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Security of a Dedicated Server and What Makes It Is Secure

Security of a Dedicated Server and What Makes It Is Secure

Posted by in Dedicated Server

The security of Dedicated Servers are mostly based on the Data Center facilities housing the equipment and all service providers generally address enough quantity of resources to guarantee your server security, checking for new vulnerabilities, software and utilities deployment, to update and patch the server when needed if it is a managed one and tuning up the firewalls among other measures to avoid hackers attacks.

Depending if yours is a managed Dedicated Server or an unmanaged Dedicated Server, the service provider may offer multi-tiered security and monitoring 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as well as access to co-locate your server in the Data Center most secure racks with network monitoring, usage and other pertinent metrics if required.

General security measures of a dedicated server may include controlled access, firewall and intrusion detection, network monitoring, mirrored data centers, video surveillance, conditioned power, fire suppression, redundant air handling and battery backup capacity. All these measures are related to the Dedicated Server provider, but you as the owner must implement additional security measures on your own, not necessary at all, if you are under a managed service plan.

Among the basic security aspects to keep in mind while fine-tuning your Dedicated Server, is the server configuration files. Running an Apache server requires the improvement of permissions on the server root directories, server side includes, in non-script aliased cgi, script aliased cgi and cgi in general, as well as in other sources of dynamic content protecting system settings and protecting sensitive server files by default. These same measures apply to other operating system counterparts.

Another option to maximize security on a website is the use of Secure Servers adopting a strict policy for both the document root where HTML documents reside, and the server root where configuration files are kept by granting read, write and execute permission accordingly in servers with *nix platforms or their equivalent on windows servers, paying particular attention in CGI scripts and directories where most security threats are easily exploitable.

The cgi-bin directory or equivalent, and its contents has to be setup as executable and readable, chmod 755, but not writable, chmod 777 or 666, because the high security risks but Dedicated Servers running in Windows platforms do not have the Unix chmod command as an option so if you are concerned about security and you do not have the proper windows server knowledge or the budget to get a managed Dedicated Server, your best option is select a server running under *nix environment.

Dedicated Servers Data Centers

Dedicated Servers Data Centers

Posted by in Dedicated Server

Data Centers are those portions of Computer Buildings housing mission critical computer systems, production control, forms storage, mail units, network control sections and data entries of all the information available on the internet worldwide, some shared by different service providers and some others exclusively for the use of one company as Dedicated Server Data Center.

These facility centers ensure uninterrupted connectivity, superior redundancy and usually include environmental controls for extensive protection against environmental hazards through battery backups and power supplies, on-site generators, redundant air conditioning, and fire suppression systems under high security measures, generally separated from the remainder of the Computer Building by secure doors, and located in strategic cities nationwide and abroad.

After choosing a Dedicated Server, observing the technical aspects such as operating system, hardware options, space and bandwidth directly relational to your needs, in accordance with what operations the server will perform, which types of software you may need or what you are more comfortable with, and the managed or unmanaged services associated with your server, the next consideration to keep in mind is the Data Center housing your information.

The components of the typical Dedicated Servers Data Centers include network components, such as routers and switches to transport traffic between the servers and then throughout the world, as well as VPN gateways, security elements, deployed firewalls, intrusion detection systems and so on, as well as running the applications handling the operational data and core business of the companies using their services.

Data Centers house applications composed of multiple hosts, each running a single component such as databases, application servers, file servers, and middle-ware and basically all Data Centers offers physical components, including security and access control, underfloor, raised floor system, overhead trunking system precision air-conditioning, redundant HVAC control environment , power grid source, power distribution unit (pdu), ups and backup generators, smoke detection and early warning fire with fire suppression, closed circuit TV (cctv) surveillance, on premises security officers and server operations monitoring 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

Managed Dedicated Servers are generally more proactively monitored and maintained on the part of the service provider offering the best Data Centers and security measures to protect the integrity of your equipment and the data stored on it as crucial aspect to guarantee the functionality of the Dedicated Servers in a secure environment. Most Data Centers are in-purpose-built buildings in secure locations, usually close to large telecommunications services.

Operating Systems for Dedicated Servers

Operating Systems for Dedicated Servers

Although, the most common and popular operating system platforms for Dedicated Servers are Windows or UNIX based, there are several operating systems and sub-operating systems to choose from when it comes to selecting your Dedicated Server configuration.

Windows Based Dedicated Servers include Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server environments, Mac, Solaris, Mac OS, Mac OS X, Netware, NetBSD, FreeBSD (Unix Like), and both Unix and Linux with their different distributions; DarkStar, Debian, Fedora Core, Gentoo, GoboLinux, PLD Linux Distribution, Red Flag, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Redhat Server, Ultima and Xandros Desktop OS

The most popular operating system for dedicated servers is normally Linux or UNIX. Some people do however use Windows because of the applications that they wish to use that are only supported on a Windows platform.

