There are so many different options to choose from when it comes down to how your website or other project is hosted, but the most reputable and time-tested method is a dedicated server. This type of hosting can cost a bit more than the other options available but, as with just about everything else in life, you get what you pay for. This short guide will attempt to explain the reasons for using a dedicated server, and some tips for finding a good deal.
Even for someone who has no experience at all with networking, computing, or hosting a website will have noticed from time to time that some of their favorite websites load much faster than others. This is perhaps the first performance-related issue that people will notice, whether they are actually thinking about it or just on a subconscious level. Over the years, many studies have shown that the loading time for a website is a huge factor in customer satisfaction, and whether you actually gain a sale or lose the customer forever. The bottom line is that people are impatient, and there is a good chance they can find whatever you are offering elsewhere, so you need to take that in to account.
The problem with non-dedicated hosting – such as cloud, VPS, or shared – is that you have very little control over the bits and pieces that make your website run. A lot of these other types of hosting will offer you a lot of disk space, but it’s not “good” disk space. Is it SSD? How fast is it? What type of RAM will you get? Is that RAM dedicated to your account or is it shared between multiple users? And so on. Many hosting companies will not tell you these details, or try to hide it away in the fine print, because they are most likely cutting corners somewhere in order to give you a cheap price. It’s like an all-you-can-eat restaurant compared to a nice steak dinner: on one hand you can eat as much as you want, but it’s not good food because they had to save money on the ingredients.
So, the point is that dedicated servers are the steak dinner of the hosting world. It may cost you a bit more than the other choices on the menu, but it’s a reliable choice that you will be happy with. Some hosting providers – such as Webhobs based in Florida, USA – can actually offer you a cloud-based hosting solution on top of your dedicated server. This allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds, as you get the performance and reliability of a dedicated server with the added scalability of the cloud. If for whatever reason you need a sudden burst of disk space, you can instantly add some on-demand cloud storage to your server with just a few clicks.
Keep It Simple
The concept of dedicated hosting is as old as the internet, while cloud computing is still relatively young. Hosting your websites on the cloud also adds layers of complexity that most small to mid-level businesses do not need, and will only cause more headaches for whoever has to mange it. On that note, it’s worth mentioning that if you personally cannot manage the hosting environment, then you will most likely need to hire outside help which will drive up the cost even more.
Services such as AWS (Amazon) are incredibly complicated. The average person will have no idea how it all works – and therefore no idea how to fix things when something isn’t working as intended – but even long-term networking specialists will tell you it’s more complicated than it needs to be for general use.
Don’t Get Punished For Moving Your Websites
Depending on what you are doing with your web hosting service, it may be very difficult and/or time-consuming in the event that you wish to switch to another provider if you have been developing for the cloud. Whether your hosting provider’s customer support takes a nosedive, or they decide to raise the prices, or you just feel the need to move on to bigger and better things, it is generally easier to move if you’re on a dedicated server.
This probably won’t be a huge problem for the average person, but if you start using more complex services with your cloud-based hosting you can run in to trouble when attempting to switch. On the other hand, dedicated servers are time-tested and the process for switching to a new provider has been streamlined over the years, with many guides available online, as opposed to the newer cloud services.
“The Cloud” Is Not Magic
As with any new service, they will market it as if it’s the best thing since sliced bread and talk endlessly about how it will fix all of your problems. This is just not the case. Take the scalability issue for example: cloud providers will tell you how you can scale up whenever you want for more performance, at an extra cost of course. What they don’t tell you is that “scaling up” usually is not the issue. It is more likely that the applications running on your server are not optimized well enough, and throwing more resources at it will only hide the problem and cost you more money in the process.
Price Is Not The Only Consideration
Of course you could go out and buy a dedicated server hosting plan that sound amazing and are cheaper than you will see elsewhere, but this is not the type of thing you should try to save a few dollars on. Hosting is not a game, and you need to be serious about where and who you host your websites and other projects with. It is not worth risking the stability, security, and future growth of your projects by settling for a cheaper option that is not as good.
While searching out a home for your web projects, your main consideration should be the performance of their servers and their customer support, in that order. Try to look past the gimmicks and fancy sales-talk, and get down to the specifics. If the hosting provider you are looking at will not answer basic questions about their service, then you should take your business elsewhere.