What is a Dedicated Server? And Which One Is The Best For Hosting Your Site?
There are a number of different types of servers for hosting your website. They can cost anywhere from a few bucks a month, into the hundreds, and even the thousands. Choosing the correct type of server depends on what you’re going to be using it for. On this page, we’re going to answer the common question “What is a dedicated server?” along with offering some advice on who needs a dedicated server, or who can get away with something less.
What is a Dedicated Server Best For?
A dedicated server costs more than the other common options, but it also runs circles around them in terms of performance.
Because of that, dedicated servers are best for websites that are very important, when everything needs to be running at peak performance. This is for websites that get a lot of visitors and require the full usage of the server's hardware, without sharing it with any other sites.
Common Types of Web Servers
There are three common classes of webhosting available to consumers and businesses.
Shared Hosting: This is the most entry-level option out there. Many different websites owned by a bunch of different people are all stored on the same server. The advantage is that it’s usually the least expensive option out there. The downsides are that shared hosting can be slower, and other people’s sites being poorly optimized or just getting a lot of visitors can hog enough resources that your site starts to perform slower.
Some shared hosting companies do a good job of not loading up their servers with too many different options, but it’s also pretty common to ‘oversell’, which further hurts performance.
Shared hosting is good for smaller projects, for saving some money, and personal/hobby sites that aren’t going to be getting a ton of visitors, nor selling anything or conducting business.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS): This is kind of like a hybrid between a dedicated server and a shared server. Virtual private servers allow each user to have their own instance of an operating system running, they’re granted a higher level of access and control, and they are functionally similar to a dedicated server, however they do have some of the same drawbacks as shared hosting.
While your own server instance running your operating system and whichever you’d like is essentially on its own like a dedicated server, it’s still sharing the same hardware with other sites, so their performance can also have an impact on your site’s performance. By partitioning a single server into multiple VPS, hosting companies are able to charge a lot less money than they would charge for a dedicated server.
This is a good option for websites that are busier, and where performance is more critical, like online stores or sites doing any kind of business. A typical VPS will be able to handle more visitors than a typical shared server could. It’s a good stepping stone for sites that require more than shared can offer, but can’t quite justify the cost of a dedi just yet.
Dedicated Servers: Finally, we arrive at the dedicated server, or dedi for short. This is the highest-end option you can find from most standard hosting companies, and can cost anywhere from $90-$100 on the lower end, or into the hundreds per month, or more, for higher-end servers.
This is a single server that hosts your website, and your website alone, rather than sharing said server with a number of random other websites. Since you aren’t sharing that hardware with anyone else, it’s easier to plan ahead and scale as your site grows, since you’ll have a really good idea what your resource requirements are, and you’ll know exactly what your box can handle.
How to Choose a Dedicated Server
First things first, you want to make sure that the dedicated server plans you’re looking at can meet the requirements of your site. If you’re upgrading from a VPS, you’ll have a pretty good idea how many resources you’ll need, at least as a starting point. Keep in mind that there are other factors that will impact your server’s performance beyond the specs, such as where it’s located, the age of the hardware, how it’s configured and optimized, what software it’s running, and so on.
It’s good to stick with companies that are known for providing solid, high-end hosting packages when you’re buying a dedicated server.
InMotion Hosting has a variety of dedicated servers, starting around $100, and they often have some really solid promotions going on where you can get extra resources. This is a highly-recommended hosting company, we’ve featured their shared hosting plans in the past as well. You’ll get a server with an Intel® Xeon® E3-1230 or better, a big stack of IP addresses, tons of data transfer, backup drives, RAID, and a ton more.
LiquidWeb is another excellent place to get a higher-end dedicated server. LiquidWeb is known for their incredible support staff, and robust line-up of hardware. They also offer additional bundles which include a control panel of your choice, offsite backups, ServerSecure PLUS, and a ton more. Either LiquidWeb or InMotion would make a GREAT choice for anyone who needs a dedicated server.