Since there are pro-Microsoft Windows and pro-Linux movements, it is hard to determine which of both related operating systems could be the best to run on your Dedicated Server, but these 2 platforms are the most popular when selecting an operating system is needed. Windows supporters claim that Linux has a higher total cost of ownership with less guaranteed support and complex to setup for anybody except experienced users, while Linux supporters say this operating system is more secure, cheaper and easy to use, as well as is virus- and spyware-free in contrast to Microsoft Windows.

Debian, a widely used distribution developed through the collaboration of volunteers from around the world. Since its inception, the released system, Debian GNU/Linux, has been based on the Linux kernel, with many basic tools of the operating system from the GNU project.

SuSE, a founding member of the Desktop Linux Consortium is a major retail Linux distribution, produced in Germany and owned by Novell, Inc.

Fedora Core is an RPM-based Linux distribution, aiming to be a complete, general-purpose operating system from open source software.

Mandriva Linux, formerly Mandrake Linux or Mandrake Linux, is a GNU/Linux distribution created by Mandriva (Mandrakesoft).

Solaris is a computer operating system, based on the open-source UNIX SunOS developed by Sun Microsystems.

Windows Server 2003 is the successor to Microsoft’s Windows 2000 Server, booting up with none of the server components turned on, to reduce the attack vectors for new install.

Difference Between Managed Dedicated Servers and Unmanaged Dedicated Servers

Difference Between Managed Dedicated Servers and Unmanaged Dedicated Servers

Once you have started you way to acquire a Dedicated Server, the next thing popping up in your mind is the selection of managed or unmanaged services associated to your server because most providers offers both plans as well as co-location services but, what is exactly the difference among managed Dedicated Servers and unmanaged Dedicated Servers?

A Managed Dedicated Server is the best option for the in-experienced webmasters moving their websites from a shared hosting service to the total control of their own Dedicated Server. Why? Because you will get always the necessary support to learn what are you doing, and even get all the procedures and installations done, as well as the upgrades and maintenance of the server, being aware of the necessary critical kernel update for the operating system.

With a managed service plan, you are worry-free to dedicate your time exclusively to the development of your website, but this is not free and costs sometimes prohibitive if you are just starting your internet business. An unmanaged Dedicated Server requires your attention and some degree of knowledge for running scripts, configuring and compiling software packages among other related administrative tasks.

You may name your own server admin to do such things, a friend with the required knowledge or someone else helping you free, but in any case, you are solely responsible for keeping track of any patch or server updates required to keep it running and safe. Sometimes unmanaged Dedicated Servers come with one or two free support tickets a month to help you out in an emergency.

Because a Dedicated Server is your remote computer, if you have a problem running or configuring the server we can say it is your problem so that way many companies will not give you any support if you do not have a managed Dedicated Server or if you do not upgrade your unmanaged server to a managed plan. This is good to save in costs because you can acquire an unmanaged Dedicated Server to “test waters” and later upgrade it hiring the complementary managed services, but make sure the chosen server provider offers this facility.

Managed services involve the attention of technical problems and many cheap Dedicated Servers, do not offer a managed dedicated server plan but in both cases, managed Dedicated Servers and unmanaged Dedicated Servers mean the rent or lease of the equipment and rarely the total purchase of the server ownership.

Purchasing a Dedicated Server

Purchasing a Dedicated Server

If you have decided to take all the advantages of having your own dedicated server, there are a few things to know before purchasing it. The common practice to attract potential customers is offering what appears like an excellent deal for a lower price, but ending up with the lack of services, components, software or hardware, which is only available at extra charges.

Since purchasing a Dedicated Server means owning a remote computer, all its resources are reserved exclusively for your own use. Make sure to clarify what the specifications are you need and choose the service provider meeting those requirements included for the tagged price, because remember a Dedicated Server is only restricted by the size of its own resources.

However, the risks of inadequate hardware configuration or specifications not meeting your needs sometimes are not associated to the tricks of selling Dedicated Servers cheap, because being free to manipulate your server as you want and install any software as well, it may be the customer’s inexperience that causes the expensive mistakes. When is not the need of a hardware upgrade to run the server properly, the wrong selection of an operative system or other software may raise the costs.

Compare prices before you purchase a Dedicated Server: paying attention to every detail and trying to gather information if you do not have the experience on determining the aspects of setting up your server. There are many forums and communities where you may find help and advice to know, for instance, that 256MB of memory may not be enough to run a Dedicated Server properly, and knowing this in advance is the standard amount of memory assigned to those bargain offers out there.

