Network Bandwidth) and degrade the overall functionality of the server.

To prevent them, host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS) like RdpGuard is implemented.  This protects servers from brute-force attacks on various protocols and services (RDP, FTP, SMTP, MySQL, MS-SQL, IIS Web Login, etc). It monitors the audit logs and detects failed login attempts. If the number of failed login attempts from a single IP address exceeds the normal limit, the IP address will be blocked immediately.

Conclusion

Above listed dedicated hosting programs are currently configured on our own servers and so far so good for the production usage as well. Of course, you may also need some other specific tools based your requirements, so you may subscribe to our managed dedicated server plans directly for guaranteed security and support.

13 Sep

When Does It Make Sense Choosing Fully Managed Or Self-Managed Dedicated Hosting?

Professional Dedicated Server Hosting

 

 

With a wide variety of hosting options available today, such as shared, VPS and dedicated servers, choosing the right hosting option for your business can be both crucial and confusing.

If you are planning to build an enterprise application boosting the revenue and profits to your online business, a dedicated server could be a good choice. In some circumstances, dedicated hosting may even be an obvious option, like if you are about to launch some busy site anticipating millions of hits per day.

But choosing the right dedicated option may not be as simple as you thought. There are two basic types of dedicated servers differentiated by how servers are managed, namely managed and self-managed/unmanaged dedicated hosting services.

What Is Fully Managed Dedicated Server?

With fully managed dedicated servers, your hosting provider takes care of all your server related issues so you don’t have to worry about the technicalities behind running the server.

Your web host is also responsible for the complex and time-consuming server management process. Server experts monitor your equipment 24/7/365 ensuring it is running smoothly. In addition, hosting companies may also offer various other services like backups, scanning, and removal of malware, performance monitoring and more.

Benefits Of Fully Managed Dedicated Server

Performance Monitoring

Performance monitoring allows you take precautionary actions before disaster strikes. For example, your host will notify you when your site is about to having used all of its available resources, like disk, RAM or bandwidth. Thus, you’ll have enough time to contact your web host and resolve an issue before it’s too late.

Software Updates

Software updates are very important for the server as they keep your system healthy and secure. Many web hosts will take care all of this for you so you won’t have to update any of it on your own.

Server Security & Scanning

Server security is the pioneer priority for any online business. Security scanning exposes the multitude of possible issues with your server and enables you to clean them up. Fully managed servers are constantly checked by the web host for loopholes on the site as well as malware, spyware, and suspicious traffic patterns.

Data Protection

Your host takes backup of your data on a regular basis ensuring that after a crash or some other error, no data will be completely lost and could be restored quickly.

Managed Technical Support

With the managed dedicated hosting option you get 24/7/365 technical assistance. You can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you’ll get a helping hand whenever you are in need.

When You Should Opt For Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting Services?

  • If you are not a technical person and you don’t know anything about hosting, managed dedicated hosting would be the perfect choice for you.
  • You are a tech savvy and know how to manage a dedicated server, but you don’t have at such time or you want to focus on your core business. In that case, fully managed dedicated servers would be an ideal option.
  • You know the technical know how of web hosting but you want the web hosting experts to handle everything for you to avoid mistakes and to ensure that everything is getting handled the proper way.
  • Business critical websites like an online eCommerce store must function with the maximum efficiency. You’ll need expert assistance right away in case of any issue with your website/server, otherwise, your business will be affected.
  • You rather often require server customizations like complex service and software setup, integrations, etc.

What Is Self-Managed (Unmanaged) Dedicated Hosting?

Dedicated server hosting with a little or no management assistance is known as unmanaged or self-managed dedicated hosting. With unmanaged dedicated hosting, you get a server with only an operating system installed.

This means that you’ll have to install any necessary software on your own like LAMP stack. Your web host is only responsible for the availability of a functional physical server.

When Should You Choose Self-Managed Dedicated Hosting Services?

  • If you are tech savvy and you hold the good experience in managing servers then you can consider self-managed dedicated servers.
  • If you prefer the higher levels of freedom managing your server or you want to control every aspect of a server then you can go with self-managed dedicated hosting.
  • The cost of an unmanaged server is always less than that of a fully managed server, so if you are short of funds then self-managed dedicated hosting can be the most deliberate choice.
  • If you don’t want to rely on anyone else to make changes to your server or your website then choosing unmanaged dedicated hosting is the best thing to do.

Conclusion

For hosting newbies, managing a server is not only time-consuming, but also a complex thing. With a managed dedicated hosting, you can use your valuable time on more productive business tasks.

