When the time comes to choose the right kind of web hosting for your needs you’re going to have a lot of options to sort through. If you’re a beginner who’s learning how to build a website, then shared hosting is the way to go.
But, what about when your site grows beyond the initial stage? What about when you’re turning a profit and your traffic only continues to rise?
If your site reaches this point then you’ll have a few different hosting options to consider. One of the main forms of hosting is dedicated hosting. But, making the decision to jump to dedicated hosting shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The dedicated hosting cost in general is one of the most expensive forms of hosting. It does bring you some serious benefits, but it’s a decision you’ll want to spend time researching.
Below we look at what dedicated hosting actually is, the kind of benefits it offers your site, and which types of sites dedicated hosting is perfect for. Finally, we break down the costs for dedicated hosting and review how to get the most out of your dedicated hosting site.
What is Dedicated Hosting?
Dedicated hosting is a form of hosting where an entire server is dedicated to a single client or website. Contrast this with a very popular form of web hosting called shared hosting. When discussing the basics of shared hosting, it means hundreds of users and even more websites are sharing this same server’s resources.
With dedicated hosting, you have full access to the server’s bandwidth, RAM, storage, and even the ability to control the software configuration.
To bring this down to earth let’s take the example of housing. With a dedicated server hosting service, you’re renting an entire home. There are multiple bedrooms, no other tenants, and it’s yours to do whatever you want with.
Compare that to shared hosting, which operates more like an apartment building. You have multiple tenants using the same building resources, and there are certain rules for what you can and can’t do. However, if something breaks then you’ll usually have included maintenance that will fix any issues.
With dedicated server hosting services, as with a home you own, where you’re responsible for continued maintenance and fixing any issues with your server.
Basically, with dedicated hosting, you have more server resources at your disposal, more control and flexibility over your setup, but you’ll generally be tasked with server maintenance as well (depending on your provider).
Linux vs. Windows Dedicated Servers
The two main types of dedicated servers you’ll come across are Linux and Windows. Some hosts will specialize in one or the other, but generally, you’ll be given a choice. The server environment you choose will depend upon what programming languages you’re using or the types of databases that your website uses.
The most popular form of dedicated server is a Linux server. The chances are high that this will be the type of server setup you require. Here’s how both Linux and Windows servers stack up:
1. Operating System
You could probably guess that one of the main differences between the two is the type of operating system you’ll be using. Linux servers will run on Linux while Windows servers will run on Windows.
With each operating system, you’ll have different layouts, functions, and commands. So, if you’re used to using one kind of OS it’s best to stick to this, especially if you aren’t going to be using an interface-based control panel to manage your server.
2. Control Panel Choice
The most common control panel for Linux servers is cPanel. If you’ve used any kind of shared hosting in the past, then you’re probably familiar with this tool. With Windows, you’ll most likely be using Plesk. Overall, these two control panel’s offer pretty similar features, but if you’re used to using one over the other, then you’ll probably want to stick with it.
With cPanel you can easily install a ton of different software packages, create your own MySQL databases, and program in PHP. All of these are necessities if you’re running a WordPress site.
With Plesk, you’ll have a similar feature to cPanel, but you’ll also get Windows-specific features like the ability to run a LAMP stack.
3. Your Website Type
If you’re choosing a Windows dedicated server you’ll usually be doing so because you need to run certain software that’s only Windows compatible. The is often the case for older, large, enterprise websites.
Most website owners will probably get the most out of a Linux dedicated server. With this, you’ll get a server that’s engineered for performance. Plus, if you’re a developer you’ll be able to easily customize and configure your server environment to ensure you’re getting the highest levels of performance possible.
Benefits of Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting isn’t for everyone. But, this style of hosting can be incredibly advantageous for the right kind of website. Here are some of the biggest benefits dedicated hosting can offer.
1. Improved Uptime and Security
One of the main reasons to upgrade to a dedicated server is if your site requires a high level of uptime. Think about it, every second your site is offline it’s potentially costing you revenue. Depending on the size of your site, this could be a lot of money.
Dedicated servers are built to help ensure a high level of uptime from sites that receive a high volume of traffic, or a high level of user interaction, like an eCommerce site.
Plus, nearly every dedicated server will have built-in server redundancy, so that any failures or issues with server software and hardware won’t result in your site going offline.
There’s also the added benefit of not sharing the server with any other users or websites. Sometimes sharing a server with other users can lead to a loss in performance for your own site. So, any threat from these other sites, whether that’s related to your site’s performance or even it’s security, will be non-existent.
2. Unique Server Configuration
With a dedicated host, you can completely customize your own server hardware and software. With something like shared hosting, you have to fit your site into preexisting hardware or software setups.
You’ll be able to choose your own software setup, operating system, and even customize your server hardware to a certain extent as well. This will help with getting the highest levels of performance out of your site.
Plus, with root server access it’ll be much easier to manage your site and your server. For technical users or those with a large tech team, this level of server control will be a blessing.
