What Is a Dedicated Server and How to Pick One?

What Is a Dedicated Server and How to Pick One?

If you run an online business, then you must have dealt with choosing the right web hosting type at some point.

While there are many different types of web server hosting out there, the most commonly offered one is shared server hosting (i.e: servers you share with other websites/apps).

However, if your website (or SaaS) is growing and you’re getting a ton more traffic, you might want to upgrade to something more considerable in terms of speed, security and control.

And that’s where dedicated servers come in.

A dedicated server, as the name implies, is a type of server that gives you full access to the hardware you are paying for. You don’t get to share server resources with any other company.

Not sure what type of server is the right option for you? In this article, we’ll help you make that decision!

Read on to learn:

And more! So, let’s dive right in.

What Is a Dedicated Server?

A dedicated server, also known as a bare-metal server, is a physical server which is used to host the applications and services of a single hosting client.

This means that if you host your website on a dedicated server, your website will be able to utilize all the resources that the server has to offer. You won’ have to share the RAM, CPU, storage, or other server resources with other organizations.

Dedicated servers are the best type of servers for businesses that largely depend on their website or web application.

Using a dedicated server is acknowledged as one of the best performing hosting choices, as it offers:

  • The highest level of privacy. When you pick dedicated server hosting, you are the only user that has access to the server resources. That means there is no need to worry about your data being exposed to other users of the server. You can rest assured knowing your data is fully secured.
  • Increased level of site speed. Dedicated servers guarantee maximum uptime for your website during periods of high-volume traffic, due to its extra resources. Ever had your website or application slow down massively during peak network traffic times? With dedicated server hosting you wouldn’t need to worry about that anymore. Your server’s resources are completely dedicated to making your app or website run as smoothly as possible.
  • Security and control. Dedicated hosting eliminates many of the security issues that go along with shared hosting environments. You can be sure that you are not sharing space with a malicious website or a spammer. Additionally, dedicated servers include firewalls, network monitoring and strict access control. This could also contribute to a better user experience, which would further help enhance your brand’s reliability. This type of hosting is particularly important for companies that are handling sensitive transactions over SSL or FTP protocols.
  • Flexibility and full customization. You have the option to customize the server’s software and hardware to fit your needs. Want to run Windows instead of a Linux operating system? You have the freedom to choose. Need more CPU, RAM, or disk space? All you need to do is reach out to your dedicated server hosting provider, and they can easily upgrade your server’s resources.

What is a Dedicated Server?

Check out our full guide to dedicated server types to find the best one for your business!

Why Do You Need a Dedicated Server?

Wondering why you might need a dedicated server? Let’s check out the top 4 benefits:

#1. Better Website Performance

For most websites, shared hosting is usually good enough when getting started. However, if your website is growing and getting a lot of traffic, your website’s performance will start decreasing.

The more traffic and concurrent users your website gets, the slower it’s going to be. Sometimes, this can lead to a significant reduction in load speed, and in worse cases, your website can crash.

Dedicated servers, however, can handle significantly more traffic than shared hosting, and are perfect if you’re looking for an upgrade.

Want to read more? Here are 7 other reasons why you need dedicated hosting for your website!

#2. Enhanced Security

Shared hosting can expose your website or application to a ton of potential security threats.

DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks, untrusted neighbours (hackers who might share your hosting plan) and other malicious activities are only some of the security threats that you could face when using shared hosting.

On the other hand, with dedicated hosting you’re in full charge of your own security. You have the freedom to set up a security system according to your preferences.

And if you don’t have the technical knowledge to do that, you can opt for a managed dedicated server if your provider offers it. You can focus on your website, and the server provider will take care of the security system.

#3. Dedicated IP Address

One of the biggest issues with shared server hosting is that your files, website, database, or applications share the same IP address with other users of the server.

If a neighbor site (a site that’s sharing the same hosting with your site), for example, contains any spam or adult content, it could potentially get penalized by search engines. This could ultimately result in your website also getting penalized, simply because you share the same IP address.

A dedicated server, on the other hand, provides you with a dedicated IP address that will only be associated with your website. This reduces the risk of receiving search engine penalties due to harmful neighboring sites.

For example, if your website relies on SEO and organic traffic to generate leads and revenue, then you should definitely invest in a dedicated server.

#4. Easier to Scale

Dedicated servers allow you to fully customize your servers configurations and add more services and applications as your business is growing.

With dedicated server hosting, scaling your server’s performance is easy as 1-2-3. All you have to do is request a hardware upgrade. For example, if you need more RAM, you can simply just ask your hosting provider to make the upgrade to your dedicated server. It’s that easy!

Want more reasons to switch to a dedicated server? Check out our list of reasons why you need a dedicated server!

How Do Dedicated Servers Differ From Cloud Servers?

Dedicated servers and cloud servers are the two most popular options for hosting. It’s good to understand the key differences when choosing the most suitable server option for you.

  • A cloud server is a centralized server resource which is hosted and delivered over a network and can be accessed on demand by multiple users. Cloud servers can be located anywhere and deliver services remotely through a cloud computing environment.
  • Dedicated servers, on the other hand, are traditionally set up on premises for exclusive use by one organisation.

Cloud hosting requires a low initial investment, as you are only paying for what you are using. This also means you are sharing the computer power.

Since dedicated servers are used exclusively by you or your organization, there’s no cost sharing, making them a bit more expensive than cloud servers.

