Once you have made the decision to move to a dedicated server, you may wonder, “What now?”. There is a lot to do when you first get started, and not all of the necessary tasks may be immediately apparent. What follows is a brief checklist that may help in those first hours with your new server.
1. Run updates. Chances are good that your new server does not have the latest OS updates. If you purchased a server, you may even need to install the OS yourself, which means updates are necessary. If you are leasing, your provider may have run updates, but it is also possible they imaged your machine using a standard install, without the very latest updates.
2. Setup security measures first. Before you start adding production websites, you should tighten your server with a good firewall, anti-malware software, spam filtering, and anything else you might need.
3. Establish networking policies. At some point you will need to determine various networking settings. You might as well do it in the beginning. Ask yourself: How will I manage nameservers? What will my default DNS settings be? What will the server hostname be? What is the primary domain?
4. Set user policies. Assuming you will not be the only user of the server, you will need policies for other users, whether they are your employees, clients, colleagues, or friends.
5. Make long-term plans. Your server should be reasonably scalable so that you have room to grow but not so huge in the beginning that you cannot afford to maintain it. If you know you are going to have database-intensive web applications, for example, you may want to have a system in place where you can easily move your database server to another machine.