3. Incredible Performance
With a dedicated server, you won’t have to compete with any other sites on the same server. This gives you complete control and use over all of your server’s resources.
A dedicated server gives you access to incredibly high-bandwidth, along with the ability to use all of that bandwidth if the needs arise. Not only that, but you can fully optimize and utilize your server’s disk space.
4. Increased Ability to Scale
When you’re using a dedicated server you’ll also be equipped to handle any fluctuations in traffic. When you purchase a dedicated server there will be built-in resource headroom to account for any traffic spikes, or even increased site growth.
Since you have full access to your server you can also switch up the hardware or software configuration to help account for increased resource needs.
What Kind of Site Owner Should Use Dedicated Hosting?
Not every type of site will need this type of dedicated hosting service.. But, for fast-growing sites, it’s one of the options you’ll want to consider. Here are a few examples of websites that can greatly benefit from using dedicated hosting:
1. High Traffic Websites
When your site outgrows its current hosting setup you’ll have a few different hosting options available. As a high traffic website, you’re going to have very different needs than most other sites.
A few of those considerations being, unparalleled performance, very high or perfect uptime, along with enhanced security and other features. With a dedicated server, you get all of that and more.
You’ll be able to rely on your host to support your site in delivering the best possible user experience.
2. Massive eCommerce Sites
With eCommerce any time your site spends offline results in a loss in sales. Finding a hosting solution that has near zero downtime is incredibly important.
Plus, you’ll want to be able to handle traffic surges, when you’re running promotions, or during busy shopping times of the year, like the holiday season.
With a dedicated host, you’ll have room to scale your site, plus downtime will never be an issue.
3. Agency Owners With High Profile Clients
If you’re a high-end digital agency that creates, hosts and manages sites for clients, then you’re going to need a way to deliver reliable white-label hosting to your clients. If this sounds like you, then dedicated hosting is the way to go.
You’ll be able to offer your clients unparalleled performance, and incredible reliability. Two things you’ll need to deliver on if you want to keep your clients for the long-term.
4. Websites With Unique Server Configurations
Sometimes your site might have very unique requirements from your server. Maybe you’re running a piece of software that requires a custom setup. Or, maybe your team of engineers has found a hardware and software configuration that can help you get the highest levels of performance.
With a dedicated server, you have greater control over your hardware, software, and operating system selection and setup.
5. Those Running Gaming Servers
This isn’t technically related to your website, but a lot of users run into issues when they’re running an online gaming server, whether it’s for a Minecraft server, or another popular game.
Most of these performance issues related to online gaming can be fixed with a dedicated server setup. Since you’ll have access to greater memory, CPU, as well as greater server customization, lag, and other gaming issues will be a thing of the past.
How Much Does Dedicated Hosting Cost?
Now, it’s time for the question you’ve been waiting for: how does much does dedicated hosting actually cost?
Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward. Like any kind of online service, there’s a range of applicable prices, depending on your service provider, the type of dedicated hosting you require, and the length of your hosting contract.
As a general basis, you’ll be looking at paying at least $75+ per month, with high-level dedicated hosting being way beyond that. At HostGator, you can pick up a dedicated hosting plan for as little as $119 per month.
The prices will rise depending on the level of storage and memory you require. You’ll also find pricing differences between managed and semi-managed dedicated servers.
Managed dedicated servers have a more in-depth support team that can help you through any technical issues, as well as having access to more user-friendly tools like control panel installation, backups, and server optimization.
Semi-managed servers require a greater level of technical skills to both manage and configure the server. For this level of dedicated server, you’ll probably want to have a technical team that can help to manage and optimize your server environment.
What to Look for in Dedicated Server Hosting
When you’re looking for the perfect dedicated server hosting for you there are a few main factors you’ll want to use to compare different packages and providers.
Keep these in mind throughout your search:
- Storage/Bandwidth – A solid amount of RAM and bandwidth available for high traffic.
- Hardware/Security – Up to date server hardware, the right operating system, along with regular security scale.
- Managed/Non-managed – If you’re non-technical you’ll need a managed dedicated server solution, or have the budget to hire a tech team to support and configure your server for you.
- Uptime/Reliability – Look for the highest uptime possible, along with a knowledgeable support team who can help you work through any technical issues.
Dedicated Hosting for Your Website
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what dedicated hosting actually is, the types of benefits it can bring your website, and how much it will cost for you to implement.
We hope by this article you can now decide whether or not you need dedicated hosting for your website. If price is your biggest concern when it comes to upgrading to dedicated hosting, then keep in mind that the average price you should be expecting to pay is around $150. Ideally, if your site requires a dedicated host in order to operate at a higher level of performance, then you’ll be generating more than enough revenue to cover that cost.
Before you decide to upgrade to a dedicated server make sure you spend your time researching the different options you have available. There are a ton of solutions available to you, some which might be better suited for your needs than others.