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Deep-Dive Dedicated Servers Guide: Optimal Configuration (Part 2/9)4 min read

What’s the starting point of picking the optimal dedicated servers configuration? Read here step-by-step so that you, too, can choose the best configuration for the servers.

dedicated servers optimal configuration
How do you pick the optimal dedicated servers configuration (out of 1,159 available)?

This is another part of my full-blown dedicated servers guide from the ground up (including shopping the servers).

Here are all the parts (which will be updated as I post more content):

#1 Buying Dedicated Servers

#2 Choosing The Best Dedicated Server Configuration *

#3 Best Operating System (OS) for Servers

#4 Hosting Control Panel: Plesk Or cPanel? 

Let me tell you now what train of thought I followed to arrive at the final configuration of my brand-new dedicated servers.

(And this was no easy task since there were 1,159 available servers on the Hetzner’s auction website.)

Old Server Configuration

The starting point for me was the old servers.

I already knew I wouldn’t take any worse configuration (since the server had moments when the load brought it to its knees)…

The old server had:

  • 64GB of RAM
  • 2x SATA HDDs of 400GB each
  • and an Intel i7 processor (4 cores)

So, this was my starting point…

But how much more RAM/HDD/cores should I add while upgrading?

Well, this is relatively easy to check.

I ran df -h to check for the HDD free space and then top to understand how much RAM is utilized (during the peak hours).

(Both commands will work on a Linux-based OS and in SSH.)

Now I knew that the server was actively consuming most of the available RAM (but also that the HDD was getting to its capacity).

If you are starting from a “clean sheet” and don’t have any dedicated servers to compare, I advise you to put things on paper and try to calculate how much RAM/HDD you need.

CPUs are hard to estimate this way because the prod load brings a lot of unknowns. (To be on the safe-side, you can slightly overprovision the machine with additional cores. )

And yes, I didn’t bother digging much into the nuts and bolts of sizing CPUs as this is very hard to estimate (+ it’s extra cheap to run with additional resources).

(With Hetzner auction servers, you really get cheap prices, so adding a few extra cores is not an issue.)

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Growth Plans And Final Configuration

Another important consideration was the future growth.

I wanted to leave a lot of room for new projects (for myself but also for my customers).

Just to give you an idea…

Immediately after the setup, the load on the new server was around 5% of the total CPU capacity and close to 20% of RAM.

(You can see how much room I left for growth…)

This was my final configuration choice for the new server.

  • Intel Xeon E5-1650V3 (6 cores)
  • 2x HDD SATA 4,0 TB Enterprise
  • 8x RAM 32768 MB DDR4 ECC reg. (RAM 256GB)
  • NIC 1 Gbit Intel I210

Just to be 100% transparent, the price played a role here as well… I spent some time going back and forth between different configurations as their prices constantly changed.

So, if you are not in a rush, I suggest you monitor the price changes for a few days and only then make the final decision.

(Make sure to use filters on the auction website to set the desired configuration range — else, you will get 100s of unrelated servers that can clutter the view.)

Anyway, I ended up paying around EUR 54/mo ($58/month) for this server.

How good is that?

And there I was, placing the order for the new server…

The process went smoothly, and I got the server ready in about 60-120 minutes in total.

(I must mention this was during their working hours, and I also had to send my passport for identity confirmation.)

So, if you do it over the weekend, you can expect some delays (but only if you have some custom requests for Hetzner; otherwise, it gets set up automatically and even during the weekend).

All in all, it’s a fast & frictionless process.

You can read here a review of 6-months into using Hetzner auction servers.

Stay tuned for the next part, where I will cover OS selection and the management part (Plesk/cPanel).

Is this helpful? Consider then my full-blown premium course on Engineering & Python. Click here to learn more.

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By Igor Jovanovic

Founder & Full Stack Tech Consultant

Experienced tech professional with a strong track record in web services and fintech. Collaborating with Silicon Valley's multi-billion tech giants and offering a range of services committed to excellence. Check the Services page for how I can help you too.

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