25 Aug

A Few Signs That It’s High Time Moving To Dedicated Servers

Dedicated Server Hosting Softsys

Shared hosting is the most common web hosting type. It’s super easy to setup and costs much less compared to VPS or dedicated hosting. No wonder, site owners choose shared hosting as their first web hosting option and eventually switch to bigger options.

When your website gains the popularity and starts receiving a significant amount of traffic, your hosting plan should also grow with it to accommodate growing needs of your site. At this stage, it’s vital to track the increasing traffic inflow, evaluate the current resource, and be prepared to take them to the next level.

Sometimes it is difficult to know when it is time to make the move from hosting type to another, but there are several indications that point when this switch becomes inevitable. In this post, we will discuss several signs that it might be time for you to move to a dedicated hosting server.

Frequent Downtime

With the shared hosting plan, you share server resources (disk space, bandwidth, CPU time, memory) with several hundreds or probably thousands of other websites.

In case one of those sites start acquiring excessive resources, then all of other websites hosted on the same server will start to run slower or might even crash due to the overload on the server.

If you face frequent downtime with your existing hosting, you should consider moving to a more stable hosting solution like a dedicated server.

Huge Traffic

If your traffic is increasing every month, and you can anticipate a time when your site will become too huge to get handled by a shared hosting, immediately move to a dedicated hosting environment.

Poor Load Times

Heavy websites process a number of PHP requests with multiple complex SQL queries running in the background. Such websites demand dedicated resources to run optimally, and when allocated resources are inadequate its loading time increases. If your site’s loading time is high, you should switch to VPS or dedicated hosting where you don’t share, but maintain your own server environment.

You Need Complete Control Over Your Hosting

Some custom applications require higher privileges compared to that typical shared hosting can offer you. Sometimes, you want complete control over your hosting account to perform more advanced actions, such as installing desired software, or setting elevated permissions whenever you want to.

In such cases, you need to switch to a dedicated server as you’ll get administrative access to your hosting account which isn’t possible with shared server hosting.

Your Site Needs More Security

Although shared servers are equipped with firewalls and decent security software, but still your project is at risk as your neighbor website may leave some security holes open and yours might get hacked too.

With a dedicated server, you get isolated and secure hosting environment along with your own set of resources preventing you from data hacks or getting blacklisted on RBLs.

That being said, if you are processing any sort of sensitive information like credit cards you may not want to share a server with anyone.

Custom Resource Requirement Of A Website

If your website is serving large videos or audio files, or you are running an application with heavy CPU and RAM intensive activities, you should seriously consider a dedicated hosting option.

Conclusion

Certainly, shared web hosting offers some great features, but it has some limitations which are specific to its business model. We hope that this post will allow you take necessary steps and choose an ideal moment when moving your hosting account to the next level of performance.

01 Aug

How To Estimate Your Dedicated Server Resource Requirements

Typically, people look for a dedicated server when their shared/VPS account is no longer capable to meet ever-growing requirements, or there’s a new project launch which demands bigger resources.

In either case, you just can’t head to any other web host and order a generic dedicated server, without understanding your actual resource requirements.

It’s vital that you at least get a general idea of how much resources you’ll deploy to your dedicated server. It’s actually quite difficult to determine the exact resource requirements, but it’s better to know something rather going in blind.

In this blog, we will go through some basic principles of how you can determine the resource requirement of a dedicated server matching the business needs.

Understanding Your Hosting Requirements

Different applications have different resource requirements. Determining the type of software you’re going to run on your server is probably one of the most important factors to be taken into account.

Based on the type of your software, you can put more emphasis on certain server resources. For example, database driven applications demand high speed I/O operations. In that case, an array of faster SSD disks would be an ideal choice rather a standard single HDD.

To host game servers, you’ll require a high-end dedicated server with powerful CPU & GPUs. It’s okay if you mount less amount of disk on the server. On the contrary, any low-end server would suffice to host a file server,  but you’ll have to deploy lots of disks.

For video websites, media streaming and TBs of bandwidth are essential, whereas to build hosting servers, a perfect combination of RAM, latest CPUs and faster storage is required.

Estimating The Resource Requirements

Estimating the dedicated server resource requirements involves detailed investigation, like reviewing your business needs, estimating of your current workload, future resource anticipation and expansion etc. Ultimately, you will have to answer a number of “how much” and “what kind” questions.

