What Is Dedicated Server Root Access and Why Do You Need It?

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Dedicated Server Root Access

Root access to a dedicated server allows for administrative-level changes to the dedicated server.

In other words, having root access lets you modify any setting or file on your dedicated server.

Experienced IT professionals can take advantage of having root access. They can optimize a dedicated server for hosting web services smoothly and securely.

As a system administrator with root access, you gain complete control over your dedicated server. It’s the same level of control you would get from a physical dedicated server in your office.

Keep on reading to learn more about:

What Is a Dedicated Server?

A dedicated servers, or bare-metal server, is a hosting solution used only by a single tenant. It is a powerful server that allows for flexibility and freedom to host web services.

Dedicated servers perform much better than shared servers. The hardware and software of a shared server are split amongst many users. Dedicated servers, on the other hand, give you access to your own hardware. That includes a dedicated CPU, RAM, storage, and internet connection.

Being the only user of a dedicated server, you can configure it with the hardware and software you choose. Dedicated servers are great for businesses of all sizes, and for anyone that can benefit from the extra performance.

What Is Dedicated Server Root Access?

Dedicated server root access gives you administrative-level control over your server. It allows you to perform any action on the server that requires the permission of an admin.

The user hierarchy in a server resembles a tree. Its root is the superuser that has control over everything. From the superuser account, you get to make any changes to your dedicated server’s settings.

Terms like root, admin, and administrator are often used interchangeably when referring to the superuser account used for system administration.

Check out our full guide explaining the different types of dedicated servers!

What Can You Do With Root Access to a Dedicated Server?

The root or admin user can perform any task on the server. This includes modifying files, installing software, and managing accounts. As an admin, all settings on your dedicated server are at your disposal.

Modifying Files

With root access, you don’t need special permission for modifying files. You can read and change any files and directories, unlike regular users.

You even get to set which users have read/write access to files. Or, you can completely revoke permission for any user to access certain files.

This way, you can prevent some users from accessing sensitive information or deleting important files.

Installing Software

As a system administrator, you can install any software on your dedicated server. And with root access, you can install software server-wide for all users. Thus, you don’t have to spend hours and hours installing software on every account.

Additionally, you can have an experienced administrator overseeing software installations on your dedicated server. Not all software found on the internet is safe to use, so you should be wary.

With root access, your system administrator can control what software is installed on your server and prevent malware and malicious attacks.

Managing User Accounts

As an admin, you can create and design user accounts on your dedicated server. You get the option to give and revoke permissions of any user and to every file. By managing user permissions, you will maintain a functional user hierarchy in your dedicated server.

How to Get Root Access to a Dedicated Server

How you obtain the password for root access to your dedicated server depends on your hosting provider. Some hosting providers might send it to you the moment you get your server, and others will provide it upon request.

Simply contact your hosting provider, and they will instruct you on how to gain root access to your dedicated server.

Be wary of hosting providers who refuse to grant you root access to your dedicated server.

7+ Use Cases for Root Access to a Dedicated Server

With root access to your dedicated server, you are allowed to perform any action. Let’s take a look at the 7+ most common use cases for root access to dedicated servers.

#1. Managing Software

As a root user, you get permission to manage software on your dedicated server. You are free to install any program, update it regularly, and distribute it to the server’s users.

You can set user permissions to allow only certain users to install the software.

Requiring admin permission to install software adds a layer of security. It ensures that no one will install malicious software on your dedicated server.

#2. Configuring cPanel

cPanel is the most popular control panel for hosting websites on a server. It provides you with a graphical user interface to manage your server. cPanel is very easy to use and you can access it from a web browser.

Usually, you can set up cPanel without root access, but you’ll need it to configure advanced settings. These include installing and managing add-on programs.

As an admin with root access, you can configure any setting in cPanel. You can access development tools, configure web services, and even grant cPanel support access.

