server maintenance feature
server maintenance feature
server maintenance feature

Server Maintenance 101: How to Take Care of Your Dedicated Server

Just got a dedicated server but don’t know how to maintainit? We understand. It’s not easy to take care of a server’s infrastructure. Renting from a vendor might seem to ease the burden a bit. However, even if you don’t have any hardware obligations, the weight of your server’s software lies with you. 

So, if you don’t know how to maintain your server, this guide is for you. Trust us when we tell you that you don’t need technical expertise (the likes of an engineer) to do the job. A well-conceived server maintenance plan works just as well.  

What Is Server Maintenance

server maintenanceServers are the backbone of a company’s IT infrastructure. They are responsible for running applications, storing data, and hosting websites.  

Since servers are constantly in use, they require regular maintenance to continue functioning properly. This is where server maintenance comes into play. It ensures that the servers are efficient and secure operation when executed routinely and properly. 

READ: A Starter’s Guide to Setting up as a Hosting Reseller on a Dedicated Server

What Happens During Server Maintenance 

During server maintenance, the servers undergo various technical procedures to update, optimise, and enhance their performance and security. 

Server maintenance comprises hardware maintenance, software updates, and security measures. Here’s a brief overview of each: 

  • Hardware maintenance involves checking the physical components of the servers (think: hard drives, power supplies, and cooling systems) to ensure they are functioning properly. It also includes cleaning the server to remove dust and debris that can clog fans and cause overheating. 
  • Regular software updates and patches are released to:  
      • Fix security vulnerabilities 
      • Improve performance 
      • Add features 

Keeping servers up-to-date with the latest software is important to ensure they remain secure and reliable. 

  • Security measures include:  
      • Installing firewalls and antivirus software 
      • Setting up secure passwords 
      • Regularly backing up data to prevent loss in case of a breach 

Pro tip: During server maintenance, downtime or service interruptions may occur depending on the tasks being performed. So, perform maintenance during non-peak hours to minimise disruption to user access, server function, and applications.

Server Maintenance Checklist (Daily, Weekly, and Real-Time)


Daily Tasks

  • Review system logs: Check system logs for any errors, warnings, or critical events that may indicate issues with the server’s hardware, software, or security.
  • Monitor server performance: Monitor the usage of CPU, memory usage and disk space, network traffic, and other performance metrics to identify any anomalies or resource constraints.
  • Verify backups: Ensure that backups completion and validate the integrity of backup files. This guarantees data restoration in case of data loss or system failure.
  • Check security alerts: Stay updated on the latest security alerts and vulnerabilities relevant to the server’s operating system, software, and applications. Also, make sure to apply necessary security patches or updates promptly.
  • Monitor network connectivity: Verify network connectivity between the server and other devices or network services, ensuring smooth communication.

Important questions to ask: 

  1. Are there any critical errors or warnings in the system logs? If so, what are they, and what actions need to be taken to address them? 
  2. Is the server experiencing any performance issues, such as high CPU or memory usage? If yes, what is causing it, and what steps can be taken to optimise resource utilisation? 
  3. Have the backups completed successfully? Are the backup files intact and accessible? Is the backup data consistent with expectations? 
  4. Are there any new security alerts or vulnerabilities that need immediate attention? What measures should be taken to address them? 
  5. Has network connectivity been stable and reliable? Are there any latency or connectivity issues that need investigation or resolution?

Weekly Tasks

  • Review security logs: Identify any unauthorised access attempts, suspicious activities, or breaches. Investigate and address any security incidents promptly.
  • Perform software updates: Apply operating system updates, patches, and software updates for applications running on the server. Ensure you follow best practices for patch management.
  • Clean server hardware: Physically inspect and clean the server hardware. Include fans, vents, and internal components to prevent dust buildup and maintain proper cooling.
  • Test disaster recovery procedures: Regularly test and verify the effectiveness of your disaster recovery procedures, including backup restoration, server failover, and data replication, if applicable. 

Important questions to ask: 

  1. What updates, patches, or software upgrades are available for the server’s operating system and applications? Which ones are critical or recommended to apply, and what is the updated deployment plan? 
  2. Is the server hardware clean and free of dust or debris? Has any hardware component shown signs of wear or deterioration that may require maintenance or replacement? 
  3. Have disaster recovery procedures been tested recently? Were there any issues or areas for improvement identified during the testing process? 

