We are often asked questions like that – “Do I need a dedicated server for this site?”, “what is the advantages and disadvantages of having my own dedicated server” and “Would my site be faster on a dedicated server?” etc. etc.
I thought I’d sum up a bit on the typical answers to those questions, and outline a few typical situation where you may want to go for dedicated hosting rather than shared – UK2 provide both dedicated servers and shared web hosting, but I will try not to be too “salesy” 🙂
Right, let me just start by – in a few sentences – telling you what a dedicated server is.
In a nutshell, dedicated servers are a type of Internet hosting where the you lease an entire physical server not shared with anyone – as opposed to shared or virtual hosting where each site is allocated its own partition, or “folder/directory” on the server to keep it separate from other sites, but where you share the hardware resources with all other sites residing on the same physical server. When going dedicated you will have full control over the server, including choice of operating system, hardware, etc.
Now, when would you go for a dedicated server, and when is the more economical shared environment sufficient for you?
Ask yourself a few questions:
A large number of unique visitors is often the main reason for wanting to move to a dedicated server. A lot of visitors running your phpapplications like forums, blogs or image galleries, could outgrow a shared hosting service and make your site slow for your visitors. Especially if the applications/scripts you run on your website are not optimized 100% or perhaps even homewritten. However, a shared environment can actually handle 1000’s of unique visitors if you are simply hosting static html pages with no scripts or database use. So, a shared environment might be ok even if your site is very busy.
In some cases you might want to install scripts or other applications on your server that require you to have full superuser/root access to your server. Root access gives you the ability to install and configure any programs you want. Want to run PHP with PostgreSQL instead of MySQL? Want to try out Zope/Plone? If you don’t know your way around a server root access might not be the thing for you though.
In principle you can host an “unlimited” number of Websites through Apache’s Virtual Hosts or on the IIS from Microsoft. Now, while nothing is unlimited, even a ‘small’ server can host 1000’s of virtual hosts
You can do that in many different ways, but one way would be via a dedicated server or two. A standard shared environment would not give you that ability unless you have the option with your domain registrar.
If you are looking at launching an asterix server, or a gameserver, shared hosting would not be for you. You might actually find examples of shared hosting where you technically could run those applications, but they are really better of on a dedicated server.
So basically the advantages of having your own dedicated server is that you are able to run very busy websites or resource-hungry applications, you will not be sharing the resources with anyone else, you have full root and control over the server and you can install anything you want on it.
However, it could include a disadvantage for you, if you are new to dedicated servers and linux/windows administration. These days there are lots of tools to help you manage your own servers, like easy to configure firewalls, control panels such as cpanel and plenty of how-to’s online on most server related subjects. You could also ask your provider to fully manage your server for you though – that way you’ll get the best of both worlds…the power of a dedicated server and the easy of a managed shared environment.
I hope this has been helpful for you, and now prepare for the salesy part:
Yes, UK2 provide excellent value shared hosting and dedicated servers, our prices are cheap and our core network uptime has been at a 100% throughout 2007 and 2008 – which is why we keep on winning awards. We have been around for almost a decade now and 100’s of thousands of business trust their online presence with us. We can have dedicated servers in UK and dedicated servers in USA – and if you buy a server from us we can fully manage it for only £29/month via supremesupport.com, chose the fully managed option in the order process.
Give us a call if you have any questions.