There are numerous options out there, not only in server companies themselves but also in the type of hosting you'll need.
The two most general categories of hosting are shared hosting or dedicated server hosting, and which is right for you really depends on your business and the particular needs of the site you’re managing.
Overview: What is dedicated server hosting?
Dedicated server hosting is a type of managed hosting in which you (the client) have an entire server all to yourself, without neighbors.
In shared hosting, you quite literally share server space with other websites, but a dedicated server host means the server your site is on is all yours.
Though dedicated server pricing will be higher than what you pay for shared hosting, there are many benefits to justify its cost.
4 benefits of using a dedicated server for your website
For many businesses, shared hosting simply isn’t enough. If you opt for a dedicated server, you automatically level up with some significant advantage.
1. Heightened security
The biggest reason many businesses choose to go with dedicated servers is, of course, security. Because you’re not sharing physical space, you have total control over your server, which means stricter cybersecurity.
In the shared hosting world, you never know who your neighbors are, and, if they’re doing shady stuff or have relaxed security on their own, that can often affect you as their physical space neighbor.
2. Little to no limitations
With shared hosting, there are multiple sites on a single server, which automatically means caps on things such as bandwidth, website traffic, etc. Since you’re not sharing resources on a dedicated server, you don’t have limitations in the name of equity among neighbors.
3. Your own IP address
With each individual server having its own IP address, a dedicated server plan means that IP address is yours and yours alone, unlike with shared hosting. That alleviates the risk that comes with a neighbor site being spam or an adult site, which automatically pushes your own site ranking down on search engines.
A dedicated IP address is especially important for larger e-commerce businesses requiring SSL for processing credit card payments.
You never know how your business may grow and scale, and a dedicated server allows you the flexibility to customize as needed.
Unlike with shared hosting, you’re also not limited in terms of applications, CPU, RAM, software, operating room, etc., so you can build as needed and maintain control over your site presentation.
3 signs you might need a dedicated server
How do you know if a dedicated server is right for you? While some businesses may do just fine with shared hosting, consider these points in picking your plan.
1. Your website has a lot of traffic
Shared hosting plans automatically cap bandwidth and the allowed website traffic amounts. If your site is particularly busy or predicts a high amount of growth, dedicated hosting may be the way to go for usability and user experience.
2. You’re dealing with secure information
The more protected your information and your site visitors’ information needs to be, the more you should be leaning toward dedicated hosting.
With shared hosting, you never know who your server neighbors are, and that can leave you open to malware attacks, sketchy sites, etc.
You also have enhanced SSL security with a singular IP address, which further protects sensitive financial and transactional information.
3. SEO and search engine rank is your lifeblood
Again, because you could be sharing a server with literally anyone, if your server neighbor is an adult site or incredibly spammy, that ding on the IP address affects your site, too, and automatically pushes your search engine rank lower.
No amount of SEO work can overcome a flagged IP address, so if you need to rank high in search results, you may need a dedicated server.
How to find the best dedicated server for your business
With so many options for dedicated servers out there, how do you determine the best fit for your business? Start with the basics, such as budget and performance, to figure out what you need.
Look at cost
Dedicated servers are naturally more expensive than shared hosting plans, but there are multiple layers of pricing.
Figure out your ideal budget before you look into plans, so you have a maximum price point to guide you. You may not need the most expensive option out there.
Assess website performance needs
You should have a good working knowledge of how much bandwidth, memory, and storage your site will need since this will help determine not only what plan tiers meet your needs but also which hosting platforms are best suited.
Having a rough estimate of how much traffic your website will receive will affect the amount of bandwidth needed. For example, if you plan on streaming multimedia files, running pretty complex scripts, or hosting high-definition pictures, you also should opt for more bandwidth.
You also need to have the same general knowledge for memory. Having more RAM will help your server run more efficiently, allowing your applications and website to run faster and your stored data to load much quicker. Obviously, the more RAM, the better.
The same thinking applies to your storage needs, especially in terms of security and efficiency. RAID (Redundant Array of Disks) is the preferred method of storage because it is highly secure. You can combine multiple hard drives into a single storage volume, which means there are no gaps that can creep up to automatically compromise data.
Figure out specs
Every site has unique specs that are important in hosting. For example, knowing your operating system (OS) is highly important.
Are you running on Windows OS or Linux? If you’re hosting Microsoft IIS, MS SQL, or ASP.NET, you will need to go with a Microsoft-based host solely because of Microsoft licensing requirements. If not, you’re free to use more open source-friendly Linux hosts.
Also, know your anticipated activity since specific server options are available, such as file server, database server, domain server, application server, etc. Though you don’t necessarily need a server for every particular task, it’s good to have an idea of needs so you can scale up if you want to.
It all comes down to what your needs are and the specificity of your site functionalities.
Sometimes a dedicated server is a necessity
Every business website (and business) has its own needs, capabilities, and budget to work with. Smaller and less data-sensitive sites might be fine with shared hosting.
However, sites that will be hosting a large amount of traffic, anticipate needing more customization or higher security, or those that can’t risk a sketchy shared IP address will find that a dedicated server is the best option.