Server Cost Essentials: Optimizing Your Budget

- Posted by Author: admin in Category: Servers |

Servers are essential for our modern life. Here’s what they cost and how to budget for your server needs.

server cost

We couldn’t live in the extreme comfort of modern life without servers. Servers are like commercial supercomputers that handle everything from backup data to powerful software that manages supply chains, power delivery, healthcare records, and entertainment. 

Yet the expenses surrounding these crucial digital brains remain a mystery to many business leaders. Costs can vary wildly, and their specs cover a spectrum of capabilities that are just as diverse as their sticker price. 

Today, we explore the murky world of servers, breaking down costs and giving you some tips on budgeting for your next device. At We Buy Used IT Equipment, you can find affordable server options at prices that match your budget. Discover your next server today! 

Understanding Server Costs

It’s an easy assumption to make that dedicated servers are computers without monitors, and many with that misconception become shocked when they see the price tag of servers. A server isn’t like a home computer; the hardware needed to run it can be expensive and complicated to configure. Let’s look at some of the components that cause servers to cost so much: 

Hardware Costs

Physical server costs can be the most extreme in hardware, with few components being on the cheaper side. First, you need a server-grade processor or CPU with multiple cores to handle simultaneous tasks. 

Server processors, like Intel’s Xeon line, offer a wide range of performance that balances cost, capabilities, and power needs. Depending on your business requirements, a server processor can cost as little as $100 or as much as $1,000. 

The next piece of hardware you’ll need is RAM. RAM handles the short-term memory for applications, supports multitasking, and caches. Most businesses can get away with 16GB and 64GB of RAM, with more extensive needs cresting the 100GB mark. 

RAM is another pricey component, with server-grade RAM going for upwards of $500 for 64GB. Similar to RAM is your storage drives, where your digital data lives. You can choose between solid-state drives (SSD) or hard disk drives (HDD).

When it comes to choosing disk space and hard drives, HDD options come in higher capacities for the price, but their spinning disks and limited read/write speeds make them less desirable. SSDs, on the other hand, are more expensive but have faster speeds and no moving parts. Expect to spend about $140 per 2TB of storage for SSD and about the same per 12TB of HDD storage.

Now that we’ve covered the core components, you’ll need a handful of other, somewhat less expensive parts, such as:

  • Wi-Fi or ethernet cards for network connectivity ($40-$100)
  • Racks, enclosures, or frames – ($100 each)
  • Power supply cords ($25-$50 each)
  • Cooling fans or liquid-cooled systems ($50-$100)
  • Motherboards with USB Port connectivity (if not supplied with processors) ($500-$1000)


Now that we’ve covered the hardware side of things, it’s time to look at the software or operating systems that servers can use. Server operating systems (OS) are essential for configuring your server for use, and you have options: 

  • Windows Server 2022 – Paid server OS with license key and robust Microsoft support. 
  • Linux-based OS – Free and open source with many individual packages available.
  • Unix-based OS – Runs in the C programming language and uses older strategies for building the server environment. 
  • macOS Server – A retired version of Apple’s server software built upon the macOS software design. 
  • FreeBSD – An open-source OS with free software that’s fast and secure. 


Cybercriminals love unsecured systems, as they provide the easiest target for stealing data. Adding security, like DDoS protection, multi-factor authentication, firewalls, and disaster recovery, is essential, but it will increase your server’s overall cost. 


Setup, configuration, and initialization can be complex processes. Even with pre-built servers, someone with a working knowledge of servers must perform the initial process to get everything up and running. 

Depending on your build, installation can take several hours. Ideally, an IT professional handles this part, and partnering with a provider will add installation costs. The alternative is to have an internal IT expert, but most smaller businesses don’t have that luxury. 

On-going Server Costs

After you buy the server (and components) and finish installation, you’re still not done paying for your IT infrastructure. Operating your server incurs ongoing costs, most notably electricity. 

Servers are electric-thirsty devices with smaller units idling at 60W, while more extensive server setups can run at 220W while idle. Now, times that by each server you have in your data room. Many businesses see a charge as high as $30,000 per year in energy usage, while dedicated data centers can shell out a whopping $3 million a year in electricity alone. 

You’ll also want to budget for maintenance costs. Fans break, RAM needs replacing, and Wi-Fi improves constantly, necessitating new network cards. While servers can last between eight and ten years with moderate use, heavy users will notice a lifespan noticeably shorter. 

Pre-built servers are a popular option, and many come with your choice of rack or tower-mount installation. Depending on your setup, these options can be as low as $1,500 or as much as $65,000. Expect your total cost of ownership to extend into the tens or hundreds of thousands over the lifetime of your server.

Factors Influencing Server Costs

We know what you’re thinking: a range of tens of thousands of dollars isn’t helpful when narrowing down your options. There’s a good reason for the wide range in server costs, and many factors influence the final total. 

