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FAQ forFully Managed Dedicated and VPS Servers
 

Frequently Asked Questions about our Dedicated and VPS servers


What does "Fully Managed" mean?

Basically, we manage your server in the same way we manage our own shared servers. We will take care of everything for you, from kernel upgrades to apache/php/mysql and other system software, including monitoring, proactive patches/upgrades, finding and fixing runaway scripts or processes, and basically keeping your server running smoothly.

Think of us as your server administration team. We take care of ALL the technical stuff, so you don't have to even think about it.

More information about the definition and details of our full server management is here.

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Can we upgrade to RAID 10 on our server?

RAID 1 is included as standard on all our managed servers. An upgrade to RAID 10 is available for a one-time (non-refundable) setup fee. (Please contact us to obtain current pricing.)

What is RAID?

RAID is short for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, a type of disk drive configuration that uses two or more drives in combination to improve fault tolerance and performance of your server.

Basically, RAID allows your server to stay online even if one of your server's disk drives fail.

For example, without RAID, if your server's disk drive fails, then all your websites will be unavailable. We will work as quickly as possible to install a new disk and restore all your websites from the backup files on the backup drive.. however this could take several hours (or longer depending on the amount of data that needs to be restored), and your websites all be down during the entire time. Also, your websites would only be restored to whatever was the last backup file date available.

However, if your server does have RAID and a disk were to fail, then it would result in no downtime or loss of service at all. The additional disk(s) in the RAID array would continue to work for your server, and we would simply replace the dead hard drive with a new one -- without even a reboot required.

We use only hardware RAID as it is much better performance for web hosting servers. (No software RAID!)

We use only high-speed hot-swappable disk drives, which means in the event of a drive failure we can replace (swap) the faulty drive without ever taking your server offline.

What is the difference between RAID 1 and RAID 10?

RAID 1 employs two drives which mirror the data of each other. If either of these two drives fail, the other one will have a mirror of the data for realtime failover (no downtime). We recommend at least RAID 1 for any general-duty web hosting server.

RAID 10 employs four identical drives and provides both data mirroring and data striping at the byte level and also stripe error correction information. This results in excellent performance (speed) and maximum fault tolerance. It results in the best combination of data redundancy and speed.

In summary, RAID 1 provides protection against a single drive failure, while RAID 10 provides faster read/write speeds as well as protection against drive failure.

For more information on RAID, please see this RAID Tutorial. (External website.)

Will I still have a backup drive?

Yes. Your dedicated server will still include one additional backup drive for nightly/weekly/monthly cpanel account backups.

Can I upgrade to RAID 10 after my server is setup?

Yes, however there will be additional setup fees and some downtime involved if you wish to do this after your server has entered production status. Additionally, moving from RAID 1 to RAID 10 might require a bigger server chassis since more physical space for the additional drives are needed.

We *highly* recommend using RAID 10 from the start if you think you might later want to upgrade. (There is usually significant downtime needed to change the server chassis.)

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How long does it take to get my dedicated or VPS server?

For dedicated servers, please allow up to 5 business days from the time you give us the go-ahead for your order, to the time your server is online and ready to go. Your dedicated server is specifically ordered, custom built, and then hardware burn-in-tested at full utilization for at least 24 hours, to ensure it is 100% ready for you.

For VPS servers, please allow up to 2 business days from the time you give us the go-ahead for your order, to the time your VPS is online and ready to go. Your VPS environment is set up and then run at full utilization for at least 24 hours to make sure all is working 100% before giving it to you.

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Will my server have any kind of IDS (intrusion detection system) running?

Yes, as part of the initial server setup we will install a software IDS and firewall on your server. This software actively checks logs and monitors real-time connections for any suspicious activity, including port scanning, network probing, and brute-force hack attempts of all open services (ftp/cpanel/whm/ftp/ssh/etc).

