The Best Dedicated Server Hosting of 2020

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Compare Dedicated Server Hosting

Selecting a dedicated server to host your website is a significant investment of time and money. It’s crucial that you choose a dedicated server that provides you with the speed, uptime, bandwidth, security, and customer service you need.

Website creators have a number of options when choosing dedicated servers. To make the selection process easier, we reviewed the most popular dedicated servers to find the ones with the most secure data centers, best customer service, most reliable uptimes, and fastest SSD storage. We also factored in customer and expert reviews, to ensure we’re recommending the best dedicated servers available.

Best Dedicated Server Hosting Providers

Best-Dedicated-Server-Hosting-Badge

How Did We Pick the Best Hosts for Dedicated Servers?

We started with a list of hosting companies with highly secure datacenters, outstanding uptime, and superior customer support. We then selected dedicated server hosting plans which included CDNs and super-fast SSD storage.

We validated this list against our huge database of customer reviews to get our list of best dedicated server hosts.

Best Dedicated Servers

A2 Hosting

A2-Hosting

A2 Hosting offers three types of dedicated servers: Unmanaged, Managed (no root access), and Core (managed servers with root access). And for each of these server types, there are three plan tiers available: Sprint, Exceed, and Mach.

Pricing starts with the Unmanaged Sprint plan for $99.59 per month. It offers 2 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM, 2×500 GB storage, and 10 TB data transfer. If you’d rather have someone else deal with maintaining the infrastructure, your most affordable option is either the Managed Sprint or Core Sprint plan, which both cost $141.09 per month. These plans have the same technical specs as the Unmanaged Sprint plan, and they offer cPanel-based site management, security patches, upgrades of core software, a free SSL certificate, and 24/7 live chat and phone support.

Also, A2 Hosting has an anytime money-back guarantee. Cancelling within 30 days of purchase will get you a full refund. If you cancel after 30 days, your refund will be prorated according to the time remaining in your contract.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Unmanaged Servers
Sprint: $99.59/month
Exceed: $165.99/month
Mach: $248.99/month

Core Servers
Sprint: $141.09/month
Exceed: $207.49/month
Mach: $290.49/month

Managed Dedicated Servers
Sprint: $141.09/month
Exceed: $207.49/month
Mach: $290.49/month

30-day

>Uptime: 99.835%
>Customer Support: 24/7 live chat and phone
>More features at A2 Hosting

Pros & Cons of A2 Dedicated Hosting 

Whether you want an unmanaged or managed dedicated server, A2 Hosting has you covered. Their anytime money-back guarantee is also appealing. There are more affordable options out there, though.

Pros

Cons

>Variety of server options
>Anytime money-back guarantee

>Relatively high starting price
>Limited bandwidth

What Customers Are Saying

A2 Hosting has received a lot of praise for their customer service. “The tech support is amazing,” wrote one customer. “There’s rarely a wait for chat, and more complicated issues that go to a second level get immediate attention.”

AccuWeb Hosting

AccuWeb-Hosting

AccuWeb has been named PC Mag’s Editor’s Choice for dedicated hosting. Rather than grouping their dedicated servers into plan tiers, they maintain a catalog on their site of hundreds of individual servers for sale.

For example, the most affordable dedicated server that’s now available on AccuWeb Hosting is located in Poland and costs $82 per month. Its specs include 16 GB RAM, 2×4 TB storage, and an Intel Xeon 2.2 GHz processor. These prices go all the way up to $1,120 per month for a server based in Denver with 512 GB of RAM, 4×2 TB storage, and a dual Intel Gold 2.3 GHz processor.

All AccuWeb Hosting dedicated server plans include unmetered bandwidth, DDoS protection, server monitoring, and 24/7 support. However, they do not offer a free trial or money-back guarantee for these plans.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Plans start at $80/month

None

>Uptime: 97%
>Customer Support: 24/7 support
>More features at AccuWeb Hosting

Pros & Cons of AccuWeb Dedicated Hosting

Considering that there are hundreds of options to choose from, many users will be able to find a good fit for their dedicated hosting needs with AccuWeb. But the fact that there is no money-back guarantee makes this option a little risky.

Pros

Cons

>Wide selection of servers
>Low prices available

>No money-back guarantee

What Customers Are Saying

Customers often praise AccuWeb Hosting for their reliable service. “Their service is top notch, I have had no downtime on my website,” wrote one user. “Speed & reliability have been great with them.”

