Understanding server specifications

If you are out looking for a VPS or Dedicated server, you need to understand the specs used to describe servers to have a better chance of getting what will work for you. Many a times, people select servers – mostly because of pricing – and fail to really look into the many other specifications of the server. The result is that they end up picking a server that is smaller than their hosting requirements or much bigger than they really need. Let’s tear down the various metrics analyzed when choosing a server. This are normally displayed on any provider offering cloud servers. Note that server specifications greatly differ from the specifications of your home computer in many aspects. What you may consider small for a home PC may be excessive for your server needs and vise versa.

1. RAM
This is also known as Memory. RAM is a temporary workplace where data is held as it’s being worked on by the Processor. To understand it better, consider this. A computer generally stores a lot of data on the hard disk. But all this data is not useful at all times to the computer, only the data needed to do what you ask, is processed. This relevant bits of data must be loaded into RAM before they are processed so that you get the result you want from the computer.

Normally, the bigger the RAM the higher the performance of the server, but also, the higher it’s price. Depending on the type of service you want to host, different RAM sizes may be sufficient. For simple website hosting 512MB or 1GB RAM is sufficient. More moderate website use 2GB or 4GB RAM. Very high traffic websites e.g. e-commerce sites and high resource applications e.g. online gaming applications need much higher RAM ranging from 8GB to even 64GB. Shared hosting servers normally utilize 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB RAMs. At Truehost Cloud, we offer VPS ranging from 1GB to 64GB RAM and Dedicated servers with 32GB to 128GB of RAM.

2. CPU
This is also referred to as Processor. There are 2 metrics used to describe CPUs. The first one is the number of CPUs in a server. This is described, for instance, as 8 Core. Basically, this would mean the given server has 8 CPUs. The more the CPUs the higher the performance of the server as processes can be run concurrently and even distributed on various CPUs to be processed in portions at the same time. This of course increases efficiency of the server.

The second metric is the clock speed of the CPUs. This is measured in GHz. You’ll normally see this as a description like 2.4GHz. Generally, the higher the clock speed, the higher the performance of the server – though the performance is also affected by the way the CPU chip was designed.

Simple websites can work well with 1 or 2 CPUs but as with RAM, the more resource intensive the application being hosted, the higher the speed needed and the more the number pf cores.

3. Bandwidth
This is also known as Data Transfer. To explain bandwidth, I will use a simple scenario. You have a website, say with one web page that is 5mb in size. Anyone accessing your website will need to download the 5mb web page to their browser. Each person downloading 5mb is consuming an equivalent amount in your bandwidth. So, a person gets to see your 5mb page on their browser, and your server has 5mb deducted in bandwidth. As such, the amount of bandwidth you select for your server is determined by the size of your pages and the traffic you expect for your website. What most server providers do is limit the bandwidth for smaller VPS to say 20GB and charge you for any extra amount of bandwidth used per month. At Truehost Cloud, as well as many other providers, we will provide unlimited bandwidth for your server but enforce acceptable usage standards such that, we will not allow you to throttle a servers bandwidth, say while streaming a popular football match to your subscribers at the expense of other users. We refer to this acceptable usage policy.

4. Storage
Storage simply means the type and amount of disk space provided for your server. There are two types of storage media we offer: HDD and SSD. The difference between the two lies in the technology used in designing them and accessing content in them. Basically, SSD is superior to and way faster than HDD in terms of data access. For instance, looking at the write speeds, SSD file copy rate is at 200MB/s to 550Mb/s while HDD is at 50MB/s to 120Mb/s. At Truehost, almost all our servers are SSD, and can only provide HDD for specific data centers on request for specific dedicated servers. Storage is all about how much data you need to store. Normally you can add storage as you go without needing to increase other resources like RAM and CPU. Nowadays disk space is cheap. You may get two different servers with same RAM and CPU and different disk space but with a very small difference in price.

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