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Shipping Computers and Servers

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Whether you’re buying brand new ones or need to move existing ones, shipping computers and servers doesn’t have to be a chore. Learn more about what is takes to transport this high-value freight safely and efficiently with the right freight partner.
Published: January 22, 2021
Last Modified: August 28, 2023
Author: Ask Truckload

Computer equipment is an essential part of nearly any kind of business or enterprise you can think of in the modern day climate. In fact, people rely so heavily on these types of electronics that they need them to be in tip-top shape and ready to go upon arrival. So the importance of shipping computers and servers cannot be overstated.

Whether you’re buying brand new ones or setting up your operations elsewhere and need to move existing ones, shipping computers and servers doesn’t have to be a chore. Considerations to keep in mind include: cost, volume, freight services needed, packaging, and more.

While there aren’t U.S. government regulations overseeing transportation, there are some best practices that will get you up and running in this crucial endeavor. Let's dive into the details surrounding freight shipping computers and servers.

What Are Computers and Servers?

what are computers and servers?

Most people have a basic understanding of what a computer is but let’s put it in its simplest terms in relation to how a business uses it. A computer is a device which allows for the storage and processing of data. The way this storage and processing takes place is by the computer running a program or programs that allows access and the ability to work for the user.  

A server is a piece of equipment — generally a computer itself — that allows a business or company to store and distribute its data or programs to its workers or customers. An employee, for instance, has to log onto his or her computer in order to be connected to the company network, which is usually hosted on a server.

Therefore, a server (or servers, depending on your needs) is a very important part of any operation’s information technology (IT) setup. To give a sense of scale, giant tech companies like Google have data centers around the world that utilize a number of technological flourishes to power their popular search engine and other services such as gmail. These Google data centers combine to use an estimated 2.5 million servers. 

While that is an extreme example, the number of servers needed around the world with the ubiquity of the internet will only continue to rise as cloud computing and storage becomes more and more commonplace. Even if you’re buying a pair of shoes online, servers play an important role. A company pays a website hosting company to host its website, which takes place by using servers in some capacity.

In truth, servers come in many different forms, regardless if they provide the same general function. Some common examples that are used in everyday life include:

  • Video games
  • Computer files
  • Websites/Internet
  • Email
  • Electronic database
  • Computing
  • Applications
  • Printing
  • Proxy

This just goes to show you that servers are not used for a particular niche, that they have widespread adoption across many different uses. 

How to Package Computers and Servers

how to package computers and servers

No matter if they’re on the lighter side of the weight spectrum, like a personal computer, or possibly on the heavier side of servers, these expensive electronics must be properly packaged in order to provide the utmost protection for them during transit. Besides picking the right third-party logistics (3PL) provider — which will be discussed later in greater detail — this is probably the most important step of the entire process.

For personal or business computers, which can be an all-in-one laptop or a multi-piece desktop setup, a reinforced or even double-thickness cardboard box with foam or cardboard components inside the box to both protect the computer and keep it from moving around during shipment. If possible, it’s best to avoid styrofoam since it is easy to break off in small pieces and then get inside your electronics if they’re not properly wrapped inside the container.

Individual computers are often well-packaged once manufactured, so you might not be as concerned with needing to do this yourself. Yet depending on how many computers you’re having shipped to a location or if you are relocating computers already in use to another location, there’s still considerations to be made.

If you’re shipping a bunch of new computers somewhere, it might be a best practice to stack them on a pallet and shrink-wrap them if they’re already in protective boxes. You can also use a large wooden crate if you can fit them inside and want an added layer of security.

As far as servers go, they range in size compared to what you’d expect from computers. While a server can often be a computer or connected to one, usually there can be a wide variety in the size of these machines or even the number in which will need to be used depending on what the requirements are. 

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Computer?

Freight shipping computers and servers isn’t cheap. How much does it cost to ship a computer? Simply put, it depends. Let’s break down two of your options:

  1. Parcel or package shipping
  2. Freight shipping

If you are shipping a single computer back to the manufacturer for repair, you might pay a parcel or package shipping service anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars, depending on weight, dimensions, insurance needs, and more.

