So your web host just sent you a notice informing that they cannot host your site on that shared hosting plan anymore because you are chewing too much of server resources? Great! Welcome to the big-boys club! It’s about time you move from that condo into your own private mansion.
When it comes to Dedicated Servers, you will never have to share your resources with hundreds of others like you had to do on Shared Hosting Plans and that means hundreds of times more raw processing power for you. You will also have complete freedom to whatever you want to do with your server and whenever you want.
There is an old saying â€“Â With Power, Comes Responsibility! And that is even truer when it comes to dedicated servers. You will not have someone to hold your hand and you will be responsible to make sure that your server is up and running fine.
Why, you may ask.Â It all boils down to economics.
In this article we will talk about the different flavors of dedicated servers, their benefits and pitfalls and how to decide which type is best for you. But first, let’s talk about why the world of dedicated hosting so different from that of shared hosting.
Two Worlds Apart
Shared Hosting â€“ The principle is simply that if you don’t need all the resources that a server has then share it with others and bring down your costs. But it gets more complex, and profitable, when webhosts realize that customers over-estimate their resource needs and they can easily oversell the server resources they have. That is how they can offer you the world for just $2.95 a month.
Dedicated Servers â€“ Dedicated Servers are a different story. Unlike shared hosting, they cannot put hundreds of clients on single server. Though dedicated hosts oversell bandwidth all the time but they cannot cut down hardware costs like shared hosts can.
To cut costs the only thing they can do (apart from offering subpar infrastructure â€“ and getting their company folded faster than they can say subpar infrastructure because of lack of customers) is to cut down on server administration costs and save on man-hours.
Different Flavors of Dedicated Hosting
While webhosts know that there is a huge market for cheap no-frills dedicated servers, which is why when you visit any of the popular budget server providers, you see Sold Out plastered throughout their website. At the same time, there are quite a few people who are willing to shell out premium pricing for value added services which they prefer to leave to the experts.
So, in essence, there are just two major categories of dedicated servers â€“
- Unmanaged Dedicated Servers. This is the no-frills variety and it is the responsibility of the customer to manage day to day operations and maintenance of the servers.
It is the responsibility of the client to install and update the server software, apply the required patches, compile the kernel, restore operating system and monitor security of the system.
- Managed Dedicated Servers. Unlike unmanaged servers where every nearly aspect of server management is left to the client, hosting companies proactively manage and maintain your fully managed dedicated server. They have experienced system administrators on roll for the management of your system.
It will be the responsibility of your hosting company to install and update the server software, apply the required patches, compile the kernel, restore operating system and monitor security of the system.
Managed or Unmanaged â€“ The Million Dollar Question
To find out what kind of dedicated server â€“ managed or unmanaged â€“ do you need, you need to consider the following factors â€“
- Your Technical Expertise. Your success online will totally depend on your website being available to the end users, all the time and whenever they want it. You need to take an honest look at your own technical abilities and your IT staff to ensure that server will indeed work the way it is supposed to work.
Webhosting companies keep expert system administrators on roll to manage servers for their clients. They probably have lot more experience than you or your staff at managing servers.
- Cost Constraints. Managed servers will inevitably cost more than unmanaged servers. After all, the hosting company will have to pay the people who they hire to manage your server. And since your webhost is not in charity business, they try to make a profit for themselves too!
You need to decide if you can afford the kind of costs the host is charging for server management. And don’t just calculate costs at the face value â€“ take into account the potential losses which might occur if the server goes down due to your technical incompetence and how much more can you make in the time you would spend on managing your server or learning about how to manage the server.
- Time Constraints. You need to see if you actually have the time to manage your server. You also need to see if you can make more money than you will be saving by choosing unmanaged instead of managed by spending the same time on your business rather than managing the technical aspects of your server.
How to Choose a Managed Dedicated Server
When choosing a Managed Dedicated Server, you need to consider the following factors â€“
- Initial Setup Costs. What will be the initial setup costs of setting up the server? How much will you be charged for loading the server with an OS and hardening it? How much will you be charged for customizing the server according to your needs?
- Initial Setup Time. How long will the company take to setup your server? Will they need to procure the hardware after you order or they have it in their stock? How long will they take to setup the software?
- The Network. What kind of network will your server be connected to? Does the host have adequate redundancy in the network setup? What kind of speeds can they offer?
- Is it Truly Managed? The definition of Managed Servers differs from host to host. You need to check what all tasks will they perform as part of server management.
- Service Provider’s Reputation. Perhaps the most important thing to look into is if you can trust a webhost. What kind of things others are saying about them? Google is your friend.
Final Thoughts â€“ When your site’s resource needs grow, you will need to go in for a dedicated server. There are different flavors of Dedicated Servers available in the market, mainly â€“ managed and unmanaged. You need to decide if you want to manage the technical aspects of server management yourself or leave it to the experts. Take time to research your needs and options because your online success will depend on it.
Thank you for reading our article on Decising on a Managed Dedicated Server. Head back to ourÂ Managed Dedicated Servers Article section.