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Dedicated Servers Basic Terms — Hardware and Software Server Terms

Dedicated Servers Basic Terms — Hardware and Software Server Terms

A dedicated server is a single computer reserved specifically for one user. Unlike shared servers that have their resources shared among multiple users, the dedicated server allows only one user exclusive access to the resources available.

The dedicated server is more expensive than the shared server because of the obvious advantages it has over the shared servers. Online business owners have come to realize that dedicated servers offer more in terms of productivity, speed, security, and privacy.

A dedicated server also offers more flexibility and scalability. If you run an e-commerce business platform, you’d find the unique IP address advantage that the dedicated server offers is very useful in securing your customer’s private information, boosting confidence in your brand and boosting online sales/customer retention in the long run.

If you’ve decided to use a dedicated server for the efficient running of your website, you need to understand some terminologies associated with a dedicated server. Understanding these terminologies would aid your appreciation of dedicated servers and some concepts that accompany it.

Data Centre Terms 

A data center is a physical location where computer systems and other computer components like servers, routers, switches, storage systems, etc. are housed. Top web hosting service providers usually have data centers located strategically to cater to the needs of businesses around that area.

Here are some data center terminologies you may come across occasionally:

  • managed Server;  

When you eventually subscribe to a dedicated server plan, you’d realize that the server needs to be maintained and managed to ensure maximum productivity and sustainability.

Apart from just providing the server, most dedicated server hosting services offer additional management services for an extra fee. With this, you don’t need to worry about maintaining or managing your server, your hosting company does this for you.

This is arrangement is called “managed hosting” and servers obtained under this kind of service plan is called a managed server.

  • unmanaged Server; 

Quite the opposite of the managed server, unmanaged servers refer to servers obtained under a hosting plan that doesn’t offer additional management/maintenance.

For example, under this type of hosting plan, all you may get is your server and an operating system and nothing more. Any other software you need is installed by you and if you need additional features and services, you’d have to get them yourself.

  • colocation; 

Normally, a data center server, and other computer components for rent by business, companies, or any organization that would require data services.

Colocation is quite similar to a data center but for the fact that you own the server hardware but rent the space in which your server would be stored.

So while with data centers, you rent the server already available, with colocation, you buy the hardware and rent the space in which it is housed.

  • port Speed;  

The data capacity of a physical Ethernet port per time is called its port speed. Port speed is measured in bits and bytes.

To determine the port speed, you should understand how much data the port can allow to pass through it at once. Web hosting services offer dedicated servers with different port speeds.

If port speed is a big deal for you, you should check it out before you rent your dedicated server

  • data Transfer: 

This is the quantity of data transferrable to/from your server per time.

  • rack.

For organizational and administrative purposes, data centers arrange a number of different servers in cabinets. Each cabinet is called a rack.

Hardware Terms

Hardware refers to the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical components making up a computer system. They are the parts of the computer system that can be seen and touched.

Some hardware terminology includes:

  • dedicated Server;

Dedicated servers are special types of computers that are stored in different racks in a data center and are rented by businesses and other entities that need them.

These rental services are usually offered to clients by dedicated server hosting services providers called web hosts.

  • firewall;

A firewall is another computer in a data center that acts as a protective obstacle for the dedicated server.

They protect the dedicated server from unauthorized access and malicious attacks.

  • headless;

Servers in data centers are described as “headless computers because unlike regular computers like desktops, they don’t have keyboards, mice, monitors, and other computer peripherals attached.

Instead of these, they use other methods of command execution like the SSH and the command line.

  • RAID; 

A Server usually has a redundancy system that duplicates components for replacement purposes in the event that one component fails. The primary function of this system design is data security- by storing data across multiple hard drives, your sensitive data is protected even when a component is lost.

To help this process and ensure that the server performs its functions optimally, an array of hard drives are combined for the purpose. They form a RAID – Redundant Array of Independent Disks. There are different types of RAIDs, the most common ones being the RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 6.

  • HDD;

HDD (Hard Disk Drive) is a disk-based hard drive that facilitates data storage. It’s usually the main storage device in many computer systems.

The HDD is a budget-friendly method of data storage and as a result, serves as a favorable data storage option for general users and budget buyers.

  • SSD.

SSD (Solid State Drive) performs essentially the same functions as the HDD. It is used to store data. The major difference between the HDD and the SSD is the technology employed in data storage.

While the HDD has spinning platters, the SSD is solid and doesn’t spin. This non-spin mechanism makes it more durable as unlike the HDD, it doesn’t wear out.

Although more expensive, SSD has a lot of advantages like improved speed and performance features that make the extra cost worth it in the long run.

Software Terms 

Computer software refers to programs that aid computer system functionality.

  • Control Panel: 

A control panel is a web-based software that allows you to view and control the activities of your server. With the control panel, you can change your server settings and carry out other personalized functions to suit your needs.

