Back to the Basics #2: Networking

In the second post of our “Back to Basics” series, we will take a look at server networking. Generally speaking, as a system administrator, you will not have to worry about the actual networking infrastructure. If you have an in-house server, your company will likely hire someone to establish connectivity, and if you are renting a remote server, your web host will handle all of that. However, when it comes to meeting Internet standards, managing traffic, and establishing security, you may be the one responsible for making things work.

The following are a few networking concerns you should address as you start a new dedicated server:

  1. Name servers – According to Internet standards, your name servers should be hosted on at least two distinct servers in addition to your own. You should have a primary name server (ns1.yourdomain.tld) and at least a secondary name server (ns2.yourdomain.tld) in case the first one is unresponsive.
  2. Reverse DNS – Every server has DNS, as it is the only way for your website to be identifiable on the web. Unfortunately, some servers do not have proper reverse DNS, which is required to ensure that the identity of a server is in fact valid.
  3. Network firewall – A good network for your server will have a firewall at both the router level and at the operating system level. There is no reason to neglect one or the other. Any attacks that sneak by your first line of defense will be met with the second.