Top 10 Most Common Server Setups Used by Businesses


What business server setup should I use for my new business? It is one of the most frequently asked questions by new startups and businesses. Before deciding the server architecture, the businesses have to consider a lot of factors like scalability, reliability, accessibility and performance of each server setup.  The server setup also has a huge impact on your long-term business success. In this article, I am going to share some most commonly used server setups by businesses.

You must have a good knowledge of the impact of each set up on your business in the long run. Before setting up the server, you must be aware of your business needs because server configuration should be made depending on your business environment requirements.

I am not saying that there is one right configuration of server for your business because it all depends on your business needs and plans. The server startup methods that I discussed in this article are very different in nature and it would have a completely different impact on your business. There are a lot of factors, you have to consider while designing your business infrastructures such as ease of management, reliability, scalability, cost, performance and availability. There are different web server software available free to download and install such as centos apache, iis windows 7, mariadb ubuntu, apache mysql, nginx linux, ubuntu apache, nginx ubuntu, xampp linux, etc.

Here are some of the most common ways to the setup web server by businesses.

Separate Database Server

Separate Database Server

Most of the businesses prefer to use the separate database server to keep their data more secure. The separate database server keeps the resources separate from the database management system that also eliminates the contention of resources. In the separate database server, your data and information are more protected because the database is removed from DMZ.  Setting up a separate database server is a quick task. Now, database and application would not fight for the same resources in a system. To work on the database, you can install SQL Server.

One of the best things about separate database server is that the database and application do not tier on the same resources of the server such as CPU, RAM, Storage etc. The separate database server also increases the overall vertical scalability that makes it easy for you to add more resources to your server. In separate database server, your database is separate from an application, that increases the security of your information.

The separate database server is a little bit more complex setup than the combine resources setup. There can be connection issues between two servers if they are at distant locations, it also has an effect on the performance. The servers with high latency might also have issues in data transfer if the bandwidth is low.

HTTP Accelerator

The HTTP Accelerator is also known as caching HTTP. The best thing about HTTP Accelerator is that it reduces the time required to serve the content to the user by using some advanced techniques. One of the major tricks used by HTTP Accelerator is the webserver caching response in memory, in doing so, the user will have quick access to the same content in the future.

Accessing the same content again will require less time as compared with access the content for the first time because when using the cache memory there is less interaction between application servers. The HTTP Accelerator is a good choice for the environment, where the websites are dynamic and contain heavy content, so, the user has to load whole content each time he/she accesses the website.

 The HTTP Accelerator can reduce your CPU load by caching that improve the user capacity and overall site performance. The HTTP Accelerator can be used as a load balancer. Being a caching software, HTTP Accelerator can also provide protection against DDOS attacks.

You might need some tuning to maximize the performance of HTTP Accelerator server setup. If the rate of cache- hit is low, it can cause low performance of your website and it might result in poor online experience of users.

All in one Server

Some of the businesses use only one server for application and database, in which all of the resources are at one place and use one single server. You might know about LAMP stack that contains Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP on one server.

With a single server setup, the whole application would be very quick and simple, but because all of the resources are on a single server that make the scalability more complex. I must say that it is one of the easiest and simple server setups possible.

 This server setup can get you in many troubles, such as the database and application on the same server can have some contend over resources. The application and data fight for resources can also have a bad impact on your website performance and the worst thing is that it is hard to identify the source of bad performance; application or database. The single server setup is not horizontally scalable that make it more complex to manage the resources.

I would recommend to not select a single server setup for your website because it would increase complexities for you in the long run and can also cause performance issues.

Load  Balancer Server Setup

Load Balancer

On the load balancer server setup, we use multiple servers to manage the workload on different servers. The load balancer is an effective server setup that can improve the performance and reliability of your website. With the load balancer server setup, if one system fails, the other servers are still there to manage a load of traffic on your website.

So, the load balancer server setup reduces your dependability on one single server, your website will never go down and the user will also get quick responses. This kind of server architecture can also serve more than one application under the same domain, through the 7-layer reverse proxy.

Some of the major examples of load balancer server setup are Varnish, HAProxy, and Nginx.

The businesses who want to make their resources more scalable can use a load balancer server setup because it makes the horizontal scaling of your resources easier. The load balancer server setup also provides DDOS attacks security, as it restricts the connection of the clients.

Once you apply load balancer server setup, your whole website performance would depend on it and in case it is not configured well or not have enough resources, it can cause your website to perform badly. Because of using multiple servers, this setup can be complex and required some extra consideration, you should be very careful about performing SSL termination and application management.

The biggest risk while dealing with load balancer server setup is that once it fails, your whole website would go down. To ensure no failure, many businesses use a high availability setup that is a highly efficient infrastructure with zero failure.

Load Balancer + Cache + Replication

Depending on the networking needs, many of the businesses combine the load balancer, cache and replication techniques while doing the server setups. By using this combining technique, the business can get the maximum benefits by reducing the complexities and other issues. For example, if the load balancer is set up to identify the static content such as images CSS or JavaScript, and send it to the cache server and another type of content to application servers.

