things-to-do-with-dedicated-server
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If you have a dedicated server that you are not using right now you might be wondering about the things to do with a dedicated server. Well, I can tell you there are many uses of dedicated servers and here are 15 of them that I have in mind offhand.

  1. Website hosting
  2. Backup
  3. A Minecraft server
  4. Personal Cloud Space
  5. Set up a dedicated firewall
  6. Set up IRC or email server
  7. Donate computing power
  8. Set up VoIP (Voice over internet protocol)
  9. Set up Data Sync
  10. Company Analytics
  11. Nagios Server
  12. Video and photo storage
  13. Set up a print server
  14. A test server
  15. Manage Smart Devices

1. Use the Hosting for Websites

By far the most popular use of a dedicated server is to use it for hosting websites. A dedicated server is necessary if you have a large intensive website and millions of website visitors each week.

I started with shared hosting for my website but quickly realized to get the full potential from the site I needed to pay for a dedicated server.

I will briefly describe the difference between shared and dedicated hosting.

With shared hosting, as the name suggests, you share the hosting with others. This means the bandwidth and disk space on the server is restricted. Go over the shared resources and the website is limited.

This can be disastrous. If your website is limited, visitors cannot get to the site. No visitors mean no sales.  With dedicated hosting, this is not an issue as your site is the only one on that server.

This there is no sharing of bandwidth and neither the disk space. There is a lot of space for your brand and site to grow online.

2. Use It for Backup

Speaking of large websites one of the ways in which I find a dedicated server useful is as back-up for my website.

Building up a successful business website takes a huge amount of time and money. There is nothing worse than finally reaping success with a website attracting thousands of visitors per day only to find the website goes down.

In some cases, the website might be hacked. It may become impossible to get it back up and running again. It is possible to lose not only the site but also all customers and income. It is possible to work around this scenario by making regular back-ups of the website. The ideal place to do so is on a dedicated server. I recommend making a backup of any website and this is high on my list of things to do with a dedicated server.

3. Use It for a Minecraft Server

Those who love playing multi-player games such as Minecraft, choose to use a dedicated server to use it for a Minecraft server.

While a dedicated server does come with a cost per month, a group of friends might want to share the cost to have their own Minecraft server to host their own game.

There are benefits to hosting games this way. For one there is minimal downtime in the game. Another is that a dedicated server offers optimal speed.

It is not as difficult to set up a dedicated server for Minecraft as one might think. In fact, I have written a guide to do so that anyone can follow.

4. Host a Personal Cloud Space

When I was considering the question of what to do with a dedicated server, a personal cloud space comes to mind.

The cloud has fast become the ultimate way to save and access data. The biggest benefit is that anything can be stored in the cloud, this includes:

  • Documents
  • Photographs
  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Spreadsheets
  • E-mails and chat transcripts
  • Calendars

Any business could benefit by offering employees access to a private cloud space. This is possible by paying for hosting on a dedicated server.

Project management through the cloud is a very good idea. This includes giving staff access to all of the above. What is even better about the cloud is that they have access to it through a variety of ways, the computers, smartphones, and tablets, both in and out of the office.

There are numerous project management tools available with some giving the option for data sync. Simply sign for dedicated server hosting and install the software of your choice and you have your own company cloud.

5. A Dedicated Firewall

One of the uses of dedicated servers is to take advantage of the space as a dedicated firewall.

Firewalls are essential but commercial software and hardware are expensive. Luckily, if you have a dedicated server there are open-source choices out there that work just as well as the commercial ones.

A firewall works by filtering all information that comes through the internet to the computer or private network. Filters or “flags” are set up in the firewall. Flags and filters stop certain information or people from getting through. In other words, it is additional protection for a computer system. It is the primary form of defense before the virus protection.

Bear in mind, if there is no firewall in place all the computers linked together are accessible by outsiders. It is possible for hackers to get into company computers and cause havoc, not to mention monetary loss.

6. Communication

Among the numerous things to do with a dedicated server is looking into setting up communication services. This includes an IRC or email server.

IRC, otherwise known as Internet relay chat is a terrific choice for keeping in touch with employees and sending out messages among the workforce. It can also be a valuable tool for sending files among workers. IRC is an alternative to using such as Facebook messenger.

An email server for a company works well on a dedicated server. While there are free choices out there such as Gmail, companies can create their own email server. The advantages of this are using the company’s own domain, along with setting up filters and other rules for sending, receiving and distribution of email.

7. Donating Spare Computing Power

Folding@Home offers anyone with a dedicated server the opportunity to do some good for the sake of others.