Another point of particular attention when it comes to defining your Dedicated Server specifications is related to the proper control panel installed by default on the server. Many service providers do not mention if the server includes a control panel, and without it is hard to run and manage at least the basic tasks.

Although there are several different free control panels for the different operating systems, most low priced Dedicated Servers do not include any, and the very popular control panels like Cpanel are licensed and its cost is not included with the purchase of the server. This can be even worse if you are planning to use your Dedicated Server as a hosting facility to others. The license on some control panels, such as Ensim and Plesk, are limited to a determined number of hosted domains.

The price for five domains license is not the same as the price of a 100 domains license, usually billed monthly, quarterly or yearly. Consider all these aspects in the moment of purchasing your own Dedicated Server because a mistake selecting hardware and software, or not paying attention to the inclusion of unlimited licenses and/or free backups facilities may change drastically your internet development plans or the available budget assigned to this investment.

Pros and Cons of Dedicated Servers – Is a Dedicated Server for Me?

Pros and Cons of Dedicated Servers – Is a Dedicated Server for Me?

If you are reading this article you are probably familiar with shared hosting services either free or paid, but webmasters are usually lost when it comes to moving towards an advanced solution like having a Dedicated Server by their own because they may not have a clear idea about what they should be looking for. Definitely, a Dedicated Server can make a huge difference for any website performance.

Getting a Dedicated Server is owning the full control of a computer at your service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A shared hosting account is not only limiting, but also is sometimes frustrating because your website is hosted on a Dedicated Server of a given hosting company sharing space, bandwidth and other resources with dozens and even hundreds of other websites.

Shared accounts can be cheap, but with several disadvantages such as poor performance due to the heavy loads caused by other people’s big databases or exhaustive CPU processes, email delivery problems caused by complaints against other sites, or even downtime caused by denial of service attack against someone else on the same server.

The best way to find out if a Dedicated Server is for you, comes when your website starts receiving around 2000 to 3000 daily unique visitors, when you are serving downloads or streaming media, or when you simply want freedom to configure your server as you want, including hardware, software and other resources like multiple IP addresses exclusively assigned to your website or a number of websites under your control.

A Dedicated Server offers increased speed, storage space and bandwidth but among the cons, the first notorious difference is the price. Some websites may require more resources for better performance, but limited budgets may not allow the transition from a Shared Hosting Service to a Dedicated Server. However, in the middle range, Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are a transitional, less powerful solution but at an affordable price.

In fact, many webmasters opt for a Virtual Private Server Hosting before getting involved with a Dedicated Server to learn and acquire the necessary skills, because unless you have a server admin you will need to become more technically proficient to administer and make your server run smoothly, or have a managed service support and technical assistance for your Dedicated Server.

However, be careful because sometimes the support is limited to a few number of free consultations or none at all, if this service is not included in the price. also make sure to know what your backup options are, because you are free to install your own software and modify your configuration, but if you make a mistake reinstalling everything may have an additional cost and backups may or not be available depending on the terms of the Dedicated Server contract.

Dedicated Servers, Use and Abuse

Dedicated Servers, Use and Abuse

The remarkable difference of having a Dedicated is the sheer amount of overall resources and total control available for use according to everyone’s specific needs, but this freedom of choice not only the whatever software the customers desire, but to abuse sometimes.

Even when you are paying for the server, some companies may condition the use of the resources in direct relation with their policies, such as when the server providers do not want their names involved with adult content or gambling, or to limiting the run of IRC, BNC, BitchX, XiRCON scripts, torrents, eggdrops or other unauthorized shell programs, either for security, policies, terms and conditions. Etc.

Sometimes such limitations are directly proportional to the price you pay for the server. Some companies offer Dedicated Servers at affordable prices but with limited resources and support as a way to make you think twice and get another configuration or a custom-built Dedicated Server for particular use, such as Adult Dedicated Servers, Gaming Dedicated Servers, Streaming Dedicated Server, Shell Dedicated Servers, etc, that obviously cost much more.

The use of a dedicated server may improve your presence on the internet whichever be your business niche or if you want only to run a personal or family page but with optimal resources, however one of the most common forms of abuse the same in Shared Virtual Servers, Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Servers is the illegal or blatantly offensive material, but particularly the Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail, best known as Spam.

Pay for your own server do not give you the right to jeopardize the name of the server provider abusing of your own resources, running forbidden or risky scripts, sending unsolicited messages or hosting specific content if there is a clause in your contract on this matter.

