Depending on the specs and configuration a dedicated server can scale to many thousands of concurrent users, and being dedicated you control all the server resources and can configure it to your liking. If you are upgrading from a VPS you’ll need to decided if you want a bare bones server or a managed option. A bare bones dedicated server will be cheaper, but you will need to be able to handle the system administration yourself. If that is beyond your skills a managed service is advisable.
Making the decision to use dedicated hosting is one thing; finding the right dedicated hosting company is another. Competition is fierce within the industry, and there are dozens of options to choose from. Since the quality of your hosting directly impacts the success of your website, you’ll want to make the right choice the first time.
What is Dedicated Hosting?
Like anyone looking for web hosting, you’ve probably learned about the three main options: shared WordPress hosting, dedicated hosting and VPS hosting. Dedicated hosting refers to leasing an entire server for your website. The server is yours alone, so you don’t have to share resources with others. There are many advantages, including increased flexibility, better performance, superior security and having complete control.
Who Should Use Dedicated Hosting?
Is dedicated hosting right for you? To decide, consider your financial constraints, technical requirements and the needs of your business. On the financial side, dedicated hosting is the most expensive type of hosting. As far as technical needs go, it’s the most robust option for large sites that get lots of traffic. If yours doesn’t now but could in the not-too-distant future, it probably makes sense to use dedicated hosting from the start.
Comparing Dedicated Hosting Companies
Once you’ve convinced that dedicated hosting is the way to go, the real fun begins: finding a hosting company. It pays to make the right decision the first time because switching later is a real hassle.
Some considerations to make while investigating dedicated hosting companies include:
- Storage Space – One of the best things about using a dedicated server for your website hosting is you can use multiple hard drives if necessary. Many sites use dual hard drives for mirroring and redundancy. Basic dedicated plans typically include 500 GB of storage space, but many include up to 4 TB or even unlimited storage, depending on the circumstances. Remember, too, that RAM matters. If you want a fast-loading site, you’ll want lots of RAM.
- Bandwidth – Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount you are allowed to upload and download from your site in a pay period. If your site uses lots of scripts, images, videos and other media, you’ll burn through bandwidth quickly. Plans typically start with around 1 TB of bandwidth per month, and many offer unlimited bandwidth.
- Processing Power – If your site doesn’t load and respond quickly, people will click away quickly. The more processing power your dedicated server offers, the better. If your site is loaded with CPU-intensive scripts, SQL servers or specialized game or chat servers, you should consider choosing a server with multiple processors.
- Managed Hosting – Many dedicated hosting plans are managed, which means that full-time system admins do all the work associated with maintaining the server. Other times, managed hosting is an add-on service. Either way, it’s almost always best to opt for managed hosting with a dedicated server, as maintaining one requires a lot of work and technical know-how. With managed dedicated hosting, database management, updates, anti-virus service, monitoring, recovery and many other services are included, so you can focus on other matters. NB: There are also specialist Managed WordPress Hosts that offer a solution specifically designed for the WordPress platform.
- Support – Whether you go with managed hosting or not, pay attention to the types of support that are offered by any given dedicated hosting company. Ideally, support should be available around the clock, and you should have many ways of getting it. These include live chat, telephone support, email support and DIY support options like user forums and FAQs.
We written more about finding the best web host here.
Check Reviews for Dedicated Hosting Companies
Ideally, ask around to see if someone you trust can recommend a good dedicated hosting company. If not, always check online reviews about the ones you are investigating. Remember, though, that many online reviews are unreliable. Unless they are moderated (as we do here at WP Dev Shed), online reviews may be written by competitors or the hosting companies themselves.
Pricing: How Low is Too Low?
While you want an affordable dedicated hosting plan, opting for one that’s too cheap could lead to trouble. The average monthly rate for reliable dedicated hosting is around $150. Anything less than $80 or so per month probably won’t get the job done.
Find the Right Dedicated Hosting Company Now
There’s no way around it: To find the right dedicated hosting company, decent amounts of research are required. Fortunately, the payoff is you will end up with dedicated hosting that suits your needs, budget and business objectives.