A dedicated server is a server that is leased from a provider by a client in order to host an entity online, such as a website, online application or advertising campaign. The server hardware is owned by the hosting provider and usually housed in a data centre that provides emergency power systems for disaster recovery and allows the provider to monitor and service the equipment as necessary. There are many benefits to this approach to hosting applications or websites including ease of scalability, increased security and enhanced flexibility. A dedicated server can offer lower overheads and an improved return on investment and allow the customer to concentrate on its core business.
What are the main benefits?
Scalability: With a dedicated server, the customer has use of the server’s full capacity (as opposed to a shared server where the capacity is split between two or more clients). This allows the client greater bandwidth than with a shared server, and therefore more flexibility to increase this bandwidth as required. The ability to alter bandwidth as required is known as scalability, and this is an invaluable, cost-effective way to manage peaks and troughs in traffic to a website. For example, in the busy lead up to Christmas online retailers might wish to increase their bandwidth to ensure that their sites do not suffer from poor performance due to increased traffic. In January once the rush is over, the bandwidth can be scaled back to the usual level to reduce costs.
Security: Dedicated servers can also provide increased security. With a shared server arrangement, there can be a danger of cross-contamination. If the other site sharing the server is not adequately secure then viruses, spyware or hackers could infiltrate the server via the unsecured site, and once within the server itself a virus could potentially gain access to the secure site. With a dedicated server, however, all the contents are your responsibility, or that of your hosting provider, vastly reducing the security risks. In addition, a competent hosting provider will be able to offer an external firewall to control access even further.
Flexibility: Dedicated servers allow the client to decide on the server hardware itself and the operating system that will be used. Equally, the client will enjoy complete control over the server and its operation, and will also have the ability to operate and configure the server remotely. The client will also enjoy command of the server operation and bandwidth, allowing for customisation of server configurations. Shared servers often restrict customisation, because the server has multiple users and therefore certain settings must remain fixed in order to provide a good level of service for all users.
Is a dedicated server right for your business?
There are many advantages to a dedicated server, but deciding between a dedicated or shared server can be a complicated process. It is always advisable to seek advice from a hosting provider that really understands your business needs and hosting requirements in order to find the right solution for your business.