Most of the times a customer found not abiding the terms of a contract, may have the server leased or rental terminated without recourse and billed including penalties. If the customer has paid for the ownership of the server these activities can be grounds for termination without recourse, and in both cases further pursued to the fullest extent of the law, including but not limited to lawsuits against you as the responsible.

A Dedicated server should be used to give you total but responsible control, and if it is true that you get what you pay for, cheap prices on Dedicated Server may become a disguised Virtual Private Server approach, and their use and abuse will be directly related to both, the customer and the terms of a contract that must be understood to get the best performance without take the risk to lose the investment for abuse.

Dedicated Servers vs. Virtual Private Servers

Dedicated Servers vs. Virtual Private Servers

When it comes to moving from Shared Virtual Hosting service to your own server the question arises, which is better? Dedicated Servers or Virtual Private Servers and is there any difference between choose one or another?

Obviously, the first and more notorious difference you will see at first glance in the price because Dedicated Servers refers to a computer assigned exclusively to you, either purchased, leased o rented, while a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a computer with specific amount of resources that are guaranteed to the application of 2 or more customers but generally just a few ones.

The number of customers assigned to a Virtual Private Server depends on the service providers and vary from one to another but always being a number below the number of customers on their Shared Virtual Hosting plans. In average, most VPS host 4 customers per server, few others from 6 to 10 customers but large hosting providers may host thousand sites on their shared servers and 100 to 200 assigned to each Virtual Private Server.

With a Dedicated Server you have always the certainty of a unique computer with all its resources assigned to you, avoiding the mistake of many people not paying enough attention to the number of customers assigned per Virtual Private Server. Most commonly, the service providers make a note of it, but some others remark the “unbeatable” price against the price of a Dedicated Server, distracting the potential customer’s attention.

If price does matter to you besides of resources and full control of your own server, it is important compare prices of both Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Servers analyzing as well the resources granted to you in each case. As unique owner of a Dedicated Server, the configuration and resources assigned is up to you, but going for a VPS the price guarantees you root access to remote computer but sometimes the resources, whether bandwidth or disk storage, are reduced for the low price that you will not be able at all to run or install your customized software packages.

As with Dedicated Servers, you can always upgrade your Virtual Private Server but for the price, at the end it worth the careful analysis and comparison of the services and benefits any server variant offers and your own requirements, asking if the technical support is also included or charged, otherwise add another charge to the total price. Always verify how many customers are hosted per Virtual Private Server but if you need total control with guarantee resources a Dedicated Server are your best value for each additional dollar you pay for it.

What Is a Dedicated Server?

What Is a Dedicated Server?

For web hosting, web caching, proxy or streaming media, the single computer on the internet, local area network or LAN dedicated to just one client acting as storage location for files or shared applications online, is best known as dedicated server. It may be purchased, leased or rented and housed in data centers with optimal conditions to ensure the uptime and integrity of both, equipment and data stored on it.

When it comes to dedicated servers, the service provider is in charge of monitoring the network connectivity, routing equipment and the computer’s hardware to guarantee their proper functionality, while the customer has total control to install and maintain the server software, and depending on the provider, the customer may have remote access rights to certain hardware functions such as reboot the computer when needed.

Dedicated servers are higher than average performance computers and more often used as massive hosting facility for web hosting services needing large amounts of data space and bandwidth, but also as a solution for other kind of companies or individuals with special needs requiring full control over every aspect of their own hosted files without the limitations or the overload slow down performance of a shared virtual hosting provider where a website is hosted on a server with hundreds or even thousands of other websites on it.

Whether for corporate or multi-hosting use, a dedicated server offers both the reliability and flexibility having your computer (server) online all time when it supposed to be, upgrading the software and other services or hardware if necessary when the demand increases or when there is a need to upgrade them.

Depending on what you need servers for, you may find a wide variety of models, pricing and configurations, including custom-built using the components the customer specifically wants for it, such as fast processors, amount of memory, additional storage space and even custom software installations, besides of the facility to hire additional services such as managing and co-location.

Although a dedicated server provides service for only one account or domain name, this account is the customer’s superuser or root access, which grants him all the administrative rights to create as many other accounts or virtual hosts inside his server as he wants and only limited by the hardware or the software license in some control panels. However both hardware and software can be upgraded at any time to meet the customer requirements.

Dedicated servers are recommended for corporations, business companies, multimedia-related organizations, gaming clans or individuals who need to maintain a large web site or a number of smaller web sites requiring special software support, close monitoring and flexibility to grow, but making sure whether you have the expertise and resources to operate and maintain the server or get the right people administrating the server, otherwise you can put in risk your data and your investment.