Like many other website owners, you might have chosen shared hosting when you first started your website. And why shouldn’t you?
After all, it is the cheapest hosting option. However, as your website grows, your hosting needs change requiring you to consider an upgrade.
Dedicated server web hosting is a much sought-after option for those seeking an upgrade from their existing hosting plan.
In this brief guide, we will discuss what dedicated hosting is, what its pros and cons are, why should you consider dedicated hosting and what factors should you consider while choosing a dedicated server. So, let’s begin.
- 1 What is Dedicated Server Web Hosting?
- 2 What
are the Pros and Cons of Dedicated Server Web Hosting?
- 2.1 Pros
- 2.2 Cons
- 2.3 Which Factors should you consider in choosing a Dedicated Server?
- 2.4 When should you Consider Dedicated Server?
What is Dedicated Server Web Hosting?
Dedicated server web hosting refers to the hosting where you rent an entire physical server and its resources for your website. The entire server is dedicated for a single client (i.e. you) hence the name.
Here, you get exclusive rights over the resources of the server including its RAM, CPU, disc space and bandwidth. For this reason, websites hosted on a dedicated server deliver superior performance and speed. But the cost of the server is not shared with other clients, making dedicated hosting an expensive solution.
Also, in dedicated server web hosting, you get root access to the server. So, you can configure and customize the server according to the needs of your business.
Dedicated server web hosting can be further classified into managed and unmanaged.
In a managed hosting solution, the hosting service provider handles the day-to-day administration tasks related to your business. This can include tasks like resource monitoring, server maintenance, networking configuration and security updates.
Some managed hosts also offer back up and disaster recovery solutions. Managed dedicated hosting plans free you from daily administration tasks related to your server allowing you to you focus on the core aspects of your business.
In contrast, in unmanaged hosting, the client manages all the server management tasks on their own. While unmanaged hosting plans may appear more economical at first glance, they involve a slew of hidden costs. In unmanaged hosting, you have to spend money on hiring IT staff, etc. With a managed hosting solution in place, you can predict the monthly costs associated with IT infrastructure management.
Now that we have understood the concept of dedicated server web hosting, let us discuss its pros and cons.
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What are the Pros and Cons of Dedicated Server Web Hosting?
1) Exclusive Use of Resources
Dedicated server web hosting offers access to the full resources of a server. Since you do not share resources, your website does not get bogged down by a surge in traffic or malware attack on other websites.
2) Superior Performance and Security
Dedicated server web hosting assures superior performance and security for your applications. While shared and VPS hosting solutions are optimum for websites that receive low-to-medium traffic, websites with substantial traffic need a dedicated hosting plan.
Dedicated hosting secures your systems as you don’t share resources with a malware-infected site or a potential spammer. It is particularly beneficial for enterprises handling sensitive data such as healthcare and financial institutions.
Dedicated hosting offers root access allowing you to customize the server to fulfil your unique needs with respect to RAM, CPU, storage space and bandwidth. The client can choose a server tailored to his needs and enjoy better control over it.
4) No Need to Purchase or Maintain Equipment
In dedicated server hosting, clients don’t need to purchase, install and maintain equipment. This way, they are able to save considerably on floor rentals, licensing fees and manpower. The service provider bears the cost of handling and maintaining the equipment. This significantly reduces the expenses associated with IT infrastructure.
5) Unique IP address
A dedicated server hosting plan allows you to have a unique IP address. In a shared hosting plan, you share your IP address with multiple websites. So, if there is some issue in these sites, it can negatively affect your website ranking. A unique IP address eradicates such issues.
1) Expensive Solution
A dedicated server does offer a wide range of benefits but it isn’t a pocket-friendly solution by any means. In dedicated hosting, there is no one to share the server cost with. Plus, there are additional charges for hardware upgrades, software installation, updates and patches. Dedicated server hosting is, therefore, not recommended for websites that attract low-to-medium traffic.
2) Usability Issues
A dedicated server can be difficult to manage for clients with no experience of using servers. Clients need to have the requisite technical know-how for installing software and managing the daily tasks under their control.
Which Factors should you consider in choosing a Dedicated Server?
Several factors go into deciding a suitable dedicated server hosting solution for your website. Some crucial ones are discussed below.