For instance, most hardware components have a range of functionality for owners, with use cases ranging from small backup servers to application-dependent central computing. These various use cases determine the price points, with higher performance and bandwidth costing more. 

Smaller component decisions, like the choice between SSD and HDD, also impact the cost, with SSD costing nearly six times what HDD solutions cost. Likewise, the more storage and RAM you opt for, the more expensive those components will be. 

The type of server configuration (rack-mount vs. tower), operating system software, and security layers also influence server costs, as does energy consumption. Cheaping out on components will force you to spend cash on maintenance and repairs, and lower-performing servers can have hidden costs, such as lost business, crashed websites, or data breaches. 

Cost-Effective Server Solutions

Without proper planning, budgeting, and cost-saving strategies, the cost of a server can be prohibitively expensive for many medium and small businesses. Luckily, there are methodic ways to lower the overall cost of operating a server:

  • Invest in energy-efficient components – Use eco-mode, install better cooling fans, use idle operating modes, and optimize server schedules to match off-peak energy pricing. 
  • Buy refurbished equipment – Providers sell refurbished servers at huge discounts over brand-new equipment without sacrificing performance. At We Buy Used IT Equipment, you can find a refurbished server at a fraction of the cost of a new one, and we certify each server with a 90-day no-hassle warranty. 
  • Head to the cloud – Virtualization, cloud servers, and cloud-based IT infrastructure through service providers like Amazon’s AWS provide server space and computational capabilities on a per-user, monthly cost, or per-server pricing structure. These are more affordable than traditional on-premise data centers. 
  • Leverage scalable solutions – Hybrid and virtual server setups make it easier to scale. A refurbished server can also make scaling more affordable, and you can always trade in equipment with We Buy Used IT Equipment to recapture some spent capital. 

Cloud services are great for scalability and on-demand changes, but your uptime is at the mercy of your provider. Having your own server can reduce downtime but can become expensive to run. A popular cost-saving solution is the hybrid model, which utilizes cloud hosting as a redundancy while on-site servers handle day-to-day operations. 

It should go without saying, but a massive cost-saving initiative is not to upgrade until you absolutely need to. Business owners and leaders can become attracted to shiny new equipment, even when it’s unnecessary and costly for their organization. Don’t become tempted! 

Budget Planning for Server Investments

Planning for upgrades or replacements to your data center should be like preparing for other areas of your business. Using these tips makes planning and budgeting much simpler:

  1. Assess your business needs – Calculate your expected workload, traffic, software needs, and projected growth to determine the type, size, and number of servers needed. 
  2. Optimize your current equipment – Overloading or underloading equipment creates unnecessary use. A partner like We Buy Used IT Equipment can help you optimize your hardware and extend its lifespan, reducing the need for new gadgets.  
  3. Monitor performance – Your metrics can be telling; they’ll give you insight into components that are failing and give you data for making future purchases. 
  4. Review partnerships – Unfavorable partnerships, seedy sales staff, and ballooning fees are enough to make reviewing every partnership necessary. You can even negotiate more favorable terms or land loyalty discounts. 
  5. Compare your options – Weigh the various server options, decide on on-premises, hybrid, or cloud-based setups, and leverage forecasts to settle on the perfect blend of performance, cost, and complexity. 

High-quality equipment is essential for success and servers that fail to perform as expected can create headaches and lost revenue. 

Maximizing ROI on Server Hardware

Understanding the return on investment (ROI) of purchasing a server is a bit challenging because hardware depreciates. Instead, we must look at the ROI of server hardware as the value it brings to the organization. More specifically, the possible revenue generated by having server equipment. 

Your ROI from servers starts with procurement. It’s essential to think about how each piece of equipment relates to your current and future ability to generate revenue. Saving money upfront may be appealing until the lack of performance costs your precious business. 

Likewise, your equipment can continue paying dividends through regular maintenance. Routine maintenance, upgrades, and updates keep equipment in working order for longer, extending the lifecycle. Even keeping fans clear of dust can add considerable life back to your devices. 

Once it’s time to sunset your on-hand gear, you can further squeeze ROI from your equipment by engaging in sound end-of-life practices.

These practices include trading in for cash or credit, reselling working components, or participating in buy-back programs. Recycling equipment not eligible for these programs reduces e-waste and improves your corporate social responsibility.

Reduce Your Server Cost with We Buy Used IT Equipment

Our modern world depends on computing, and servers are an essential component of that equation. Healthcare organizations need servers with huge storage capacities for patient records. Construction companies need servers that can handle 3D rendering applications for blueprints, and global corporations need enterprise-level data centers to manage ERPs.

While server costs continue to drop, the capabilities we demand from them continue to grow. Hardware components, software, electricity, and ongoing maintenance all contribute to the cost of owning a server. 

Reduce your server costs by partnering with We Buy Used IT Equipment. Our refurbished selection, generous warranty, and world-class service help you maintain high performance and reliability without inflated price tags. Explore We Buy Used IT Equipment for your server and IT infrastructure needs!