Dedicated Server Overview
Designed for: well-funded, established businesses/projects
Difficulty of Management: moderate to advanced
Using a dedicated server for web hosting involves renting your own physical server inside of a web hosting provider’s datacenter. The server is “dedicated” to whatever hosting needs you decide to do with it, meaning that you have a lot of flexibility with the server configuration. The amount of flexibility varies depending upon how much involvement you want to have with the management of the dedicated server.
Dedicated web servers cost more than the other popular alternatives for web hosting, including shared web hosting and VPS web hosting, typically ranging from just over $50 per month on the budget side to well over $100 per month for dedicated servers with higher performance. The additional cost for a dedicated server over shared and VPS hosting pays for higher performance and significantly more configuration and control options that exist for dedicated servers. On a dedicated server, you can install and configure resources and applications for security, performance, and to add features that you simply cannot with most other types of web hosting.
The added cost and flexibility associated with dedicated web server accounts make it apparent that dedicated web servers are used less by small, budget-restricted individuals and organizations and more by well-funded, established businesses that require reliable performance for their business needs. In many scenarios, the management of a dedicated server requires someone with technical expertise to handle. Hiring an IT person to take care of critical hosting management activities that are usually managed by the hosting staff for shared and VPS types of hosting is expensive.
Many web hosts allow dedicated server account owners to control everything about how their server is set up, including even the operating system (normally some version of Linux, but Windows can be installed on a bare bones dedicated server) as well as security and performance features.
Managed Versus Unmanaged Dedicated Servers
Managing a dedicated server can be a challenge for companies who need the power, resources, and flexibility that the dedicated server environment offers, but who don’t want to spend time and money setting up and configuring the server, managing security updates, network issues, and the other hosting maintenance issues that are involved with having your very own server in a data center. For that reason, most hosts that provide dedicated server plans also offer the option of having them manage those intricate details. This option is called managed dedicated server hosting, referring to the fact that the hosting provider handles server level issues, including installing and setting up the web server program and other supporting features. With a managed dedicated server, you’ll pay extra (usually $20 to $50 per month – built into the hosting plan pricing and depending upon the provider and the server management needs) for the support that goes along with the server.
I’ve been able to make good use of these managed dedicated servers for the ecommerce stores I operate. In general, they each need the advanced storage and memory that comes with a dedicated server, and they get enough traffic that it downtime or slow performance could cost me thousands of dollars per month. On the other hand, I don’t have a budget for hiring an IT person specifically to manage the hosting details. It’s much more efficient for me to pay extra for my managed dedicated servers than to hire someone to do those same tasks on behalf of my companies.
For those businesses who have an IT team or for those who have extensive experience with networking and managing web hosts, it can make more sense to go with an unmanaged dedicated server plan. In this scenario, you’re simply renting access to a server and network in your host’s data center, and you do everything from installing and configuring your preferred operating system on the server to tweaking network and security settings to installing and configuring applications that offer features you want to publish on the web, including things like websites, content delivery networks, and mobile apps.
Unmanaged dedicated servers cost less, but that type of setup is much less commonly used than managed dedicated servers, since it’s much more efficient for most companies to allow the web host to manage the hosting details for them.
Dedicated Server Web Hosting Providers
Most of the popular web hosting companies provide dedicated server web hosting options in addition to shared and VPS hosting, including the following.
GoDaddy$ 129.99 per month
- Intel Xeon-D
- 4C/8T – 3.0 GHz Turbo
- 32 GB DDR4 RAM
- 2 x 4 TB HDD Storage (RAID-1)
LiquidWeb$ 129.00 per month
- Intel Xeon 1271 v3
- 4 cores @ 3.6 GHz
- 16 GB RAM
- 2 x 250 GB SSD Primary Storage (RAID 1)
- 1 x 1 TB SATA Backup Storage
- 5 TB Bandwidth
- Includes cPanel Premier 100 (100 accounts)
- 250 GB Acronis Cyber Backups
1&1 Ionos$65.00 per Month
- Intel Atom C2750
- 8 Cores x 2.5 GHz
- 8 GB RAM
- 240 GB Intel SSD Storage
Bluehost$ 79.99 per Month
- CPU 4 Cores x 2.3 GHz, 4 Threads, 3 MB Cache
- 4 GB RAM
- 2 x 500 GB RAID Level 1 Storage
- 5 TB Network Bandwidth
- 3 Dedicated IP Addresses