Like many new website owners, you’ve already opted for shared hosting when you launched your website first. It’s the cheapest option after all and budget is important. However it is important to know when to upgrade to something more significant as your website grows. There are plenty of choices and you might have wondered about what a dedicated server is–and why do I need one?
The answer lies in the reasons for initially deciding to upgrade. You might be coping with an increase in immediate traffic, for example, or expecting development in the near future. Dedicated servers, along with their robust enhanced security features and potential positive effect on page load, are perfect for this.
We’ll clarify what dedicated servers are in this guide, and then compare this type of hosting to other common types. We will then offer some advice on how to decide whether dedicated hosting is right for you or not. Let’s get started!
What is dedicated hosting (and how does it compare to other types)?
Essentially, dedicated hosting ensures that your website has its own domain all to itself. This provides incredible power and flexibility, which usually comes at a cost. As such, before deciding to buy this type of plan, it’s necessary to do your homework.
For instance, most websites begin with a shared hosting plan but soon grow to surpass the limits of that cheap shared plan. Your choices here might include an upgrade to or a dedicated Virtual Private Server (VPS). It is up to you to consider the various options.
As you may be aware, shared hosting stores your site on a server with hundreds probably others. This choice is appropriate for personal blogs, or very small businesses. It’s not the best performance option though, and you also lose versatility because you can’t customize things yourself (because you’ve got to share things with others).
In comparison, a VPS provides the site with its own location, separate from other sites, while still sharing a server. Because your site is being blocked from other users, its output is likely to be more reliable. You’ll also get a little more flexibility when it comes to configuring your server.
Both types of plans can provide you with the pace you need at a lower cost than dedicated hosting, and they represent a good middle ground for those looking to upgrade.
Dedicated hosting, however, is the plan of choice when you need the most power for your money. The downside, however, is cost as you would expect, and some run up to three-figures a month. Luckily, when your website wants one to manage its traffic, it might well be worth it.
Why would you need a dedicated server (4 key reasons)?
As we described, dedicated hosting together with cloud hosting is one of the most powerful server plans that are available. You may wonder, though, whether you need it.
1. Your website is growing and needs to be able to handle an increase in traffic
If you expect that your website will grow rapidly, opting for a dedicated server may be a good idea right now. For example, if when your traffic spikes your site still uses shared hosting, its output could drop significantly. That can be a slippery slope with higher bounce rates and revenue loss. It is important that you allow your site to migrate and’ settle’ its output before any potential problems arise.
2. Security is a concern for your website
For every website, security is important but particularly for those who handle sensitive information. This could include confidential emails, credit card numbers or sensitive information about customers. Protecting this information and the website from malware, hackers and other threats is vital.
With a dedicated server you are completely responsible for the security of your site. Which means you can customize the functionality you need to satisfy your website’s specific requirements and stored data. Of course you are also responsible for how to execute these functions, but this is one of the advantages of versatility.
Some hosts however provide full-managed and semi-managed maintenance plans. In a nutshell, you can often decide what you and your host are responsible for, ensuring you can trust an expert with mission-critical features while dealing directly with all other concerns.
3. You’d like your page loading times to be optimal
Your page load times will significantly affect virtually every aspect of your website. Low interaction metrics and high bounce rates can lead to slow pages. A dedicated server can help optimize as much as possible the part of your website.
On a shared server, when the server’s resources are used elsewhere, you will have no input whatsoever which might make your site run slow. Choosing a dedicated server would ensure you have the bandwidth you need to boost page load times.
4. Having control over your server is important to you
The final reason you might want to pick a dedicated server over other choices is a simple one: test. In previous sections we have referred to this, but dedicated hosting gives you complete responsibility for how you choose to use your server.
You may even be free to choose the server software you want, for example. If you prefer NGINX resource management over Apache, then you have the right to do that. You can also change the hardware requirements, and build your own OS. Dedicated hosting can therefore be an attractive choice for experienced Web developers and those with unique and specific needs.
When should you opt for a dedicated server?
Now we’ve gone through some of the advantages of dedicated hosting, let’s talk quickly about knowing if it’s right for you. A VPS does provide many of the same features after all, but at a cheaper price.
Next, ask whether more traffic is being generated at your location. If the numbers are considerably higher than before, it may be time to upgrade from your current plan. Either the VPS, cloud hosting or dedicated hosting will be your choice.
These three offer great bandwidth capacity and short page load times. Nonetheless, when it comes to security, dedicated hosting has an advantage over a VPS, if only because you have absolute control over how the server runs and operates.
Finally, as with many other factors about WordPress, the decision will depend on your website’s specific needs. You can’t go wrong with a dedicated server, of course, if budget isn’t a problem. When selecting your very first hosting contract, however, cost will become a major concern when making your decision.
Conclusion on what is a dedicated server
If your website struggles to keep up with traffic increases, it might be time to move your website to a dedicated server. This is basically a server that only hosts your site and not only enhances the efficiency of your site but also improves the loading times of your website and helps you automate security.
To quickly recap, here are some reasons why you may need a dedicated server:
- Your website is growing and needs to be able to handle an increase in traffic.
- Security is a concern for your website.
- You’d like your page loading times to be as optimal as possible.
- You want to have control over every aspect of your server.