What You Need to Know to Run a Dedicated Server - Part I

In our last article, we covered the basics that you will need to know as you start administering your own dedicated server. The next two articles will cover the various tasks that you will have to perform. If there is an area that you do not understand, this is a very good time to do your research on this task to ensure that you will be ready to run your server.

We will list the different tasks in order of frequency of use for ease of reading. The first few will be tasks that you will perform frequently or will need to perform when you first get your dedicated server. The last tasks will be only ones that you will need to perform in the event of an emergency or for infrequent maintenance.

Since Web Host Manager is the most commonly used and provided control panel for running a dedicated server, we will be using this control panel for our examples. However, the different processes required are general in nature and will be similar regardless of your server’s software package. If you need more information on Web Host Manager, you can visit their website: http://www.cpanel.net

When you log-in for the first time, you will need to go through your Server Settings. These settings will include security settings, contact information manager, server time, nameserver IP’s and more. If your host has configured your server for you, and most do, all you will need to do is go through these settings to familiarize yourself with all of the different aspects of your new server. If you are unsure of any of these settings, it is a good idea to go through any documentation that your host has provided before you make any changes.

After you are familiar with the basic settings of your server, you are ready to move on to configuring different permissions and packages for your site. These packages may include FTP, POP3, Nameserver set-up and the service manager. You can use the service manager to easily turn off different functions on your server, such as POP3 and FTP. This should only be done if you do not plan to use these functions. Since these functions are quite common, you should only need to turn them off temporarily if you are experiencing a problem.

The nameservers for your server should be set-up by your hosting company. These nameservers are vital for your domains to resolve to their proper sites. Again, always refer to your documentation before changing anything on your server.

You will also be able to configure your back-ups. This is absolutely essential to ensure that you will always have a recent copy of your site’s data. If you plan on reselling your space on the server, you will need to make sure that your customers will be able to have their sites backed up as well. You can configure your server to perform automatic backups at specific times, such as once a day (recommended for busy sites) or once a week.

In the backup configuration area you will also be able to restore backups of your site. This comes in handy if something does go wrong on your server, or if you have installed an application that has overwritten your data. Since you have set the server to do backups at least once a week, you can restore to a later time if something does happen.

Our next article will cover how to set-up new accounts on your server as well as assigning limits to these accounts and configuring your webmail clients.

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Posted on 12/14/05 10:27 PM

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