If you are moving a whole office full of computers and servers, you might opt for freight shipping. The cost of freight shipping computers and servers can vary significantly, depending on the services your business requires. The computers and servers should be palletized and crated for freight shipping and this can add to cost. You also might need additional freight services when shipping computers and servers.

The easiest way to determine how much freight shipping for computers and servers costs is to reach out to a dedicated freight partner for a hassle-free freight rate quote. USA Truckload Shipping, powered by R+L Global Logistics, has live, friendly agents standing by to help you determine costs and the services you need.

Want to know more about freight shipping computers and servers? Let’s dive into more about freight shipping and the service options available when you need to transport computers and servers.

Transporting Computers and Servers

transporting computers and servers

In somewhat of a continuation of the previous section, the most important thing to remember is that computers and servers need to be heavily protected against physical damage. This actually takes several forms. The first one is actual physical damage to the unit itself, either from not being packaged properly or being mishandled at some point in the journey on the truck. This can be because of a rough ride by the trucker or that the computers and servers were not loaded properly. 

The second way in which a computer or server can sustain damage is by being exposed to excessive weather conditions. Most electronics, let alone computers and servers, will be affected by things like moisture, humidity, heat and cold. The optimal condition for these electronics to be shipped are in cool, dry conditions. Even if the back of a truck during the summer might not always be cool, it should not be excessively hot either.

Also, outside of the actual act of transporting these items, you might want to think about purchasing additional insurance. A 3PL is only required to carry a minimal amount of freight insurance for a truckload but you’re able to buy more coverage to provide for the event of an unforeseen occurrence. When a truck filled with computers and servers that could easily be worth thousands of dollars each, you want to protect yourself to the best of your ability.

Should You Move Computers and Servers Yourself?


If you’re talking about a few computers, the answer could easily be yes. It will be an easy way to possibly save money and you might not need anything remotely close to an 18-wheeler. 

But when moving things like expensive computers and servers, and not using a reputable company, there could be one important thing you’re not seeing: all the responsibility for these goods will sit firmly upon your shoulders. There won’t be the normal freight insurance included with a truckload, and quite possibly no option of purchasing your own insurance to cover such items.

There could be a few benefits to consider as well. For instance, you can take as much time as you want to move the computers and/or servers when doing it yourself since you’re not relying on another company who will charge you for whatever time and equipment you require. Furthermore, you might be able to worry less about damage occurring if you pack and load the servers/computers yourself. You’ll be able to take great care and use whatever packaging materials you choose.

Even then, there’s only certain conditions you should do this under. To do it yourself, it’s really only feasible if you have a limited amount of items to move and are either moving them locally or over a short distance. Long distances will still be best handled by the professionals. You should also know your own limitations in the sense of being cut out for loading and unloading all those valuable assets yourself.  

Another consideration if you are moving existing equipment is if you wouldn’t be better off just ordering brand-new computers and servers. These types of electronics become slower and less reliable within just a few years or might already be obsolete. It could be cheaper or at the very least a great value proposition to just order new equipment and have it shipped to the location you’d be moving the old equipment to.

However, the only thing you’ll have to be sure of before making this decision to buy new equipment is if all your data can be transferred. If for some reason it can’t, then replacement won’t be a viable option in this scenario.

Freight Shipping Computers and Servers

Freight shipping computers and servers is an easy job when you have the right logistics partner on your side. The right freight partner will match you with the services you need to move your high-value technology.

There are two main options when freight shipping computers and servers: LTL (less-than-truckload) or full truckload. You might choose an LTL shipment when you are only moving a few pallets or crates of computers and servers. Full truckload is best when you have a large number of computers and servers to move: think retail stores replenishing inventory, setting up a server farm, moving a large office building, and more.

A full truckload will be able to move about 26 pallets of computers and servers and can weigh up to 45,000 lbs.  LTL shipments are smaller and often weigh between 150 and 15,000 lbs.

LTL vs full truckload aren’t the only considerations you’ll have when it comes to freight shipping computers and servers. You’ll find that the right freight partner will also have other service offerings available to ensure all your shipping needs are met. 