Bluehost

Bluehost-Logo

Bluehost offers three dedicated hosting plans: Standard, Enhanced, and Premium. All of these plans include cPanel-based site management, a free SSL certificate, free domain registration for one year, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The Standard plan is $79.99 per month, and its specs are 4 CPU cores, 500 GB storage (mirrored), 4 GB RAM, 5 TB of bandwidth, and 3 IP addresses. Upgrading to the Premium plan would cost $119.99 per month and get you 1 TB storage (mirrored), 8 GB RAM, and 10 TB of bandwidth.

Bluehost has also set up a 24/7 phone support line exclusively for their dedicated hosting customers.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Standard: $79.99/month
Enhanced: $99.99%
Premium: $119.99/month

30-day

>Uptime: 99.961%
>Customer Support: 24/7 phone support
>More features at Bluehost

Pros & Cons of Bluehost Dedicated Hosting

If price is a priority, then Bluehost should be one of your top options. You’re not going to find dedicated hosting for much less than $79.99 per month. One drawback is that they don’t have many dedicated hosting options to choose from.

Pros

Cons

>Low starting price
>Exclusive 24/7 phone support line

>Only three hosting options
>Limited bandwidth

What Customers Are Saying

Many user reviews talk up Bluehost’s customer support. “Bluehost has 24/7 support and the techs have always been helpful and knowledgeable,” wrote one user. “As a client for more than five years, there have been only a few times support was required. But it always ended in a resolution of the problem.”

DreamHost

DreamHost Logo

DreamHost offers two dedicated hosting plans, Standard and Enhanced. The Standard plan costs $149 per month for an Intel Xeon 4-Core 8-Thread processor, 4 GB RAM, 1 TB storage, root access, uncapped bandwidth, 24/7 server monitoring, and DDoS protection.

The Enhanced plan is $279 per month, and it includes an Intel Xeon 12-Core 24-Thread processor, 16 GB RAM, and 2 TB storage along with all the features that come with the Standard plan.

For support, you can always email their team of in-house experts or consult the automated DreamHost Help Bot. Live chat is available every day from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. PT.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Standard: $149/month
Enhanced: $279/month

None

>Uptime: 99.902%
>Customer Support: Live chat daily 5:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. PT
>More features at DreamHost

Pros & Cons of DreamHost Dedicated Hosting

DreamHost offers attractive features such as 24/7 server monitoring and DDoS protection, but you’ll need to consider their pricing and support concerns. Also, they do not offer a money-back guarantee for their dedicated hosting plans.

Pros

Cons

>24/7 server monitoring
>DDoS protection

>High starting price
>No money-back guarantee

What Customers Are Saying

Users who chose to invest in dedicated hosting from DreamHost have found that the service is well worth the price. “Dreamhost is not fancy gimmicks or overpriced,” wrote one customer. “You get exactly what you pay for and they deliver. We started with their shared hosting many years ago and moved to a virtual private server, and then a dedicated server and then upgraded our dedicated server. We have not turned back. We run over 50 sites and without any issues.”

GoDaddy

GoDaddy

Founded in 1999, GoDaddy is one of the oldest active hosting companies. It’s also one of the most well-known thanks to their long-running nationwide ad campaigns.

They offer four dedicated hosting plans: Economy, Value, Deluxe, and Ultimate. The Economy plan is $94.99 per month, and it offers 4 CPU cores, 4 GB RAM, 1 TB storage (RAID-1), unmetered bandwidth, 3 IP addresses, cPanel-based site management, and a free 1-year SSL certificate. Upgrading to the Ultimate plan costs $184.99 per month, and it bumps the RAM up to 32 GB as well as the storage up to 2 TB (RAID-1).

For support, GoDaddy has phone reps available 24/7. If you want to cancel your subscription, you’ll need to do so within 48 hours after purchasing a monthly plan or within 30 days after purchasing an annual plan.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Economy: $94.99/month
Value: $109.99/month
Deluxe: $134.99/month
Ultimate: $184.99/month

30-day

>Uptime: 99.97%
>Customer Support: 24/7 phone support
>More features at GoDaddy

Pros & Cons of GoDaddy Dedicated Hosting

Customer service is especially important when it comes to web hosting, so it’s always good to see 24/7 phone support. But if you’re on a tight budget, you could find a better price elsewhere.