Stanford University is behind the project. Essentially, the project offers people with a dedicated server the chance to donate some of the unused computing power. Stanford University utilizes the power with it going towards the biggest distributed supercomputer in the world.

The whole idea is that Stanford University uses the space to help them find cures for illnesses including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

If you are stuck for ideas over what to do with a dedicated server, consider donating space for a worthy cause.

Stanford University is not the only organization asking for donations. There is also SETI@home, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. World Community Grid from IBM tackling humanity projects and LHC@home, helping physicists exploit particle accelerators.

8. Set up VoIP (Voice over internet protocol)

VoIP or voice over internet protocol does exactly what the name suggests. It allows sending of the voice over the internet.

One of the most widely used services is Skype. However, today many business owners who have a dedicated server elect to install and use their own VoIP service.

There are many benefits to doing so, including having more control and better quality conversations. There are many tutorials out there for setting up and using VoIP on your own dedicated server to have you up and running in next to no time.

9. Data Sync

Data synchronizing is another use for a dedicated server. This means files and documents can be kept coordinated across the whole of the workforce simply and easily. Files remain safe and secure.

There is a difference between setting up data sync and a VPN. The VPN connects computers while data sync allows for the storing of files in a virtual filing cabinet. The beauty of it is if anyone works on a file, the changes to that file synchronize. This means everyone reads and works on files that are always up to date.

10. Set Up Company Analytics

Another of the things to do with a dedicated server includes setting up web analytics for the business website.

Analytics provides an accurate way of gaining an understanding of how well, or not, the website is doing. One of the biggest analytics software out there is Google analytics, however, you might want to be able to run your own and have more control.

Anyone who wants to set up company website analytics of his or her own can choose from open-source software. Simply install the chosen software and run it. A popular choice is Piwik, but there are others.

I mention this particular one due to the fact it is feature rich. The software allows for the tracking of real-time analytics, visitors in real time, referrals, geolocation and more.

11. Nagios Server

You might want to take advantage of a Nagios server. The software can be downloaded and installed on a dedicated server and is used for monitoring.

With Nagios, you know immediately if something untoward occurs with the host server and can put it right. Along with this, the software gives a fair indication as to how long the issue takes to fix.

Nagios is useful for monitoring issues with host resources, network, and probes, including temperature and moisture issues.

12. Video and Photo Storage or Streaming

With unlimited bandwidth and storage space on a dedicated server, this makes it ideal for storing video and photos. It is also ideal for streaming live videos.

Store footage from live security cameras on the dedicated server or set up live streaming from a camera.

13. A Print Server

Companies with a workgroup or department that is self-sufficient could benefit from hosting a print server or a file server.

Using a dedicated server to host a print server could lighten up the workload of the company’s main server.

14. A Test Server

Of the countless things to do with a dedicated server, setting up a test server is one of them.

A test server is an ideal place for trying out any new applications, software or operating system you may be considering using.

When testing them out on a test server you are not putting your main server or operating system at risk. There is always a risk of something going wrong when installing new applications or software, or even an entirely different operating system.

By installing on the test server first, you can ensure that the new apps or software runs well with the OS you are using and other software. If it does not, you will not have to worry about the main server going down and losing everything.

15. Manage Smart Devices

Countless businesses today make use of embedded sensors along with smart devices. A dedicated server can be the ideal place to manage all of the smart devices in one place.

Collected data can be stored and saved from all of the smart devices and sensors. Analyze data at your leisure using the tool of your choice.

Conclusion

As you can see from the above solutions that I have pointed out, there are numerous things to do with a dedicated server.

The uses of dedicated servers are really only restricted by your own imagination, I have just provided you with some ideas, but there are many more.

You can use a dedicated server to fulfill more than one role. This could be using the space for a firewall, adding in a VoIP service along with setting up email.

What to do with a dedicated server will depend on the specification of the server. Whatever you decide to do with it, I recommend factoring in the costs of the server. If you are keeping a dedicated server running, it needs to be able to pay for itself. This could be either in monetary terms or in value to the company. Any idea for things to do with a dedicated server is a good idea providing it be of benefit to the business.

So are you going to take advantage of any of my recommended uses of dedicated servers or do you have your own ideas?

Written by Mark Bynum

Mark Bynum is tech writer and WordPress enthusiast from Atlanta. He loves playing with latest tech gadgets and testing various products and services. When he is AFK, you can find him hiking somewhere in the woods.

This article has 1 comment

  1. Abid Bhatti Reply

    Thanks for the useful post, To make sure you are investing in a server that will be able to handle what your company requires, be sure to take some of these factors into consideration. Keep up the good work.

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