When you’re trying to find the best style of hosting for your website you’re going to have a lot of different options to consider. One form of hosting you’ll probably come across is called dedicated hosting.

This style of web hosting isn’t going to be a great fit for most website owners. In fact, if you’re just getting started online you can probably get away with a basic shared hosting package.

But for those who own fast-growing websites and need higher levels of performance, security, and scalability dedicated hosting could be a great fit.

Below you’ll learn what dedicated hosting is, how it works, why it’s beneficial, and the type of website owner who would greatly benefit from dedicated hosting.


Dedicated Hosting Defined

So, what exactly is dedicated hosting?

To keep things simple, dedicated hosting is when you have an entire server to yourself. When you compare dedicated IP and shared hosting, there are many differences that you should be aware of. With shared hosting, you’ll be sharing server resources with hundreds or maybe even thousands of other websites. With shared hosting the server is divided between multiple different users and accounts, each user is given a certain amount of bandwidth, storage, and other hosting features.

With dedicated hosting, you have the entire server to do whatever you want with it. So not only will you get access to greater levels of server resources, but you can optimize this server to your website’s unique requirements.

Dedicated hosting functions similar to other styles of hosting, where you’ll still be paying a monthly fee for access to the server. This form of hosting pack some serious power and will help you transcend the limitations of other styles of hosting. While there are some cheap dedicated server hosting plans available, most can be quite expensive, which is why you should look around and do your research before your selection.


How Dedicated Hosting Works

By now you have a little better understanding of what dedicated hosting is. Let’s dive a little deeper into how dedicated hosting works.

Dedicated hosting is a very powerful form of hosting that gives users complete control over the server hardware and software.

Essentially, you’ll be given a server that’s a blank slate. Like building your website from scratch, you can do the same with your server. Only adding elements that improve the functionality and performance of your site. Compare this to shared hosting where you have to fit your site’s requirements into a predefined box.

You’ll also be able to customize your server depending on the amount of RAM and overall storage you require, along with the type of CPU and operating system. This makes dedicated servers for gaming a great option. .

Dedicated servers are also commonly used by financial services and other companies who need to securely store and protect their data. For this reason, when you sign up for a dedicated host you get a greater level of onsite security as well.


Benefits of Dedicated Hosting

There are a number of dedicated hosting benefits for the right kind of website. If you’re considering upgrading your current level of hosting, you’ll want to know what it can do for you.

Dedicated hosting is typically the best fit for sites that receive a large volume of traffic, deal with sensitive user data, or have a unique software configuration.

Here’s a look at all the great things that dedicated hosting can bring your website:


1. Improved Website Performance

Dedicated servers not only provide you with a much-improved performance, but they also provide you with steady performance. This means that your site will have the same level of loading speeds, whether you’re receiving a viral amount of traffic or your typical amount of daily visitors. This consistency can be incredibly important, as one of the main reasons you’re probably migrating to a dedicated web host is due to the large volume of traffic your site receives.

In a dedicated hosting environment all of the server resources, including bandwidth, RAM, and CPU all exist to support your website. This helps to ensure an extremely high uptime (meaning your site will virtually never be offline). Also, since you’re not sharing the server environment with any other sites your site’s performance won’t be affected by any other sites who are being resource hogs.

Ensuring a high performing and steady connection is incredibly important for the site’s that value user experience or need to process payments, or store other sensitive personal or financial information. Everyday users are growing more concerned about privacy and data, especially in the online space. With dedicated hosting, your site can lead the charge in securing and protecting your visitor’s data.


2. Increased Flexibility and Optimization

With a dedicated IP server, you’ll be able to have superior flexibility and control over your website. Your first choice will be choosing between a Linux or Windows operating system. This choice will depend on the configuration that suits your website the best, however, most users will opt for a Linux server setup unless they’re running a piece of software that’s Windows-only.

With custom server setup you’ll be able to install whatever software your website requires to function, plus you’ll be able to allocate resources however you see fit. However, to get the most out of your server environment you’ll want a technical team that’s able to maintain and optimize your server environment for you. So, if you’re a non-technical website owner, you might need to think about bringing on technical staff.

If you don’t have the capacity to bring on team members for server maintenance, then you also have the option of choosing a managed dedicated server environment. With this, you get the same levels of performance and benefits. But instead of having to complete all the technical tasks yourself, you’ll be able to rely on the team of your hosting provider. They’ll be able to provide you with services like server maintenance, optimization, and more.


3. Greater Levels of Security

Dedicated hosting also offers you the added benefit of being incredibly secure. By only having a single website deployed across a server environment you’re already bolstering security. Compare this to shared hosting where you’re literally sharing a server with thousands of other sites.

Using dedicated hosting can give you greater peace of mind as you’ll avoid any security issues and vulnerabilities that are associated with neighboring sites sharing the same server.