Upgrading From An Existing Hosting Plan

It’s pretty simple if you’re just upgrading from your current shared or VPS hosting plan because you’ll be in a position to predict the resource requirement based on your current usage.

Just note down your current resource pool allocated with the hosting package, and what you’re using during peak hours. Also, gather some numbers as below.

Number of daily & monthly visitors.
Number of concurrent visitors in peak hours.
Monthly bandwidth requirements.
RAM & CPU usage in peak hours.

Above statistics is easily available through hosting control panels like WHM or Google Analytics. Based on gathered figures, you can calculate how much power you’d need in order to provide those resources without stressing out your server.

As a minimum for the dedicated server, you can go with multi-core single CPU (Intel E3 or E5 Series ), at least 8GB RAM and a decent RAID controller.

For the better performance or provide a level of fault tolerance to your system, either go with RAID 5 or 6.

Starting Up A New Dedicated Server

If you are planning to start a new dedicated server, things will be more complicated as it involves a bit of research work on your part. In the following section, we’ll discuss some important parameters to be considered before you build a dedicated server.

Choosing The Server Operating System

Determining a dedicated server OS is fairly simple. If you follow the conventional path, for the Linux based software and PHP based applications, CentOS is by far the best OS available. Note that PHP applications can also be hosted on Windows hosts, but not being a native platform it has several performance disadvantages.

For the applications and software built with Microsoft technologies like ASP.NET, C# or MS SQL Server, you’ll have a no choice other than installing Windows Server OS. It is worth mentioning that Linux OS such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, and CentOS are open source and free to use, whereas Windows OS will cost you more based on the OS Edition and License type you choose.

Using Performance Metrics

If you are planning to host popular software, you’ll get the server requirements on an official website of the respective provider. For example, Minecraft game server, Forex trading software, bookkeeping software, radio stations, etc. have their exact requirements mentioned on their official website.

For the custom applications/software, you may need to run some performance metrics while they were in development or staging environments. This data can be used to build some useful assumptions.

Let’s take an example of a custom PHP website, If you know the peak hourly visit rate (the number of unique visitors to the website in its busiest hour) and the average visit length (the amount of time, on average, each user spends on the website), you can easily estimate of the required Virtual User count. A virtual user count can be used to calculate the approximate RAM and CPU usage per user.

Determining The RAM Resource

Once virtual users (concurrent users) are known, you can easily calculate the RAM usage. Let’s say your application will get at least 100 concurrent users which may burst to 200 in peak hours. Your application requires at least 16 MB private memory to run optimally. In this particular case, you’ll need (200 * 16 MB) 3.2 GB RAM to accommodate the 200 concurrent users.

In addition to application requirements, also consider the memory requirements of OS and other essential services like Mail Server, SQL Server, FTP Server, etc.

Calculating The Disk Space & Bandwidth

From images to HTML files, your website needs a disk space to be stored somewhere. Especially, if you are hosting an eCommerce website with thousands of products, you will require a large storage space.

Select SSD drives if dedicated server budget is not your concern. They are far faster and reliable than older hard drives. Going even further, you can opt for NVMe SSD storage. Most probably, disk-space would not be a problem as you get plenty of storage with a dedicated server compared to shared & VPS options.

Similarly, the bandwidth should never be a problem, as most of the providers offer dedicated servers with unlimited traffic.

Check If You Deployed Necessary Resource To Your Dedicated Server

Once you deploy your application on a dedicated server, you might want to check whether resources are capable enough to accommodate the peak time load. To identify the same, perform stress testing of your server.

Conclusion

Indeed, only deciding that you require a dedicated server isn’t enough. Without correct estimation, you may end up making an expensive mistake. Either you’ll choose a server that isn’t powerful enough, and everything slows to a crawl, or you’ll run one with too much resources breaking your budget.

By collecting the information mentioned in above sections, you can make an informed decision on what a dedicated server you actually need.

20 Jul

What To Consider When Choosing A Dedicated Server Location

 

Best Server Location

A lot of things have changed in the hosting market, which means that you will need to choose your dedicated server location very carefully. When thinking over a dedicated server location, there are many things to consider including latency and access speed. We will outline major factors that will help you pick up the right dedicated server hosting solution.

Low dormancy and quick access

The first thing you need to consider when choosing a dedicated server location is low dormancy and quick access. It’s desirable to choose a dedicated server that is located in the same country or continent as your target audience. This will ensure that your web pages or applications are delivered quickly because of low dormancy. It generally takes more time for a packet of data to travel from one country to another than when sending the same packet within a single country. And, a quick website or application loading time will engage your end users more effectively and their overall experience will be much more satisfying. Moreover, website loading time affects SEO as well.