#3. Migrating Websites

Let’s say you’re hosting your website on a shared server and you’re about to upgrade to a dedicated server. To migrate your website from your old to your new server, you will need root access.

Having root access to your dedicated server makes website migration much easier. You can copy your existing accounts from your shared to your dedicated server. The process isn’t complicated, and you won’t lose your data.

With root access to your dedicated server, your website migration will go smoothly. Your website will be up and running on your powerful new dedicated server in no time.

#4. Setting Up Backup

To set up backup on your dedicated server, you’ll need root access to backup user accounts, or roll back configuration files. Backing up your server is always a good idea. This way, you can avoid losing data no matter what happens.

#5. DNS Settings

Domain Name System (DNS) is a management system that connects domain names with IP addresses. If you would like to configure your server’s DNS settings, you will need root access.

As a root user, you will be able to add new DNS zones, edit them, or delete them. You’ll also gain permission to reset DNS zones, as well as carry out a DNS cleanup.

#6. IP Address Configuration

Root access to your dedicated server will give you control over your website’s IP address.

You will get to change your IP address, or assign an IPv6 address. The system admin will also be able to access the IP migration wizard. This tool can come in handy when migrating your website.

#7. Managing SQL Services

Most hosted web services use databases. With root access, you will be able to fully manage databases connected to your web service.

You can set up MySQL databases and manage them with phpMyAdmin. In this case, having root access will be helpful.

#8. Configuring Server Security

Enhanced security is a great advantage that comes with dedicated servers. If you are using a dedicated server, you get to set up your preferred security system. To do this, you will need to have root access to your server.

This in turn allows you to set up security policies and install security software to ensure your hosted web service is secure.

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When you buy an affordable dedicated server from RedSwitches, you can get full root access to your server instantly.

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For an extra layer of security, at RedSwitches you can also pay for your dedicated server with Bitcoin!

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Dedicated Server Root Access FAQ

#1. What Is the Point of Dedicated Servers?

Dedicated servers are physical servers used for the hosting purposes of only one client. They offer the highest level of performance, flexibility, and control you can get with a hosting solution.

Dedicated servers are usually used for hosting high-traffic web services, SaaS apps, customer portals, gaming, and other use cases where performance is crucial.

#2. Does Every Server Come With Root Access?

You can get root access to all dedicated servers, even if they are managed or virtualized. But, you cannot get root access to a shared server.

Since you are the only user on a dedicated server, you are free to operate it as you wish. But since shared servers are used by many users, individual users can’t get root access.

#3. Do I Need Root Access to My Dedicated Server?

In most use cases, you won’t need root access to your dedicated server. However, if you want to perform administrative-level tasks, you will need to obtain root access. Examples include modifying files, installing software, and managing user accounts.

For users who are new to web hosting, it’s good to stick to the basic server settings that require no root access. But if you are an experienced professional, or you have an IT team in your company, you can take advantage of having root access to your dedicated server.

#4. Do I Still Get Technical Support If I Have Root Access?

Yes, the hosting provider can still provide you with technical support even if you are the one managing your server. However, keep in mind that the hosting provider cannot undo actions you have performed on your server.

You should proceed with caution when performing actions that require administrator permission.

Key Takeaways

By now, you should have a general understanding of what root access to a dedicated server is, and why you might need it. Let’s recap what we mentioned:

  • Root access to a dedicated server gives you full administrative control over your dedicated server.
  • With root access, you can modify any files or directories on your dedicated server. You can install software server-wide and pre-approve what software users are installing. And, you can manage user accounts and their permissions.
  • You can only get root access to a dedicated server, or a virtual private server. Shared servers do not allow users to have root access.
  • You can get root access to your server by contacting your hosting provider for specific instructions on how to obtain your root password.
  • Root access to your dedicated server is useful for managing software, configuring a control panel on your server, or migrating your website to a new server. You can as well configure different server settings, including backup, DNS, IP address, database, and security settings.
  • You can get the best cheap & blazing fast dedicated servers with root access from RedSwitches.

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