Real-Time Tasks

  • Monitor server health: Continuously monitor the server’s health and availability using server monitoring tools or systems. This includes real-time monitoring of critical server metrics and services. 
  • Respond to alerts: Set up alerts for critical events or threshold breaches, such as high CPU usage, disk space running low, or service disruptions. Respond promptly to mitigate potential issues. 
  • Analyse network traffic: Monitor network traffic patterns and analyse for any unusual or suspicious activities that may indicate a security breach or network performance issue. 
  • Conduct security scans: Perform real-time security scans or vulnerability assessments to identify any security weaknesses or potential threats. 

Important questions to ask: 

  1. Are any critical alerts or notifications indicating service disruptions, security breaches, or performance anomalies? What actions need to be taken to mitigate these issues? 
  2. Are there any unusual network traffic patterns or spikes that require investigation? Is there any evidence of potential security threats or suspicious activities? 
  3. Have real-time security scans or vulnerability assessments been conducted? Were any vulnerabilities or weaknesses identified, and what steps should be taken to address them? 
  4. Are the server monitoring tools functioning correctly and providing accurate and timely information about the server’s health and performance? 

Pro tip: Remember that these questions serve as a great starting point. However, the specific questions you ask will depend on your organisation’s infrastructure, the server’s role, and any specific requirements or concerns you have regarding server maintenance. 

How to Create a Robust Server Maintenance Plan 

Creating a server maintenance plan involves several key steps to keep your server infrastructure operation smooth, secure, and reliable. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create a comprehensive server maintenance plan:

1. Understand your server structure: Get a clear understanding of your server environment by identifying:

  • The types of servers you have (physical or virtual)
  • Their roles (web servers, database servers, file servers, etc.)
  • The software and services running on them

2. Define maintenance objectives: Determine the primary objectives of your maintenance plan, such as:

  • Maximising uptime 
  • Minimising disruptions
  • Ensuring data integrity and security
  • Optimising server performance
  • Keeping software up to date

3. Establish maintenance schedules: Create a regular maintenance schedule based on the specific needs of your server infrastructure. Determine the frequency of maintenance tasks, such as daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Note that different servers may require different maintenance schedules based on how critical the workload is.

4. Identify critical maintenance tasks: Determine the essential maintenance tasks that need to be performed regularly, such as monitoring server performance, backing up data, reviewing security measures, and more.

READ: 7 Website Maintenance Must Do’s

5. Allocate resources: Determine the resources required to execute your maintenance plan effectively. This includes personnel, tools, budget, and time. Ensure that you have adequately trained staff, or consider outsourcing to other agencies if needed.

6. Prioritise and schedule maintenance tasks: You must prioritise maintenance tasks based on their urgency and schedule them accordingly. Remember that your maintenance hours shouldn’t conflict with peak usage periods or critical business operations.

7. Communicate and notify: Establish a communication plan to inform stakeholders, users, and relevant personnel about scheduled maintenance activities, expected downtimes, and potential service impacts. You must also provide advance notifications through emails, website announcements, or other appropriate channels.

8. Document: Always document your server maintenance plan, including schedules, tasks, responsibilities, and procedures. The record will serve as a reference for the maintenance team and future updates to the plan.

9. Review and adapt: Make it a point to assess the effectiveness of your maintenance plan. As a rule of thumb, incorporate feedback, lessons learned, and emerging best practices to continuously improve its efficiency and alignment with evolving business needs.

Pro tip: Remember that a server maintenance plan is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process. It requires regular attention and adaptation to address changing requirements and technological advancements. 

Experience the Efficiency of a Virtual Server with Freeparking 

Server maintenance is crucial to how well your business operates. So, when considering server plan options, look for a services provider with a proven track that their servers are well-maintained and in stellar condition. 

You can also opt for a virtual dedicated server space. Compared to a physical server, it allows easy resource allocation. And without the hardware, you’ll save on the time and money it takes to maintain and house a machine. Additionally, virtualization technology enables efficient utilisation of hardware resources, resulting in higher efficiency and potentially lower costs for users. 

Freeparking’s Virtual Dedicated Servers offer the power and flexibility your business needs, minus the running costs of hardware. This gives you exclusive resource access, robust security, and scalability to support your growing enterprise needs without breaking the bank. 

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