Dedicated hosting services provide websites with a stable and secure home on the web. By leasing a dedicated server from a web hosting company, you are securing your website on an isolated server without neighboring sites or content. There are many reasons to choose dedicated web hosting over a shared hosting plan. Dedicated hosting allows for more control of your server’s hardware, software, and settings. Read ahead to find out more about the features and advantages of dedicated hosting services.
Dedicated vs. Shared Hosting
While many website owners are familiar with monthly-billed shared hosting plans, dedicated hosting services are less commonly used and may therefore prompt several questions. This is due in part to the generally increased cost of dedicated hosting, as compared to shared web hosting. Dedicated hosting, while often two or three times the price of shared hosting, has several advantages that make the extra cost well worth it in many circumstances. Unlike shared hosting, where your website sits next to dozens or more websites on a public server, with dedicated hosting you get your own private web server. This is usually a physical server located in a secure data center. With shared hosting, the other, random websites on your server can affect your site’s load times, downtime, and even search engine optimization. These issues won’t affect sites on their own dedicated servers.
Dedicated Hosting Hardware
With dedicated hosting services, you are often able to choose some of the hardware your website is hosted on. Options can vary across hosting companies, but you should generally expect to be able to choose from several tiered packages with detailed hardware and resource descriptions. Figure out what’s important to you hardware-wise and choose a dedicated host accordingly. For example, if you have a preference for Intel CPU’s over Xeon or other brands, make sure your host has Intel-based servers. You should also be able to find out what kind of RAM and hard drives are used by the host.
Dedicated Hosting Software
Having full control and access to software settings is one of the most popular reasons website owners choose dedicated hosting. With dedicated hosting, you will be able to install your own operating system on your remote server. This has advantages for users with platform-specific sites and applications. Dedicated hosting can also be beneficial for CMS and website software, such as for site and blog owners requiring WordPress hosting. With dedicated hosting you can simply bypass any restrictions placed on standard shared hosting users since your actions won’t affect other users. Check with your dedicated host to see if you will need to setup your server manually, or if there are sufficient default settings for your specific project. This is also where customer service considerations come into play, so go with a host with good customer service reviews.
Other Features of Dedicated Hosting
Other features you may want to look for in a dedicated hosting service are energy use and green policies, discounts for annual billing, and customer support ratings. Fans of green hosting should verify that any potential host has been certified through Green-e or another third-party verification system. Check your host’s membership plans to see if you can get a discount for leasing larger servers or paying for an entire year or two upfront. You can often save money this way, as monthly plans sometimes include pricing premiums. Don’t forget to check if your chosen hosting company offers any optimization or special incentives for specific applications, such as in the case of one-click WordPress hosting setup or free advertising credits. Many dedicated hosting companies run promotions to give away Google AdWords credits or monthly savings. Many hosts offer live support through an online chat or toll-free number, which makes for faster and more convenient service than the traditional email ticket systems used by most shared hosting companies.
If you have a large website or get a lot of traffic, dedicated hosting is pretty much a must-have. Other good reasons to go with dedicated hosting are if your site is newer and you plan on scaling it up soon, or think you may get random spikes of traffic due to viral content or links. Small websites with little growth or expected growth may be better off with shared hosting plans, as they cost usually less. Dedicated-hosting users, however, will always have the advantage when it comes to SEO, website speed, and control over the settings and resources they use. Don’t forget to factor in how many IP addresses you will need assigned to your server. Many dedicated hosts offer a standard 5-IP package, but larger sites may require more. After understanding the features of dedicated hosting services, and reviewing your expected hosting needs, you will be able to make an informed decision about the server you store your website on.