Servers are the machines that are running without any downtime and make the enterprises online. 99.99% availability is only possible if you perform proper server maintenance of your machines or get the services from a hosting provider who assures you the 99.99% uptime. If the server goes down, it could cost the business thousands or millions of dollars.
Proper server management is necessary for any server to perform its operation without any failure. In this article, you will learn all the basics of server maintenance, benefits of server maintenance checklists, maintenance procedures and important checklists that can be used to keep the expected and ideal performance of servers.
What is Server Maintenance – The Basics?
Server maintenance is the process of proactively catching the issues and keeping a server software running and updated so that the machines can operate smoothly without any unscheduled downtimes.
If you are facing any speed issues then try to implement 10 best approaches to reduce server response time for SEO and webmaster. Proper maintenance of your server will help you to prevent a partial or complete failure of the network. It can be reviewing the performance regularly, making sure that all required system monitoring utilities are installed and configured, regular data backups and implementing the server security layers.
Servers take care of your confidential and important data, so it is necessary for you to take care of them in order to get optimum results and full-time availability. Server maintenance includes continual monitoring and analyzing the functionality of the server continuously. You should be aware of the working of things because if any issues arise then you can quickly fix before it affects the website.
What is The Importance of Server Maintenance
Consider a real-time example to better understand the importance, you have a car that needs fueling to start. Server maintenance is putting the fuel in your car and you would not wait until you run out of fuel to go buy more. At this point you cannot drive your car anymore, so you must refuel the car before your car is getting out of fuel.
You will put the fuel as you need or some extra to run your car without any fuel failure. Server maintenance is also the same concept that you want to take care of your machine before it is too late, analyzing and maintaining the current needs and also looking to the future.
What is the Server Maintenance Checklist?
A checklist is a tool used by IT experts whenever they need to conduct a routine or scheduled server maintenance. In this list, all tasks are listed that should be completed on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, etc.) in order to ensure the ideal and continuous performance of host machine.
What are Server Maintenance Procedures?
Either you are going to perform a weekly, monthly or any scheduled maintenance, you should complete the lists of the following key areas:
- Operating System/Software – From time to time different updates are made in order to fix the issues of the old version or introducing new features. You should install the updates of the Operating System, application updates, patches, and security updates in order to prevent bugs.
- Hardware – As well as you need to take care of machine hardware like removing the dust, checking the room temperature, humidity, and airflow to get your server up and running.
- Logs – Proactively check the log files to look for signs of awaiting issues, so that you can make proper planning to fix those upcoming issues.
- User Access – It is another proactive approach that you should deactivate the system access of any employee who is no longer associated with the company. Unauthorized access can lead to being an information security thread.
Server Maintenance Tips
Server Data Verification
1. Verify Data Backups are Working
It is possible that you have data backups but when we need to use then they cannot work. It is a proactive approach to save your backup data in the right location and verify before making any changes to the production server. Try to dedicate a few minutes to check the server backups.
2. Monitor RAID Arrays
Most of the dedicated servers run a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) where multiple storage drives act as s single storage device. It means a single disk failure causes complete system failure. Approximately the RAID fails in 1% of servers per year but when complete server experience the failure it may take many hours. Nowadays, there are many RAID arrays that have advanced monitoring tools that can alert you to potential drive failures.
3. Check The Storage Usage
Always check the hard drive usage of the server on a regular basis and delete old log files, emails and software versions that are no longer used in any scenario. Keeping your machine free of old software is the best approach, so you can perform faster recovery with smaller data. There are also built-in cleanup tools or third-party tools for managing old software files.
Software & Server System Checks
1. Update Your Control Panel
The control panel (usually cPanel) should be updated manually. But always keep in mind that when you update the control panel, only the cPanel is updated. You still need to update the inner applications manually that are used in the control panel like PHP versions and Apache.
2. Review Server Resource Usage
You need to check the server resource (CPU and memory) usages in order to understand how a server is being used. If the resource usages are near 100%, it is an indication to upgrade your hardware or add some additional servers.
3. Update Software Applications
Every server uses different software applications based on its configurations. Many systems use the package managers that can perform the software updates automatically.
If you are using the server without package manager then schedule a time to review the software updates. Some operating systems need an older application version because of compatibility issues.
4. Verify Network Utilization
The server has also a network capacity, if your server is getting close to the network capacity then try to upgrade the resources. You may need to use the network monitoring tools in order to watch the traffic for problematic or unusual usage. It will help you to optimize your website traffic.
After monitoring you can shift the most frequently used resources on a high-speed server and understand the data breaches, and able to manage them in a proactive manner.
5. Test Remote Management Tools
Test the remote management tools that are very important if you are using a server remotely or cloud-based server having a virtual environment. You need to make sure the remote console, remote reboot, and rescue mode are properly working when you need to access them. The remote console will help you to login remotely and rebooting is a necessary solution for many problems. Moreover, the rescue operation can be used in the cases when you need to make server repair by rebooting remotely.
6. Update Your Operating System
Operating system updates can increase the performance, expand the functionality, and resolve some security issues. Hackers try to look at the newly released operating system patches and then attack those weaknesses in earlier or old versions. Dedicate a specific time for the operating system updates and test your updates OS on a testing server before making live on your sensitive production environment.
1. Clean Server Hardware
Hardware failure can also disconnect the services, so try to maintain the server hardware as well as software. Notice the overheating, disk read errors and cabinet airflow blockages. When you are performing the cleaning, try to inspect all components. Prevent unauthorized network cable and unexpected flash drive to make sure the privacy and security of the server.
2. Check For Hardware Errors
Modern servers have the function of maintaining the logs of hardware errors. Hardware errors can be a failure of hard drive, device failure and errors related to memory problems. A logfile is also a helpful feature to understand hardware failure.
1. Change Password Security
It is also a proactive approach to change the passwords after a specified time period and try to change the password after giving to a person for particular tasks. Change the password manually or use good password hygiene that will help you to automate the process.
2. Evaluate User Accounts
You may have staff changes or client cancellations, check the user accounts and remove those that are no longer used or needed. It is also a part of server maintenance that you are providing different permissions according to the requirements. It is also included in the agreements that if a user terminates the services the company may not have the right to store the data of that particular client.
3. Consider Overall Security
For better consideration, try to use third-party network security tools and test your network. It will help you to prevent breaches before the occurrence. Evaluate the server security policies and make sure all policies are functioning.
4. Check Server Logs Regularly
Try to review the server logs on a regular basis and use some tools to make them easier to manage. Logfile might identify particular errors of hardware that can be fixed before it fails.
Don’t take the server maintenance easy and make sure the implementation of these checklists to get a better and outstanding experience with the perfect server. Most of the server issues are occurred due to the lack of planning. Make a detailed maintenance plan and strictly follow to get non-breakable services.