Dedicated Server Hosting: The Features And Benefits Of Using Dedicated Servers
You’ve come a long way from your fledgling website that only got two hundred hits per month. You now have a three hundred page monster on its way to getting millions of hits per month. You’re going to need a better hosting plan than you had before. A much better hosting plan.
Sure, your shared hosting plan worked fine in the past. Ok, well, not counting those intermittent down-times and oh yeh, that other time when someone (one of your competitors, maybe, but most likely an ex-girlfriend) figured out your account password and deleted your entire website. But that simply will not do for your website as it is now. You’ve invested too much time and money into this project and its finally starting to yield some results. There is absolutely no question about it: you need to find and review dedicated server plans and choose the right one fast!
A dedicated server is itself, the physical piece of hardware that your hosting provider rents to you. It has its own processor, hard drives(s), Random Access Memory (RAM) and bandwidth capability. Your website and its associated software will be hosted exclusively on this dedicated server’s hard drives. Dedicated servers allow you to install and run almost any program. They additionally allow other users, whom you have given access, the ability to connect to your dedicated hosting server and use those same programs at the same time you do. This has made dedicated servers very popular amongst internet gamers. Dedicated gaming servers offer all the same features of regular dedicated hosting servers but they are intended for less serious pursuits.
But what are the other benefits of utilizing dedicated servers? That’s certainly a valid question considering that dedicated server hosting costs significantly more than shared or virtual hosting plans. But with the increased cost comes features and benefits that are significantly worth it.
There are many benefits of using dedicated server hosting for your high traffic, software intensive website or gaming application. We’ve listed the most important below to steer you in the right direction.
Customization: Most dedicated server hosting plans allow you to fully customize or build your own dedicated server. You can therefore select and pay for only the features which you will require. You often will get your choice of operating system software (Windows Server Edition & Linux Redhat being the most popular options). Your choice of such software should be informed by considering which system your web applications will run best on. A major selling point with dedicated hosting plans is also which control panel to use. Plesk and Cpanel control panels are the most popular choices. Both will allow the hosting of multiple domains and websites but Plesk control panels have proven more popular largely because of their ease of use and their ability to facilitate event management, Postgre SQL, Support Ticketing Systems, various Language Packs and advanced dedicated game server hosting.
Reliability: Because your website or application is hosted exclusively on this dedicated server, you don’t run the risk of the server being congested by requests for other people’s websites or applications. On a shared hosting plan, the speed at which your web application loads is dependent upon how much traffic other websites that are on the same shared hosting server are getting. This causes slow loading times for high traffic websites and other websites that share a server with them. Dedicated server hosting avoids all this by affording your web application exclusive bandwidth. Shared hosting is also risky because you have no idea who is uploading what to the same server that you are hosted on. John in Nantucket might be uploading a web application containing an as yet unidentified virus that deletes everything it touches. If your website resides on the same server as John’s, then, to put it technically, you’re screwed. Dedicated hosting avoids all this and lets you sleep a little easier at night.
Security: No one else has access to your server but you. You are responsible for all its contents so there is no possibility of viruses or other malicious software unless you put them there. Additionally, most dedicated server plans come with the option of an external firewall so you can better enforce your specified access rights.
Unique IP Address: All dedicated servers have their own unique IP address so the IP address of your domain points only to your website. Shared hosting plans assign 1 IP address to every domain and website hosted on that particular server. Website traffic is then directed by host-header-reading software installed on the server. This process is usually very quick but can be slowed down on a congested shared server. Your dedicated server will have its own unique IP address which can only point to your website or web application. No header-reading software is needed to slow down the loading process (unless you decide to host multiple websites).
Upgrades, Upgrades!: No doubt, your website will continue to grow and so will your budget. At anytime during your dedicated server hosting you can add more bandwidth, RAM and increase your processor speed. While some hosting providers will allow you to switch operating systems this is generally not recommended. Make your mind up in the beginning and stick to one OS. This will save you many hours of tedious software conversions and ‘unexplained’ downtimes.
Hard Drive Arrangement: If you have opted to have two hard drives on your dedicated server then you can arrange them in one of two ways: Raid 1 or Raid 2. Raid 1 or disk mirroring, allows you to select one hard drive as your primary ‘work from’ hard drive while the other hard drive serves as an exact copy of the primary drive. This is very important if your web application will contain highly sensitive data relating to your customers or any other unique information. If you are not particularly concerned with this kind of back-up utility you may opt for a Raid 2 configuration in which there is a primary hard drive with the secondary drive being used once the primary storage becomes full. The Raid hard drive arrangements make dedicated server hosting many times more reliable than regular non dedicated server hosting.
FTP Backup: The best dedicated hosting providers will additionally provide an FTP back-up account for your account. You can mirror vital content that is already on your dedicated hosting server in that account.
The benefits of dedicated server hosting are clear. Armed with this knowledge feel free to look around for the cheapest dedicated hosting providers. A reliable dedicated hosting company will provide you with all the above-mentioned options to ensure that your mega website and games are always up and running. Remember, choose only those options which you need in a reliable dedicated server. There is no hard and fast rule for what constitutes reliable dedicated servers : you must carefully decide which options are best suited for the applications which you intend to run. A low cost dedicated server that has all the bandwidth, space and security features to run your programs effectively is the perfect upgrade from a non dedicated server hosting plan. Your dedicated hosting server is yours to customize so do it wisely and cost effectively.