What is Dedicated Hosting?

This guide walks through everything you need to know about dedicated web hosting, including how it works, the pros & cons, and tips for choosing the best dedicated hosting provider.

by Catie Leary

Web Hosting | WordPress

Reading Time | 7 min

Dedicated hosting is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the creation of a separate server dedicated to hosting one individual client or website. These qualities make it the perfect choice for larger websites with high traffic volumes and heavy resource needs.

In this handy guide, we cover everything you need to know about dedicated hosting, including:

Black and grey server room

How dedicated hosting works

Dedicated hosting is a hosting option in which a server is set up and solely dedicated to a single customer. No other customers are hosted on that server, which means you have exclusive access to the server’s resources and space. As a dedicated hosting customer, you can optimize your server to cater to your unique and specific needs.

How is dedicated hosting different from shared hosting or VPS hosting?

Let’s talk about the difference between dedicated hosting and the two other main hosting options — shared hosting and VPS hosting.

  • Shared hosting is a web hosting service that allows multiple individually owned websites to coexist on and run from a single server. It’s typically the most affordable option because customers share resources — such as disk space, CPU, and memory — on a single server.
  • VPS hosting or virtual private server hosting is a form of server-based hosting that allows multiple sites to reside on a shared server. What makes VPS hosting different from shared hosting is that fewer websites coexist and share allocated segments of memory, drive space, and processor power.

In contrast to shared or VPS hosting packages, dedicated hosting gives you complete control of a single server and its resources.

Psst — have a WordPress website? Be sure to check out our definitive guide to the best WordPress hosting providers.

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What are the advantages of dedicated hosting?

As you can imagine, many advantages come along with investing in dedicated hosting. The list is relatively long, and some are more important than others, so here’s our top four to consider when making your decision:

No need to share server resources with other sites

Not having to share is undoubtedly the most prominent feature of dedicated hosting packages – it’s literally in the name. With dedicated hosting, there is no more sharing of resources. This is a crucial element of dedicated hosting as it sets the foundation for the other significant benefits.

Dedicated hosting is more secure than shared hosting

Not having to share hosting resources with countless other random websites means a more secure hosting system. How so? Since yours is the only website on the server, you won’t be subject to the threat of spamming or unsecured websites that could otherwise be hosted alongside yours.

Better performance than shared hosting options

Having a dedicated hosting service also means improved performance. It’s not often spoken about, but the root cause of performance problems is the sharing aspect. There are no threats with a dedicated hosting package since there’s no sharing – this immediately improves your site’s expected performance.

You have full control of the server’s data & operations

As the single-tenant, with dedicated hosting, you have full control of the server, the apps installed, and the operating systems involved. Although this may be intimidating, with some assistance and

Eyeglasses focusing in on computer monitors with coding and technical programs

What are the disadvantages of dedicated hosting?

As expected, where there are advantages, there are disadvantages, too. Dedicated hosting has many advantages, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better than other options like shared hosting. There are several considerations to weigh before you can decide if dedicated hosting is worth the investment for your business.  Let’s discuss three noteworthy ones.

Exclusivity comes with an increased price

Since you’re not sharing this server, any fees you pay will be for the entire server and all its resources, even if you aren’t utilizing what’s available to the full extent. Yes, it’s great to have access to an abundance of resources, but the bet isn’t worth the hand for start-ups and small businesses.

Dedicated servers require technical management

Managing a dedicated server can get very technical very fast. If you’re not technically inclined or keen to learn how to maintain the site yourself, it’s important to hire a developer or website support team to help manage your dedicated server for you.

You may own the data, but you don’t own the server

This one can be a little bit confusing. You’d think that because the server is set-up specifically for your business that you’d own it entirely. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You own the data and, to an extent, the server. But that’s where the service or subscription fee comes in — you are still essentially renting the server from a hosting company.

How to choose the best dedicated hosting provider

Now that you have all the facts, how do you know if dedicated hosting is the right choice for you?  As a rule of thumb, most experts would tell you that dedicated hosting is only really suitable for larger, more established businesses. Although there is some truth to this, it isn’t as black and white as it’s often portrayed. For example, you’re a start-up that can expect a high traffic volume but can’t find the time to manage your site alone. Dedicated hosting could be suitable for you if you have some extra room in the budget for the price and potentially hiring someone full-time to take over managing the site for you.

If you’ve decided that dedicated hosting is the right path for your business, the next step is to do your due diligence and start scoping out your options. Here are some pro tips and deciding factors that may help to solidify your decision.

1. Make sure what you’re paying for meets your requirements.

If you’re going to be paying a premium price, you’ll want to ensure that you not only know exactly what you’re getting but also that what you’re getting is enough.

For example, let’s talk about bandwidth.

Bandwidth is an easy way of tracking the expenditure and budget required for your dedicated hosting package. The requirements for bandwidth depend on the predictability of data traffic. If you’re going to consume a lot of bandwidth but have low predictability, you can choose a package that has unmetered billing.

Figure out precisely what you need from a technical perspective before moving forward with a dedicated hosting provider.

2. What hosting guarantees do they offer?

Are there any specific guarantees or promises made by the service provider?

  • Uptime hosting guarantees: There’s nothing worse than a site that crashes when experiencing increased traffic. And when you’re paying a higher price for a dedicated hosting package, a poor uptime guarantee is certainly not what you want. Any uptime guarantee north of 99% is to be expected.
  • Money-back hosting guarantees: The majority of service packages from across industries come standard with a cash-back guarantee period. This is similar to a probation period in which the customer can test the service out and cancel at any time should they not be satisfied. It is advisable to use this period to make sure your service provider’s security level, performance, and support meet what was promised.

3. Responsive customer support is paramount

When disaster strikes — and trust me, it will at one point or another — what level of customer support can you expect? We suggest being entirely sure of the help you can expect to know whether it’s adequate. And if it’s not, you can rule that specific service provider out. You want to be confident that you’ll receive the support you need when you need it most.

4. Need help maintaining a dedicated server? Look for managed hosting

Managed hosting is when you appoint a service provider to manage your website’s maintenance and daily workings. Although it’s not always necessary if you have your own internal IT department, it is worth looking into this sort of service. Here’s a brief breakdown of all the things you should consider when selecting a managed hosting provider:

  1. The price you’ll pay. Although entirely subjective to the benefits gained, there is a limit to how much you should pay for a managed hosting package. The most significant indicator of the price is the benefit. Weigh the benefits up against the cost and decide whether it’s worth it.
  2. The benefits you should look for. Quarterly security audits, on-demand performance tuning, and proactive monitoring — there are various benefits you could consider, but we’d recommend placing these at the top of your list.
  3. The questions you should ask. Once you’ve done your research and shortlisted a handful of managed hosting providers, we recommend reaching out and asking some of these questions before making any commitments:
    • Do you have engineers on-call and ready to assist at all times?
    • How many people are on your team? Will I have an account manager?
    • How do I communicate with support when I need it?
    • Do you outsource any of your support?
    • Do you own your hardware?

Managed hosting models are also available for premium shared web hosting plans. At SiteCare, our managed cloud hosting package is specially designed to include everything a growing business needs — from top-notch technical features to outstanding customer support.

Have more questions about web hosting?

Contact us today to learn more about hosting your website with SiteCare.

Catie Leary | Contributor

Catie has spent the last 12+ years honing her digital storytelling skills as both a journalist and a content strategist. In her spare time, she enjoys powerlifting, karaoke nights with friends, reading science fiction, and hanging out with her three cats.