For first-time site builders and owners of small websites, shared hosting can fill the bill for an affordable price, but that option may not be able to meet the needs of larger, more complex sites and those with high traffic volume. For those users, dedicated hosting offers a scalable, highly customizable alternative that bypasses the limitations and risks of shared hosting in favor of sole occupancy on a server reserved exclusively for a single website.
How Does Dedicated Hosting Work?
In all web hosting models, account holders’ sites are hosted and maintained on the servers of a remote provider that is also responsible for essential maintenance and some site management, depending on the type of hosting plan. To keep costs low, shared hosting providers put many accounts on the same server, where they draw from the server’s shared resources.
In this environment, any site can be affected by the behavior of its neighbors on the server. A surge in traffic on one site can cause others to run slowly or experience interruptions in service, and the basic security measures put in place by the provider may not be able to stop malicious activity that infects sites through shared technology. And, since shared hosting is designed for smaller sites with low traffic, when a site’s monthly traffic volume exceeds a cap set by the provider, the account can be terminated.
Dedicated hosting avoids those issues by providing a more flexible, efficient, and safe alternative for growing sites with an ever-increasing volume of traffic, as well as the established sites of large companies. In this hosting model, a provider makes an entire server and all its resources available to a single client, with varying levels of support and maintenance available depending on the provider’s hosting plans.
Although dedicated web hosting can cost considerably more than basic shared hosting, this kind of hosting environment offers far more flexibility, privacy and user control than other kinds of web hosting solutions. The benefits of dedicated web hosting include enhanced performance, better security, complete customer control, and a spectrum of support services from the hosting provider. If these are the kind of features you are looking for, get started with dedicated hosting today.
Enhanced Website Performance
In a dedicated hosting environment, all resources such as bandwidth, RAM and CPU output on a user’s contracted server are dedicated to supporting that user’s single site. That ensures maximum uptime with no “competition” from other sites on a shared server, so that a site’s performance can’t be affected by shifts in the use of those shared resources. With all resources available at all times, dedicated hosting can also offer enhanced speeds and added stability for businesses whose computing needs involve sensitive financial transactions or the handling of personal information.
Superior Security for Unique Needs
Dedicated website hosting avoids many of the security issues that worry users of shared hosting services. Depending on the hosting plan, dedicated hosting users may be able to install security measures designed to meet their specific needs alongside – or in place of – those that are provided by the host. Because sites on dedicated servers don’t share space with others, they face no risk of becoming “infected” through shared technology by malware or malicious activity directed at a neighboring site on a shared server.
Each server used for hosting has its own IP address and, in a shared hosting environment, that IP address is also shared by all the sites, both legitimate and questionable, that are using that server. Because no other sites share a server in a dedicated hosting situation, each site has a unique IP address, which eliminates confusion and adds additional layers of security that can be essential for processing financial and medical transactions.
Flexibility for Customization
Dedicated hosting makes it possible for users to have virtually complete control over all aspects of their sites – or leave some or all of its management in the hands of the hosting provider. With managed hosting plans, the host handles ongoing site management along with maintaining the server itself, while self-managed hosting allows site owners complete control of all aspects of their site, with only server maintenance and support provided by the host. In both models, though, users are free to install software packages and security features of their choice to meet the specific needs of the site and the company behind it.
Dedicated hosting also provides scalability for the life of a site. Though a site can outgrow the limited resources of a shared hosting environment fairly quickly, the resources of a dedicated server make it possible to scale a site to just about any size – and to add the additional features and functionality it needs at every stage of development. Dedicated hosting packages allow for scalability, too, with tiered pricing that reflects added RAM, bandwidth, and other features as needed.
Ongoing Technical and Server Support
Dedicated hosting providers typically offer around the clock technical support from a well-trained staff with the expertise to resolve issues of all kinds – an important aspect of this kind of hosting, since users can opt to handle all aspects of site management on their own. Hosts also provide ongoing server support, including maintenance and installing upgrades and other features as needed for optimum performance and uptime. All costs for maintaining the server are assumed by the provider, but users can purchase and install any software they choose.
Who Needs Dedicated Hosting?
Dedicated hosting is not for everyone. This kind of hosting can be expensive, costing hundreds per month, although some providers offer self-managed economy plans for less. For new users with small sites, or longtime sites with small amounts of traffic, shared hosting at a lower cost might be the right choice for both short and long term needs.
For sites that have, or expect to have, significant traffic, dedicated hosting provides the needed resources to accommodate site visits numbering into the millions. Dedicated hosting also supports complex sites that require extensive customization, such as those sponsored by large ecommerce businesses and other kinds of enterprises. This kind of hosting may also be right for sites that demand strict security, such as those involving financial transactions or the handling of medical data and patient information.
Shared hosting options may be all a small site needs for the duration of its life, but with exclusive server resources and extensive user support, dedicated hosting provides the flexibility and scalability that can sustain a website’s growth and development now and for the future.
Machielle Thomas is the Content Manager for Bluehost. She writes curates web and email content for marketing professionals, small business owners, bloggers, and more.