The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Server Management

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Server Management

Key Takeaways

  • Server management is the list of responsibilities that must be addressed to maintain healthy server operations.
  • Both server software and hardware must be managed and maintained for consistent operation.
  • Server management tasks include configuration, monitoring, regular operation management, and maintenance over time.
  • On-premises server management can get quite expensive.
  • Managed server hosting services are a cost-effective alternative to on-premises server management.

Servers are the beating heart of the internet. Everything from a simple web blog to sophisticated web browser games is hosted on a server. Without servers, the internet would not be what it is today.

Naturally, this means that server management is critical to keeping the internet alive. Our online existence depends on the understated yet integral care server managers put into keeping the servers alive.

This blog will explore everything a beginner should know about server management. This includes hardware and software management, an easy checklist for daily server maintenance, and a look at managed hosting as an alternative to traditional server management.

Table of Contents

  1. Key Takeaways
  2. Server Management: Definition
  3. Server Management Basics: How It Works
    1. Server Hardware Management
    2. Server Software Management
  4. A Beginner’s Server Management Checklist
    1. Server Setup and Configuration
    2. Regular Server Operation Management
    3. Server Monitoring
    4. Server Maintenance
  5. Managed Dedicated Server Hosting: A New Server Management Strategy
    1. Technical Support and Simplification
    2. Expertise and Cyber Security
    3. Cost Savings
  6. Conclusion
  7. FAQs

Server Management: Definition

Server Management: Definition

Image Credit: Freepik

Server management is the list of responsibilities that need to be addressed for a server’s safe and proper functioning. IT technicians and server administrators are typically charged with this responsibility. They are tasked with delving into the server’s hardware and software to ensure everything runs well, is not faulty, and is up to date.

The responsibilities that make it to the server management list differ depending on numerous factors. Key considerations include the type of server, the physical hardware in use, the server’s purpose, etc. Commonly associated responsibilities include regular maintenance, fault correction, data backup, and data-centric performance evaluation.

Server Management Basics: How It Works

How server management works depends entirely on the type of server being used. Cloud servers exist in a virtual environment and are managed by two parties on the hardware and software fronts. On-premises bare metal and dedicated servers demand both hardware and software attention from server owners.

In either case, the server management is usually overseen by system administrators. These professionals are well-versed in server management and ensure everything is up to standard and operating smoothly.

Want to know more about the difference between physical and virtual servers? Check out our recent comparison between physical and virtual servers to see which is best for you.

Server Hardware Management

Server Hardware Management

Image Credit: Freepik

Hardware management includes essential tasks like server cleaning, server environment maintenance, physical server hardware monitoring, etc. Anything to do with managing the physical existence of the server falls under hardware management. Without regular, robust hardware management, server component lifespan and performance will likely suffer.

Also Read: Understanding Dedicated Server Hardware: A Beginner’s Guide in 2024

Server Software Management

Server Software Management

Image Credit: Freepik

If the hardware is the server’s body, then the software is its mind. Both need to be cared for and managed for a healthy existence. Software management includes installation and integration, error detection and resolution, software updates, etc. While hardware maintenance is relatively simple to learn and manage, software management is the opposite.

Only an experienced system administrator (SysAdmin) can properly manage the server’s software and set it up for optimal performance. Software management requires extensive monitoring and tweaking settings to make things work best. Even when comparing two identical servers, there is a high chance they each have unique errors despite being the same on paper.

Adaptability and acute problem-solving skills are required to ensure consistent server uptime and operations.

A Beginner’s Server Management Checklist

A Beginner’s Server Management Checklist

Let’s review our beginner server management checklist and explore the server management responsibilities.

Server Setup and Configuration

Every business needs a custom server setup. Whether a cloud server or a purchased or leased one, it must be configured according to business requirements. Configuration is among the most important jobs that come under server management.

Everything from the operating system and database software to the hardware components must be carefully selected. The main components of a server’s software include the operating system, web server, database, and program scripting language.

After everything is procured, it’s time to assemble the server. Server assembly is quite intuitive and similar to building a custom PC.

Operating system selection and installation is where a proper SysAdmin is needed. After installing the OS, there is a lot to configure. Security is a top configuration priority. Setting up firewalls and malware detection software is the bare minimum needed. More sophisticated security measures like rate limiting and traffic filtering are recommended.

After security, the next step is to set up network configuration and bring the server online. Once these server management essentials are addressed, the role shifts to an administrative nature. After configuration, server management involves the maintenance of the configured server.

Must Read: Mastering Dedicated Server Management: Advanced Configuration Tips

Regular Server Operation Management

Server stability is constantly in flux, influenced by the slightest shifts in hardware performance, resources, and software configurations. One misconfigured setting can negatively interact with an event and result in a server crash. It does not take much for the delicate balance of servers to be thrown into chaos.

