“Dedicated” is a word that’s music to the ears of executives and business owners. They love dedicated employees, they are pleased when vendors assign them a dedicated sales representative, and they’re always looking for designers or contractors who will create dedicated solutions for their company’s needs.
A dedicated server is the perfect web hosting alternative for these executives. It’s a completely configurable computer devoted to one client, and it’s often the least expensive method for large businesses to maintain a strong, continuous Internet presence.
To understand what a dedicated server is, it’s important to first understand the different hosting choices available to a company.
A web host, of course, is responsible for storing the information needed to display an online site and the Internet connections that make the site available online. When a company has a small website which doesn’t receive lots of traffic and isn’t resource-intensive, hosting can be handled on just a small segment of a computer known as a server (because it “serves” websites to visitors).
There are two options when using just a portion of a server. A shared hosting account means that the client shares space on the server with many other unrelated clients and websites, while a VPS (virtual private server) gives a client a much larger percentage of that server’s storage and resources. In either case, though, the client’s websites are at the mercy of every client on the machine. For example, if another website on the server receives a huge influx of traffic that uses up a disproportionate amount of resources, the performance of every other site on the server will be drastically affected.
Once a client has outgrown shared or VPS hosting, the time has come for an upgrade. The traditional move is to a dedicated server, which as its name implies, dedicates all of a computer’s resources to the needs and websites of a single client. The client’s websites are the only ones on the server, no other clients have access to the “box” and the client has full control over its configuration and usage.
The amount of resources like memory, storage and bandwidth that are available with a dedicated server can be increased as needed (for an extra fee, of course), and there are no limits to the number of dedicated servers a client can own or rent. As a company’s computing and online needs grow, more servers can easily be added into the mix.
Dedicated servers are usually housed at a facility run by a hosting company, although they can be placed in a company’s data center (or anywhere else with a reliable Internet connection). Some companies purchase their own servers, house them at a server farm and have their in-house IT staff or an outsourced service manage them (this is called co-location), but the majority of clients prefer to rent dedicated servers from a hosting company for a monthly fee. Many dedicated hosting services include server administration and management services as part of their monthly package, while others charge extra for those services.
A dedicated server allows the client complete flexibility in setting up and running their box, from selecting the operating system to choosing the applications which are to be deployed. It provides more security, since no other clients will have access to the server, stronger firewalls can be installed and extra preventative measures can be taken. It’s easily scalable, since more resources or another server can be added to handle increase loads.
And quite frankly, dedicated server clients are likely to receive priority attention from technicians or support personnel, since they’re spending more money and are more “professional” clients than the mom-and-pop operations which use shared hosting accounts.
Dedicated server prices vary widely depending on the resources which are part of the overall package. However, they are normally less expensive than that of the primary “competition,” cloud servers. That’s because dedicated resources are paid for on a monthly basis while cloud resources are charged on an “as needed” basis, and those costs can add up rapidly.