Connected location

Secondly, when choosing a dedicated server location you need to make sure that it is located close to the best transit providers. This helps to ensure improved routes for global network traffic. When a server is located in a connected location the time taken will be a few milliseconds less than when the server is located far from a connected location.

Legal requirements

Another factor that you need to take into consideration when choosing a dedicated server location is that there may be some legal requirements for data to reside in particular countries. This means that you need to choose a location that complies with legal terms and conditions.

Disaster prone locations

Yet another factor that you need to take into account when choosing dedicated server locations is that you should not choose a location that is prone to natural calamities like flooding and snowstorms or cyclones, and the like. A natural calamity can make the data center inoperable and this may cause many undesirable cases. Therefore, it makes sense to choose a dedicated server location that is safe and resistant to natural calamities.

Close to your audience

If your dedicated server location is the same as your target audience then this has many interesting benefits like improved local ranking with the major search engines. When a server is located in the same country or continent as your target audience it means that the websites will load faster compared to the competition and this will improve overall user experience. In the case of Forex trading, for example. or other Internet-based financial or share trading even a millisecond difference may result in hundreds or thousands of dollars earned or lost – depending on whether the connection was fast or slow.

The bottomline is that when opting for a dedicated server you need to choose a location that is in the same country or continent as your target audience. If the server is located close to you then the benefits are immense. Choosing a location like Denver, Chicago, London or Singapore can prove to be very beneficial if you are living in the US, UK or South East Asia respectively. With dedicated server hosting there are many benefits to be enjoyed like greater reliability as well as flexibility. More importantly, it ensures greater security as well as higher website performance.

06 Jul

SSD Or HDD Powered Servers – What Technology To Choose

SSD Or HDD Powered Servers – What Technology Do I Require?

Till quite recently it was mostly only possible to buy servers with a hard drive for storage. A few very ultraportable devices came with an SSD or Solid State Drive. The traditional HDD (hard disk drive) is a non-volatile storage on which information remains present even after power to the unit has been switched off. A hard drive is made up of a platter (made out of metal), which has a magnetic coating on which data can be stored.

The SSD on the other hand can do everything that a HDD can do but data is stored on flash memory chips (interconnected) that continue to store data even when power to them is switched off. Here is a brief look at the difference between SSD and HDD powered servers and what technology do you require for your specific needs.

Price

Essentially, an SSD and a HDD perform similar functions, which are to boot up your system and store information. However, each differs in many ways. For example, SSDs are more expensive than HDDs. The former costs about five times as much per GB. Typically, a HDD costs between four and five cents per GB as compared to 25 cents per GB for an SSD.

Storage

Secondly, whereas a modern HDD has a base storage capacity of about 500 GB the SSD only has about 128 GB of storage space. However, this lack of storage capacity is offset when one considers the speed at which the SSD works. A computer with an SSD will boot in under 60 seconds and often in a matter of seconds. A HDD server on the other hand could boot much slower.

Speed

HDDs are good at storing vast amounts of information. SSDs on the other hand are quicker but they generally do not have the same amount of storage capacity as HDDs. However, the good news is that SSDs do not have moving parts – unlike a HDD. This means that if you use your server roughly you could end up facing issues if you are using a HDD powered server. There are no such problems with SSD powered dedicated servers.

Availability

HDDs are easy to buy. They are readily available though in recent times SSDs have started to prevail over HDDs. Even so, most people prefer HDD powered servers over SSD powered ones. The good news is that more and more SSD lines are being offered now.

Size

HDDs can’t be extremely small because they have to use spinning platters. There are no such limitations in the case of SSDs, which means that in the coming years they may become even smaller than they already are.

Noise

HDDs emit some noise when in operation. SSDs on the other hand make no noise since they do not use any mechanical parts. Also, an SSD does not have to use electricity to spin any platter, as is the case with HDDs. This means that SSD powered servers are less costly to run.

The bottom line is that when it comes to deciding on a particular technology you need to keep in mind that HDD dedicated servers are more budget friendly options. They are also widely available. SSD powered servers on the other hand are great if you need ultimate speed that no other HDD will provide you with.

01 May

How to Avoid Disaster Recovery

Avoid Server Disasters

While every business regardless of its size or its reliance on IT infrastructure should have a plan in place for disaster recovery, it is even more important to avoid or mitigate the damage from a business disaster in the first place. Business disasters can range from a data center fire to extreme natural disasters, such as a hurricane. Your IT infrastructure should be organized in a way that minimizes its overall exposure to business disasters and mitigates as much of their potential damage as possible if they do happen.

