Dedicated Server Hosting – What Are The Benefits?

Dedicated Server Hosting is a top level hosting service where you have an entire server for your sole use. Servers are located in data centers with good physical security, environmental controls and redundancy (e.g. standby generators). It is possible to simply rent space in a data center to locate your own server (co-location) but dedicated server hosting means that you are renting the server and the hosting company may provide some management functions.

This service is appropriate for a company or organization running a large/busy website which does not have the ability to host the server in house. It has a significant number of advantages over shared hosting, which are set out below but it has two disadvantages:

  1. It costs considerably more than shared hosting and also than VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting and you should be certain that the additional cost is justified.  It is certainly worth undertaking research on VPS hosting packages to see if they can meet your needs, before going for a dedicated server.
  2. Many of the benefits of a dedicated server relate to the flexibility and control if gives you, against this is the fact that you have more responsibility and need to know what you are doing. You can have a managed service but this will increase the cost and limit your flexibility.
The benefits of a dedicated server hosting service include:
  • You have sole use of a server so the performance of your website cannot be impacted by the actions of anyone else. This also means that your site is more secure.
  • You can determine the configuration of the server to best meet your needs.
  • The server can be upgraded (e.g. disk space & memory) as your needs change.
  • You have root access to the server.
  • You control the software (including the OS) running on the server and how it is configured.
With shared hosting the role of the hosting company is pretty clear, basically they take care of everything related to the server. With a dedicated server it is not so clear. Whilst you can have a managed or unmanaged service (and there may be degrees of management) there is no industry wide definition of “management”. You therefore need to be clear what you want to be responsible for and what you want the hosting company to do in areas such as:
  • Operating System updates
  • Application Updates
  • System Monitoring
  • Firewall/Antivirus systems
  • Backups
  • Level of technical support.

Costs can vary considerably and the “cheap dedicated server web hosting” you see advertised may be an unmanaged server where you are left on your own.

There is much choice in this market and it is not easy to find the ideal balance between price, the services offered and the reputation of the website hosting company. You want to get the best technical service with good support at a good price from a supplier who is likely to be in the market long term.

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