Hosting may have once been a distant, technical concern, but these days it’s central to operations. Businesses have demands for web resources that are much higher and shared hosting may not make the grade.
Going it alone on a server is the natural progression, but could this bring with it too many responsibilities?
We decided to take a closer look at this particular type of hosting to find out exactly what it involves for the user, and if it’s best suited to your business and web projects.
Everything You Need to Know About Dedicated Server Hosting
What is dedicated hosting?
With most types of hosting, you will be sharing either one server or a network of servers. But this is not the case with dedicated server hosting, as each user has a whole server to themself. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
So what does this mean if you are the owner of dedicated hosting? Quite simply, you will have complete control of their hosting in terms of setup, configuration, and management. It includes root access, which is a direct way into the hardware with privileged control. You will be able to manage the operating system and software.
This is great news when it comes to security, as you can take complete control of your setup and implement the solutions that meet the security requirements of your operation. Added to this is the fact that being completely isolated on your own server means that you can take full control of your security.
But with the extra freedom and control, dedicated server hosting inevitably brings greater responsibility. Of course, you will need the technical expertise to configure and manage your server, as well as the ability to select, install, and manage the most appropriate security solutions. For small and medium-sized businesses, these are typically services that are provided through external consultation.
When do you need dedicated hosting?
Naturally, anyone that requires hosting services could appreciate the benefits of a dedicated server. But for which organizations and requirements are they typically the most suitable?
- High traffic websites: If you need higher speed and reliable uptime, you will benefit from having a more powerful server to yourself, higher management capabilities, as well as increased CPU, RAM, and disk usage capacity. This could be the case if you are running an e-commerce platform. This could also be suitable for resource-intensive web applications that need to run, install, and use the software, OS, and CMS of their choice.
- Streaming: As streaming is more demanding for resources like bandwidth, memory, and storage, you will likely find a dedicated server with high disk capabilities to be the best choice for streaming content.
- Security: Dedicated servers are better suited to those with a requirement for configuring security, as well as higher resources. This calls for the technical ability to do this, and it could apply to medium to large companies that manage high amounts of data.
- Database servers: Companies that host their own databases with a high volume of incoming/outgoing requests, which may be used for BI, or as part of CRM or ERP software. This has the effect of lifting the load from the server where the website and application files are stored.
- Remote working environments: Organizations with employees working remotely will find the use of a dedicated server will be beneficial for storage and backups. It may also be necessary to store knowledgebase and server-based tools for task management and distributed file storage.
- Backup management: For every working environment or web-based project, dedicated servers provide the optimal backup service for improved security, disaster recovery, and business continuity.
- Gaming hosting: It is a great idea to have a dedicated server in this sector, and gaming platforms have the option to host games that are distributed from the server or as web applications. It is also possible to organize online gaming environments for a multi-player experience. If you are in the gaming industry then it’s probably best to get a dedicated server that will offer more in terms of processing power, storage, and memory.
- Sandbox and training/testing applications: For those that need isolation in the sandbox environments for testing new features without impacting real customers. This may involve load testing and stress testing to determine whether the website is up to scratch.
- Other increased demands: These may include telecommunication services such as private VOIP or those with high backup requirements.
Factors to consider when purchasing a dedicated server
There are a number of things that may affect whether you choose Dedicated Hosting, or which provider or plan you go for. These include the following.
The choice of buying a dedicated hosting server may be driven by the number of visitors you expect to receive, and how much this may vary over time. It is more commonly the best option for mid-size enterprises, websites with intensive marketing activities, businesses with large product catalogs, streaming platforms with large audiences, gaming platforms, and hosting resellers.
The advantages of dedicated servers are applicable to businesses with a range of audiences, with the common factor that avoiding disruptions during presentations or business-critical events is of paramount importance.
Dedicated Hosting users have the option of taking on all management tasks by themselves, which may include migration, configurations, storage, and security. These tasks will be much greater than those found with shared hosting, due to the complex nature of the full configuration of dedicated servers. If you have an internal system administrator these extra management tasks will be easier to handle.
There is always the option of outsourcing this extra workload to a specialist. Alternatively, certain hosting providers offer management plans with different levels of services provided, so users can choose the level that suits their specific needs and technical ability.
When you choose a hosting provider, you need one that is responsive to your needs and values you as a customer. This means keeping the dialogue open at all times and not just when you’re about to make a payment.
You should be aware of everything included in your support, the type of support, the hours covered, and any additional expenses that may be incurred. If you run into difficulties when making the migration, or at any point down the line, hours could be wasted at critical times if your hosting provider doesn’t deliver on customer support.
As the costs are higher for dedicated hosting, it’s a good idea to pay extra attention to exactly what customer support includes.
Generally speaking, dedicated hosting comes at a higher cost but with increased predictability in costs. Dedicated hosting providers offer a range of different tiered pricing options, with the inclusion of various services. Some providers will offer a greater range of pricing options and more flexibility in terms of the resources made available to users.
It’s important to thoroughly research each dedicated server to understand what is included in the deal in terms of technical specifications, like CPU, RAM, storage, and backup. You may also need to consider licenses, control panel, firewall, and how easy it will be to upgrade when this is necessary.
Not all dedicated hosting providers will offer the chance to choose the location of the server used for hosting. However, this can make a considerable difference for businesses with audiences in different regions, such as Europe and Africa, or North America. When your server is closer to your audiences then latency is lower and you will enjoy a faster internet service.
Types of Dedicated Servers
Cheap Dedicated Servers
Dedicated servers have been around forever in the hosting world. In the beginning, there was shared web hosting, dedicated servers and then virtual private servers (VPS). Dedicated servers were born out of that era where the first basic websites were created, and webmasters built their traffic to levels where shared hosting was no longer an option. Cheap dedicated servers were the answer to performance issues that webmasters faced with shared computational, storage and networking resources found in shared hosting services.
