In our last two posts, we learned that shared hosting is usually faster than a VPS, but that VPSes deliver extreme flexibility. So what happens when you want the best of both worlds? What happens when you need maximum performance AND maximum flexibility? We’re glad you asked! The answer is simple: dedicated servers and co-location.
What’s a Dedicated Server?
The short end of it is that a dedicated server combines the raw performance of shared hosting with the flexibility, isolation, and security of a VPS. After all, shared hosting and VPSes are just dedicated servers shared by multiple users. just imagine if you had the full power of the server all to yourself!
Just as the name suggests, a dedicated server is a server that’s entirely dedicated to you. It’s a full-throttle physical server, custom-configured to meet your exact specifications. Our engineers will assemble your server out of enterprise-grade components (like Intel Xeon processors and ECC memory), install it one one of our two tier-3 datacenters, and hand you the keys. And because we own the hardware, we’re 100% responsible for any hardware failures and physical maintenance.
Because a dedicated server is the fastest and most powerful form of hosting out there, it also requires more of an investment than other types of hosting. Typical prices for a quality dedicated server start around $150 / month and vary depending on how you want the server configured. But when you compare that to the cost of buying your own server — and paying for a maintenance contract — from a major vendor like Dell or Lenovo, it’s easy to see why renting a server makes so much more sense than buying.
Many of our dedicated servers also include full KVM / IPMI access, giving you access to the server (including boot time) as if you were sitting right in front of it!
Closely related to dedicated servers is co-location. Both services involve having an entire server dedicated exclusively to you, but with co-location, you own and maintain all the hardware. Provided you already have the equipment, co-location is often much more affordable than renting a dedicated server. In fact, our co-location services start at just $99 / month!
With co-location, you deliver your servers and networking equipment our tier 3 datacenter in Harrisburg PA. It gets installed and racked in our secure environment, and placed online using the IP addresses you’ve been assigned. We provide the bandwidth, power, and stable environment, and you bring the gear. Small businesses love co-location because it means they can finally get their servers out of that dusty broom closet and into the same grade of datacenter that’s usually reserved for (and only affordable by) much larger organizations.
The Choice Is Yours
A dedicated server is best when you need a flexible, high-performance environment but don’t want the hassle (or up-front expense) of purchasing and maintaining your own equipment. Most of our dedicated server customers are extreme power users and small businesses.
Co-location is best when you already own your equipment and don’t mind handling maintenance needs on your own. Co-location customers are typically larger organizations with multiple servers who know exactly what they want.
If you just run a casual blog or a smaller website, neither of these options are going to be a sensible fit. Shared hosting and virtual servers are more powerful than ever, and they’re ideal for most users who can’t afford to spend several hundred to several thousand a month on hosting costs. But if you’re a small business or a hardcore power user, dedicated servers and co-location are the way to go.
Next week, our final post in this series is going to talk about the single most important topic of all: how to choose the right web host.