You also have more control over what security measures you’re implementing both on your server, and across your website. You’ll be able to control and implement firewalls and anti-virus software that are more targeted towards your style of website.

If your site deals with sensitive user data, such as health or financial information, then you can greatly benefit from web hosting with a dedicated server environment. This also has the added benefit of helping your site remain compliant with any regulations that deal with the secure storage and transmission of data.


4. Rock Solid Reliability and Scalability

Has your site ever gone offline when one of your posts went viral? Or, how about during a big product sale?

If you’ve experienced this, then you know how frustrating it can be. You can’t afford your site to go offline when you need it the most. For a lot of sites any time your site is offline, it’s costing you money.

Dedicated hosting has a big advantage in that it can offer you stellar uptime. Now, 100% uptime is almost impossible to guarantee (maintenance has to be done sometime), but you’ll want as close to this number as possible.

With dedicated hosting, you have the advantage of never having to compete for server resources. This means you’ll always have the necessary server resources available when your site is experiencing increased levels of traffic.

Dedicated hosting also affords you the ability to scale your site. It’s not as instantly scalable as something like cloud hosting, but when you sign up for dedicated hosting you’ll have a built-in buffer to handle increased traffic. You can also expand your server resources in time as well, depending on the provider you choose.


Drawbacks of Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting isn’t perfect. Yes, you’ll have much-improved levels of performance, security, and reliability. But, you do have to deal with a higher monthly price point, and increased technical requirements.

Here’s an in-depth look at the main drawbacks of dedicated hosting:


1. Higher Monthly Cost

One of the biggest drawbacks of dedicated hosting costs is that it tends to be one of the more expensive hosting options available. Since you have an entire server to yourself you’ll have to pay for all of the associated costs. Compare this to shared hosting where you’ll split the cost of an entire server with hundreds of different users.

You also have the consider the added costs of hiring and paying your own technical staff to manage your server for you. This won’t always make sense for your business, but it’s an expense you might have to consider.

You always have the option of choosing managed dedicated hosting as well, so you’ll have your hosting provider’s technical staff to help you. But, this might come with an added cost as well.


2. Steeper Technical Requirements

If you’re planning on switching from shared hosting, all the way up to dedicated hosting, you’re going to have to deal with a steep learning curve. Depending on the provider you use, you might have to handle all of the server configuration, setup, and maintenance yourself. If you’re not familiar with the intricacies of running your own server, then you’ll need to hire out additional help.

If your website is big enough that you need to use a dedicated server, then it’s probably not the best use of your time to learn the technical requirements of running a server yourself.

However, some providers do offer a style of dedicated hosting plans, known as managed dedicated hosting. With this, you’re paying for a technical team provided by your hosting provider to help to server maintenance, setup, and optimization.


Does My Business Need Dedicated Hosting?

Dedicated hosting isn’t for every style of website. In fact, shared hosting will probably be a better fit for many websites out there. Unfortunately, most sites don’t grow to the level where dedicated hosting actually makes sense. For some sites cloud hosting or VPS hosting might even make more sense. It all depends on your unique needs as a site owner.

For starters, dedicated hosting is expensive, usually ranging into the hundreds of dollars per month. Although you can probably get by with a cheaper dedicated hosting plan. If your site doesn’t receive a large volume of traffic, or you’re building out your first site, then by all means, start with shared hosting.

If your site does receive a large volume of traffic, or it’s growing towards that trajectory, then you need dedicated hosting. Especially, if you’ve seen that your site’s performance has been dropping due to your current style of hosting. Dedicated hosting can easily support sites that get millions of visitors per month.

Also, your site might require a custom reserver setup or higher levels of security like a SSL. For example, maybe you have a massive eCommerce store that requires unique software and custom security functions. A dedicated hosting environment can easily support your unique setup.


Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, you have a better idea of what dedicated hosting actually is, how it differs from other forms of hosting, and how it can benefit your business.

Dedicated hosting isn’t for everyone. But, for sites with a lot of traffic, or very specific server requirements, using a dedicated web host can greatly improve your site.

With dedicated hosting plans, you’ll easily be able to support growing traffic levels while getting improved levels of reliability, security, scalability, and most of all control.

However, not all dedicated hosts are created equal. Keep an eye out for these features when choosing a dedicated hosting provider:

  • The servers run on the latest server hardware for high levels of performance and security.
  • The servers should have added onsite security policies in place.
  • Look for the ability to choose between unmanaged and managed dedicated hosting.
  • Should have at least a guaranteed 99.9% level of uptime.
  • Have a dedicated technical support team that responds to your requests quickly.

For further questions on our web hosting plans or if you’re getting started with building a website, please feel free to contact HostGator today.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.