Official Cpanel Newbie Guide Published: Oct 22, 2003
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Perhaps you are wondering what dedicated servers are for, and whether you need one. Or perhaps you already know you need a dedicated server, but are stuck when it comes to choosing a host. Whichever way, here are a few guidelines that may help you in maki

Do you need a Dedicated Server?

Perhaps you are wondering what dedicated servers are for, and whether you need one. Or perhaps you already know you need a dedicated server, but are stuck when it comes to choosing a host.

Whichever way, here are a few guidelines that may help you in making your decisions:

1. Do you need a Dedicated Server?
When renting server space from a host, you basically have two options - to rent shared server space or to rent a dedicated server. With a shared hosting arrangement (often referred to as 'virtual hosting'), your web-site shares server space with other web-sites. If you rent a dedicated server, on the other hand, you get an entire server and network connection to yourself.

Shared servers are less costly to rent than dedicated servers. They usually require a lower level of technical skills too, because the host does most of the server administration. This is why shared servers are usually the best choice for entry-level web-sites or for small businesses whose web-sites do not have high traffic levels.

While shared servers are the most cost-effective option for small web-sites, they are not necessarily a good option for large, "mission-critical" or high-traffic web-sites. For these a dedicated server may well be necessary.

Dedicated servers are more expensive to rent than shared servers, and they also require a higher level of technical skill to operate. However, if you are making thousands of $$ a day from e-commerce and your business would fail if the server went down for a day or more, then you should seriously consider renting a dedicated server. Here's why:

Server Response Times and Site Traffic Management
The server response times on a shared hosting arrangement depend on what is happening with the other sites hosted on the server. Your own server response time will be affected by service interruptions on another site - for instance, if another site suddenly receives an unexpectedly high level of traffic. These interruptions will be outside your control on a shared server. With a dedicated server, on the other hand, you alone are responsible for managing, and planning for, traffic levels and other events that may affect server response times.

Flexibility and Software
With shared servers, you will have limited access to the operating system, and software applications will be limited to those, which are provided by the host. If you want to be able to install run your own advanced, customised ecommerce or database applications you will probably need a dedicated server.

As your site grows, your traffic grows and your applications become more demanding, you will need to upgrade your server. If you are using a shared server, your upgrade options will be limited. Your host will usually allow you to increase the amount of disk space available to your site -- but that is all. You will not be able to upgrade the hard drive, Ram processors, platform or software applications yourself. When you are using a dedicated server, you can do all of these things.

Information on a shared server is likely to be less secure than information on a dedicated server. A dedicated server can also be provided with its own firewall. If you are storing highly sensitive information on your server, this increased security will obviously be a high priority.
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2. Choosing a Dedicated Server Host
So, assuming you really do need a dedicated server, how then do you go about choosing the right host? Here are a few of the factors you will need to consider in making this choice.

Obviously, your choice of platform will depend to a large extent on the types of applications you are using and the skills and knowledge you already possess. The two most well known operating systems are Windows NT and Unix (which includes the Linux, and Solaris platforms). Windows NT, the more expensive option is regarded as the most user friendly and easiest to install, especially for those who use Windows on their PCs. Unix is cheaper, but there is usually a much steeper learning curve for those who are not familiar with the more arcane Unix environment.

Data Transfer
Most dedicated server providers will allow you to choose your level of data transfer, usually in gigabytes per month. Usually, you will be paying for this, so you do not want to purchase more data transfer than is realistically needed. This can always be increased as needed.

Data Backup
If you run a site, which is constantly being updated, you will need to back it up frequently. This can be a hassle. Many dedicated hosting providers will provide a back up service for you - usually for an added fee, but the convenience may be worth it.

Your server will need to be monitored constantly to prevent service interruptions. Check to see that your host can provide such monitoring, and how frequently it is done (eg every 5 mins), and what measures they use to deal with problems, which are detected.

As mentioned, running a dedicated server does usually require a greater level of technical knowledge than shared hosting. However, those who lack technical expertise may still be able to operate a dedicated server --- if the host offers some form of web-based automation to simplify the process of managing a server. Check to see if your host can offer such automation (if you think you may need it).

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Comments (27)

  • Gravatar - Christian
    Christian 15:49, November 4, 2003
    I think this is fantastic - thank you very much.
  • Gravatar - Mindlash
    Mindlash 07:29, November 6, 2003
    Very nice compilation.

    What would extend this great list is a similar layout for security... how one should go about securing their server to the best of their ability. Don't be afraid to get a little technical with us. :-)
  • Gravatar - Huhgo
    Huhgo 19:23, November 6, 2003
    Yes, I like this start so far... but it could use more info.

