What is Dedicated Hosting?
You may have heard about dedicated web hosting - but what does it really mean? If you’re not an IT professional, it may sound like more tech jargon. Let’s break it down in business terms to give you an idea of what it’s all about.
Every website needs a server in order to run. Your server provides processing power and storage (RAM) that your site needs in order to send and receive information on the internet. Still, if you’ve ever tried to source a server for your office network, you’ll know this: they don’t come cheap.
To lighten the financial burden of owning and managing a server, web hosting companies offer shared hosting packages to their clients. While these can be beneficial when a site is very new, they don’t really offer the type of storage, processing power and privacy that you’ll get with cheap dedicated server hosting.
While shared hosting is like using a rideshare app, dedicated hosting is more like leasing a vehicle. You get exclusive use of the server’s storage and processing power and a dedicated IP address - without having to pay for the hardware upfront and maintain it yourself.
Advantages & Disadvantages
You may have heard of dedicated game servers, which are favored by serious gamers for their speed and privacy. A dedicated website server offers similar benefits, except it’s your site that will be fast and responsive instead of your favorite game.
There are many advantages that accompany a dedicated server solution, and one or two drawbacks as well. Let’s examine the pros and cons of using a dedicated server closer to guide you towards determining the best dedicated server hosting company to suit your budget.
A managed dedicated server takes all the hassle out of running a server, leaving you with all the benefits. These include fast loading times, a dedicated IP address that gives you full control over your site, and enhanced Ecommerce functionality.
One of the biggest advantages of using a dedicated server is that you won’t be sharing its resources with anyone. Unlike shared servers which require you to split the server’s storage and processing power with other subscribers, a dedicated server’s resources are 100% yours.
Cheap dedicated server hosting has changed the e-commerce field game in recent years, and one of the big reasons for this is SSL. SSL (short for Secure Sockets Layer) is a data encryption method that allows the buyer and seller’s devices to exchange information securely during an online transaction. This helps protect you and your customers from hackers, phishing, and other cyber-based attacks.
In order to offer secure payments, your e-commerce website will need a valid SSL certificate - this is a unique digital identity that verifies your website. Without a dedicated IP address, it’s not possible to use SSL - and that’s one of the unique benefits of dedicated server hosting.
There are loads of advantages to using a dedicated server, but there are some disadvantages to consider too. Before you sign up for dedicated hosting, you’ll want to consider the monthly cost and make sure you have the technical expertise required to manage the server if going for an unmanaged option.
Dedicated hosting is generally more expensive than shared hosting, because you’ll be buying exclusive use of the server. With monthly hosting fees starting from $99.00, dedicated hosting is suitable for websites that are expanding and experiencing higher traffic that requires more extensive resources.
From a technical point of view, a Linux dedicated server may be challenging to manage if you’re not an IT professional. Some dedicated servers offer a managed server option which makes the technical aspects of hosting your website easier. Alternatively, you could consider hiring a server administrator on a part-time or as-needed basis.
Not only does virtual dedicated server hosting not require you to buy a server, but you can also choose the type of CPU you’d like. When it comes to dedicated server web hosting, there are two popular types of CPUs, both manufactured by Intel: Core and Xeon. While each of these has its advantages, Xeon is definitely becoming the CPU of choice amongst professionals.
If you’re seeking dedicated game server hosting, the power of a Xeon CPU will definitely give you a competitive edge in your favorite game. Xeon supports multiple CPUs and is compatible with the cutting-edge ECC memory chips that correct errors in real time and speed up processing significantly.
This would be suitable for various gaming setups, including a Minecraft dedicated server.
One of the many perks of dedicated server hosting is that you get to specify the amount of RAM your server will have. Even a cheap dedicated server will come with a generous RAM allocation, providing the processing speed you need for your website or gaming needs.
The best dedicated server will have upwards of 4GB of RAM. This amount will increase with increasing website traffic, website functionality, or the number of players using a gaming server.
If you’re planning to run an Ecommerce website, especially one that uses Magento dedicated hosting, you may find that your bandwidth requirements increase rapidly as the website becomes more popular.
Dedicated web hosting today requires a good amount of bandwidth - 5TB to 20TB on average. If you find your bandwidth is being used up, you can always request additional terabytes from your dedicated hosting provider to scale with your website needs.
Using a Windows dedicated server, you can expect to use several TB of bandwidth per month, but how much should you request from your service provider? Here’s a formula you can use to obtain a rough estimate of your monthly bandwidth requirements:
- You’ll need to know or estimate your average page size (KB)
- Now multiply the figure calculated in the previous step by the average number of monthly visitors
- Finally, multiply the answer from the second step by the number of pageviews per visitor - again, you’ll need to know the average.
The grand total you obtain from this formula will tell you how much bandwidth you need right now. As your website grows and traffic increases, your bandwidth needs will accordingly increase too.
Fortunately, cheap dedicated server hosting means the cost of additional bandwidth won’t necessarily break your monthly budget. Plus, don’t forget: more traffic means more potential sales and conversion opportunities depending on your business.
Drawbacks of Managed Dedicated Server Hosting:
Choosing a managed dedicated server means fewer technical hassles - especially if you’re not an IT expert. Still, like everything in life, choosing this option comes with its share of drawbacks.
