How To Choose Best Server In 2021

I think you’ll agree with me that choosing the best server for a small business can be a difficult process. With so many server types, processors, hard drive, and other options to choose from, it’s almost impossible to know where to begin. If you want to know how to setup a server for a small business, you’re in the right place.

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It doesn’t have to be this complicated. It turns out, there are just four things to really consider when choosing a small business server. In today’s article, I’m going to run down our top 3 small business server choices, and show you how you can choose the best small business server for your needs.

Updates for 2021

This article has been updated for 2021 to reflect new servers and processors available for small business servers, along with updated pricing and order information.

How can you use a small business server?

A server is a remote computer that is generally stored in a server data center. It is always on and connected to the internet via gigabit ethernet. It can be used to host a diverse variety of services and applications for accomplishing business goals.

Business servers can be used for:

  • Secure email hosting
  • File Sharing
  • Cloud Storage
  • Hosting a website or eCommerce store
  • Hosting SaaS apps such as customer relationship management, invoice management, employee management, or planning and collaboration software.
  • Supporting multiple virtual servers
  • Backing-up business data
  • Storing and collaborating on documents
  • Providing virtual desktops to employees

A small business server can power all of these services and more. A powerful server is capable of supporting all of them simultaneously, although there are benefits to splitting functionality between several smaller servers, rather than putting all your eggs in one basket.

How to Choose A Small Business Server

Step 1: Research server specs based on the applications you plan to run.

There are two different ways to determine which processor, RAM, and hard drive requirements you should select when setting up a small business server:

  1. Conducting research yourself:
    • Make a list of all of the applications you plan to run on the server.
    • Consider how many users each application needs to serve, now and in the near future.
    • Take this list and head on over to Google to look for advice and tests conducted by others that show how much server resources this application may use.
    • Wash, rinse, and repeat this step for each application and add at least 20% buffer to account for spikes in resource usage.
  2. Book an expert server consultation:
    • Compile a list of applications you plan to run on the server.
    • Visit our website and book a free consultation
    • We’ll take our decades of experience and match you with the perfect server for your needs.

Just as you probably wouldn’t perform your own root canal or sell a house without a realtor, some things are just better left to the pros.

After all, when you help thousands of people find the right server, you develop a keen sense on which hardware performs best in nearly any situation.

Step 2: Determine the Best Small Business Server Location

When setting up a server for small business, you have two main options on location:

  1. setting up a server that will sit in your office; or 
  2. hosting a server in the cloud.

While it may seem like a no-brainer to just pay a one time fee and buy a server, there are pros and cons to each approach.

Watch our video to help decide if you should buy a server for your office, or host one in the cloud:

Running small business servers in your own office:

  • Electricity to power and cool the server can be expensive

  • Hardware replacement costs

  • No 24×7 support

  • No immediate hardware replacement in the event of component failure

  • Normally no on-site security or support team

  • Inadequate fire-suppression and cooling infrastructure

  • Hardware becomes outdated quickly

  • No redundant power or network

  • Normally no 1GBps or redundant network connections

Hosting a server in the cloud:

  • Latest hardware, upgrade anytime.

  • 24×7 expert support with on-site staff for hardware replacement

  • No additional costs for cooling or powering the server

  • Secure facility with 24×7 security

  • Redundant network and power connections

  • Fire suppression and early fire detection

Step 3: Calculate Your Business Servers Budget

An important consideration when setting up a server is the cost. While every business is unique, here are some factors that may steer you towards a cheaper or more expensive server. This advice applies equally to renting or owning a server.

A cheaper server may be under $100/month when renting, or under $500 when buying.

A more expensive server is typically over $100/month and over $1500-$2000 to buy.

Which comments sound more like your situation?

