3 Reasons You May Need a Dedicated Server for Your Business Website

Dedicated server hosting is a secure and customizable hosting option for many sites. Here’s why it might be the best choice for your small business.

We may receive compensation from partners and advertisers whose products appear here. Compensation may impact where products are placed on our site, but editorial opinions, scores, and reviews are independent from, and never influenced by, any advertiser or partner.

When you're ready to officially launch your company website, you should be looking into what kind of site hosting would be perfect for your business needs.

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.

4. Flexibility

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.

The Ultimate Guide to Building Virtual Teams

Knowing how to build a strong virtual team is more important today than ever -- and there are six critical things you must do to succeed. That's why we've created this ultra-timely 19-page report on what you should be doing now to set your virtual team up to win.

Enter your email below to access our (no-strings-attached) free report, "The Ultimate SMB Guide to Building High-Performing Virtual Teams."

The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned. Click here for more information.

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.