That said, single-tenant hosting (dedicated hosting) has a lot of advantages that make it a better choice, including better security, privacy, and performance.

Check out our guide to the differences between shared and dedicated servers to find out which type of web hosting is right for you!

Should You Rent or Buy a Dedicated Server?

There are 2 ways to set up dedicated server hosting: you can buy a dedicated server, or you can rent it.

Here’s how the two options differ:

What is a Dedicated Server?

How to Pick the Right Dedicated Server

If you’ve already decided that a dedicated server is the right choice for you, the next step is to pick the best option on the market. Here’s how you can do that:

First of all, define your unique performance requirements for the services your business will be offering. How many users do you expect to have and will your services be memory, CPU or disk intensive?

Defining these details will help you determine the right server you will need and the kind of hardware to use in it.

Second, an important criteria that you need to consider when choosing a dedicated server are the following hardware specifications:

  • Processor – do you need a powerful server or not?
  • Memory – do you need fast loading speed (SSD) or high storage capacity (HDD)?
  • Storage Compliance – does your website handle sensitive data, etc.
  • Bandwidth – how much data would need to be transferred?

Another important factor to consider is the potential downtime that you are willing to risk, which depends on the nature of your business.

Cost, technical support, backup services, and technology advancements are other aspects you should also have in mind before making the decision.

What Are Dedicated Servers Used For?

There are a ton of potential use-cases for dedicated servers, including:

#1. Website Hosting

Web hosting is the most common use of dedicated servers. Dedicated servers are great for websites because they guarantee quick loading time and reliable uptime, which leads to better user experience.

While shared hosting can suffice for most personal websites, once you start getting a significant amount of traffic every month (over 100,000 traffic per month), you’ll need to update to dedicated server hosting.

#2. Email Hosting

Email hosting is becoming an increasingly popular use for dedicated servers.

With dedicated email servers you can keep a close eye on the communication within the company, impose attachment limits, and also provide employees with their own company email address.

By using a dedicated server for email hosting, you also get a higher level of security, which is especially important when you are sharing confidential information.

#3. Gaming Servers

Dedicated Servers are commonly used to run video game servers. They are very useful for games that require to run smoothly and quickly, without lag, thus need more resources (for e.g. Minecraft). Another benefit of dedicated server is that you can control who has access to which games.

#4. SaaS Web App + Mobile App

SaaS web apps and mobile apps are generally hosted on dedicated servers.

When running a SaaS, providing optimal user experience is one of the most important tasks on the list. And you can’t provide the best user experience if your app starts lagging, slows down to a crawl, and becomes unusable.

That can easily happen if your web app or mobile app is hosted on shared server hosting. After all, your app will share the same processing power and bandwidth as the neighboring apps and websites that are also hosted on the same server.

A dedicated server on the other hand, can ensure that your web or mobile app will run smoothly even with large numbers of concurrent users.

#5. Data Backup & Redundancy Management

Dedicated servers are also commonly used for backing up important data.

There are many backup options available, such as RAID, off-site, application, R1Soft backups, etc. A good practice is to run automatic backups as often as possible and to keep the backup server close to the production environment.

#6. Testing Applications

Dedicated servers provide great performance, high reliability, and fast speed, all of which are key when it comes to testing applications.

They provide a high level of security and data protection, which is crucial during the development of any type of software.

#7. Hosting Custom Internal Apps

Many companies use dedicated servers to run their internal or in-house applications. These apps can vary depending on the industry the company is in, however some typical examples would be running a custom mail portal, or a custom-built CRM, and so on.

#8. Storing Sensitive Customer Data

Because dedicated servers provide enhanced security measures, they are often used by companies handling sensitive customer data to safely store and access that data whenever needed.

Beware: Some use cases will require having administrator permission, known as root access, to set them up. Read our guide to find out which use cases might require having root access to your dedicated server!

Is a Dedicated Server Worth It?

If you are looking to get the best server performance for your money, then getting a dedicated server is definitely worth it.

While dedicated servers are pricier than most other web hosting types, they will provide you with the best power for money ratio. This means a dedicated server is worth it if you expect your website or application to get large amounts of traffic.

How Much Does a Dedicated Server Cost?

A dedicated server for a small business can cost anything between $100-$200 per month. Dedicated server prices will vary depending on the hardware requirements your business has.

For example, if you need more CPU or RAM, all you have to do is notify your hosting provider and pay for the extra resources.

The main things that can increase the cost of your dedicated server are RAM, CPU, HDD, or SSD upgrades. And if you decide to go for a managed dedicated hosting plan, you’ll also have to pay a monthly fee for maintenance and updates.

Key Takeaways

And that just about covers all you need to know about dedicated servers. Now, let’s do a quick recap:

  • A dedicated server is a physical server which is used to host the applications and services of a single hosting client.
  • A dedicated server comes with a ton of benefits, including better security, privacy, and options for customization.
  • Dedicated servers are used in many different cases, such as email hosting, Forex trading, Data backup, testing applications and gaming servers. They provide a high level of security and a wide variety of customization options.
  • Dedicated servers give you the power to scale your systems as you grow your business, to manage your systems and data as you want, and to offer complex online services.
  • When picking a dedicated server, important factors to consider are the hardware specifications (such as processor, memory, storage and bandwidth), the software specifications, the downtime that you are willing to risk and other potential costs.