Introduction to Dedicated Hosting
If you have begun to build an online presence for your business, sooner or later you will hear about something called “dedicated hosting.” But what is it exactly, and do you need it?
To start with the basics, when you create a website with your own domain name (Yourbusiness.com, for example), you will need to register the domain (after making sure no one else has registered it first), and you will need hosting. The registration is a procedure of entering your domain name onto a massive database of all domain names so that no two names are identical.
Web hosting is basically a provision of space on the hosting company’s computers (servers), where you store your website files. Most web hosting is shared hosting, and this means many websites share space on the same servers owned by the hosting company. Dedicated hosting means you get a server to yourself.
When you are starting out, you will not need to think of dedicated hosting unless you have a very large offline company that is building an online presence. If this is the case, you will no doubt have staff tasked with building the site and selecting the type of hosting. For most businesses you will probably be faced with the choice only if you have started with a small website and your site and business are growing larger and the number of visitors is growing.
As your online business grows things like bandwidth become important because your site begins to outgrow the features available on shared hosting. You may also want to customize your hosting experience by, for example, choosing the operating system for the server and the software running on it. If you have shared hosting you are limited by the “one-size-fits-all” package, but with dedicated hosting you can add whatever new features you want and update them as they change.
Another reason you may choose a dedicated server is because it guarantees greater stability and reliability than shared hosting or VPS hosting, since all the resources on the server are dedicated to your business and not shared with others. Dedicated hosting also increases your backup options. Most shared hosting comes with only basic backup utilities, but with dedicated hosting you can install backup systems with all the features you want to keep your site secure.
The major drawback of dedicated hosting is that it costs considerably more than shared hosting (ranging from around $80 to over $300 dollars a month). The higher price reflects the greater control and more facilities available, as well as the fact that you have sole access to the server, but it is high enough to be outside the budget of most online businesses. Another aspect that can be a drawback is the greater control means you also have greater responsibility in managing your site and the server.
Moving to dedicated hosting is a big step, and if you are planning to move and it is financially justified, choose an operating system you are familiar with, and make sure you have enough experience in managing a server or have access to some help. You will get some assistance from your hosting company, but it will be up to you to keep the server secure and up to date. You should also make sure you understand all the terms and conditions associated with your dedicated web hosting before you begin.
In recent years there has been a boom in the dedicated server market, which has reduced the cost to some extent and increased the number of web hosting companies offering the service. This has made dedicated hosting a much more attractive option for large-volume or resource-intensive websites.