    For instance: I would love to see something more detailed on admining the LOGS.
  • Gravatar - Felxi
    Felxi 03:37, November 19, 2003
    Love all tutorials on here, learnt quite abit, think you should submit loads more!
  • Gravatar - Tony
    Tony 14:19, November 21, 2003
    I would love to see a tutorial on log administration! to compliment this.

    Another thing you might like to add is that you can login to your users cpanel - by using there username with the root password ;)

  • Gravatar - Mean Dean
    Mean Dean 06:10, December 13, 2003
    What a great tutorial. Of course, it would be even better if there were an accompanying WHM tutorial for first time users/owners of dedicated or virtual hosts (esp. as the price continues to drop on these services).
  • Gravatar - John
    John 23:50, December 13, 2003
    Very good info. It would be worth adding how to set up your nameservers when you have multiple servers.

    -- John
  • Gravatar - Ryan
    Ryan 05:26, January 9, 2004
    For most servers, I think the command to restart cPanel is "/etc/init.d/cpanel" Worked for me :)
  • Gravatar - Steve
    Steve 22:30, March 25, 2004
    helped out a lot!
  • Gravatar - conf
    conf 21:42, June 25, 2004
    It's COOL!!!
  • Gravatar - SGHost
    SGHost 08:05, September 14, 2004
    some other stuff that you might want to stop/start/restart<br />
    ==================<br />
    /etc/init.d/cpanel stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/chkservd stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/httpd stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/mysql stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/pure-ftpd stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/exim stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/named stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/antirelayd stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/mdmonitor stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/portsentry stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/apf stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/syslog stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/crond stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/smartd stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/rhnsd stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/ipaliases stop<br />
    /etc/init.d/iptables stop<br />
  • Gravatar - Netstronaut
    Netstronaut 03:22, January 10, 2005
    Kernel Update via WHM:<br />
    <br />
  • Gravatar - Net
    Net 00:49, May 12, 2005
    I think they should update this ? Since cPanel has been updated.. and some things are not the same anymore.
  • Gravatar - Mathole
    Mathole 15:21, June 2, 2005
    I highly appreciate the good information and articles on this site. Keep up the good work!!
  • Gravatar - Chris
    Chris 01:20, October 24, 2005
    srry..I dont know how to log on to the root type those commands...<br />
    what the crap is ssh and how do I get to where I type the commands...<br />
    help pleas.e.
  • Gravatar - Dilip Bhoromeyo
    Dilip Bhoromeyo 20:22, January 1, 2006
    This tutorial provides very excellent info for Newbies. I appreciate your endeavour through this task.
  • Gravatar - joshua
    joshua 18:23, May 7, 2006
    in-fukin-gredible!! i like that :)
  • Gravatar - tata
    tata 06:58, May 11, 2006
    i love it
  • Gravatar - mike
    mike 01:12, May 22, 2006
    Thank you so much! This explanation is what WHM itself should have included. They should pay you to rewrite the online manual.<br />
    Kind regards,<br />
  • Gravatar - Bobo
    Bobo 01:58, February 8, 2007
    great help.<br />
    <br />
    I have a question:<br />
    <br />
    Can the domain name being used for the hostname be used to host a site on CPanel?<br />
    <br />
    let me clarify. Suppose mu domain name is: ""<br />
    And suppose I used as server hostname the following: ""<br />
    <br />
    Can I, in this case, still use "" to host a site?<br />
    <br />
  • Gravatar - Roberto Medrano
    Roberto Medrano 14:33, March 10, 2007
    Excelente, me gustaria saber de los alias en los dominios<br />
    <br />
    parked how to?
  • Gravatar - ajujohnkk
    ajujohnkk 21:11, June 6, 2007
    its very helpful
  • Gravatar - Alan
    Alan 00:42, September 2, 2007
    Helps alot thank you for taking the time to help others great job!
  • Gravatar - Tyler
    Tyler 07:46, October 13, 2007
    This still did not help me. I set up site and it will not let me log in. I could not find what I was looking for.
  • Gravatar - corner
    corner 06:32, April 3, 2008
    based on older version but still decent enough intro for a newb like me so i bookmarked it thanks
  • Gravatar - Andrea Trachtenberg
    Andrea Trachtenberg 06:20, September 18, 2008
    i need a cpanel hosting
  • Gravatar - 08:13, July 19, 2010
    Great! nice tutorial. very helpful. thnx goes to author.

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