The most commonly used and available control panels are the cPanel and Plesk. Users choose their preferred control panels based on their personal needs and goals.

  •  OS:  

OS (Operating system) refers to the type of software technology that your server runs on. There are various OS options to choose from. The most used ones are Linux, Windows, and MacOSX.

  • Apache:  

Apache is web-based server software that facilitates programming language communication. It is compatible with all operating systems and helps to serve server content on the world wide web.

  • CGI:  

CGI (Common Gateway Interface) on the basic level, is an interface that facilitates program execution for web servers.

  • Perl: 

Perl is a scripting language for running CGI scripts. It can perform many other functions that aid content management systems.

  • Javascript: 

Javascript is a programming language that aids the creation of web pages and the performance of other web development functions.

Domains Terms  

Domains are used to identify IP addresses. In simple terms, they refer to a unique name that identifies your website and other internet resources.

Businesses usually customize domain names to enable their customers to find them easily and reinforce their branding.

Here are some domain name terminologies you’re likely to come across:

  • DNS: 

DNS is an acronym for Domain Name System. It serves as a directory of domain names and IP addresses. It helps to match domain names to their respective IP addresses.

Remembering an IP address is a difficult task because they are a combination of numbers as opposed to names that are easier to remember. As a result, the DNS simplifies the process by allowing you to type in a domain name.

It then does the job of searching for a nearby DNS server, confirming the IP address for the domain name, and returning the corresponding IP address for the computer to display the website requested.

  • Top-Level Domain: 

The top-level domain (TLD) is the rightmost part of a domain name – the part that comes after the dot. For example, in www.dedicatedserverterms.com, “.com” is the top-level domain name. Other top-level domains include “.net”, “.org”, “.edu”, “.gov”, “.mil”.

  • Subdomain : 

A subdomain name is a part of a domain that comes before the main domain name and is used to divide a website into sections.

  • IP address:
    Just like humans who give addresses to a location to enable easy identification, computer systems numerically name all computers and devices for easy location identification.

Any of such identification numbers given to a computer device is called an IP address. A dedicated server, for example, has a unique IP address that is personal to it and would never change.

Functions Terms 

Dedicated server terminologies are also given based on the functions each device carries out:

  • SSH:  

SSH is an acronym for a secure shell. It is a network protocol that helps you to communicate securely to your server over the internet.

The internet is an unsecured network. Communications made on the internet can easily be hijacked by unauthorized entities and used to the detriment of the authorized personnel.

To avoid this, SSH encrypts communications so that only authorized persons can understand them.

  • SSL:  

SSL stands for secure socket layer. It uses encryption to secure transactions from a server to a browser and vice versa.

Obtaining an SSL certificate has now become an important part of website security and plays an important role in website page ranking and search engine optimization.

End users usually conduct e-commerce transactions with websites that have SSL certification and tend to avoid sites without it.


HTTP/HTTPS are acronyms for Hypertext Transfer Protocol that aids seamless website operation.

The major difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that while HTTPS guarantees top security by having the SSL certificate, HTTP does not. As a result, HTTP is usually deemed insecure and cannot be trusted with sensitive information.

  • Backup:  

Backup refers to a data security strategy that a server employs in protecting data contents and avoiding its loss.

  • Caching:  

Caching is the process of storing data in a cache. A cache stores data temporarily in order to shorten data access time and reduce latency. A cache server is also called a proxy cache.

  • Command Line:  

A command line is an interface that allows a user to send commands to a server. It takes in commands and transfers it to the OS to run.

  • FTP/SFTP:   

FTP/SFTP are both acronyms for File transfer protocol. They allow users to transfer files to and fro a server. The difference between both protocols much like that of HTTP and HTTPS is security.

The SFTP and FTPS are more secure variants of the FTP and require authentication keys. This added security measure makes them the more preferred option for file transfer.

  • Load Balancing:  

A server can become over-burdened with internet load. This happens when the server is made to carry out more server functions that it can bear per time. Over-burdening a server can drastically reduce its efficiency and speed. It also makes it less capable to handle an increase in web traffic.

To avoid over-burdening, server functions are usually distributed evenly across different servers so that one server does not carry on more functions than it can bear. This strategy is called load balancing.

Load balancing helps a server function optimally, ensuring productivity and improving the customer experience for end-users.


SMTP/IMAP/POP are programs that are installed during server setup to allow you to run your own email just as you run your server.

  • Database/MySQL/MariaDB: 

MySQL and MariaDB are database software that runs in an HTTP server setup. They create databases to enable service users to store, manage, access, change, search, and remove data contents.

We hope to have successfully identified the above-discussed common dedicated server basic terminologies to your understanding. The terms above are in no way exhaustive. You can always reach us to us with server terminologies we have omitted and we’d very excited to explain them to you.