The idea of an unmanaged server can seem appealing, particularly for website owners who typically like a “do-it-yourself” approach to technology. Even for a seasoned tech expert, however, managing a server for the first time can be a frightening experience. Here are five tips to help you weather the storm.
1. Backup Everything – I cannot emphasize this one strongly enough. You are going to make mistakes, especially with configuration files and maybe even with websites. If you have a backup copy of any and everything you change, you can always roll back to the way things were.
2. Seek Help – There is an entire community of system administrators who have experience managing servers. Learn from their expertise and avoid falling into holes that they may have already figured out long ago.
3. Update Often – Keep your system updated and patched. You will have plenty of chances to deal with more advanced attackers and hackers, so it makes no sense to leave your dedicated server vulnerable to newbie criminals.
4. Monitor – There’s an app for that. Even if you are never in your office, you can still monitor your server using mobile phone apps or web-based tools. Many monitoring services will even send you text messages when something goes wrong.
5. Stay Vigilant – Assume every user is a spammer, every visitor is a hacker, and every website has a security flaw. I am not suggesting you become paranoid, but always be mindful that problems can creep up from places you least expect. It is better to be safe than sorry.