A dedicated server is a single computer in a network reserved for serving the needs of the network. For example, some networks require that one computer be set aside to manage communications between all the other computers. A dedicated server could also be a computer that manages printer resources. Note, however, that not all servers are dedicated. In some networks, it is possible for a computer to act as a server and perform other functions as well.
Dedicated servers sound pretty great, right? They are. That said, you should be aware of their relatively high prices. Setting up shop on a dedicated server will likely cost you more than $100 per month; shared servers, on the other hand, are far less expensive. The cheapest web hosting services will lease you space on the web for well under $10 per month. In addition, you'll need to handle firewalls and maintenance yourself unless you opt for a managed server, which costs even more.
Support for any of these operating systems typically depends on the level of management offered with a particular dedicated server plan. Operating system support may include updates to the core system in order to acquire the latest security fixes, patches, and system-wide vulnerability resolutions. Updates to core operating systems include kernel upgrades, service packs, application updates, and security patches that keep the server secure and safe. Operating system updates and support relieves the burden of server management from the dedicated server owner.
To date, no industry standards have been set to clearly define the management role of dedicated server providers. What this means is that each provider will use industry standard terms, but each provider will define them differently. For some dedicated server providers, fully managed is defined as having a web based control panel while other providers define it as having dedicated system engineers readily available to handle all server and network related functions of the dedicated server provider.
The answer to this question largely depends on two factors. Are you new to server technology and not very interested? In this case, Windows is the easiest option to get where you want to go. Do you already have experience with Linux or would you like to familiarize yourself with this operating system? If so, Linux gives you more freedoms to configure your server, and you will be using an operating system that is less vulnerable to attacks from the Internet. Linux is also open source and therefore free.
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