Today, cheap dedicated servers are a great option for individuals, startups, developers and small to medium-sized businesses that need greater reliability and performance than that offered by shared website hosting providers. You can purchase a cheap dedicated server for as low as $49 per month. Some dedicated server providers offer low monthly prices like the example mentioned above on either a month-to-month or annual basis.
You can purchase cheap dedicated servers at most hosting company websites like GoDaddy, HostGator, SiteGround, Bluehost and IONOS. What kind of specs does a cheap dedicated server have? Here’s a typical build for an entry-level, cheap dedicated server from Bluehost for $79 per month:
- 4 cores @ 2.3 GHz
- 500GB (Mirrored) Storage
- 4 GB RAM
- 5 TB Bandwidth
- 3 IP Addresses
Standard Dedicated Server
A standard dedicated server offers a slightly high-quality build and more performance than a cheap dedicated server. Standard dedicated servers are best suited for startups and small to medium-sized businesses that have either outgrown their shared hosting environment or anticipate the need for greater performance and dedicated resources when they launch their website or application.
You can find standard dedicated servers at a business-class data center and cloud companies like Rackspace, PhoenixNAP, Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft, INAP, ZenLayer and more. You can expect to pay anywhere from $89 to $109 per month for dedicated servers in this category. The difference for these types of servers is in the underlying hardware, data center facility, networking infrastructure and support. Dedicated server providers in this category typically offer their hosting services Tier III data center facility. Tier III data centers offer N+1 redundancy for critical infrastructure such as power feeds, cooling systems, network paths, uninterruptable power supply (UPS) and backup diesel generators. This amounts to 99.982% with only 1.6 hours of interruption a year.
What are the specs on a standard dedicated server?
- 64 GB ECC DDR4 RAM
- 1 TB NVMe (PCIe SSD) Hard Drive
- 15 TB Transfer (1 Gbps Uplink)
- /29 IP Allocation (5 Usable IPs)
- CentOS 7.x 64 Bit Operating Systems or Other
Standard dedicated servers are usually configurable to your requirements. You can often increase the RAM and hard drive, bandwidth allocation and operating system. You can also add additional hard drives and operations like RAID. In addition, many dedicated hosting providers offer managed or unmanaged options, migration services and more to support your account.
As a quick sidenote, standard dedicated servers are typically the last version. This varies based on the dedicated server provider, but it is definitely something to consider.
Enterprise Dedicated Server
Enterprise dedicated servers are great for all businesses from small and medium-sized businesses to large global enterprises. These servers are business-class and feature similar hardware to what an IT department would purchase for their databases and applications. They are also typically the latest versions for top manufacturers like Dell EMC, HPE, Cisco, SuperMicro, Lenovo and others.
Enterprise dedicated servers are built for maximum reliability, availability and performance. They are also very customizable in terms of CPU, RAM, RAID and SDD/HDD. Depending on the provider, you may also have numerous options for connectivity including blended or dedicated internet access (DIA), IP addresses, cloud direct connects, firewalls and more. Instead of a monthly transfer rate, you may be charged by the internet circuit whether 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, 500 Mbps or 1 Gbps.
What are the specs for an enterprise dedicated server? Here’s an example of what you may see in a basic or entry-level, enterprise dedicated server:
- Intel® Xeon® Silver 4214
- 3.2GHz Turbo
- 24C / 48T
- Up to 1 TB RAM
- Up to 50 TB Hard Drive
- LSI MegaRAID 9271-8i with 1GB CacheVault Flash Cache
- Up to 25 TB Data Transfer or Dedicated Internet
- 15 IP Addresses
- Remote KVM
- cPanel + WHM
You can expect to pay anywhere from $399 to $899 per month for an enterprise dedicated server. However, this figure can go up based on your customizations.
Enterprise dedicated servers are perfect for applications, databases, analytics processing and more. You can also get bare metal servers which are built for virtualization and private cloud deployments. These are closely related to enterprise dedicated servers.
High-Performance Dedicated Servers
Why buy expensive hardware for high performance computing (HPC) when you can lease and run a dedicated server as needed? High performance dedicated servers are perfect for scientific computation and big data analytics. This category of dedicated servers includes everything from GPU dedicated servers to standard high performance servers.
High performance dedicated servers are built for artificial intelligence (Ai) and machine learning (ML). This category of dedicated server hosting includes specially configured GPU hardware from top manufacturers like NVIDIA and AMD. If you were to purchase GPUs directly, it could cost several thousand dollars for each GPU or well over $100,000 dollars for the top of line GPU. Universities and Government Agencies turn to GPUs for help with processing and analyzing data for research projects – ranging from curing cancer to landing on Mars.
What are the specs for a high performance GPU dedicated server? Here’s an example of a common configuration:
- Xeon Scalable: 2 x 2.2GHz 10-Core 4210 Xeon Silver
- NVIDIA: 1 x Nvidia Quadro P5000
- DDR4: 64 GB
- SSD: 960GB SSD
- 100 TB Monthly Transfer (1 Gbps Port)
- 10GB of Cloud Storage
The cost for the above GPU, high performance server is $809 per month. You can expect to pay anywhere between $199 per month for a basic, entry-level GPU server to $100,000 per month for a huge, custom build.
Dedicated servers host websites without sharing resources, making it ideal for large businesses. They can handle large traffic volumes without experiencing downtime and are also less vulnerable to security risks.
In addition, dedicated servers are much faster, and you can customize them to fit your needs, including running a custom operating system (OS).
You can choose between dedicated server offers that put maintenance responsibilities on your shoulders and managed options. The latter lets you outsource server management at a fee to your hosting providers.