Pros

Cons

>24/7 phone support

>Relatively high starting price

What Customers Are Saying

An additional advantage to GoDaddy, which was highlighted in many customer reviews, is that their interface is particularly easy to navigate: “I absolutely loved the admin panel in GoDaddy. Such a wealth of data and at the same time the interface is very comprehensive. Comfortable to use.”

HostGator

HostGator logo

HostGator’s three dedicated hosting plans are Value, Power, and Enterprise.

The Value plan is $89.98 per month and comes with 4 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB storage, 3 IP addresses, and unmetered bandwidth. The Enterprise plan is $139.99 per month and features 8 CPU cores and 30 GB of RAM.

All HostGator dedicated hosting plans provide full root access, DDoS protection, server monitoring, and 24/7 live chat and phone support. But they don’t offer a money-back guarantee for these plans.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Value: $89.98/month
Power: $119.89/month
Enterprise: $139.99/month

None

>Uptime: 99.97%
>Customer Support: 24/7 live chat and phone
>More features at HostGator

Pros & Cons of HostGator Dedicated Hosting

HostGator is affordable and comes with helpful features such as DDoS protection and server monitoring, but they have limited options available and there’s no money-back guarantee.

Pros

Cons

>DDoS protection
>Server monitoring
>24/7 phone support

>Only three hosting options
>No money-back guarantee

What Customers Are Saying

The customer reviews show that HostGator is another web hosting provider with excellent customer service. “The customer service personnel are professional and friendly,” wrote one user. “And most importantly, they solve any issue you raise. The customer support is there 24/7. So, when I am using their services, I have nothing to worry about because I know in case of any issue, I will find someone to help me.”

HostWinds

HostWinds

HostWinds offers a handful of dedicated hosting options, starting with their E3-1270 v2 server for $90 per month. This plan comes with 4 CPU cores and 10 TB of bandwidth. 8 GB of RAM and multiple IP addresses can be purchased as add-ons.

The most premium HostWinds dedicated hosting plan is their 2x E5-2620 v2 server for $150 per month, which includes 6 CPU cores and 10 TB of bandwidth. But again, RAM and IP addresses must be purchased separately.

All HostWinds dedicated hosting plans come with nightly backups, server monitoring, and full management. Twenty-four seven live chat and phone support is available as well.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

E3-1270 v2: $90/month
E3-1270 v3: $90/month
E3-1271 v3: $105/month
E5-2620 v3: $140/month
E5-2620 v2: $135/month
2x E5-2620 v2: $150/month

60-day

>Uptime: 99.722%
>Customer Support: 24/7 live chat and phone
>More features at Hostwinds

Pros & Cons of HostWinds Dedicated Hosting

You can find reasonable prices for powerful hardware at HostWinds, but they do make you pay for some features that most other providers include for free.

Pros

Cons

>Server monitoring
>24/7 phone support

>Limited bandwidth
>RAM and IP addresses must be purchased separately

What Customers Are Saying

This HostWinds dedicated server customer is quite happy with their service and support: “For the last year we have been renting dedicated servers and everything just works. And if something at all does go wrong, their technician updates keep us informed including detailed post-event analysis.”

InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting

InMotion Hosting offers both “bare metal” unmanaged dedicated servers and fully managed dedicated servers. Each of these server types has three plan tiers available: Essential, Advanced, and Elite.

The bare metal Essential plan is $99.99 per month, and it includes an Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 processor, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB storage, 6 TB data transfer, 5 IP addresses, and built-in DDoS protection. The managed Essential plan offers the same technical specs for $139.99 per month, plus additional features such as cPanel-based site management, updates, security patches, and one-to-one Sysadmin time.

InMotion Hosting provides 24/7 live chat and phone support, and they have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Essential: $99.99/month
Managed Essential: $139.99/month

30-day

>Uptime: 99.836%
>Customer Support: 24/7 live chat and phone
>More features at InMotion Hosting

Pros & Cons of InMotion Dedicated Hosting

While it’s not going to be your most affordable option, InMotion does offer several feature-rich dedicated hosting plans to choose from.

Pros

Cons

>Variety of server options
>DDoS protection
>24/7 phone support

>High starting price
>Limited data transfer

What Customers Are Saying

This customer compared InMotion Hosting to one of the most popular and successful tech companies of all time: “They have incredibly fast servers that have solid state drives and their customer support and tech support is among the best. Not just in hosting companies. They are up there with Apple.”

