Posts Tagged ‘shared hosting’

What is a Dedicated Server?

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

What is a dedicated server? That’s a relatively easy question to answer but a short answer will only scratch the surface. A dedicated server is a physical server that is installed in a data center, connected to an IP network and used to host applications that are accessed via the web or to process database requests, email, DNS or any other number of tasks.

The thing that differentiates a dedicated server is typically that the full resources of the server are only used by one client, hence the word “dedicated”. This is also referred to as dedicated hosting. An example of how this would not apply would be for shared hosting because while you can have literally hundreds of shared hosting clients on a single dedicated server, those resources are not dedicated to any one particular client and are spread among many clients. The example of running hundreds of shared hosting websites on a single dedicated server goes back to the earlier comment about the short answer only scratching the surface.

Good examples of clients who would require dedicated servers would be clients whose websites have outgrown their shared hosting environment. That is typically a function of CPU and RAM requirements. If you are trying to run large database application on a shared hosting server while 200 other websites are competing for processing power, you will probably see a substantial degradation of service. It will likely still function, but it will also more than likely be very slow and at times even unresponsive. Not to mention that your provider will encourage you to migrate to a dedicated server or to managed hosting if you lack the technical expertise to manage the dedicated server.

What is a dedicated server vs. what is not. Dedicated servers typically imply that you have the technical expertise on staff to manage all of the technical aspects of that server, including security, routine maintenance, updates and many other things. If you do lack those resources, managed hosting would likely be a far better choice for you. While the cost for managed hosting is always more than dedicated, the peace of mind you will receive by knowing that your server is managed by a team of experts is always well worth the additional cost.

So there you have it. The next time someone asks you “What is a Dedicated Server?”, you can now give an answer that makes sense.

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