How can you use a small business server?

A server for small business 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 that help with 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.

See also: How Much Does a Server Cost For a Small Business

Data Center Hosted Servers vs. On-Premises Servers?

Data Center Hosted Servers

  • Location: These servers are hosted in specialized facilities called data centers, which are designed to provide reliable power, cooling, and network connectivity.
  • Rack Server: In a data center, servers are often mounted on racks, where multiple servers are stacked vertically. Rack servers are compact and designed to be mounted in standard-sized racks.
  • Network Attached Storage (NAS): Data centers may use NAS devices for centralized storage. NAS provides a dedicated storage system that can be accessed over a network by multiple clients.
  • Gigabit Ethernet: Data centers typically use high-speed network connections, such as Gigabit Ethernet, to ensure fast and reliable communication between servers and other network devices.
  • Linux/Windows Server: Data centers might run Linux or Windows Server operating systems on their servers, depending on the specific requirements of the applications or services being hosted.

On-Premises Servers

  • Location: On-premises servers are located within the physical premises of an organization, such as within their own data closet or server room.
  • In-House Server: On-premises servers are often referred to as in-house servers because they are managed and maintained directly by the organization’s IT staff.
  • Tower Server: On-premises servers can be tower servers, which are standalone servers housed in a vertical tower chassis. They are suitable for smaller-scale deployments or offices with limited space.
  • Physical Servers: On-premises servers are physical hardware devices dedicated to running specific applications or services. Each server typically consists of components such as CPU, RAM, storage drives, etc.
  • Network Setup: Connectivity for on-premises servers can vary but often includes connections to local area networks (LANs) within the organization’s premises.

See also: How to Setup a Server for a Small Business

Key Differences

  • Ownership and Management: On-premises servers are owned, managed, and maintained entirely by the organization’s IT staff, while data center hosted servers may be managed by a third-party data center provider.
  • Infrastructure: Data centers offer more robust infrastructure in terms of power, cooling, and network connectivity, providing higher reliability and uptime compared to typical on-premises setups.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Data centers offer more scalability and flexibility as organizations can quickly scale up or down their resources based on demand. On-premises servers require additional hardware procurement and setup for scaling.
  • Costs: Data center hosting typically involves ongoing costs for space, power, cooling, and connectivity, whereas on-premises servers may have higher initial capital expenses but potentially lower ongoing operational costs.

How to Choose Small Business Servers

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

There are two different ways to determine which server components, like processor, RAM, and hard drive, 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.
    • Book a free consultation with a ServerMania expert.
    • We’ll take our decades of experience and match you with the perfect small business server options 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.

At ServerMania, we’ve developed a keen sense of which hardware performs best in nearly any situation and we’ve helped thousands of people find the right server for their small business.

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. Partnering with a cloud server hosting business, like ServerMania.

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 deploying an on-premises server for your small business.

Running small business servers in your own office:

  • Single up-front hardware cost
  • May end up being cheaper in the long-term
  • 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
  • Real-time tracking
  • No additional costs for cooling or powering the server
  • Secure facility with 24×7 security
  • Redundancy of network, power supply, and other resources
  • Fire suppression and early fire detection
  • Monthly recurring fees
  • No physical access to the server

See Also: (Live Webinar) Meet ServerMania: Transform Your Server Hosting Experience

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 $140/month when renting, or under $1,000 when buying.

A more expensive server is typically over $200/month and over $6,000 to buy.

Which of this criteria sounds more like your situation?

Buying A Cheaper ServerBuyer 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, RAID or power supplies
  • 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, dual-ethernet and power supplies
  • 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: Cloud and Dedicated Servers. We’ve broken them down below:

Types of Small Business Servers

 Cloud ServersDedicated Servers
What is it?A dedicated server shared by a few users, each with their own isolated OS environment.A single physical server dedicated to one client.
Best for?Low volume, less powerful applications.High performance, mission critical applications.
  • Affordable
  • Perfect for development and less powerful applications
  • Entire resources of a server at your disposal
  • Environment not shared with any other users
  • Share a server with other users
  • Unable to scale resources
  • 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, 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.

Server PurchaseServer Rental
Server Specs: Lenovo ThinkStation P358 Workstation

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5845 (3.4GHz)

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 12GB

RAM: 16GB (up to 128GB)

Storage: 512 SSD

Port Speed: 100Mbps RJ45 (Ethernet)

Server Specs:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5600X (3.7GHz)

RAM: 64GB RAM (up to 128GB)

Storage: 1TB NVMe

Port Speed: 1Gbps network connection with 20TB of bandwidth.

24×7 expert support included

Pros: Very affordable, entry level serverPros: No hardware replacement or maintenance costs for more redundancy
Cons: No hot-swapping of hard drives. No redundant network connections. Pre-configuration with RAID cannot be supported.Cons: No RAID Support for those looking for more redundancy
Cost: $1,733Cost: $139/month
Operating Expenses: Estimated to be $72/month for 500W @ 20 cents per kWh + hardware maintenanceOperating Expenses: No additional costs for power, cooling, or maintenance.
Buy On NeweggOrder Now

Read More: AMD Ryzen Servers – How to Choose and Buy a Server for Small Business

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.

Server PurchaseServer Rental
Server Specs: DELL Server R740XD (Refurbished)

CPU: Dual Intel Xeon Silver 4214R (2x 2.4GHz)RAM: 128GB (up to 3TB)Storage: Not includedPort Speed: Dual 10Gbps

Server Specs:CPU: Dual Intel Xeon Silver 4214R (2x 2.4GHz)RAM: 128GB (up to 1TB)Storage: 1TB NVMe M.2 (up to 4TB)Port Speed: 1GBps network connection with 10TB of bandwidth.24×7 expert support included

Pros: Perfect balance of value and performance.Pros: Incredibly powerful processor for the price.

Support for up to 8 drives with full RAID

Cons: No RAID Support. No network redundancyCons: None
Cost: $2,973 + hard driveCost: $329/month
Operating Expenses: Estimated to be $158/month for 1100W @ 20 cents per kWh + hardware maintenanceOperating Expenses: No additional costs for power.
Buy On NeweggOrder Now

Read More: 16 Core Dedicated Servers

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.

Server PurchaseServer Rental
Server Specs: SilentPC Dual AMD EPYC Rackmount Server

CPU: Dual AMD EPYC 7543 (2x 2.8 GHz)RAM: 16GB (up to 1TB)Storage: Not includedPort Speed: Dual 10 Gbps

Server Specs:CPU: Dual AMD Epyc 7642 (2x 2.3GHz)RAM: 128GB (up to 1TB)Storage: 1TB NVMe M.2 (up to 4TB)Port Speed: 1GBps network connection with 20TB of bandwidth.24×7 expert support included

Pros: Quality hardware selectionsPros: Latest generation AMD processor offering incredible value
Cons: No included hard drives. Stock RAM would need to be upgraded.Cons: None
Cost:$8485 + hard drive + additional RAM costsCost: $629/month
Operating Expenses: Estimated to be $216/month for 1500W @ 20 cents per kWh + hardware maintenanceOperating Expenses: No additional costs for power
Buy On SilentPCOrder Now

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.