From media to software to websites, every resource on the internet is stored on a server.
A data server is essentially a computer that functions as a save location for online content. It can operate independently or form part of a data center, which comprises numerous servers operating on the same network. The majority of digital information is hosted on data center servers.
When streaming Netflix shows, for instance, your device connects to the server that contains the episode you’re currently watching. Another example is the Apple or Google server that your files are stored on during backups.
In addition to delivering online products and services, businesses leverage servers for various purposes. Here are a few tasks that data center proxy servers in particular can accomplish:
- Brand protection
- Data collection
- Price monitoring
- Market research
- Sales insights
That’s great, but what are proxies and why do they matter in the first place? A proxy is an intermediary server that your connection is routed through before reaching its destination. With data center proxies, your requests appear to originate from the IP address of the proxy server, which constantly rotates to prevent detection and maintain your anonymity.
Keep this in mind as we explore 4 practical uses for proxies and data center servers.
First and foremost is finding a reputable proxy provider, like this one, for example. After some experimentation and research, you may become interested in creating your own servers. This is far less complicated than it seems. A wealth of proxy scripts are freely available online with all you need to build custom proxies in minutes. Simply search for “PHP proxy scripts” and load up a guide for step-by-step assistance.
The only drawbacks with DIY servers are that they require hosting over a web server and a domain name to act as the address of your site. Luckily, there are workarounds such as using Google App Engine in your browser.
If you’d rather forgo the technicalities and purchase an established data center proxy, you can use the service to:
- Access discounts and exclusives
- Bypass firewalls and geographical restrictions
- Order limited stock in bulk for resale
- Mine data to sell to businesses
Now more than ever, cloud technologies are making leaps and bounds ahead of traditional alternatives. This is especially true when it comes to backing up and storing data.
Whether you have a basic flash stick or premium SSD, physical drives are inherently cumbersome and unreliable. The risk of data loss is inescapable and modern digital media necessitates high storage capacities with prices to match. On the other hand, cloud storage suffers none of these problems and offers unique advantages.
Aside from superior efficiency and security, an online backup server can be accessed directly through any supported device in any location. Plus, you can set up your own facility without any special skills.
The easiest option is to rent an online backup cloud server for your photos and other non-essentials. Most providers will take care of the installation and setup process. What you stand to gain here depends on your approach and available budget. At the end of the day, mainstream cloud storage vendors are popular for a reason.
A virtual machine (VM) is capable of simulating almost any operating system in a window on your desktop. It’s like having an entirely separate computer without extra hardware. Since they run in an isolated, sandboxed environment, you can safely use a VM to try new apps or software that isn’t compatible with your built-in operating system.
It doesn’t take any technical expertise to set up and several good VM programs are available free of charge. That said, you may want to assess your hardware before getting started as virtualization demands some processing power.
If you’re using a relatively modern desktop or laptop and you don’t plan on doing anything intensive like gaming, your VM should be able to run smoothly. Leading virtual machine apps include:
- Parallels Desktop (Mac OS X)
- Microsoft Hyper-V (Windows Enterprise and Professional)
- Virtualbox (Windows, Linux and Mac OS X)
- VMWare Fusion (Mac OS X)
- VMWare Player (Windows and Linux)
Finally, data center servers are ideal for hosting your own website. If you’re looking to sidestep the costs of paying a web host and you’re willing to cover some technical ground, it’s worth a shot. Set up correctly, an effective private server has the bonus perk of providing full access to bandwidth and disk space that you’d otherwise have to share.
Unless you’re simply doing it for fun, the most important factor will be identifying a profitable niche and attracting enough visitors to generate profit. This can be immensely rewarding given sufficient dedication.
When it comes to value for money, renting a server is the way forward. In fact, it’s usually cheaper than cloud accounts, proxies and VPN services,