Here are the top 5 methods for protecting your company from needing to enact its disaster recovery plan in the first place.

Enterprise Hosting

Enterprise hosting is an increasingly common service that allows companies to outsource the hardware, maintenance and management of their software and applications. Many companies choose to use enterprise hosting services because it allows them to rely heavily on IT infrastructure to support their business without needing to develop their own expensive and complex in-house IT department. Enterprise hosting also allows a company to focus its IT efforts on product development and customer experience, while leaving the more mundane details of IT maintenance to a trusted and reliable third party with the resources and specialization to maintain the company’s software and applications for a much lower cost.

Using an enterprise hosting service also means that a large proportion of a company’s essential applications and software are hosted and maintained in a location that is not only separate from the company’s offices, but also designed to withstand accidents and disasters. Data centers are the most reliable locations for any form of IT infrastructure, which makes them the ideal place to safely run your company’s software and applications from.

The Latest Hardware and Technology

Using the latest hardware and technology for your IT infrastructure means that you have the most reliable support for your company’s network and software. Aging and outdated hardware and technology will be more prone to failure in the event of a disaster, which means that your company will be more exposed to data loss, network downtime and other similar IT infrastructure failures.

Identifying, acquiring and maintaining the latest hardware and technology for your IT infrastructure can be a very expensive challenge for all but the largest corporations. Most companies operate on dated, and even second-hand, hardware and technology, which leaves them extremely vulnerable to severe negative outcomes during disasters. By outsourcing as much of your IT infrastructure as possible, you not only ensure that most of your IT infrastructure is running on the latest hardware and technology at a professional data center, but it also provides you with the time and money to ensure that your essential on-site IT infrastructure is also able to use the latest technology and hardware.

Solid Network

A solid network ensures that your company’s IT infrastructure will continue to function effectively in the case of a disaster, allowing you to avoid any unnecessary and expensive restructuring, replacement and data restoration. Your company’s IT network is what allows all the different pieces of technology to communicate with one another and act as a secure medium for the operation of your applications and your company’s ability to communicate internally and externally. Weak networks are extremely vulnerable in the case of a disaster, which means that even otherwise intact IT infrastructure will be rendered useless as no individual nodes in your network can communicate with each other.

24/7 Service Monitoring (PRTG)

PRTG is a network monitoring software that provides unparalleled 24/7 protection for your network. PRTG is able to monitor the overall performance of your network and identify any potential problem areas long before they become an issue or cause any damage to your IT infrastructure. As advanced PRTG service monitoring may be, it does require professional oversight to understand the feedback and successfully apply remedies to your network. Professional data centers rely on PRTG to monitor all the company networks that they oversee, which means that outsourcing your IT infrastructure automatically ensures that you have 24/7 monitoring of your network by the most skilled professionals in the industry.

Data Center Certifications and Compliance

It is an unfortunate fact that not all data centers are created equally. Moreover, it is practically impossible for company owners or directors to be able to identify a good data center from a poor one based on sight and intuition alone. This is why the data center industry and regulatory bodies have developed strict requirements for certification and compliance standards, so that the end consumer can be assured that they are receiving a high quality service when they use an industry-certified data center.

Be sure that the data center that you use to outsource your IT infrastructure has all the latest certification from relevant industry bodies, which will ensure that your IT infrastructure has the greatest possible protection from business disaster. Data centers are designed specifically to protect the hosted IT infrastructure from damage and loss in the case of disasters and emergencies, and the certification ensures that you are receiving the highest possible level of protection for your IT infrastructure.

SoftsysHosting Offers All These Services and More

While it is impossible to keep your IT infrastructure completely safe from business disaster, you can ensure that it is as protected as possible by outsourcing most of it to a professional certified data center. Not only will your IT infrastructure have the best possible protection from business disaster, but you will also end up saving money, receiving higher quality IT services and allowing your in-house IT department to focus their efforts on product improvement and customer satisfaction, which is what ultimately drives sales and profit.

SoftsysHosting provides all of the above services and more for the most competitive prices in the industry, which makes them our top recommendation for protecting your company from business disasters and the need to enact your disaster recovery plan in the first place. There are many certified data centers and service providers, but SoftsysHosting stands above the rest for the quality of the services that they provide and the low price that they charge for these services.