InterServer

InterServer

InterServer is another provider that offers a catalog of individual servers rather than tiered dedicated hosting plans. The lowest price available is $80 per month for a Xeon E3-1230 v2 server with 4 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM, 2 TB storage, 10 TB of bandwidth, and 5 IP addresses.

The prices go up to $210 per month for a 2x Xeon Silver 4110 server with 16 CPU cores and 32 GB RAM.

All of these servers are based in the US, and they include DDoS protection, server monitoring, and managed support. 24/7 live chat and phone support is available, but InterServer does not offer a money-back guarantee for dedicated hosting.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Xeon E3-1230 v2 server: $80/month
Intel E3-1230 v6: $99/month
AMD EPYC 7402P: $199/month

None

>Uptime: 99.92%
>Customer Support: 24/7 live chat and phone
>More features at InterServer

Pros & Cons of InterServer Dedicated Hosting

As is the case with each provider that has a catalog of individual servers rather than tiered plans, with InterServer you’ll be able to choose from many different options and find an especially low price. One drawback is that unmetered bandwidth does not come included for free with any plan.

Pros

Cons

>Wide selection of servers
>Low prices available

>Need to pay extra for unmetered bandwidth
>No money-back guarantee

What Customers Are Saying

InterServer keeps their users happy with a combination of affordable prices and diligent customer service. “I’ve been with Interserver for over two years and the beginner-friendly pricing model alongside the extremely fast customer support is insane,” wrote one customer.

iPage

iPage

With iPage, there are three levels of dedicated hosting plans: Startup, Professional, and Enterprise.

Each of these plans includes 24/7 live chat and phone support, and iPage offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The Startup plan, which is $119.99 per month, offers 2 CPU cores, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB storage, 5 TB of bandwidth, 3 IP addresses, cPanel-based site management, and one year of free domain registration. Upgrading to the Enterprise plan for $191.99 per month improves the tech specs to 4 CPU cores, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB storage, 15 TB of bandwidth, and 5 IP addresses.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Startup: $119.99/month
Enterprise: $191.99/month

30-day

>Uptime: 99.951%
>Customer Support: 24/7 live chat and phone
>More features at iPage

Pros & Cons of iPage Dedicated Hosting

These dedicated hosting plans have high price points compared to your other options, and another con is that they put limits on bandwidth. But they do deserve credit for making their phone support available 24/7.

Pros

Cons

>24/7 phone support

>High starting price
>Limited bandwidth
>Only three hosting options

What Customers Are Saying

The customer reviews show that iPage’s commitment to great service is paying off. “Their customer support was excellent,” wrote one user. “We had live people to talk with and even got a follow-up contact to confirm resolution. Very happy with that.”

Kinsta

Kinsta

This managed WordPress hosting provider doesn’t really fit into either side of the shared vs. dedicated divide. Every site that uses the Kinsta platform is run in an isolated software container — that means you’re not sharing resources with anyone else, but you’re also not getting access to your own physical server.

Their prices start at $30 per month, but that basic plan probably won’t be able to accommodate the needs of someone who’s looking for the high-end performance of traditional dedicated hosting. To handle that kind of traffic, you would likely need to upgrade to Kinsta’s Business 1 plan, which costs $100 per month. Business 1 allows 100,000 monthly visits and includes 30 GB storage, a free SSL certificate, free CDN, and automated daily backups.

All Kinsta plans come with 24/7 support and a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Starter: $30/month
Pro: $60/month
Business 1: $100/month

30-day

>Uptime: 99.98%
>Customer Support: 24/7 support
>More features at Kinsta

Pros & Cons of Kinsta Dedicated Hosting

While Kinsta does offer some useful features, you’ll need to consider that their cost is fairly high and they put limits on traffic.

Pros

Cons

>Free CDN
>Automated daily backups

>Limited traffic
>No physical server

What Customers Are Saying

Even with more affordable options available, many users are more than content to stick with Kinsta. “I actually haven’t had a single problem with Kinsta so far,” wrote one customer. “They’re more expensive than many other hosting providers, but you also get a better tech infrastructure and great support because of that.”

Liquid Web

LiquidWeb

Liquid Web has dedicated servers available in Michigan, Arizona, and the Netherlands. 

