There are billions of websites on the Internet, each of them unique in its own way. With such diversity in the type of website, it should come as no surprise that there are also many different options when it comes to the type of web hosting needed to run them all. Finding the best type of web hosting for your specific situation can be a challenge. Learning about the different types of hosting will help you to make the best decision for your business.
In this article, you will learn more about what dedicated web hosting, or dedicated server hosting, is. Some of the topics you will learn about include:
- Comparing dedicated hosting to other types
- Situations where dedicated hosting makes sense
- Costs associated with dedicated hosting
What Exactly Is Dedicated Hosting?
Dedicated hosting occurs when a web hosting company uses one or more physical servers exclusively for one client. In most cases, this means that one large website is housed on one physical server. For extremely popular sites or those that need higher levels of stability, it could mean that multiple physical servers are all used exclusively for one website.
When multiple servers are used, they can be configured in multiple different ways based on the desires of the website owner. The most popular options include:
- Spreading site across servers: Having one copy of the website spread out over multiple servers is essentially creating one large virtual environment. This gives the website a greater total amount of system resources to serve the site to visitors.
- Having site fully on multiple servers in one location: Having a website copied onto multiple physical servers is ideal for redundancy. In this situation, the traffic to the site can either be load balanced on each server or go to one exclusively and use the other only as a backup in the event that the primary server goes down.
- Having site fully on multiple servers in multiple locations: If you have site visitors from many geographic locations or want additional redundancy, having full copies of the site in multiple physical locations makes sense. This can help to keep your site operational at all times.
What Is the Difference Between Dedicated Hosting and Other Types of Hosting?
Understanding the difference between dedicated hosting and the various other options that are available is relatively simple. While dedicated servers have access to all of the system resources of the entire server ― or multiple servers ― that is not the case with other hosting options. The other common hosting options, and some basic differences, are as follows:
- Shared hosting: Shared hosting is when one physical server is used for websites from many different people or businesses. All of the sites on the server share the system resources of the entire server. One powerful server can be used to host dozens, or even hundreds, of smaller sites. Shared hosting is ideal for smaller sites that don’t get a huge amount of traffic.
- Virtual private servers (VPSs): VPSs are when one physical server is split up between multiple customer sites. Unlike shared hosting, however, each customer on the server is given exclusive access to a set amount of the system resources at all times. This helps to prevent a heavy load on one website from impacting the others on the server. Virtual private servers are typically for midsized websites.
- Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting is where multiple physical servers are logically combined to form one virtual environment. Multiple customer websites are then added to that environment. Cloud hosting can either have all the sites share the cloud resources ― cloud shared hosting ― or have exclusive access to a set amount of it ― cloud VPS hosting.
As you can see, the biggest difference between dedicated hosting and any other type is that with dedicated hosting one customer gets exclusive access to the server or servers.
When Should You Use Dedicated Hosting?
Dedicated hosting solutions are an ideal option in some cases, although certainly not all. If you’re running a website that gets a high number of visitors on a consistent basis ― meaning thousands of visitors at a time ― dedicated hosting may be a good option. This is because having a strong server entirely dedicated to your website helps ensure visitors to the page get a fast response every time.
Another situation when using a dedicated hosting package is a good idea is when you’re running a large number of smaller sites. For example, if your company operates dozens of different websites, having a dedicated server ensures that they are all operating smoothly at all times. You also have full control over things like the operating system, database, and other details of the server so that you can always be sure they’re running the way you want them.
Beyond these situations, however, you typically want to choose another hosting solution that is less expensive and easier to use. In general, only those with plenty of experience managing websites want to consider dedicated hosting. Of course, if you’re in a situation where you need this level of service, no other option will provide you with the resources, stability, and other benefits of a dedicated server.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dedicated Web Hosting
Whenever making decisions about web hosting, it can be helpful to make a list of advantages and disadvantages of a given option.
Advantages of Dedicated Web Hosting
- Full control of the server: Dedicated servers allow you to control everything about the device. This means you can choose any operating system, content management system, database type, and much more. You can also decide if and when to perform upgrades or other changes, which give you better control of uptime.
- Ability to customize your server: When signing up for a dedicated server, the hosting company typically lets you choose from several different server makes and models. This allows you to get the exact configuration you’re seeking. Some hosting companies even let you order a custom-built server that will be housed in their data center.
- Most powerful option: As you would expect when you can use all of the system resources of a server, your website or websites can handle huge amounts of traffic without a problem on a dedicated server.
Disadvantages of Dedicated Server Hosting
- Expensive: This is going to be the most expensive option available.
- You are responsible: Unless you also pay for management services, you’re responsible for things like updates and configuration settings. This means you need to have a good understanding of how web hosting hardware and software works to avoid any problems.
- Commitment: Some web hosting companies require you to commit to a set amount of time that you have the server. Since the hosting company has to buy the server up front, they often don’t allow you to cancel ― without a penalty ― right away.
What Is the Cost of Dedicated Hosting Compared to Other Types of Hosting?
The price of dedicated hosting largely depends on the system specs of the server that you need. In general, dedicated servers will start around $100 per month and go up from there. The price can change dramatically, however, based on many different factors related to the server itself as well as any other services that you need from the hosting company.
When you compare this to shared hosting, which typically starts at less than $10 per month, it’s easy to see that dedicated hosting is expensive. You can even get VPS hosting solutions for between $10 and $20 in most cases, although higher-end options can be more costly.
The bottom line with dedicated hosting is that it’s easily the most expensive option and should only be chosen if it is something your site or sites need.
How to Choose a Dedicated Hosting Provider
If you decide that dedicated hosting is what you need, you want to choose the best hosting provider possible. At Digital.com, we regularly analyze all the different hosting providers to see which ones are providing customers the best services at the best prices. You can read our list of the best dedicated web hosting companies, which offers recommendations on the ones that are currently providing the best levels of service.