Setting up a new server can be a daunting task, and no two servers are alike. Having said that, the amount of time it takes set one up largely depends on what you start with when you begin your mission.
A number of factors will determine how long it takes to setup your server, namely:
- what type of server setup you have: colocation, on-premise, leased remotely, cloud hosted, etc.
- whether you have a managed or unmanaged server. Obviously, if it is managed, there may be little to no setup involved on your end. The amount of time it takes will rest in the hands of your provider
- how your server is deployed. Are you starting with a preconfigured image or installing your operating system yourself? Will you setup virtualization that requires multiple OS installations? How will you install your OS? If it is Linux, will it be from precompiled binaries or built from source (which takes much longer)?
There are many other variables, but you should get the idea by now that it is not something you can rush. Once you have accounted for all those variables, you may or may not have to setup the following:
- Networking (name servers, DNS, routers, hostnames, domains, etc.)
- Security (firewall, intrusion detection, application firewall, secure passwords, etc.)
- Software (web server, database server, mail server, etc.)
- Hosting automation (some type of control panel to make hosting management easier)
- Websites (the whole point of the exercise)
Depending on the degree to which your server is managed by your host, these tasks may involve hours or only a few minutes of work. The more experienced you are at tasks like security setup, the faster the process will go. If you are brand new, you should take advantage of the many tutorials and help documents freely available on the web. You should also consider setting up a test server in a local virtual machine to get some practice.