Server management is present to avoid and resolve these conflicts in the server and maintain stability. Regular server operation demands that admins frequently update software and tweak settings for better performance and less chance of problems. This highly unpredictable task requires admins to think on their feet and react to dynamic situations.

Server Monitoring

Server monitoring involves not only performance and parameter monitoring but also traffic monitoring. Admins need to be vigilant and keep a close eye on suspicious traffic activity. DDoS attacks are only growing more frequent, and cybercriminals are constantly trying to exploit any vulnerability.

Performance monitoring includes monitoring server temperatures, resource usage, and performance over time. If performance seems to be declining over time, it is a sign of something going wrong. Perhaps the server is insufficiently equipped to handle growing traffic, or one of the components is failing. Server monitoring can avert a disaster in the making and save your business.

Server Maintenance

Server maintenance involves regularly auditing the server’s performance and keeping everything current. Software, security protocol, and hardware updates come under server maintenance. With the latest technologies like AI and Machine Learning, servers require frequent component upgrades for a higher performance ceiling. Upgrading the server to meet these growing demands is also a part of maintenance.

Managed Dedicated Server Hosting: A New Server Management Strategy

Managed Dedicated Server Hosting: A New Server Management Strategy

As you may have gathered, it is not easy to manage a server. Many of the server administration skills required can only be learned through experience. There is a world of difference between an amateur SysAdmin and an experienced one. Unfortunately, with how unpredictable the economy has been lately, hiring such a professional is not always an option for businesses.

This is where managed dedicated server hosting shines. Managed hosting involves leasing a server directly from a provider and paying them to manage it. There is no need to get your hands dirty when you can commission the pros to help you.

Here are a few advantages of server management services that may interest you:

Technical Support and Simplification

The biggest advantage of retaining managed dedicated server hosting is the technical support. Managed hosting is classified as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) service. These servers not only come with infrastructural management but also have custom control panels. These panels give customers server control without subjecting them to complex coding and technicalities.

Expertise and Cyber Security

Server security cannot be stressed enough. Threat actors are always present and servers must be shielded at all times. With managed server hosting, you have a team of experienced server management experts helping with configuration. They can get you started with firewalls, malware detection, advanced routing, and other complex provisions.

If things go wrong or you need something changed, their extensive expertise comes into play. Veteran programmers and developers can troubleshoot and fix issues far quicker than me or you. Having managed services providers on the case is often far more secure than trying to do it yourself.

Cost Savings

The highlight of managed services is the cost savings they can bring to small businesses. Applications are not cheap to run, and on-premises hosting and server management cost a pretty penny. The only options available are to build a budget server and configure it yourself or hire someone to do it for you for a high price.

Managed dedicated server hosting, such as the one provided by RedSwitches, gives businesses a third option. For as low as €40/month, small businesses can gain access to cutting-edge server hardware with effective server management. These cost savings make servers accessible to even a local grocery store. Managed server hosting brings the power of servers to everyone.


Server management is a crucial part of running a business today. Online presence is everything in modern times, and having well-managed and maintained servers is an easy ticket to success. Whether you leverage server management services or establish an in-house operation, it is recommended not to cut corners. Invest in robust server management and maintenance; it will pay huge dividends later down the road.


Q. What is server management, and why is it important?

Server management involves monitoring, maintaining, and optimizing server performance to ensure reliability, security, and efficiency. It’s crucial for maintaining uptime and protecting data.

Q. How do you monitor server performance effectively?

There are dedicated monitoring tools available for servers. Notable names include Zabbix and Prometheus for monitoring Central Processing Unit (CPU), RAM, and disk usage. These tools can be set up to alert admins of any irregularities in performance.

Q. What are server security best practices?

Firewalls, rate limits, and load balancing are basic protections every server needs. Database querying and data management must also be heavily protected to prevent breaches.

Q. How often should server backups be performed?

Ideally, perform daily backups, but the frequency can vary based on data criticality. Ensure backups are tested regularly for integrity.

Q. What are some recommended automated server management tools?

Automation server management software like Ansible, Puppet, and Chef are excellent for automated configuration management and deployment tasks.

Q. How can you ensure the high availability of servers?

Use redundancy, load balancing, and failover solutions. Regularly test disaster recovery plans to ensure quick recovery from failures.

Q. What is the difference between external server monitoring and server management?

Monitoring involves tracking performance and health metrics, while management encompasses all activities to maintain and optimize server performance, including updates and backups.

Q. How do you handle server overloads?

Server overloads can be mitigated with load-balancing technology and scalable server infrastructure. Updates and upgrades must be planned and budgeted for minimal issues.

Q. What are common server management challenges?

Challenges include ensuring security, managing backups, handling downtime, and scaling resources. Keeping software updated and managing configurations are also critical.

Q. Why is documentation important in server management?

Documentation is provided for basic operational guidance. Every server component and software comes with documentation. Reading through the documentation can help you troubleshoot issues and understand server workings.

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