What is Server Management? Definition, Best Practices, and Benefits

What is Server Management? Definition, Best Practices, and Benefits

Server management is complex because it requires high technical knowledge. Both the hardware & server-side software have to be well-configured and checked on functionality.

You can decide to have system admins that take care of the server in-house. Or you outsource the system administration to a third-party provider. In this article, we'll explore how to get proper server management for high performance and security.

Key Takeaways

  • Definition, importance and complexities of server management.
  • The roles of system administrators in server management.
  • Components of managing a server, regular hardware and software monitoring and updates.
  • The necessity of server-side security measures.
  • Potential advantages of outsourcing server management.
  • The impact of effective server management on business operation and reputation.

What is Server Management?

Overview of server management responsibilities

Server management involves the crucial task of maintaining servers in order to ensure they function at peak performance. It essentially means securing a healthy and secure network, which is best achieved through server monitoring and optimization.

System admins spearhead the management of the server. Their key duties encompass:

  • User management and access control
  • Configuring servers for optimum use
  • Managing server-side software installations and updates
  • Monitoring the Central Processing Unit (CPU) usage, RAM, and network status
  • Creating backups and restoring files as necessary
  • Configuring critical security settings such as firewalls

The regular maintenance of servers is essential in keeping your web applications running smoothly, thereby safeguarding your data and internal systems.

As your business expands, it may necessitate the addition of new servers. In such scenarios, the admins might have to configure (or reconfigure) multiple servers. This is where the ability to manage and monitor servers proves invaluable.

Efficient server management empowers businesses with unprecedented flexibility and scalability. It makes it easy to swiftly adapt to changes whilst ensuring security and mitigating potential performance issues.

Server Hardware Components

Key hardware components for server performance

1. CPU

The CPU is referred to as the brain of the server. It is also known as the processor. CPU usage is an essential metric in server monitoring. You can use it to analyze the processing speed of applications. It’s one of the performance indicators for server & network health.

2. RAM

Random Access Memory (RAM) acts as the server’s short-term memory. It’s critical for better performance of the server. The amount of RAM you would require for scaling depends on your specific hosting needs. You have to monitor RAM usage to ensure it does not reach total capacity.

3. Hard Drive

The hard drive acts as the server’s permanent storage. You should monitor the hard drive to avoid it reaching maximum storage capacity.

4. Network/Port

Network ports act as communication endpoints. Servers are connected to a port with a range of speeds set by the host. Check if you have enough network adaptors & connections for the server.

5. CPU temperature

The server can heat up very quickly if it’s not managed correctly. You require cooling fans to ensure the physical server's temperature at your data center is cool and does not overheat.

Services Components

1. WAF - Web Application Firewall

A Web Application Firewall (WAF) protects applications from malicious attacks. These attacks can lead to data loss, hijacked systems, and downtime. A WAF filters and blocks bad HTTP/s traffic to protect your web apps. The admins configure & manage firewall settings for network security.

2. Load Balancer

A LoadBalancer helps to distribute incoming network traffic across multiple servers. It improves application performance by decreasing the burden on servers. The load balancer ensures high availability & reliability. The admins have to set up and manage load balancers on servers.

Server-side Software Components

Important software elements in server management

The server-side software also has to be maintained regularly. You must know the software dependencies of your infrastructure. Ensure that the software is updated for performance & security.

Some of the common server-side software components:

Common Server Management Components

1. DNS

The Domain Name System (DNS) translates domain names into machine-readable IP addresses. With millions of domain names, the DNS directory can become very large. That’s why the directory is stored & distributed globally using DNS servers. If the DNS server is not configured correctly, your clients cannot reach your website. To manage the DNS, you can use DNS server software or a DNS service provider.

2. Database

If you use MySQL, the database management is usually done with PHPMyAdmin. You can create & manage database servers. Typical database administration tasks include change management, security, backups & recovery.

3. MySQL

MySQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS). You can use MySQL commands to import or restore databases. The admins have to start/stop MySQL services, maintain user accounts, update MySQL, etc. Using a modern server control panel, you can automatically upgrade or downgrade the MySQL version (by a script).

4. PHP Management

PHP is a popular server-side scripting language used for web development. The PHP code is processed on the web server by a PHP interpreter. PHP scripts are only interpreted on the server that has PHP installed. Many hosting servers come with pre-installed PHP versions. Depending on your application, you need to install the right PHP version.

5. Manage SSH/FTP users

SSH (Secure Shell) is a network protocol for secure communication. It ensures strong encryption & authentication for data integrity. The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) transfers computer files between a client and server on a computer network. You have to create & manage SSH/FTP users. If you are using a server control panel, there is no need to access the server from the terminal.

6. Services

You may want to restart services if you have modified the services configuration. You can start & stop services quickly using a server control panel. Services include MySQL, Elasticsearch, PHP, NGINX, Redis, Varnish.

7. SSL

SSL certificates protect sensitive data during transfer. It helps verify your site identity and fulfills compliance requirements. To secure the communication with HTTPS, you should install SSL certificates for all domains. Some server control panels offer to install a free Let's Encrypt certificate.

Server Security Components

Major security components in server management

Hackers are constantly finding new ways to get into your system. It could be from a misconfigured port or an unpatched vulnerability.

You must strengthen your infrastructure to avoid any attacks. Some of the server-side security components include:

  • Web Application Firewall
  • Detecting intrusion & threats
  • Regularly upgrade software & OS.
  • Set up Access limitations
  • SSL certificates
  • Password security

Web Server Configuration

Set up and configure a web server

The system admins will handle the setup & configuration. The web server contains an operating system, web server, database, and scripting language.

