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The Truth About Unmanaged Dedicated Servers

by Elazar Cohen

Unmanaged dedicated servers (also known as self-managed dedicated servers) are servers which do not include post-install server configurations, patching, updates and all other related server management features... but is that a good or bad thing? I will describe the pros and cons of both and demonstrate why I think Dedicated Servers (unmanaged) is the way to go.

In general, the majority of dedicated server providers offer self-managed servers along with options to choose a management plan in which you obtain certain server related tasks to be done by their IT professionals.

Nowadays, due to fierce competition in this industry, providers do offer server management related work included in all dedicated server packages we offer. This is also due to the fact that many customers need initial help with some server configurations and do not want to purchase a full server management package, therefore they offer that service as an incentive to keep the customers loyal to their services and most importantly so they can be 100% satisfied with their server.

Let's face it, it takes a lot of effort, money and perseverance to gain long term dedicated server customers and there is nothing more frustrating for a customer to get a reply on a ticket they opened that describes the different management package or "per hour" based billing they can get to help them with their issues. That creates frustrated customers who will not give good word of mouth on your services, most probably they will start to look elsewhere and in the end, they will probably not pay for management services anyway and just try to do it themselves.

So why all this headache? Companies prefer helping customers with their server and gain on customer loyalty and referrals. When customers are happy, it makes the provider even happier and the benefits of happy customers are tremendous. It is both in the customer's and the provider's interest to help with server management related tasks free of charge.

In my experience, most customers usually need help in the beginning of their online adventure, they need to configure and install software on their server, get it up and running and then simply maintain the server with basic software upgrades and security patching (which is fairly easy to do). All of which is part of the initial help. So why the need for a "managed server"? The costs involved in "server management" do not justify the service it provides.

General tasks (which you pay for on a managed server) such as the following ones are very easily done on a server. A simple Google search will provide you with great tutorials to execute them:

  • OS Updates and Patching
  • Software Firewall
  • Basic Security Audits
  • Log Files Monitoring

Next thing I wanted to talk about is control. Customers usually feel they have much less control over their server when in a managed environment, as the provider can login at any time to perform server related tasks which you will not necessarily be aware of ... and this is when things can start to go crazy with services not coming up anymore, corrupted software or even have your whole server not boot anymore. Unmanaged dedicated servers provide you with total control over your server.

Disadvantages of a managed server:

  • Higher priced servers
  • Less control over your server and configurations
  • You might not have full admin/root login privileges to your server
  • You don't really get extra server management features as other providers, like Gogax, do offer basic server management as part of every package in order to help customers get started with their server

All this to say that unmanaged servers give you the best bang for your buck and you still get the support you deserve along with complete control on your server and services.

Gogax offers many great Dedicated Servers bundled with great support from our experienced IT staff.

Tuesday, Mar 2nd, 2010