1) Hardware Requirements
When choosing a dedicated server web hosting, the following hardware choices should be paid attention to:
a) Processor: Most of the dedicated hosting plans specify the number of cores and processor speed in the server. As far as cores are concerned, a higher number of cores make for better performance. Another key factor affecting server performance is clock speed (measured in GHz). A higher clock speed understandably offers better performance.
But a processor with a higher number of cores and higher clock speed can be insanely expensive. So, a trade-off needs to be established between the two. Higher number of cores and slower clock speed can support multi-threaded applications (such as database servers and web servers) better.
In contrast, fewer cores and higher clock speed can benefit single-threaded applications better. Of course, you need to consult the person managing the application for arriving at an informed decision.
b) RAM: With a higher number of cores and higher clock speed, you have more RAM options available with you. If you are uncertain about your RAM, choose a plan that allows you to add RAM as and when needed.
c) Hard Drives: It is highly recommended that you select a RAID set-up for your hard drives so that you remain well-protected against the failure of a single hard drive.RAID set-up stores data on multiple discs, so in case one of the drive crashes, your system will keep working (of course, with some loss of performance).
A larger server offers more hard drive options. SATA drives offer low performance but high volume. SAS are twice as better as SATA in terms of performance, but have a lower capacity and higher price. SSD drives are 50 to 100 times faster than SATA but far more expensive.
2) Operating System
The two most popular operating systems for dedicated servers include Linux and Windows. If your website uses asp or .net code, then Windows is the operating system to go for because Linux doesn’t support these technologies.
On the contrary, if your website is built on PHP or PERL, Linux would be the better alternative. If, however, you have a site mostly built with HTML with little or no server-side scripting, Linux would be the right choice.
3) Bandwidth Requirement
Your bandwidth requirement depends on the amount of web traffic you are expecting. If you are expecting high web traffic and intend to run scripts and/or stream multimedia files, a high bandwidth server should be chosen. In case you are uncertain of the web traffic you will receive, select a plan with a lot of data traffic included.
4) Quality of the Network
Your dedicated servers need to be in the same location as your end-users. For example, if your end-users are in India, hosting on a server based in the USA or Europe will not be a sensible choice as it will dampen the performance of your site. To get more information on the quality of the network, go through the NOC (Network Operation Center) pages of the hosting provider and, if possible, test the network.
5) Scalability of your Application
Scalability is of the essence when choosing a dedicated hosting solution. It is crucial to assess how easily your application can scale when multiple servers are added. If your application can scale across multiple dedicated servers, there needs to be provision for load balancing.
In load balancing, the end-users are split across all the available servers. And every incoming request gets directed to a different server. Before doing this, the load balancer checks if a server is available. If not, it directs the request to a different server.
6) Quality of Support
Managing a website is a complex task and things can go wrong any time. It is vital to have robust technical support so that all your queries get adequately addressed and are resolved within the stipulated timeframe. Take out time to gauge the quality of your support professionals. Also, make sure the support is available round-the-clock and that too through multiple channels.
When should you Consider Dedicated Server?
As discussed above, a dedicated server offers a host of advantages including superior performance and security. However, dedicated server hosting is not for everyone. It is one of the most expensive hosting solutions available in the marketplace and, therefore, needs careful consideration. Let us look at some scenarios when you should consider a dedicated server.
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1) Your Website Traffic is Growing Steadily
If you expect your website to draw heavy traffic in the days to come, it might be a good idea to start looking for a dedicated server right away. Because, if you are still using shared or VPS hosting and your web traffic surges, your website speed and performance could drop considerably. This can result in a higher bounce rate eventually leading to loss of revenue. So, it is recommended to switch to a superior hosting solution before any issues come up.
2) Your Website Handles Sensitive Data
While security should be a priority for every website, it is particularly important for websites that handle sensitive data such as credit card numbers, confidential emails and personal information. It is vital to keep your website safeguarded from malware, hackers and other security risks.
In dedicated server web hosting, you are in complete control of your server and can optimize the features critical to keeping your site secure. Plus, you do not share the server resources with other tenants. This safeguards you from malware-infected and spam websites.
3) You Need Control Over your Server
Because a dedicated server gives complete freedom over how you choose to use your server, it is recommended for advanced web developers and users with specific requirements. In a dedicated server, you can choose the software you want. Plus, you can tweak hardware specifications and install the operating system (OS) of your preference.
Hope this brief guide has given you a fair idea of dedicated server web hosting. Still have questions related to dedicated hosting? Please let us know in the comments below.