These days any business must have a decent online presence. The pandemic showed companies across all industries and sizes that the Internet is the place to be. Even if your business is poised for the physical world, you can still digitize a lot of your processes and communications, and now, exploring the possibilities for your digital transformation must also include dedicated servers.
So, let’s get to grips with what dedicated servers are, and how your business can benefit from them. Dedicated servers are a specific niche that sits between cloud-based hosting and regular hosting. They offer some exclusive and unique features which can make the difference between a regular cloud service and choosing a dedicated server (or several).
What is a dedicated server?
A dedicated server is a hosting service where you rent an entire server (or several) all to yourself. Depending on the options you’ve selected, you may even be able to configure the hardware – CPU, RAM, storage, etc. Once the operating system for your configuration has been chosen, all you have to do is wait until it’s all set up and you’re granted access to it. The server “lives” in a data center and you get to use it all to yourself along with the extra benefits of the data center (high-speed connections, better security, etc).
Usually, it takes a day or so for your dedicated server to be ready. But some services, like Neterra’s for example, can offer you a fully ready and set-up dedicated server within ten minutes of placing the order. There are plenty of ready configurations available but there’s also the option to specify a completely custom configuration, for which the wait time is up to two days.
A dedicated server basically works like any other server. You can use it for everything you need (within the user agreement limits) and run your business on it if you want. Or you can set up an online store on it and be sure that no one else will use the same resources as you. Most of the maintenance is also up to you when it comes to the software side. For any hardware issues, you can rely on the service provider.
Dedicated servers are gaining popularity
Dedicated servers have long been somewhat in the background of the hosting world. We all know they are there, but the big focus usually falls on the cloud, virtualization and other technologies. Despite that, the dedicated server demand is quietly rising and has been growing at a steady pace for a while. In the past, it didn’t receive as much attention, because most small and medium businesses tend to avoid it due to the higher prices.
But as the need for dedicated resources grows and the benefits of these services starts to shine, more companies are looking toward them. According to HTH Guide, by 2025 the global hosting industry will reach a net worth of $152.7 billion. In 2020 alone, the dedicated web hosting market reached $6.53 billion. ReportLinker predicts that the compound annual growth rate will be 13.2% by 2026 – that’s for the entire hosting industry. Just for the dedicated hosting, the rate will be 11.1%. The demand is expected to remain strong, especially for enhanced security and reliable, fast-loading services.
Why do you need a dedicated server?
Well, because you get access to a lot of benefits and essential features. For example, server management and enterprise-grade performance. Some providers now offer managed dedicated hosting services. This means you can essentially outsource basics like application installation, system updates, patching, etc. Of course, you pay more for that, but you get the knowledge that everything maintenance-wise is handled on your dedicated server.
The better security is another big benefit. At the very least, the dedicated server is placed in a secure, enterprise-grade data center. That alone means a much higher level of security than any SMB on-premises set up. Also, some dedicated hosting providers offer additional security features like DDoS protection, IPMI access, RAID controllers and even Backup-as-a-Service so that you don’t lose any data in the case of an incident or a breach. All of this significantly improves the security of your business.
Another benefit of dedicated servers is the high-end technical support. Even if you can manage all the software issues by yourself, you can always enlist the help of your provider’s team of specialists. That technical support is much more advanced and can help you tackle any issue. Sometimes a certain amount and/or type of inquiries are even included in the base price. Either way, the support, knowledge and experience you have access to are excellent and are a great advantage.
Onto the next benefit. Being within a high-quality data center, your dedicated server can enjoy high uptime and availability; there’s backup power, constant monitoring and high-end connectivity for everyone at the data center. This means that the only reason why your server would be down is a hardware or software issue with it directly. Other factors are almost impossible to stop your server unless of course there’s a natural disaster (hopefully not). And of course, you have the freedom to pick and add security software and features from your partners and trusted companies as you see fit.
And what if your needs expand? Easy. You can always order extra RAM, storage, etc. Or you can easily deploy more dedicated servers. The point is – there are a lot of options for you to scale up or down whenever and as needed. And all while keeping all the resources exclusively for you, without sharing them with others.
When do you really need a dedicated server?
So, we’ve discussed the benefits, but how do you know if you actually need a dedicated server? Of course, we could say “everyone needs a dedicated server” and be done with it, but that would just hurt the niche. In order to be happy with your decision to go for such a service, you need to know if you truly need it.
For one, you’ve noticed your applications aren’t working as fast as they should. Maybe your load speeds are dragging, your users have complained, or you notice they aren’t as active. So, if you need a fast, reliable service, then start researching dedicated servers.
Next, you notice that you need better security. Regular web hosts can’t offer the same level of security as a cloud or dedicated service. If your business is booming, that will make you even more of a target for hackers. So, you must be on point and improve your security well before you become interesting to cyber criminals. Dedicated servers allow you to customize your security services and features so that you are always prepared as best you can.
Another reason is your fast growth. If you notice your traffic and/or service usage is rising fast and it’s not the result of hackers, then great news – your business is on the rise. It’s also a prime time to go for a dedicated server. It will bring you a lot more resources which you can use to the fullest without sharing them with someone else.
Also, a dedicated server means more freedom. So, if you want the ability to choose hardware, to have the software, control and customization you desire, then this is the type of service for you.
Another popular question is what size of a company would truly benefit from a dedicated server. The answer is – any! It doesn’t matter if your organization is small, medium or large when it comes to using a dedicated server. The key is if you have a need for it. If you see a way your business will benefit from this technology, then that’s why you should go for it, not because your company is or isn’t the ‘right’ size.
What to consider when choosing a dedicated server host
So, you’ve decided it’s time for a dedicated server. Great. Now, let’s see the basics which you should consider when choosing your provider.
The first step is to research the available opportunities. There might be several options for your region. Choose between prices, but also consider where the data center is located. You don’t want it to be too far from you unless there’s a specific reason.
Next, carefully research the reputation of the providers. Establish contact with them if you want more information about their dedicated servers. Ask them specific questions about the service, the security and other details you may need. Gauge their replies to see if they are open and upfront or seem reluctant to say.
If you are happy with the replies and your research, then you can move on to the next step. Consider the type of included and additional services you can get – be it for extra security, backups, technical support, etc. Add the possible additional costs to your overall budget. Consider if it’s worth it to increase the possible spending to get those beneficial services.
Next, consider the performance. See if the available dedicated configurations are going to be suitable for your current and near-term needs. Sometimes it may be better to opt for a slightly more powerful configuration but have the extra resource on hand if you expect sporadic jumps in usage.
And back to the data center. Location is only one thing to consider. Also research the quality of the data center, what it’s certified for and what type of connections it offers. Reliability, performance, compliance and security are all key when choosing your dedicated server provider.
The allocated bandwidth for your dedicated server is also important – both in max available speed and traffic. Good providers already offer 1 Gbit/s ports and unlimited bandwidth for all their dedicated server offerings.