If you’re reading this, then odds are you’ve established an online presence successfully. Whether it’s for your business or otherwise, you’re seeing enough action that your current server configuration isn’t quite making the cut. Or you may be looking to upgrade the performance of your online gaming experience. Whatever the reason, you’re interested in what a dedicated server can do for you. To understand the best place to go from here you must understand some of the pros and cons of getting a dedicated server.
The goal of this post isn’t to persuade you one way or the other but to simply lay out the facts for where a dedicated server could suit you and where another alternative may be better. Dedicated servers are not for everyone, but they can be particularly useful in the right situations. So let’s jump right into some of the benefits and check here.
Table of Contents
Pro #1: Flexibility/Customization
The first and arguably greatest pro for dedicated servers is that they are completely yours. You have the freedom to customize your server however you see fit. A common analogy for dedicated servers is homeownership. They cost more than an apartment upfront, but with that extra cost comes the freedom to renovate things in your own image.
You can select the operating system you want along with any other custom software/applications. If you’re running a business and it’s growing fast, this kind of flexibility can be incredibly helpful with adjusting your server to fit your needs.
Not only do you gain the ability to customize which applications you use, you gain control over the hardware in use. This means that processing power, disk space, memory, etc. are all in your hands. If you have the budget for it, you can scale up your server to be as responsive as you want. If you’re thinking about using a dedicated server for gaming this can be great for hosting large amounts of users in a world while avoiding issues like rubber-banding.
Pro #2: Isolationism
Have you ever lived in an apartment and had to deal with your upstairs neighbors walking around in lead shoes? Or have you lived next to someone who blared music at 3 in the morning while you were trying to sleep? One of the downsides of living in an apartment is that if you have neighbors like this you don’t have a lot of power to deal with the issues. Likewise, if you host your site with a shared hosting configuration, your performance may end up impacted by another site completely unrelated to yours.
Shared hosting can be great if you’re on a budget or just getting started online, but a big issue is that your resources are just that; shared. If another site starts to gain a lot of traffic it could take up all the processing power available for the group and your site’s performance ends up suffering. It’s far from ideal since you didn’t do anything to cause this issue. Dedicated hosting moves you into a house out in the country where no matter how loud another resident blasts their music, you can sleep in peace. There is no risk of running short on your resources since you’re the only one using them (just make sure you have enough for your own needs).
Pro #3: Security
When you’re the only one who has access to your server, security is naturally going to improve. A dedicated server from a trusted host offers protection from malicious threats as well. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are a common cyber-attack where a server is flooded with fake requests. If enough of these come through, they can clog up your site and cause delays for real users. Hosting through a service that offers Anti-DDoS protection can put your mind at ease that they will work to identify fake requests and filter them out.
In addition to protection from attacks, dedicated servers tend to be more reliable than their shared hosting counterparts, and oftentimes the service you rent from offers assistance/support along with disaster recovery plans. So, if something does go wrong, you can safely recover and keep your data safe. You should of course look for a provider that can guarantee 99.9% uptime while still meeting your security and bandwidth needs.
Con #1: Cost
Dedicated servers offer a ton of advantages over shared hosting, but a low price is not one of them. It’s only natural that if you want your own resources then you’ll have to pay more for it than if you shared them. Oftentimes this tradeoff is worth it, but if you’re just getting started online for a small business you may want to look at other options like shared or VPS hosting. VPS hosting offers a middle ground between the two where you have your own virtual server but it shares a base physical server.
Con #2: Technical Requirements
Setting up and maintaining a fully dedicated server puts a lot more work on you the server owner (or the server provider). To set one up you need a large knowledge base on networking and serve mechanics. If you don’t have the time to learn these things you can select a managed server plan where your hosting provider takes care of the technical requirements for you. This can be a great way to allow you to focus your time on the site/game you’re actually supporting, but keep in mind you may miss out on knowledge of some ways you could take advantage of pro #1 above.
Balancing it out:
Dedicated servers bring many pros to the table, but if you’re going to take advantage of these you need to be sure you have the budget for it. They are not the solution for everyone looking to host a site online, but if you have a large audience then either a dedicated server or a virtual private server will serve you much better than shared hosting. Regardless of which type of server you choose, be sure that your provider will be able to follow through on their offerings.