Buyer A More Expensive Server

  • My server can be offline for periods of time without any impact on my business

  • I don’t mind using older generation hardware that may be less efficient in processing tasks or with power consumption

  • I don’t mind migrating to or purchasing a new server if I outgrow my current server

  • I don’t need redundant features like dual-ethernet or RAID

  • My server workloads are relatively low power operations

  • My server won’t be used as a front-end for critical customer traffic such as e-commerce

  • My server needs to be stable and online, 24×7

  • I need redundancy features like RAID and dual-ethernet

  • My server will host e-commerce or other customer facing resources

  • I have complex workloads such as production databases or big data analytics

  • I don’t want to have to migrate to a new server for several years

  • I want the latest generation hardware that can perform tasks efficiently

Step 4: Select Your Server Type

If you’ve decided that you want to host your server in a data center, then you need to decide which kind of server to use. There are two main types: Hybrid and Dedicated Servers. We’ve broken them down below:

Types of Small Business Servers

A dedicated server shared by a few users, each with their own isolated OS environment.

A single physical server dedicated to one client.

Low volume, less powerful applications.

High performance, mission critical applications.

  • May be more expensive than other hosting options

Step 5: Order Your Server and Get Started

Now that you’ve determined your resource needs, budget, server type, and more, you’re ready to order your brand new small business server.

If you’ve decided to purchase a physical server, now is the time to order the server and all of the components such as hard drives and RAM.

If you’re going to choose a server hosted in a data center, you’ll simply visit our website and select a server that meets your needs. No need to wait for your server to arrive or mess around with installing the Operating System. Your server will be installed and ready within 24 hours.

Our Top Small Business Server Choices

Best Budget Server

For those lookest for the cheapest server that will perform adequately for non-mission critical workloads, look no further than our top choices for the best budget small business server.

Dell PowerEdge T30

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1225 v5

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics P530

RAM: 4GB (up to 64GB)

Storage: Up to six SATA HDD (not included)

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1270v3

RAM: 32GB RAM

Hard Drive: 500GB Solid State Drive

1GBps network connection with 10TB of bandwidth.

24×7 expert support included

Very affordable, entry level server

No hardware replacement or maintenance costs for more redundancy

No hot-swapping of hard drives
No redundant network connections

No RAID Support for those looking for more redundancy

Max 32GB RAM

Max 2 drives

$430 + hard drive + RAM costs

Estimated to be $22/month for 290W @ 10 cents per KW/h + hardware maintenance

No additional costs for power, cooling, or maintenance.

Best Value / Performance Mix Server

We’ve selected our top choice for the best value small business server – a server that balances performance with price. These servers will handle most tasks that the average small business may throw at them with ease, and at a great price tag. 

HPE ProLiant ML110 G10 Tower 

CPU: Intel Xeon Scalable  

RAM: 16GB (up to 64GB)

Storage: Up to 40TB HDD

Connectivity: 8 x USB 3.0, serial, video, 2 x DisplayPort, audio, Gigabit Ethernet

CPU: Dual Intel Xeon E5-2697v2, 48×2.7 GHz

RAM: 64GB (Up to 256GB)

Hard Drive: 2x 500GB SSD

1GBps network connection with 10TB of bandwidth.

24×7 expert support included

Perfect balance of value and performance

Incredibly powerful processor for the price

Support for up to 8 drives with full RAID

No RAID Support

No network redundancy

$1225 + hard drive + additional RAM costs

Estimated to be $20/month for 290W @ 10 cents per KW/h + hardware maintenance 

No additional costs for power

Best Powerhouse Server

Just because you’re a small business, doesn’t mean your server has small requirements. For those of you that need to run mission critical applications which require greater server power, our top picks for Best Powerhouse Server are what you’re looking for.

Dell PowerEdge T630 5U Tower Server

CPU: 1 x Intel Xeon E5-2620 v4 Octa-core (8 Core) 2.10 GHz  

RAM: 16GB (we’d recommend upgrading here)

Storage: No drives included

Connectivity: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet

CPU: 2x Intel E5 2630 V4

RAM: 64GB (up to 512GB)

Hard drive: 2x 500GB SSD

1GBps network connection with 20TB of bandwidth.

24×7 expert support included

Quality hardware selections

Latest generation Xeon processor offering incredible value

No included hard drives

Stock RAM would need to be upgraded

$3449 + hard drive and additional RAM costs

Estimated to be $20/month for 290W @ 10 cents per KW/h + hardware maintenance 

No additional costs for power

Hopefully, this article will help you choose the right small business server for your company. Don’t hesitate to book your complimentary expert server consultation to get started today.

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