Considerations When Freight Shipping Computers and Servers

Let’s look at some other things to keep in mind when shipping computers and servers:

  • Do I need liftgate service?: Not all offices and places of business are equipped with docks for easy loading and unloading of freight. This means you might need liftgate service for your computer shipment.
  • Do I need white glove delivery service? White glove service means the driver or team of drivers will not only unload your freight but put it in your room of choice and remove and dispose of the packaging. White glove delivery service can save you time and hassle.
  • Do I need expedited freight service? Need it there fast? Opt for expedited freight shipping. This means your shipment will arrive as fast as the law allows and will get your freight to you when you need it.
  • Do I need temperature-controlled shipping? Some technologies need to maintain a certain temperature during shipping, as heat and cold can damage sensitive components. The right freight partner will ensure your carrier understands this and maintains temperature over the road.
  • What kind of freight insurance do I need? Freight insurance offers peace of mind and can protect your investment. Because computers and servers are high-value equipment, you need the right insurance for your shipment

Need to ship semiconductors? Check out our article Semiconductor Shipping Simplified to learn more.

Shipping Computers and Servers With A 3PL

shipping computers and servers with a 3pl

Having a baseline knowledge of how to package and transport computers and servers is a great first step toward being successful in the endeavor. However, that’s just one part of the equation to make sure you stand the best chance of such items arriving safely and in one piece.

It’s equally crucial to select the right 3PL provider to undertake this task on your behalf. There are several aspects to look at:  

Proven track record — Does the 3PL you’re looking at using have a solid history in the business? This can be in terms of name recognition, past dealings you’ve had with the company, reliable references, public company information, etc. The biggest thing you want to establish is you can connect the company with being reputable and being able to deliver on its promises.

Demonstrated ability for on-time delivery — Whether you’re trying to sell computers and servers to a business or purchasing them for your own operation, it’s comforting to have a pretty good idea that the freight hauler responsible can give a near 100 percent assurance that your equipment will arrive on-time. If you’re selling the goods, on-time delivery will at a minimum endear you to customers and — on the other end — save you money when you don’t have to offer credits or refunds on a delivery that missed its mark timewise. 

Financial stability — It might not seem like it is any of your concern if a 3PL makes a bunch of money but it is a good sign for you in terms of the resources the company has and what can be made available to you. Also, you’re less likely to have a delivery held up or be otherwise unable to be delivered because your 3PL figuratively ran out of gas.  

Flexibility — There might be times you have to reschedule a truckload or maybe have an unexpected order and tight delivery frame necessitate the need for expedited freight. This will be the true test, to see if the 3PL you’ve chosen can accommodate any reasonable request. The aforementioned situations will inevitably arise and the solution your 3PL will be able to provide when it does could make or break the shipment. So be sure to find a company who can assure you beforehand that they have the desire and ability to handle all kinds of unexpected occurrences. 

Availability of customer service/support — Obviously, it’s no one’s goal to have to rely on customer service or support but it also exists for a reason. If you have a question about your delivery or if something were to go wrong, it’s reassuring to know that you’re a phone call or email away from getting things figured out. But even that’s not enough sometimes. It’s also beneficial to deal with people who can understand your inquiry or pain point clearly and actively work with you to find a resolution. Good customer service is a lot like insurance: you won’t understand how much you need it until you need it. 

Shipping Computers and Servers With R+L Global Logistics


Now that you know all there is to know about shipping computers and servers, make sure you’re having the best company — R+L Global Logistics — handle these ultra-valuable items for your business. With the high cost and known fragility of both, it’s absolutely essential that your new computers and servers are only shipped with a careful, knowledgeable company that specializes in truckload shipping.

You might ask what makes R+L Global Logistics the best choice for this task — in fact, there are many reasons. Let’s start with our commitment to providing on-time delivery with all your items in the same great condition upon arrival. We boast a 99.5 percent on-time delivery rate and employ the most skilled drivers in the industry.

R+L Global Logistics also offers very competitive rates and real-time freight visibility for all of your truckloads, so you can rest assured that you’re being charged a fair price and you’ll also know where your freight is at any given time during its journey.

Also offered by R+L Global Logistics is industry-leading customer service to help with any problem, big or small. Our organization can also help you get your computers and servers (or anything else) delivered more quickly with our expedited freight service.

So when you’re prepared to engage in shipping computers and servers, that’s the time to contact R+L Global Logistics to get the process started. For a free quote with no obligations, call us at 866.353.7178 today.

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