You’ve noticed or had customer complaints that your application or website has been running slow. You have a reputable hosting provider, at least you thought you did, but you come to find out that you’re using shared hosting.
Apparently, there are other people within your server hogging all of the resources that you didn’t know you were sharing in the first place. Now your provider is recommending a dedicated server as that will resolve the issues.
But what exactly is a dedicated server and how does this compare with what you thought was working fine?
Dedicated Server Definition, In a Nutshell
A dedicated server is a computer that is set aside for a specific task, such as hosting a resource-intensive application or website. Dedicated servers can take several forms.
With a dedicated server, the server is a computer that is reserved explicitly on a network for your application or website.
For many web hosting companies, the standard type of hosting, or at least the lowest priced option, is in the form of cloud hosting. When your company chooses a public cloud provider, your application and website may reside on one or many computers and utilize cloud computing.
In a shared hosting solution, your website or app is vying for resources with an unknown number of other software applications. This creates a potential situation listed above where you start to experience slow-down or lag from someone else. These additional software applications and websites may use resources that your applications or site needs.
When speaking about dedicated servers with hosting companies, the service provider sets aside one server (or a single machine) to handle the workload the website or application requires. Managed servers give you access to your very own Private Cloud and give you the flexibility of cloud hosting but with the added security and speed of your own resource center.
In-House or Off-Site Servers?
In some cases, a dedicated server can be on-site at your place of business.
There are pluses and minuses to this type of solution.
The obvious benefit is that you have complete physical control of the hardware and who has access to it. This is extremely useful for companies that require the security of a closed network and a Private Cloud.
The security measures on these machines are often more stringent than those for companies that need website hosting. Companies that deal with financial data, medical records, or sensitive government regulated data are more likely to choose this option over companies that don’t require such measures.
The downside to having an in-house server is maintenance and scalability, especially if the machines are self-managed. Should you choose to go this route, you will regularly need to update your hardware and software, costing a company in time, resources, and money that could be utilized elsewhere. If you decide to outsource maintenance, there’s the problem of vetting technicians and ensuring that everything is completed to your satisfaction. You must also have a server room (or at least a place) that is appropriately climate and access controlled.
Backups and redundancy are something to consider with your own server.
If there is a problem with your data, if there is a catastrophic incident (hackers, disk failures, and natural catastrophes), or if there is a need for maintenance, you or your team are directly responsible for handling downtime. If your business requires that your servers be up and running 24/7, you will need to develop a plan to ensure that your applications or websites will still run when your primary server is down.
Off-site servers through a hosting company allow the application or web hosting company to provide a dedicated server but off-site, presumably at the hosting company’s data center. Companies most often rent these servers from hosting companies and have the hosting company handle the complexity of backups, redundancy, maintenance, and upgrades.
Dedicated Servers for Software As A Service (SaaS) Providers
Another business model that often utilizes dedicated servers is Software-as-a-Service (Saas), providers. By using the dedicated server as infrastructure to provide Software-as-a-Service products, companies can focus on their software rather than worry about infrastructure-related concerns.
SaaS generally needs to be web-accessible 24/7/365, so reliability is of vital importance. By leasing these types of servers from companies that are in the business of providing dedicated hardware, SaaS providers get a server that they can rely on. By allowing their provider to address any infrastructure related issues as they arise, they free up their technical staff’s valuable time to get back to doing what they do best-providing excellent software solutions for their customers. Many SaaS companies offer backups, support, and server management. Because dedicated servers can be rented rather than purchased outright, this option can provide an excellent way for