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Do I Need A Dedicated Server?


Of all the hosting options available at HostGator, the Dedicated Server offers the most control, freedom, and possibilities. If Shared hosting is like living at home with family, and a VPS is like getting your apartment, then a Dedicated server is like buying a house. You get a lot more space to yourself and more freedom to do what you want with it, but you also get to take on more responsibilities of caring for and maintaining it.

This article will discuss the following topics.

Top Tier Hosting
Shared Hosting vs. VPS vs. Dedicated Servers

Shared hosting offers an excellent way for anyone, be it beginners or professionals, to get started with online hosting. It offers unmetered resources and the ability to start small and grow your online presence without worrying about maintaining and managing a server.

Having a VPS allows you more freedom and control than Shared hosting. You no longer share resources such as RAM, processing power(also known as CPUs), or storage space. You also get root access to the server to have administrator access. You can create multiple cPanels, control how bandwidth, CPU, and disk space are allocated among them, and can perform cPanel restores without waiting on our support to do it for you.

Then, upgrading to a Dedicated server is like buying a home in the sense that it is the most costly option and hands over most of the maintenance. However, it also allows you the most freedom because the entire physical server is yours to configure as you wish. A Dedicated server comes with a lot more in the way of resources and possibilities than any of our other hosting packages. You can do things that you are limited in or even restricted from doing on any of our other hosting plans, like setting up a gaming server, streaming media, using it for a storage server, and more. Each option has its pros and challenges. This article will delve into what a Dedicated Server has to offer, the many ways you can use one, and if it is the right fit for you.

Dedicated Hosting Specs

Our Dedicated hosting plans are often utilized by businesses that have grown to the point of needing their server. Due to customers' differing needs, we offer you many hosting options that meet your unique needs.

Managed or Semi-Managed

When you purchase a VPS, or Dedicated server, one of the first choices you have to make is if you want it to be fully managed or semi-managed. 

Fully Managed means you decide to use either the cPanel/WHM or Plesk control panel, and our support staff will continue to assist with almost any issue outside of custom software or script installations.

If you choose not to use one of our control panels, you will have a semi-managed server. This means that our support team is still here for you but will be limited on what they can assist.

Choice of Operating System

We offer both Linux and Windows Dedicated servers at HostGator.

If you're upgrading from another hosting with us where you use cPanel, you'll most likely choose to go with a Linux Dedicated Server.

While most of our customers choose to go with Linux, we also offer Windows Dedicated Servers. This allows you to run custom applications that require that unique environment.

Control Panel

Regardless of which control panel you choose, you will have many of the same options for managing your server; they differ in how and where tasks are performed.

On Linux servers, you will perform your administrative tasks for the server in WHM. Managing a specific website or email account would happen within the cPanel for that domain.

On the other hand, Windows servers utilize Plesk for all server and website administration tasks. You can only have one user per cPanel, but in Plesk, you can create multiple users and define what they have access to depending on their assigned role.

Dedicated Server Hardware

Just like all of our other hosting options, we offer multiple tiers of Dedicated Servers so that you can choose the best one for your needs.

CPU2 core / 8 thread
Intel Xeon-D CPU
8 core / 16 thread
Intel Xeon-D CPU
8 core / 16 thread
Intel Xeon-D CPU
Storage1 TB HDD2 TB HDD or 512 GB SSD1 TB SSD
Unmetered Bandwidth
3 Dedicated IPv4 IPs
Root Access
cPanel/WHM or PleskOptionalOptionalOptional
Multiple bandwidth providers
AboveNet, AT&T, Comcast, Global Crossing, Level (3), NTT
Free content transfers
Maximum outgoing emailsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited

How to Use a Dedicated Server

So, when would you get a Dedicated Server? Well, there are many uses for them, and we want to help you understand when it may be time to make that commitment. Unlike our other hosting options, Dedicated Servers are not eligible for our 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee. You want to be sure that you need one before purchasing one.

