It can take a good deal of time to locate a host provider with the level of reliability, support, security, stability and forward vision. I much prefer a Linux or Unix system server, which helps with reliability and security. It is also the native platform of the Internet. 

Data Center

You also want a highly secure data center, one with dedicated environmental controls, redundant power, stringent operator access, spare parts, 24-hour staff on hand and plenty of amperes of power. While the physical location is irrelevant (strictly speaking), the data center should have Internet access that provides an excellent “backbone,” which means that now matter where you are in the country, the signal from your host server is fast and passes through relatively few switches or hops.You want new equipment--anything two years old is too old to start a new installation. 

Configuring the Server

Start with a dedicated IP address, SSH access and a login to the server control panel. In some cases where PCI compliance is a challenge, you may have to forego any control panel access. In most cases a dedicated server or dedicated virtual server is preferable. 

Establish your primary domain and any subdomains. Where there are multiple servers, you should create a subdomain for each server, each with it’s own respective dedicated IP address. 

Some server configuration files should be maintained locally and installed on the various servers. This helps to ensure consistency and prevent surprises, as well as serving as a backup. 

Private name servers look great and give you more direct control, but it should be remembered that this adds overhead to your server. It may be preferable to setup private name servers on another server in the network. 


Before you get very far into building your website but have settled on a working production server to display your website, you should install an independent monitoring service, perhaps two. The service should include an email address that will be sure to reach you, as well as your cell phone number to send SMS text messages in the instant of a service issue. If ever there is even a slowdown, you want to be the first to know. By tracking downtime during construction you can be apprised of possible problem patterns before launch. 

PCI Compliance

This is the standard of security that has been set by the credit card companies to safeguard their customers. It is a rather high standard and is a well-established convention. It is a good idea to maintain a n account with a PCI reviewing company even when you are not doing e-commerce on the website.