2016 Windows Server Performance Checklist
2016 is upon us and it's time to perform some maintenance on your Windows Server. Make your server operate at peak performance and avoid some hardships later by following a few simple updates and maintenance tips.
Clear Out Those Log Files
Unless you are using locally installed software to parse IIS log files, these logs will take up a whole lot of space, especially on high traffic websites. Removal of these files will allow you to reclaim much needed HDD space. Remember, server log files are more than just IIS website logs. There are FTP logs, Windows logs, Event Viewer logs, Hosting Panel logs and much more. Depending on the software you use, and the importance of these logs, you may opt to remove/clear them as well.
If you would rather archive your IIS logs rather than deleting them, I have created a tool that compresses log files into *.CAB format and removes the original. This can save you up to 95% of the original storage used.
Note: I am providing this tool for free and will not assume responsibility if used incorrectly. By downloading this tool you agree to this. If you are not sure what you're doing it may be prudent to remove your log files manually. Please be aware of this prior to downloading and using this tool.
(you may need to temporarily relax your browser security settings to allow this download)
The tool is written in VBScript and includes batch file to run it. Before you can use it, you will need to open "logs.vbs" and edit the Const serverName and Const DomainPath variables to suit your hosting set-up. If you are uncertain what values to put into these variables, leave a comment and I'll help if I can, otherwise you may wish to remove/archive log files manually.
Review your SSL Certificates
I have found it's a good idea to review your installed SSL certificates a couple times a year to make sure they are not due to expire. It only takes a few minutes and may save you a call from your client letting you know their SSL protected website is down. While it is typically up to customers to maintain their own certificates, they often ignore renewal warnings from their provider.
IIS certificates can be found by opening the IIS interface then clicking on your primary server. Look for the "Server Certificates" section. Certificate name, expiry and other relevant details will be displayed for each.
Check Your IP Reputation
Your IP reputation will fluctuate both ways on a regular basis. By conducting a quick review you can identify issues before DNSBLs and RBLs take actions based on negative reputation. A couple months ago I wrote an article that covers IP reputation issues. You may find it a valuable read:
Here are a few of the major blacklists and their delisting form URLs:
- Barracuda Central: http://www.barracudacentral.org/rbl/removal-request
- Spamhaus: http://www.spamhaus.org/lookup/
- LashBack: http://blacklist.lashback.com/
- Invaluement: http://www.invaluement.com/removal/
- DNSBL: http://www.dnsbl.manitu.net/
Review Your Hosting & Email Quotas
Your Hosting Control Panel may offer storage quota reports. These reports can give you insight into your client's storage needs. By being proactive and letting them know when their limits are about to be reached, this can save them from service outages due to exceeding quotas.
Perform a Disk Cleanup
This one's a no-brainer and is easy to do. As you likely know, Windows provides a disk cleanup utility. It is found under All Programs > Accessories > System Tools. I have found that even the most optimized server will accumulate Windows Error Reporting entries quickly and these take up several GB's of space. Select the options that best suit your needs and allow the tool to do it's magic.
Remove Unneeded App Pools, Databases, DNS Entries and Development Spaces
As a Web developer and a Windows Server administrator, I am often creating site development spaces to create new sites before they go live. If not removed following launch they can use up server resources. Once a year I go through my databases, DNS portfolio, IIS sites and app pools looking for these development spaces. Keeping these clean will ensure your hosting, DNS and mail servers run at peak efficiency.
Update Your Software
Often ignored unless your software has an auto-update function, your Hosting Panel and Mail Server software can become dated quickly. On a regular basis, these software providers will release updates that address critical security issues as well as add new functionality and responsive design support. While it's not always convenient to perform such updates as they may require reboots or temporarily suspend services, it's something that should be done several times a year (I'm not speaking about Windows Updates, perform these at times that best suit you). If uptime is a concern, you may wish to perform said updates on a Sunday evening when client impact may be low.
Do you have your own yearly routine? I'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment below.