Setting Up a Server for a Small Business? Don’t Miss these Basics

Your business is scaling with the increasing number of employees. It’s time for you to have a server to keep your office work and business running efficiently. But how to pick a server that fits your needs from a seemingly endless array of choices? Lucky you because setting up a server for a small business isn’t that difficult. 

For this, you need to consider some basics, and you are good to start working with your servers. This guide is exactly all about it. It will take you through those basics to help you decide from hardware to operating system and more and the best way to set them up altogether. So, let’s get started.  

Step 1: Select Server for Your Business: To ease your selection process, a key question you should ask is: what do you want your server to do? Servers perform a variety of tasks, but they become more beneficial for you when chosen for your needs. In short, select servers that help your business perform specific tasks while offering enough room to grow.

There are many types of servers, and businesses use separate servers for each purpose. Some of the typical servers’ applications where small business use servers are:  

  • Email Hosting  
  • Website Hosting  
  • Files and Document Storage 
  • E-commerce Hosting  
  • Business Applications Hosting  
  • Data Backup and Recovery  

Hardware or Cloud? 

Once you are clear on your server requirements, decide whether you want on-premises physical servers or cloud-based solutions. Both have their pros and cons that vary with your needs. 

Cloud Servers: 

  • These are preferred by various small businesses having limited space and IT resources.  
  • These servers aren’t fast as dedicated servers but considerably lower the upfront cost.  
  • They use redundant power supplies and network connections to reduce downtime.  

On-premises Servers (Hardware): 

  • They come with a considerable upfront cost, but they come out cheaper in the long run as there aren’t recurring monthly fees, unlike Cloud servers.  
  • With these servers, you have better control over the network and devices.  
  • The downside of on-premises servers is the high-power supply and hardware replacement costs.  

In the case of on-premises servers, you may also need to choose between a tower, rackmount, and blade server. 

Step 2 Choose the Operating System: 

Servers need specialized operating systems that are robust enough to handle multiple users. If your business runs in Microsoft, you may be well aware of Windows Server Essentials. It is utilized by small businesses having less than 25 users. However, even if you are using Windows, you can upgrade by selecting one of these operating systems.  

  • Linux Ubuntu Server
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • CentOS

Step 3: Set up and Configure the Server:  

The setup process varies with the server and operating system you choose. Here are some common steps you must take. 


  • Record users’ names, IP addresses, hostnames, serial numbers, and locations. 
  • Check hardware and software requirements for the server. 
  • Upgrade the OS if needed  
  • Gather all the installation items, like ethernet cables, hard drives, etc.  
  1. Install Server: If your server has a preinstalled operating system, you can start with configuration. If not, insert the installation media and follow the instructions mentioned in the OS installation manual. 
  2. Configure Server: It includes setting up the backup, remote access, and sharing options. You can set up your server as a domain controller enabling it to join a new centralized environment and authenticate user credentials.  
  3. Complete the Setup: Assign a local admin to each PC and connect them to the server. Also, if you want to connect printers to a server, connect them with a print server. Once done, you can install applications and upload the data you want to keep on your server.  

Step 4: Build a Dedicated Server Room:  

You should also spare a dedicated room for your server, even though you opt for a small tower server. A dedicated server room not only reduces the additional noise but is essential for the security aspect.  

By controlling physical access, you can reduce data stolen and manipulation risk. If feasible, consider installing a CCTV camera. 

Also, make sure you have enough cooling units and backup power. You may also consider installing racks to keep your hardware secure and organized. Additionally, make sure to keep enough space for your reach to the back and front of servers.

Step 5: Implement Security with Antivirus Protection:  

The server is one of the integrals of your business activities, from database management to provisioning services to clients. They are vital for your business’s functions. As a result, they are highly prone to cyber threats. Even if your servers aren’t connected to the internet, they are still vulnerable to intrusion through phishing emails, unsecured ports, malicious programs, etc. 

To prevent these attacks, you can utilize these methods: 

  • Set up physical and virtual access control  
  • Set up a firewall  
  • Set remote access and authenticated sharing options  
  • Encrypt your data
  • Install antivirus and anti-malware software 


Hope this handy guide helps you narrow down options for your servers and choose and implement them into your business operations.  

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