If the users send the dynamic content to the load balancer the following would happen:

  1. The user sends the dynamic content from any website
  2. The request of the dynamic content sends to app-backend by the load balancer
  3. The database reads the app-backend and returns the dynamic content requested to load balancer
  4. The requested data is returned to the user by the load balancer

If the users send the static content

  1. The cache-backend checked by the load balancer to verify if the content requested is cached, cache- miss or not cache-hit.
  2. In the case of cache-hit: requested content is returned to load balancer. In case of cache-miss: cache server forwards the requested content to the app-backend by the load balancer
  3. The requested content forwards to app-backend by the load balancer
  4. The database reads the app-backend then requested content returns to load balancer
  5. The requested content forwards to cache-backend by the load balancer
  6. The content is cached by cache-backend then returns it to load balancer
  7. The requested content returns to the user by the load balancer

Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) Server Setup

In the case of Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) server setup, you can get support from someone else to manage your database. It is not like complete outsourcing, everything else except database is still under your control. Under Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) server setup, all of your database processes and operations are managed by a third party. In the DBaaS model, the businesses do not have to worry about the server installation, configuration, database performance and other operations. All of the administrative tasks and maintenance operations of the database are done by the service provider.

Some service provider gets full control on your database resources, whether some allow you to have some control over it, it totally depends on DBaaS options available. If you are getting DBaaS setup then you don’t need to buy any hardware equipment or any kind of software license. All of the database tasks are managed by the service provider, so you don’t need to hire any database developer and no database system is required. Most of the service providers also guarantee 100% uptime.

The businesses prefer to get DBaaS because they usually have expert and highly experienced team that handles the problems and errors more easily without any trouble. Your database is very much depending on your servers and other hardware resources, so you might require high-quality resources to manage database effectively. Most of the businesses are using the DBaaS to reduce their workload and save time and money.  It is better to outsource some of your complicated tasks to improve productivity and efficiency in your business. 

Backend as a Service (BaaS) Server Setup

Backend as a Service (BaaS) is acting as a middleware between developers and the cloud services. Under Backend as a Service, you don’t need to bother about the backend functionality of your web or mobile application, and you can access your cloud services through SDK or API.  We all know that the backend development is a complicated task and it requires 80% of the total efforts of development, that’s why there are not a lot of service providers for this in the market. The BaaS is directly connected with your user experience and your user communication is also depends on it, so you can never compromise on that.

In case of BaaS, you don’t need to write lengthy code for the entire backend of an application, but you can create API to link it with our application (web or mobile). The BaaS saves a lot of time and make your complicated tasks easier and automatized. The development cost of application is very high, it required highly skilled individuals and good equipment’s, the maintenance cost of application is also very high but with BaaS services, you can reduce your cost and workload at the same time. There is no doubt that the applications service provider can make more efficient applications than you because they have more skilled and experienced developers than new businesses and startups. 

Platform as a Service

Platform as a Service (PaaS) Server Setup

In the Platform as a Service (PaaS), most of your backup tasks are done by service providers, but here you have more flexibility to build your application. Just like BaaS, the user in PaaS doesn’t have to install any hardware or build any software for the development purpose because the service provider uses its own infrastructure for hosting the hardware or software.  

The PaaS provides all the required infrastructure and other IT services to the users. The PaaS model is preferred by most of the businesses because it reduces the overall capital expenditure and also makes the development tasks less complicated for the users. The PaaS is an example of serverless computing, in which the service provider offers all the major essentials requires for development and simplifies most of web development tasks. The PaaS also allows the teams at different geographical locations to work with more collaboration and more coordination.

Database Replication

The businesses use the primary-replica database replication to improve the performance of their database. Like the CMS, the database replication allows you to perform more reads than write. For the database replication, there is a need for at least one replica node and one primary node. All of the updates in this setup sent to the primary node and then distributed to other nodes. 

Database replication is a good option if you want to improve the read performance of your database. The write performance in the database replication can also be improved by using the primary nodes for the updates.

If an application wants to access the database in a database replication setup then it should have an instrument to identify the database nodes that would be updated or read. In the database replication setup replicas updates are asynchronous and there are chances that the content that they hold is outdated. In case the primary node of the database replication fails, the updates cannot be performed in the database until this issue is corrected. The database replication does not have any failovers to manage the primary node failure that can also cause performance issues in the database.

Outsource It

Now, most of the businesses go for outsourcing of services to fulfil their servers needs. The Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS), Backend as a Service (BaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) are also outsourcing services. There are many service providers available in the market that can simplify your tasks such as server configuration, storages, scalability, debugging and maintenance. By outsources your server responsibility you can eliminate the risks of failures because the team of service providers is highly experienced and skilled.

Especially for the new businesses and startups outsource is a better option, rather than hiring experts and purchasing more resources. The outsourcing of services can cut a lot of capital cost and your workload also reduce. The services provided by outsourcers vary but it optimizes your environment and provides a platform with computing, infrastructure storage, version management, text editing, testing and compiling services to make the development task easier for the user.


The server infrastructure in your business is one of the major factors that can either make or break your business. In this article, I have shared some of the most commonly used server setups with their possible impact on your business, so you can make a better decision about your business architecture and server setup. The server setups best for you is totally depends on the nature of business. I hope the information I have shared in this article is helpful for you.


James William

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2 Comments on “Top 10 Most Common Server Setups Used by Businesses”

  1. The load balancer is an effective server setup that improves the performance and reliability of your website.

  2. Avatar Joseph says:

    That’s a definite guide on how I can set up my server. Thanks a lot

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