When it comes to dedicated game servers, you’ll need to weigh the cost of a managed server against the benefits it brings. Unless you’re a professional gamer, your gaming server probably doesn’t generate any income for you - and a managed server could become an expensive hobby.
Server management is something you’ll always need to consider when opting for dedicated hosting. You’ll need to ensure that it makes financial sense before going ahead with this type of solution.
One of the advantages of dedicated cloud server hosting is that security software is included - and in today’s digital world, you can't live without it. With expert managed dedicated server hosting, you can leave the choice of security software to your dedicated server provider.
Regular security scans, vulnerability testing and other security measures are essential to avoid attacks against your site or exploitation perpetrated by cyber criminals.
Dedicated Server Firewall
While we’re on the topic of website security, it’s essential to have a firewall set up on your dedicated hosting server. Dedicated game servers are especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks from rival teams and players.
A firewall provides a continuous barrier against these attacks, ensuring that the only damage your team will suffer will be in the game itself.
The best dedicated server hosting providers all include firewalls in their security offering. With your own dedicated server, you can select the level of security - including a firewall - that suits your needs.
Scan Dedicated Server for Vulnerabilities
Whether you’re running a steam dedicated server or another platform, you’ll need to run a vulnerability scan on a regular basis.
Vulnerability scanning checks your virtual dedicated server for open ports and services that are running at the time the scan is carried out. By comparing these to its database of suspicious activities, the scan can detect potential weak points in your server’s security.
Some hosting companies offer a free dedicated server package to new customers for the first 12 months while their website is growing. No matter how new your website is, or how much or little traffic it sees, regular vulnerability scanning is essential. If there are weak links in your security chain, it’s better to find out sooner while they are easy to fix.
Benefits of accessing the OS without a control panel
If you’re a seasoned virtual dedicated server professional with some programming experience, you may be wondering if you really need a control panel installed on your server.
The benefit of not using a control panel with cheap dedicated hosting or with any hosting for that matter is that you gain the flexibility to run the server your preferred way. If you’re confident that you can manage a dedicated hosting server, going without a control panel, the choice is ultimately yours.
Top 3 dedicated hosting
Liquid Web’s dedicated servers provide the highest levels of performance and security. They’re fully customizable to suit your specific needs regardless of what operating system you use, whether that’s Linux or Windows. Depending on the levels of support you require from its team of experts, you can choose from self-managed, core-managed or fully managed plans with Liquid Web.
All of Liquid Web’s plans include standard DDoS protection, a dedicated IP address, Business-grade SSD storage, regular back-ups, CloudFlare CDN and access to your server through Interworx, Plesk or cPanel. What sets Liquid Web apart from other providers of dedicated servers is the sheer amount of customization that’s available with its plans, meaning you can upscale your server requirements depending on the number of websites you wish to host.
Prices start from $199 per month for a dedicated server package that includes four cores, 32GB RAM, two 240GB SSD disks, 1 TB SATA Backup disk, 5TB of bandwidth and 250GB Acronis Cyber Backups. The prices can be heavily discounted if you take out a plan for multiple years and extras such as premium business emails and firewalls can all be purchased as add-ons. While its plans are certainly not the cheapest, it’s got a massive selection of high-spec server options that make it perfect for building a package that’s bespoke to your specific requirements. If you already have an idea of what you’re looking for and what you need your dedicated server to do, Liquid Web is the perfect choice.
Contabo’s dedicated servers are much cheaper in comparison to other competitors and are fully compatible with both Linux and Windows operating systems. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Contabo, it’s a German company specializing in cheap webspace packages and dedicated servers, and it owns two data centers in Germany. The reason its dedicated servers are so cheap is that its base packages start off with a limited amount of RAM and storage space. Their cheapest dedicated quad server is available at a cost of just $39.99 a month and that includes an Intel Core 2 Quad, 8GB RAM, two 400GB hard disks and administration through either cPanel/ WHM or Plesk.
While all of its servers offer high performance and unlimited network traffic, you may find your websites are slow to load on the cheaper packages. Thankfully, these packages are easy to customize and you can easily increase your RAM and storage space once you’ve purchased a base package. One of the great things about Contabo is all of its servers include DDoS protection free of charge. As you’d expect from many providers of dedicated servers, there are no set-up fees either, the only thing letting Contabo down (and that’s only slightly) is that its customer service team isn’t available 24/7.
Clowdways is a great choice for developers that are constantly creating new websites through WordPress and need a dedicated and reliable server to host them. That said, no matter what your workload is, its fully-managed London hosting supports all PHP powered applications including Digital Ocean, AWS, Vultr, and Linode. TFA is included for all Cloudway accounts, which is fantastic value when you consider those same accounts also include IP block whitelisting and Platform-level firewalls too.
When it comes to dedicated hosting, Clowdways is difficult to beat. Its plans start from just $10 a month, and while that might not get you much (1GB RAM, 1 core processor, 25GB storage and 1TB bandwidth) it still offers fantastic value for smaller businesses and developers that are looking for a dedicated server but don’t have the budget or requirement to shell out for something bigger. If you’re looking for something bigger, that’s not a problem either. At the top end of the price bracket, you’ll get an 8-core processor, 32GB RAM, 640GB storage and 7TB bandwidth for $230 a month. All of its server plans include SSL certificates and 24/7 support from an award-winning customer service team.