So after being with this forum for some time, I have seen a spike in talking regarding Web-servers, dedicated servers, and VPS's. I work with all of these on a daily basis, and I am well aware of the good ones and the not so good ones, I will also show you some ways how to best secure your server upon purchase. I am a Geek Squad Security Consultant for a private company inside of Best Buy. I currently have several certifications in this field, and have read SEVERAL books. So let's move on: Web-Servers What is a web server? What does it do? Is it secure off installation? What is a normal cost? What is a web server? A web server to my own definition, is a server specifically built and optimized to run a website, FTP, or even a forum. (Note: I am aware, websites and forums are generally the same, I am just specifying a different way a web-server would be used). What does it do? A webserver can do multiples of things, regarding HTTP or FTP. HTTP and FTP are the main protocols inside of a webserver and are used almost all the time. If you're going to be hosting a website of any kind whether it be a blog, forum, journal, anything really. Web-servers will be your best bet. Is it secure off installation? Generally speaking, it depends on the type of security you're talking about. So, let's break it down to some security issues you could run into. The first, would be DDoS, and this most of the time is protected through the host, GoDaddy runs all their web-hosts using external hardware, like a CISCO firewall to prevent your site from going down, thus promising 99.9% up-time. Now, let's say you want to throw up a PHP file, and decide you want to use a database, this is where it gets tricky for security. If you don't know what you're doing, I suggest not too even bother, and just hire someone to do it for you. PHP and database connections get funky when it comes to vulnerabilities. Just be careful upon using PHP and any type of database connections, by default, most webhosts won't allow you to use MYSQL connections, that is standard. You will need to be looking at a VPS for that. What is a normal cost? A normal cost for a quality web host, would be about 1$ - 15$, however, paying for anything in-between isn't terrible. Sites often run deals with web-hosts, such as GoDaddy and their 1$ deal they have currently. The more expensive the webhost is, the more specs or stuff you could say you get. So, let's say you spend 10$ on GoDaddy, you will get more disk space, more bandwidth, more personal emails, and a mobile version of your site, assuming you use their website builder. If you have any questions regarding webhosts and if it is good, please don't hesitate to ask! VPS What is a VPS? A VPS or "Virtual Private Server" is in my own definition is a server within another server. Basically, a central Dedicated Server will be used, and will run a program like VMWare that allows visualization, so this would allow them to run multiple "servers" within one. Thus, saving them money, and saving you a bit of money also. What does it do? A VPS is as said above, basically a virtual server, or a virtual PC. This allows you, the user, to be able to have a secondary PC you can use to do.. really anything. Run a minecraft server, run a web-host (Apache, XAMPP, WAMPP), run a game server, or even just use it to download things. Most VPS's have a very strong internet line, allowing you to download at speeds you wouldn't be able to do. VPS's are usually used to download torrents, create services such as a VPN, emulate certain things, and even run it to use a different OS to do testing. Is it secure off installation? Most of the time, they are secure in the fact, they are freshly booted with a Windows or Linux ISO. If you buy a Linux VPS, most of the time they got those bad boys tamed for security and you won't have to do much to it. However, Windows VPS's usually require some tinkering within settings, and even requires some security baselines to be installed. A security baseline is a program released by Microsoft for Windows Server and other OS's that generally updates all the security settings to a Microsoft Server standard of security. Please be wary of your VPS's purchases, you pay for what you get is the key guideline you should live by. Most VPS's don't come with DDoS protection and you can easily be taken down if someone really hated you enough. If you have a question regarding the VPS you're thinking of purchasing, just reply below, and I will gladly tell you if it is a good one or you're wasting your money. What is a normal cost? This really depends on the server provider. Some can run as cheap as 20-30$ and some can run as high as 100-300. It just depends on the type of setup they do, the availability, and also if the VPS is good quality. All the time you will see Linux VPS's cheaper and than Windows. This is because Linux doesn't cost anything to activate, while Windows does. They are charging you for that fee, even though, most of them use an illegal activator. Dedicated Server What is a Dedicated Server? A dedicated server is YOUR own server, you have full control most of the time. No virtual, it is a physical piece of a machine. What does it do? A dedicated server is far more powerful than a VPS. Why? Because it is basically like having a real secondary PC, you can access through remote desktop. If it says you have 8GB DDR3 ram, you have 8GB DDR3 RAM. A dedicated server is usually used if you need to have a faster server or service, this is an upgrade from a VPS. You will expect better speeds with a dedicated server than a VPS. Is it secure off installation? Most of the time, they are secure in the fact, they are freshly booted with a Windows or Linux ISO. If you buy a Linux server, most of the time they got those bad boys tamed for security and you won't have to do much to it. However, Windows servers usually require some tinkering within settings, and even requires some security baselines to be installed. A security baseline is a program released by Microsoft for Windows Server and other OS's that generally updates all the security settings to a Microsoft Server standard of security. Please be wary of your server purchases, you pay for what you get is the key guideline you should live by. Most server do come with DDoS protection and you just need to be looking for this if you are a high risk target or some script kiddy decides he want's to take you off the net. If you have a question regarding the server you're thinking of purchasing, just reply below, and I will gladly tell you if it is a good one or you're wasting your money. What is a normal cost? A normal cost, these are usually expensive. These can range from 100 - thousands of dollars, and bigger companies like Google use their own dedicated servers. You usually pay to rent these! Since these are expensive you can expect, customer support almost all the times of the day, fast response times, fast download speeds, and very fast uploading. That beith it, anymore questions! Feel free to ask!