As a webmaster, there are a lot of choices which need to be made, choices which ultimately affect the long-term success of your project. Hosting definitely has its role in the equation and if youâ€™re serious about making an informed decision, you need to analyze all of the benefits as well as drawbacks associated with going dedicated.
When it comes to drawbacks, the fact that dedicated servers tend to be more expensive is by far the most important one. After all, nobody wants to spend hundreds of dollars monthly on hosting unless itâ€™s either a necessity (maybe the site has outgrown its current setup) or the pros clearly outweigh the cons.
Do the Pros outweigh the Cons?
No two projects are alike, so it all depends on the specifics of yours. If you have a huge budget at your disposal, it makes sense to go dedicated right from the beginning because that way, you wonâ€™t have to go through the hassle of migrating from one hosting plan to another once your site starts receiving some serious traffic.
If that is not the case though and if youâ€™re on a tight budget, calculations are in order. Leaving other benefits aside (the fact that you have a lot of resources at your disposal, the fact that you donâ€™t have to worry about other websites crashing the server due to a sudden spike of traffic and the list could go on and on), letâ€™s focus on the SEO aspect of things.
What Are the SEO Benefits of Dedicated Servers?
First of all, itâ€™s important to understand that there are no â€œdirectâ€ SEO benefits to hosting on a dedicated server. In other words, search engine spiders donâ€™t check if your website is hosted on a dedicated server in order to give boosts or penalties based on what they find out.
On the other hand, there are quite a few indirect SEO benefits associated with dedicated servers. First of all, you donâ€™t have to worry about your website being in a â€œbad neighborhoodâ€. The main problem with shared hosting is that a lot of websites, sometimes even thousands, end up being hosted on the same server/IP.
Unfortunately for the people who only employ legitimate approaches to search engine optimization, not everyone is willing to play fair. There are webmasters who are always on the lookout for the fast way to success and itâ€™s safe to assume that out of hundreds or thousands of websites hosted on a certain server, at least a handful will be â€œproblematicâ€ from that perspective. In other words, even if you do everything right, thereâ€™s a chance that youâ€™ll have to pay for other peopleâ€™s mistakes.
Aside from that, thereâ€™s also the issue of page loading / page refresh speed which needs to be taken into consideration. Algorithms are constantly changing, but at least some search engines take page load times into consideration at least to a certain degree. It makes perfect sense if you stop for a moment and think about what search engines are meant to do. Search engines all want to display the best possible websites when someone searches for a certain term and fast page load times are important when it comes to the experience of your visitors. Of course, there are other factors which also are taken into consideration and most of them have more weight than page load times. But still, having an edge, however insignificant it may seem, is always a good thing, especially if youâ€™re targeting terms which are extremely competitive.
The most important thing that dedicated servers put on the table is complete control. Itâ€™s your server and you can use it as you please. This means that you have more control over the software that youâ€™re using and that you can tweak absolutely everything. Now that weâ€™ve analyzed some of the most important SEO benefits associated with dedicated server, it all boils down to one question:
Do These Benefits Outweigh the Extra Costs?
Thereâ€™s unfortunately no universally valid answer to this question, it all depends on how much money you have at your disposal and how competitive the term youâ€™re targeting is. If your budget is not exactly impressive then the answer is probable that no, the SEO benefits alone do not make going dedicated worth it. There are a lot of more useful things that you could do with the money youâ€™d have to spend on a dedicated server. You can always upgrade at a later point but until then, there are more important things which deserve your financial attention.
On the other hand, if your budget is decent at the very least then yes, going dedicated makes sense, especially if youâ€™re targeting extremely competitive terms. Having another edge definitely canâ€™t hurt and all things considered, paying extra for a dedicated server will prove to be worth it in the long run.