A dedicated server is a dedicated machine in the server network that its owner has full control of. Contrary to regular web hosting, which has multiple users on the same machine, a dedicated server gives all of the resources to your project, and your project only.
It's a brilliant option if you need a huge amount of resources and superior security - but first, you need to know how to handle all of this.
For the people using either shared, cloud or VPS hosting services, dedicated web hosting is often seen as a logical next step. It’s a premium hosting option that costs from around $100 a month and goes way upwards to a 1000 or even more.
And while more power sure sounds tempting - let's first have a look at the things you should consider before making a switch to this premium hosting option.
The Main Features Of A Dedicated Server
Dedicated servers can be pretty great - and these are the main features that make it stand apart from other hosting services.
No Resource Sharing
Someone using up the resources on a shared server can disrupt your website. And a dedicated server is, of course, dedicated to nothing but your websites. RAM, CPU, the operating system and other variables are as good as you want or afford them to be, therefore the server can become incredibly massive and powerful for all of your needs.
However, in many cases, there are other options that allow you to replicate this dedicated server experience. One of the similar servers is cloud hosting. It allows you to have as many resources as you want. All the information is stored on multiple servers, so someone jamming one specific server with information is not going to slow you down. However - you will be completely dependant on the reliability and speed of the cloud hosting platform of your choice.
Total independence is what best dedicated server hosting offers for you. It really boils down to whether you trust the performance and security of cloud hosting services.
Depending On You
The success of the server depends entirely on you. You make sure the server is well maintained, you make sure it has all the right scripts and programs, as well as protection from hackers. Many people choose to pick managed dedicated web hosting instead. It puts a lot of work off their shoulders and relies on the provider instead. Managed dedicated web hosting providers often bundle extra products and services to give more help and hire system administrators to help maintain and manage the servers.
That takes a lot of pressure off you but you also lose a lot of independencies. Not to mention the increased price! There is no free dedicated web hosting to begin with but dedicated servers can turn expensive. It has the potential to be more secure - but it comes with concerns
If you use VPS, cloud or shared hosting, an attack on your provider’s server could prove fatal. Your website could be down, even your files could get lost. Of course, every hosting provider has incredibly secure servers now but hackers don’t stand still either. There is always a chance your security could be compromised. If you do a lot of important transfers using FTP, your provider’s flaws could prove incredibly costly.
And naturally, in that case, having a dedicated server to handle everything is way more secure.
But that comes with a concern of its own. There are plenty of people who create programs that scout through the networks, looking for unprotected servers to get into. If your server’s security is weak or out of date or both - you’re in for trouble. Dedicated server hosting basically means that you’re mostly left on your own.
Providers of VPS/cloud and even shared hosting tend to care about security a lot. If you think you can do a better job against crawlers than the providers do against dedicated attacks - carry on. But if there is doubt in your mind whether you can pull it off, perhaps it would make more sense to use a trusted company instead. After all, what matters most is you staying safe and protected.
Unique IP Address
If you don’t use dedicated server hosting, there’s a solid chance your website may share the same IP with malicious, abusive or even criminal websites. That would lead to your website’s rankings pushing down - and your solid SEO work would immediately all be in vain. Using your own server naturally gets rid of that. But if that’s your only concern, there are other, cheaper options.
Many providers offer unique IP addresses - be it with the cloud, VPS or shared hosting. If getting sent to oblivion by Google robots is a problem for you, it can be fixed by contacting your provider and getting you a separate IP.
When do you need a dedicated server?
There is no such thing as free dedicated server hosting. You are going to spend quite a lot of money to a dedicated server hosting provider of your choice. For a basic plan, you are going to pay more than $100 a month, with prices then climbing up to $200, $300, $400 and even higher.
However, for many users or companies, there are plenty of options to choose from. And very often, you may not even need to use dedicated server hosting. But sometimes - you just do. Here's when dedicated hosting is your best option:
Dedicated servers offer loads of resources
If you use a lot of resources, shared hosting is already out of question. That’s because even taking a bit more bandwidth or disk space by, for example, making a live stream could get you banned. Cloud or VPS are great alternatives but they have their limitations as well. Not many companies are in need of so many resources they can’t rely on a third-party provider to offer that.
However, if you are or if you feel like that’s going to be the case, dedicated web hosting is a way to go. There are plans that offer up to 256GB of RAM and a total of 72 cores of processing power - but you can go even further than that.
Dedicated servers offer security - for a premium
Doing many transfers via FTP or using a secure SSL certificate may make you paranoid about security. What is a dedicated server capable of doing in that situation? It's logical to use one in this instance, as a personal server won't get attacks very often. Hackers are more interested in aiming for massive servers including a lot of websites and a lot of information.
However, using dedicated server hosting could turn bad, as you are responsible for all of its security. Your server may still get detected by someone trying to get in. If you don't think you have sufficient skill to ensure the security measures applied - don’t go there. You can use managed dedicated server hosting - in that case, security will be taken care of. However, in terms of money, you will be charged way, way more. So always make sure to think about the combination of price and quality.
They're great - if you know what you're doing
There are two main types of dedicated servers - managed and unmanaged. An unmanaged server will require a lot of work - ideally, an expert working specifically on maintaining it. There are plenty of things to consider, such as optimizations, scripts, panels, backups, and so on. On the other hand, a provider offering you a managed dedicated server will give you a lot of help but in turn, you will lose a lot of freedom. And that freedom is one of the dedicated server’s advantages.
The Best Dedicated Server Options Out There
So - if you're really interested in using a dedicated server, you need some good options to choose from. These right here are the top solutions you can get:
InMotion offers some really interesting options when it comes to dedicated servers. From processor configurations to RAID solutions, InMotion has pretty much got you covered for everything. InMotion has business class dedicated server solutions - and they're absolutely worth checking out.
Bluehost may not have the most customizable selections when thinking about dedicated servers. It does, however, give you some of the most bang for your buck - the plans start from $79.99/month, and offer great performance as well as plenty of resources. If performance for the price is important to you, check them out.
iPage offers complete customization for your dedicated server - and manage to do this at a very reasonable price point! PHP/Perl/Python also come preinstalled to make setup just a little bit easier, and with a minimum of 5TB bandwidth, and 500GB of disk space, you'll have plenty of resources even for massive projects.
Now That You Know What a Dedicated Server Is...
Before starting out with dedicated server, remember just one thing - if you don't have a full plan in mind, it would be logical to consider some alternatives. The people who know what is a dedicated server and what are its greatest advantages have no issue with spending several hundred dollars every month.
If you're not as experienced, you may do better by saving that money!
One of the best solutions - VPS hosting or Cloud hosting, which may give your comparable speed and enough freedom, for a fraction of a price. Before making a decision on whether you need dedicated hosting, be informed on whether that is the best choice.