Whether you’re looking for an online home for a new website, or in search of new hosting for an existing site that needs room to grow, choosing the right web hosting is key to your site’s success. Shared hosting in various forms may be the most familiar, and most budget-friendly, option for new and smaller sites. But at the opposite end of the hosting spectrum, dedicated hosting solutions offer users exclusive use of a server on the host’s network—an arrangement that provides stability, security and scalability as well as full control over all aspects of managing and maintaining a site.
Dedicated hosting isn’t for everyone, but if you’re planning a large, complex website, or if your existing site is outgrowing its current hosting, dedicated hosting offers benefits that aren’t available in other hosting arrangements. Continue reading to learn about the many dedicated hosting benefits offered with this type of hosting plan.
What is Dedicated Hosting?
In all web hosting models, individual sites are hosted and maintained on remote servers that are owned and operated by a hosting provider, but beyond that, web hosting can take a variety of forms. Basic shared hosting is the “default” web hosting for most new users and creators of small sites. It’s available at very low cost because users must share server space and resources with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of other sites. Managed hosting is a form of shared hosting in which the hosting provider takes over most of the ongoing maintenance and management of a client’s site.
Other kinds of hosting packages aim to eliminate the inconveniences and security risks of shared hosting by providing users with a private space that remains separate from other sites using the host. For example, virtual private server, or VPS, hosting, offers users a virtually partitioned space on a shared server, which separates VPS sites from their neighbors on the server.
Dedicated hosting offers the next—and ultimate—step in privacy and autonomy with a top tier hosting option that is the complete opposite of standard shared hosting. Dedicated hosting packages reserve an entire server for a single client’s exclusive use. The web host is responsible for maintaining the server itself, but the client has control over all aspects of setting up and managing sites that are parked on that server. Dedicated hosting packages come in a variety of forms, including some with aspects of managed hosting, and hosting providers typically include robust technical support services and other resources.
Dedicated hosting packages are typically more expensive than other types of web hosting, but for users with certain needs, the benefits of this kind of hosting can significantly offset the costs.
Better Site Performance
In a shared hosting environment, all server resources have to be shared among the many different sites using the server. If one site uses more than its share of those resources, other sites can run slowly or crash. With dedicated hosting, there’s no competition for a share of limited resources. All server bandwidth, RAM, and other resources are available to that single site at any given time. This can make a site load faster and remain stable with less risk of downtime or other performance issues. Better site performance also contributes to a quality user experience that enhances a brand’s reputation for trust and reliability.
Enhanced Security and Privacy
Dedicated hosting eliminates many of the security issues that go along with shared hosting environments. Because no other sites are sharing the server, there’s no risk of “infection” with malware or viruses from neighboring sites. In shared hosting, all sites on a given server share that server’s IP address, which creates confusion and opens the possibility of hacking and corruption – but each site on a dedicated server has its own unique IP address, which avoids the problems that come from sharing an address with other sites.
Because dedicated hosting users can have complete control over managing their sites, they can install the security measures that make sense for their circumstances, alongside, or in place of, the safeguards provided by the host. This can be an important consideration for sites that handle highly sensitive data, such as health and financial information.
Flexibility and Full Customization
Just about all web hosting plans offer a combination of features to meet a variety of users’ needs, but dedicated hosting packages give users virtually total control over all aspects of setting up and running a website. Shared hosting packages typically limit the number of customization users can make, but users of dedicated hosting plans are free to install any software they like and configure the site to meet specific needs. Users can also opt for managed hosting-type plans that allow the web host to handle ongoing management of client sites, as well as the server itself.
Because users can have full control over their sites, dedicated hosting also offers the flexibility to make changes and add new features and functions as a site grows. With shared hosting, limited space and resources can also limit opportunities for growth, but since users have full use of an entire server, dedicated hosting offers virtually unlimited scalability for the life of a website. That’s a plus for complex sites or larger scale enterprises with expectations of expansion and increased traffic.
Comprehensive Support and Service
Dedicated hosting providers usually offer robust, round-the-clock support services for all kinds of issues users may face when setting up and managing sites. Some dedicated hosting plans are platform-specific, too, with expert help and support for WordPress and other kinds of site builders. With a dedicated hosting plan, users can opt for on-call support when they need it or choose a managed plan that offers ongoing “hands-on” support from the host.
Should You Choose Dedicated Hosting?
A dedicated hosting plan has some definite benefits, but this kind of hosting isn’t for everyone. If you’re just starting out with a small business or personal site, basic shared hosting might be all you need, especially if your budget is slim and you’re not expecting large scale expansion soon. But if you’re planning a multifaceted site for a larger enterprise, or if your site has outgrown a current shared hosting plan, a dedicated hosting plan with unmetered bandwidth might be just what you’re looking for.