You can use a dedicated server for a wide variety of tasks. It is not just limited to one particular type of hosting. What may prove to be an obstacle, however, is safely testing new applications and alternative uses for your server without the risk of harming active websites or even bringing the entire server to its knees.
For many people, it is far to expensive to get a new server (even for rent) simply to test on it. You also might not have extra machines lying around that you can afford to wipe clean and install your server installation of Linux, Unix, or whatever OS you use. Fortunately, one good solution for server testing is virtualization, and Virtual Box is one of many tools you can use to run virtual test servers.
To install a Virtual Box test server, follow these steps:
- Download Virtual Box for your computer. It is available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris.
- Install Virtual Box using the normal installation method for your PC or laptop
- Start Virtual Box, click “New” and then click “Next” when the window appears
- Give your virtual machine a unique name and specify the guest operating system
- Choose the amount of RAM you want to allocate to the VM
- Create a virtual hard disk and follow the on-screen instructions
- Click “create” to create your new virtual machine
In part 2, you will learn how to install your server OS and configure some of the other options.