One of the popular solution stacks for Linux web servers is the LAMP stack. The components can be interchangeable.

  • Linux for the operating system
  • Apache/NGINX as webserver
  • MySQL for database
  • PHP, Perl, or Python programming language

Along with these components, you also have to configure Elasticsearch, Redis, and Varnish caching services. You should ensure to meet the system requirements before setting up the server.

Importance of Effective Server Management

Benefits of effective server management

Managing servers reduces downtime & data breaches. It helps to avoid any system failure.

Your server is vulnerable to attacks if it is not managed. Hackers can bypass authentication to gain access to your data. Or even wipe out your data altogether.

The server has to be managed regularly. Otherwise, it can lead to unstable server environments.

The lack of proper server administration affects your business. You could lose potential customers, brand reputation & revenue.

Requirements for Effective Server Management

Necessary qualifications and experience for effective server management

1. Study in System Administration with certificates in Linux

System admins must have:

  • Experience in maintaining the server infrastructure.
  • Previous studies in system administration (Degree in computer science software engineering).
  • Good coding skills.
  • Training in operating systems & networking.
  • Certificates in Linux to help assure credibility.

2. Experience in server components & applications

Industry-leading experts must know the ins & outs of the server components. Experience in server components & applications will help admins quickly solve the server issues. Inexperienced admins often end up doing random guesswork.

3. Infrastructure knowledge

Nowadays, most of the services are moved to a virtual server. That’s why deep infrastructure knowledge is required from system admins. A managed service provider must have expertise in the infrastructure you are using. They should be able to manage systems on your preferred clouds, such as AWS or Google Cloud.

4. Latest technologies

The technologies are constantly evolving. Ensure your server is updated to the latest versions. Outdated tech stack raises security concerns. Upgrade to new technologies quickly. It will improve performance & keep your server secure.

Advantages of Outsourcing Server Management

Advantages of outsourcing server management tasks

1. Expert support

In-house system admins may not have the right skills. They have to be trained for your specific IT requirements. Third-party providers come with the best technical support. You get a team of experts with years of experience in managing a server. Support specialists help resolve all server related issues.

2. Lower costs

As the business grows, you may have to hire full-time system admins. It can charge you thousands of dollars. External server management is more cost-efficient and comes with SLA-based pricing. SLA means the service level you require for your hosting.

3. 24/7 Monitoring & support

A Managed service offers 24/7 support & monitoring of the server. You will have experts ready to resolve all server-related issues.

4. Reduced workloads

Managing servers comes with many routine tasks. Outsourcing these server-related tasks to a vendor helps save time. They constantly monitor your server to ensure uptime and security.

5. Latest technology

Vendors use the latest technologies and the newest server management software. The updates are also implemented quickly for the server.

Glossary of Key Terms in Server Management

  1. Server Administering: The process of overseeing the operations of a server, typically involving system admin tasks such as monitoring, updating, securing, and optimizing the server.

  2. System Admin: System administrator, a professional who manages the operation of a computer system or network, ensuring its effective operation and security.

  3. Central Processing Unit (CPU): its a central hardware component that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations.

  4. RAM (Random Access Memory): This is the server's short-term memory. It temporarily stores data that can be read from or written to, enhancing the server's processing speed.

  5. Hard Drive: Acts as the server's long-term storage, storing data permanently even when the server is turned off.

  6. Network Port: This acts as a communication endpoint for the server.

  7. Web Application Firewall(WAF): A specific kind of software firewall designed to protect web-based applications from threats and attacks.

  8. LoadBalancer: It is a device that distributes network or application traffic across multiple servers to ensure reliable and efficient operation.

  9. Server-side Software Components: Software that runs on the server side of a client-server system.

  10. PHP: A popular server-side scripting language designed for web development, runs scripts on a server that has PHP installed.


1. What is web server management?

Managing a server refers to the processes and tasks involved in maintaining and operating a server to ensure optimal performance. It usually includes hardware, software updates, network optimization, and security measures. Effective management of a server provides a smooth user experience and ensures data security.

2. What are some common server management tools system administrators use?

System administrators frequently use various server management tools such as server monitoring software, hosting control panels, automation tools, and security management solutions to facilitate efficient server maintenance.

3. How crucial is hardware management as part of server management?

Hardware management is a fundamental aspect of server management. It involves ensuring the physical components of the physical server, such as the Central Processing Unit (CPU), Hard-drives, and RAM, function correctly. Good hardware management can maximize server configuration, performance and lifespan.

4. What do we mean by a server management strategy?

A server management strategy refers to the planned approach for overseeing the server's operation. It includes the roles of system administrators, the use of server management software, analysing server types such as hybrid servers, hardware management, and the implementation of security protocols.

5. Why is effective server management important for businesses?

Server management is vital to ensure reliability, security, and peak performance of a business's digital platforms. It involves regular monitoring to detect and resolve issues promptly, thus reducing downtime and potential loss of revenue.


Proper server management ensures that your server handles web hosting, applications & data storage with optimial performance and efficiency. It is the backbone of your IT infrastructure. The types of servers may vary, such as Linux or Windows servers. However, Linux servers are widely used & are a standard for web hosting. A maintained server ensures high performance, scaling & security.

A web hosting control panel is one of the best ways to manage your server. It automates many server-related tasks. Gain more insights about server management on the CloudPanel blog.

Nikita S.
Nikita S.
Technical Writer

As a lead technical writer, Nikita S. is experienced in crafting well-researched articles that simplify complex information and promote technical communication. She is enthusiastic about cloud computing and holds a specialization in SEO and digital marketing.

Deploy CloudPanel For Free! Get Started For Free!