Lessons Learned from Dedicated Server Management

In my years of managing Dedicated Servers, I have picked up a few tidbits of wisdom along the way. Not all of this wisdom will apply to every server in every situation, but hopefully you will take something useful away from this.

  1. Rebooting will not solve everything. In my early server days, I used to solve many problems by rebooting. I couldn’t help it. Like many I was accustomed to running Windows on a desktop or laptop, and for that rebooting often was normal. For a server, however, especially a Linux server, there are many better, less disruptive ways to fix problems.
  2. Less is more. If you can slim down your server, it will run faster and be more efficient. If you have services running in the background that you do not use, disable them. Unused software, remove it. Old abandoned databases, clear them out.
  3. Sometimes the command line rules. As a graphical user, you may be also be accustomed to using point and click interfaces, and your server will likely have a control panel. But there are instances when using the command line is actually easier and faster.
  4. Users are the biggest security risk. It sounds a bit harsh, but it is true. No software vulnerability is as dangerous as a user with too many privileges, weak passwords, or poorly written applications.
  5. Server management is an active job. If you thought you were going to sit back and count the money, think again. I learned pretty quickly that managing a server is an ongoing process. You will be on call for as long as you have your server. Get used to it.