This post on Server Management Freelancing is a spin-off of the parent post on IT Infrastructure Freelancing. Here I explain in detail about what server administration services a freelancer can provide to clients globally.
As I mentioned in the parent post you have range of servers – from simple tower machine to a multi-blade server. Although on-site server administration tasks are too many to list here, I will just mention the ones that are most commonly requested for on online freelance marketplaces or even on-site at SMBs etc.
Some common service offerings that can be offered are:
1. Web Hosting Setup
People who need to have a website or a web application on the Internet require web hosting. In many cases, web developers handle this in addition to their programming work. But there are many who are either not that skilled in web-host server configuration or simply want to outsource this to experts for lack of time or other reason. This is where you, the server expert, step in and do the job.
Setting up a web host on shared hosting is as easy as point and click. Read / watch the hosting company’s tutorials and help clients with setting up, say a WordPress website as also configure email accounts for them on the web hosting company of their choice.
2. Website / Web Application Migration
Clients switch their hosting company either because they are unhappy about services or have got a nice deal that would save them money. So they would like their production (live) website or web app to be migrated to the new platform. For example, a lawyer got a fantastic deal during a sale / promotion and now wants his WordPress based website to be moved from web host A to web host B. You help them do it with low or negligible downtime of the website.
3. Website Performance
If a website does not load fast (<3 seconds), the risk of losing visitors increases. This hurts the search engine ranking besides losing business to the competition. So website owners want to speed up their website and contract consultants for improving the website speed.
This requires knowledge of http accelerators (like Varnish), caching technologies, CDN (Content Delivery Network) as also other optimizing techniques like minifying files etc. Yes, some of the factors may be due to bad coding of the application or the website – which requires expert programming skills. But most of the requirements that are posted on Fiverr or other freelance marketplaces can be easily handled by server admins.
4. Cloud Services
A cloud service makes computing resources such as storage and computing power available on demand. They are essentially massive data centers (with powerful, optimized hardware and software) on the Internet. They can dynamically scale to meet the requirements of its customers. Few of the top cloud service providers are AWS (Amazon Web Services), GCP (Google Cloud Platform) and Azure (Microsoft Azure), IBM Cloud, RackSpace, Alibaba Cloud etc.
These cloud service providers have fantastic infrastructure and technology managed by some of the smartest people on the planet. So if it is the latest technology, it will be on their platform and which you can use for a fraction of the cost to deploy yourself. What about the gestation period / time it takes for these technology to trickle down to not-so-uber-rich companies? And do you know how much it costs to hire that kind of specialist talent? Yeah…you are right! With cloud service, you get all that at a fraction of the cost. With cloud services any individual or small business can leverage the power of this technology to further their business objectives.
I host this website on Google Cloud Platform. It took me about 3 hours to setup a VM with hardened Linux, Nginx, PHP, MySQL (LEMP stack), Varnish, WordPress, SSL, email account on Zoho and some more. All while going back and forth between video tutorials and help blog posts! Now, it will take me less than an hour to do the same. And I am not as young as most of my readers are.
What I am saying is that it is easy to learn and setup a cloud environment in the present day than it was in the yesteryear, mucking around with settings and user manuals because the Linux distro didn’t recognize your NIC.
Google Cloud, AWS and MS Azure all offer free accounts for one full year. Take advantage of this promotional offer to practice your cloud service skills. I also recommend that you take courses from Udemy.com to learn about all these cloud platforms and more.
Once again Fiverr.com is an excellent portal to begin your cloud support freelancing journey. Start by offering services in a less crowded niche to rack up ratings / reviews as also build a client base. Later you can provide other IT infrastructure freelancing services too. This should build your confidence to offer services offline to organizations in your and neighboring locations.
5. Cyber Security Services
If you have the inclination to dive deep into technology, then you can offer cyber security services as an aside or a different line of business. I am just writing a sentence on cyber security as you can read about it in the very detailed and ultimate guide on cyber-security freelancing.
One recommended start-point for getting such jobs is the leading micro-jobs marketplace fiverr.com. Here remote clients post most of the jobs and don’t require face to face interaction. This is an excellent way to expand your skill set and build your business. Also do register on freelancer.com and others to get more visibility. You must have read the point on marketing in the how-to steps of guide to IT infrastructure freelancing. I also recommend you to read this post on how to be top-rated seller on Fiverr.com
Learn, practice and earn!