Website Hosting

The first use for a Dedicated Server that comes to mind is hosting a website. However, if you're starting, it needs to be said that a Dedicated Server would be overkill. However, suppose you have a website, or several, with high traffic that processes a large number of transactions and has repeatedly hit the limits on Shared or VPS hosting. In that case, it may be time to make this move.

If you've been suspended on Shared hosting for utilizing too many resources, the first suggestion is to optimize your site. If you've done that and are still having issues hitting your plan's limits, then moving to a Dedicated Server may be the solution for you.

Additional Resources:

Email Server

A VPS or Dedicated server can be utilized as an email server without the shared hosting limits. If you send a large number of emails because you have a growing business with many users or run extensive marketing campaigns, then either option could work.

Remember that we have a Dedicated Mail Policy and guidelines set out by the United States government to which you have to comply. We recommend starting with a VPS unless you know you need more resources than are available on one.

Gaming Server

When setting up a gaming server, we recommend either the Snappy 8000 VPS or a Dedicated Server. It all comes down to the resources needed to run your game and the anticipated number of users. The Snappy 8000 VPS offers 8 GB of RAM and 4 Cores; if you need more than that or an SSD, then you'll need a Dedicated Server.

Having your game server often gives you the ability to customize the game to your specifications and allow or ban players at your discretion. It provides you with the resources to have a lag-free experience. Many sites, like Steam, provide information on the games that you can set up a Dedicated Server for and the resources required.

Additional Resources:

Your Own Hosting Business

While you can host multiple sites on most of our hosting options, if you have an established clientele and are hosting enough sites that you've outgrown a Reseller plan, then a Dedicated Server will provide you with the ability to do just that. All of our Reseller and Linux Dedicated Servers come with a free Starter WHMCS license that allows you to have up to 250 active clients at a time.

While you can purchase a WHMCS license for a VPS, it is not preferred due to limited resources. It is, however, a great way to get some hands-on experience with WHM and WHMCS before committing to purchasing a Dedicated Server.

With WHMCS, you can offer your clients not only the full web host experience but also automated recurring billing, automated account creation, service ticket creating, and much more. WHMCS also offers additional addons that you can purchase from them for extra features. These include managing your business from a mobile device, automating SSL purchases, and managing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work of your hosting company.

Making The Decision To Purchase a Dedicated Server

Just like purchasing a house, when you're considering obtaining a Dedicated Server, you should take the time to research your available options and compare them to what your needs are. The purchase means you'll have more space and control, but that comes with taking on more responsibility as well.

Server Maintenance

Owning a home means there isn't a maintenance person to fix things when they break or to perform routine maintenance as you would have with an apartment. 

In this analogy, you can think of a Fully Managed Dedicated Server as a house with an HOA, so some basic management and updating of the server software are handled for you. If you choose a Semi-Managed Dedicated Server, then there is no HOA. All of the maintenance is up to you or your server administrator.

Backups & Restores

We don't maintain backups of our Dedicated servers. Since you have full control of your server, you can set up backups in WHM, and then each cPanel user can also set up backups of their accounts. And since you have root access to the server, you can perform restores without reaching out to support and submitting a ticket, which allows you to get back up and running sooner.


  • Root Access
  • No email limits
  • Ability to install custom, third-party programs and scripts
  • Dedicated Hardware, Resources, and Bandwidth
  • Ability to reboot the server and restart services
  • Ability to perform your backups and restores


  • Requires more advanced knowledge, such as Linux management, or a server administrator
  • You're responsible for backups
  • No Refunds

So, if you determine that a Dedicated Server is right for you, remember that you qualify for free site migrations within 30 days of purchasing the plan. So moving from your Shared or VPS package to a Dedicated server can be done with ease and little to no downtime.

Hopefully, this guide was helpful and answered all of your questions. If you need additional assistance, HostGator's Support is here to help. Please contact us via phone or Live Chat so we can assist!