All running processes are also monitored for anything that looks suspicious and is reported by the intrusion detection software to our server management team who will login to the server to investigate.

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Are rootkits or other hacks scanned for?

Yes, we automatically scan once per week for rootkits. We use rootkit hunter and chkootkit. Additionally, the logs of all system services (mail, ftp, http, etc) are regularly checked by our server management team for anything that looks unusual and might need to be investigated in detail. We check the server's log files using both automated tools and manual eyes-on "line by line" methods.

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Can you install anti-virus and spam filtering on my server?

Your server will include the same custom anti-virus and spam filtering system we use ourselves on our own shared servers. We are able to block about 95% of all spam with default settings, and we can further tweak the settings for your specific needs if required.

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How is bandwidth counted?

We count the greater of inbound or outbound. For instance, if you use 250GB outbound and 400GB inbound, then only 400GB would be counted... and the 250GB would be considered free.

Most webhosting servers typically use more outgoing bandwidth than incoming bandwidth, so all incoming bandwidth is typically free, and outgoing will usually be what is counted when you are billed.

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How would my data be backed up?

All our dedicated servers come with a secondary backup drive. The primary drive setup will store your website files and data, and the secondary drive will be used to perform nightly/weekly/monthly backups of your cpanel accounts.

The secondary drive is unmounted nightly to ensure the data's integrity.

If you would like to also have remote (offsite) backups or full filesystem backups, this is something we can assist you with as well for an additional fee. Please contact us if you are interested in further details and pricing.

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What happens if my server is attacked?

We do not immediately nullroute a customer's server because of Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. We understand that the websites on your server are critical, and because of this, we will work with our network providers to filter the DoS at the router level.

If the DoS can not be filtered, we will work to nullroute only the IPs the DoS is targeted towards. However, this is always a last resort. Our first response will always be to try and filter the DoS's source, rather than the destination (your server).

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Can I install any software I wish?

Custom software installation is handled on a case-by-case basis.

We will review the software you wish for us to install, and if the desired software is not suitable to be on your server for any reason, we will communicate the reason to you and do our best to suggest some alternatives that might work better for your needs.

For instance, ColdFusion is not stable on Linux, so we would not install this software since it would most likely cause problems for your websites. However, we can install any perl or PHP modules for you.

Just let us know what you need and we'll do our best to make it work for you.

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Can I have SSH access?

Yes. you can have shell SSH command-line access to your server.

In most situations we would enable "jailed" Shell SSH access, which is a secure alternative to "standard" SSH access, where the user will be jailed to "their account" only and will not be able to see or affect other client's websites.

If standard SSH access is needed, please let us know and we can work with you to determine if this is suitable.

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Is there a limit on the number of websites I can host?

No. We do not set a limit on the number of websites you may host on your server.

However, we will advise you when we feel your server is reaching it's limit. For example, if the amount of websites on your server starts affecting your server's performance to the point that we can't properly manage it, we will work with you to find a solution in order to upgrade you to a server which is better able to handle the required.

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Can we remotely reboot our server?

All our servers are on remote reboot ports, however, we do not give access to these ports to our customers.

The reason is very simple -- we will monitor your server 24/7/365, and if your server goes down or has any sort of problem, we will login immediately to investigate the problem and resolve it. If a reboot is needed, then we'll reboot your server and investigate the reason why it became unresponsive.

If you had access to the reboot port, your server could by rebooted twice (once by us and then again by you), which could lead to file-system damage.

In other words, we do not allow access to the remote reboot system, because you will not need it. We will manage and monitor your server and take care of it for you.

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What kind of monitoring of my server will you do?

We monitor all critical services on your managed server at one minute intervals. This includes HTTP, SMTP, POP3, FTP MySQL, cPanel, Ping, as well as various other points on the server such as load, disk space, memory, cpu utilization, etc.

Our system administrators will monitor your server 24/7/365 and will respond to any server alerts and resolve the situation immediately.

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