Website Hosting Directory and Information
Dedicated Hosting Explained
Putting up your website can be an overwhelming process. There are several factors you will constantly need to keep in mind, from web design to content to traffic statistics. If you have a lot riding on your website (e.g. if your business depends on online sales for a considerable amount of revenue) you will definitely want every aspect to be accounted for and running smoothly.
One aspect of your website that you will want to put a lot of thought into is the type of web hosting you select. Web hosting generally refers to the physical location of where your web site is stored. Individuals and businesses go to web hosting companies where, for certain fees, their website is placed on a server and made available on the internet.
The overall idea is simple enough, but various factors and details come into play when it comes down to how you want your website hosted. Large businesses, websites with intricate and complex computing requirements, and/or websites anticipating high volumes of traffic will be best served by a dedicated host.
What exactly is dedicated hosting? In plain terms, it means your website is the sole resident on a server and is given a unique IP address. This IP (or “internet protocol”) address is dedicated to only your website and the server in which it resides. More importantly, since your website is the only site living on the server, it has full access to the server's resources. Also, by not having to share the server with other websites, you need not worry about other websites causing the server to crash.
Dedicated hosting has several advantages over shared hosting and is really the only way to go if you want the best in reliability and support.
Businesses with websites that have intricate shopping and e-commerce systems, for example, require the power of a dedicated server host. If your website is running on a complex database or requires numerous databases to function, then you will depend on a high level of processing power. With a shared host, you will obviously have to share server resources with all the other sites on the server. This may not be problematic if the other websites on the server have low traffic or if they do not require a substantial amount of server resources, but this can be difficult to predict and control. It may be in your best interest to not gamble with these variables if you require the fastest website load times. Having a dedicated host will cut down on user wait times since visitors to your site will be the only ones consuming the server's processing resources.
Another major factor to keep in mind when selecting hosting options is to determine whether your website requires the use of SSL encryption, or “Secure Sockets Layer” encryption. SSL encryption, simply put, encrypts data sent from the client to the server so that only the server is able to read the data. Many shopping and e-commerce sites use this to ensure that transactions made through their sites are secure, giving their customers the confidence that their private information, such as credit card information, is protected and being transmitted safely. For SSL encryption to be implemented on a website, a unique IP address is required, and therefore necessitates dedicated hosting for your website.
If you do decide to go with a dedicated hosting solution, you will have to decide between a managed or unmanaged account. An unmanaged hosting account will include little or no technical support for the maintenance of your website. It is therefore up to you to handle upkeep. Some individuals and businesses prefer this option, as they like to have complete control over their site and who is able to work with it. Larger businesses have in-house system administrators or IT teams dedicated to just site maintenance. Of course, this is not a financially feasible option for many businesses. The other option is to go with a managed hosting account in which the host provides you with various levels of support. Some hosts have large teams of website administrators that can be allocated to your site, but the higher levels of support will also incur higher rates. Depending on several factors such as the complexity of your site or how much potential down time may cost you if your site does crash, you will need to weigh the pros and cons of whether a managed or unmanaged hosting option is right for you.
How much does a dedicated host cost? You can expect rates to fall around $80 per month. Of course, you will probably be able to find providers for much less depending on the options and services they offer. If you find rates far below this amount, however, you might want to double check that you are truly getting a dedicated host with a unique IP address. Conversely, you will also find rates well above the average amount, but you will want to take a close look at whether the added services and added costs are something your business truly needs. If so, then the money is well spent. Consider it a kind of insurance in the sense that you are paying for reliability and up-time. Choosing a less expensive provider may save you on monthly costs, but if their management and maintenance of the site is not up to par, you may run into server crashes and down-time. The money you stand to lose during a server crash may be much more than what you save per month on hosting fees.
Can't decide on a hosting solution? Most small and medium businesses are very successful with shared hosting. For most of these businesses, the extra services and benefits of a dedicated server are simply unnecessary. They will be able to do very well without the extras and they save money in the process. Large businesses, in most cases, will require a dedicated host, if anything, for the sheer control they have over how their server is run. For these clients, the extra expense is negligible and budgeted for anyway.