When looking at web hosting options the most optimal solution for a small website is often shared hosting - but for a large Internet project, designed for consistent traffic, with stringent security requirements, a shared host is not generally a good option. Providers recommend sizeable, commercial websites pass over virtual hosting in favour of a dedicated server.
You might feel a dedicated server will be expensive. However, if you consider all the advantages of dedicated hosting from a reliable provider - such as those here, you'll see there are many good reasons to seriously consider a dedicated server. Stability is an obvious one, with no "noisy neighbour" chewing up CPU, RAM, and disk space. Other good reasons include preventing data loss and not sacrificing the integrity of your website's reputation from less-reputable people also using the same shared server. A dedicated server aids you in gaining visitor trust and online reputation, and these lead to even more organic activity.
Let's go into more depth about how a dedicated server differs from a virtual private server (VPS).
What is a dedicated server?
A dedicated server is an excellent solution for a commercial online business, an information site, a web resource with high traffic, and a large database. A dedicated server is primarily characterised by high performance, flexibility, and security. It differs from virtual hosting by totally eliminating neighbours who are serving hundreds of other online projects. A VPS provides a dedicated space for each user, but the space for these users is all still located on the same physical machine with its finite resources.
The dedicated server is totally under the control of a single user who can customise and administer it as they require. They choose the operating system, applications, and scripts convenient for them. They can make settings by themselves or ask the provider's technical support for assistance.
Here are five advantages of a dedicated server. If at least one of these is interesting to you or offers value to you, then you can safely move forward with a dedicated server.
- No unexpected traffic spikes due to the activity of other users on the server. It's no secret that traffic spikes cause performance degradation. Any drop in the speed and responsiveness of your site can lead to a high bounce rate. Conversely, the more stable the site is, the higher the probability of conversion.
- Security - if your site is engaged in e-commerce, and visitors pay for goods using credit cards or other payment methods, then you must ensure protection. Dedicated hosting provides you greater security to protect your customer's data and withstand hacker attacks because the server does not need to compromise to suit other users.
- Speed - a dedicated server's disks and networking are dedicated only to you. Your visitors will appreciate it.
- Management - a shared or virtual private server will not give you the kind of control that you can get by renting dedicated service hosting for a site. If your online presence is not a fashion statement for your business, but a prerequisite for successful development, you should get full manageability. Install the optimal operating system and applications, and change settings when needed. This full control is the maximum freedom for you in your business Internet solutions.
- Agility - a dedicated server allows an emerging business or website to develop and quickly achieve strategic goals.
If at least one of the listed advantages is important to you, then you should seriously consider a dedicated server.
How to choose a dedicated server?
Before transferring a site to a dedicated server you should carefully evaluate the offerings available to you, and check them out to suit your capabilities and requirements.
- Is it possible to quickly transfer a site from an old shared or private virtual hosting to a dedicated server without numerous adjustments?
- Does the provider offer hosting with an already installed operating system and control panel, or are you given a choice? For example, you might be used to working with cPanel, but the service provider offers Plesk. Ask if the provider's technical service will help you manage the server.
- Structure and licensing. Are you planning to work with Microsoft products? If so, you need to choose Windows Server as the operating system - otherwise, it will be difficult to install the necessary software.
- If high user traffic is expected with many concurrent page loads, and/or you offer media streaming then the server must provide high bandwidth.
- Additional data protection is guaranteed by mirroring, but if the provider does not offer backups you could lose your whole business in a single minute without any possibility of recovery.
- Evaluate your requirements for uptime, data redundancy, and downtime, and compare with the provider's SLA. For example, the SLA might guarantee they offer 99.9% uptime, full redundancy, and no more than half an hour of downtime per year.
Finances are also important, beyond the technical specs:
- Is there a fee for transferring a website from shared hosting to a dedicated server?
- Do you need to pay to license any software, or does the provider offer a ready-made solution with an installed operating system and popular software?
- What is the ongoing subscription fee? Each provider is different, and the cheapest may not be the best. For instance, it might not include maintenance and support while a higher-priced plan does. This is important if you don't have your own IT team.
- What other additional features are available? For instance, there might be an option to increase CPU and RAM as your needs change. If there is any chance you might take this up in time find out its cost from the beginning.
- Will you require the provider to administer the server for you? If so, be prepared to factor in a fee for this.
Be sure to evaluate all the technical and financial conditions when you are presented with a hosting contract. Otherwise be prepared to limit yourself to the resources provided, or to pay extra for additional options.