Please note: This article does not explain anything about the masternodes themselves, it is focused on the more technical side (the server side), of what you need to know as far as choosing a server host and the server itself, and what to prepare for before you can become a masternode.
So no one has really gone over this in here that I saw so I suppose I will drop some knowledge about it since this is part of what I do for a living. I will try to explain as simply as possible in detail but it does get a bit technical.
Masternodes are becoming more and more popular with more platforms offering this just about every month. I’m starting to see people asking more often about this recently, how to set one up, which type to choose, and what you will need. Well, there is no one answer to this question as every masternode has it’s own unique setup and they all have a particular requirements as far as what specs your server needs to qualify and how much bandwidth you need, that being said each one of them has a dedicated help section with detailed steps on the actual setup and required server specs, so you will certainly need to read that and familiarize yourself as best you can.
First and foremost one important thing you need to know and have some knowledge in is Linux, because that’s the operating system you will be running on your server and it’s not point and click like Windows, it is mostly command line so I would either learn the basics first or find someone who is familiar that can help you before moving forward because there is a fairly large learning curve involved. OK so here are some basic things to know about how to choose a server.
There are 2 types of servers you will be choosing from and you’ll want to pay attention to the same things on both options. The amount of RAM, the number and speed of the CPU’s, and the bandwidth available per month. If it’s not unlimited bandwidth and you go over your monthly limit, you will be charged a small amount usually for every GB you go over. A mastenode can use anywhere from 100GB to 500+GB per month (usually on the higher end of that range) so I strongly recommend finding a plan that is unlimited or at least offers a LOT of bandwidth because overage fees will kill your profit.
Both of the following types of servers come in 2 flavors, managed and unmanaged. It pretty much is exactly what it sounds like. With an unmanaged server you really don’t get support, at all. If your server fails, they will repair or replace the parts and get it online for you, and that’s pretty much it. With a managed server (costs more) you will have software support to help set it up, aid in securing it, help installing Linux and maybe even some basic level configuration however neither will help you setup proprietary software which is exactly what the masternode software is so you will be on your own getting it going either way.
- VPS or Virtual Private Server; A VPS is almost like a dedicated server except like a typical shared hosting server such as GoDaddy you are sharing server resources with other people who are also using that server, except it’s much more powerful than that of a typical shared hosting solution but you are fully in control of it, it will start out with absolutely nothing on it. With a VPS you are basically paying for processing TIME but you can choose the amount of “virtual processors” you want so it is scalable and some of them let you upgrade on the fly with little or no downtime. A VPS is the cheaper of the two solutions by far, and can be sufficient for most or maybe all masternodes if it’s powerful enough and as an added benefit you typically get decent support setting them up and managing them and often times they can help you install Linux and do some basic configurations, but it is LIMITED support. You can run multiple nodes on a VPS, just be sure it can handle the total requirements before doing so. Most VPS solutions are managed, however you can find some unmanaged packages out there. Price range is roughly $5-$60/month.
- Dedicated Server – It sound like exactly what it is. You are renting an entire server all to yourself so you are not sharing any of it’s resources, however these would be recommended for someone with more experience managing servers AND Linux because you typically will want an unmanaged server when going dedicated due to costs, managed are quite a bit more money and will eat up profits. Dedicated servers of course cost more than a VPS however you can very easily run multiple masternodes on pretty much any dedicated server, or even run other applications on it if you have a need, but again always check specs first. Price range $50-$600+/month.
FYI I recommend 1and1 cloud server hosting especially for beginners, they offer unlimited bandwidth (the most important feature IMO) at 100Mbps which is plenty fast and they have a great interface that’s simple to learn and they even offer multiple images you can install on your server with just a few clicks, so yes you can install different versions of Linux such as Ubuntu, CentOS, and more with 1 click, they even have images that will install apps for you so it makes it a bit easier for some people, but you can install absolutely anything from scratch as well via command line if you prefer and if you are more advanced. 1and1 are also pretty affordable for what you get, they have pretty solid specs and I run 2 servers from them, very satisfied and they have options for managed or unmanaged.
I hope this helps those of you who were interested better understand how to go about preparing, feel free to ask any questions you may have regarding this. WHEW that became much longer than I had intended lol…but there is a LOT to know!