The most affordable of these plans is an Intel Xeon 1230 server for $199 per month, which includes 4 CPU cores, 32 GB RAM, 2×240 GB storage, and 5 TB of bandwidth. If you’re interested in the best plan they have to offer and you have the budget for it, you should check out their Intel Gold 6130 server, which costs $549 per month and includes 16 CPU cores, 128 GB RAM, 4×480 GB storage, and 15 TB of bandwidth. 

All of these plans include DDoS protection, CloudFlare CDN, and 24/7 live chat and phone support. But unfortunately, there’s no money-back guarantee. 

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Intel Xeon 1230: $199/month
Intel Xeon Silver 4108: $299/month
Intel Xeon Gold 6130: $499/month

None

>Uptime: 99.966%
>Customer Support: 24/7 live chat
>More features at Liquid Web

Pros & Cons of Liquid Web Dedicated Hosting

There’s a lot to like about the features and support that’s offered by Liquid Web, but their pricing and the absence of a money-back guarantee make it a serious commitment.

Pros

Cons

>DDoS protection
>CloudFlare CDN
>24/7 phone support

>High starting price
>Limited bandwidth
>No money-back guarantee

What Customers Are Saying

Some customers haven’t been able to find any faults with Liquid Web. “I love the uptime, the swift, courteous, efficient service, and the truly HEROIC support I have been getting from Liquid Web for over 9 years,” wrote one user. “You can’t do better, I’ve tried!”

Scala Hosting

ScalaHosting

Scala Hosting offers just two dedicated hosting plans, an E3-1230 server and an E3-1230 RAID-10 server.

The E3-1230 server is $116 per month, and it includes 4 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB storage, 5 TB of bandwidth, and one IP address. You can also choose whether to use a US or Europe-based data center.

Upgrading to the E3-1230 RAID-10 server and its 16 GB RAM, 4x1TB RAID-10 storage, and 10 TB of bandwidth would cost you $200 per month.

Both of these plans come with free updates and security audits, a free firewall, 24/7 live chat support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

E3-1230 server: $116/month
E3-1230 RAID-10 server: $200/month

30-day

>Uptime: 99.798%
>Customer Support: 24/7 live chat
>More features at Scala Hosting

Pros & Cons of Scala Dedicated Hosting

Their prices may be somewhat high, but you have to take into account that Scala Hosting’s dedicated servers are managed on their end and include plenty of helpful features.

Pros

Cons

>Free updates and security audits
>Firewall

>High starting price
>Only two hosting options

What Customers Are Saying

High prices are often worth it when you’re getting access to high-end features. “Scala has a very powerful feature set,” wrote one customer. “It has the ability to do just about anything you could want it to do.”

SiteGround

SiteGround

Rather than selling access to physical servers, SiteGround offers users dedicated resources in the cloud.

There are four cloud plans available: Entry, Business, Business Plus, and Super Power. The Entry plan is $80 per month, and it includes 3 CPU cores, 6 GB RAM, 40 GB storage, and 5 TB data transfer. The Super Power plan is $240 per month and upgrades the number of CPU cores to 9, the RAM to 12 GB, and the storage to 120 GB.

These plans are all fully managed, plus they offer free CloudFlare CDN, Let’s Encrypt SSL, and daily backups. There’s 24/7 support and a 14-day money-back guarantee as well. 

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

14-day

>Uptime: 99.986%
>Customer Support: 24/7 support
>More features at SiteGround

Pros & Cons of SiteGround Dedicated Hosting

It’s rare to find managed dedicated servers for as low as $80 per month, but some users may be bothered by the fact that they’re not accessing their own exclusive physical server.

Pros

Cons

>Low starting price
>CloudFlare CDN
>Daily backups

>No physical server

What Customers Are Saying

This customer review confirms that SiteGround’s cloud/dedicated servers perform quite well: “Performance has never been an issue with their servers, especially on their cloud plans and dedicated server plans.”

TMDHosting

tmd-hosting

TMDHosting offers four dedicated hosting plans: Starter, The Original, Smart, and Super Powerful.

The Starter plan is $79.97 per month, and this gets you 4 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB storage (RAID-10), unlimited bandwidth, and cPanel-based site administration. Particularly high-traffic sites should take a look at the Super Powerful plan, which costs $149.97 per month and includes 8 CPU cores, 32 GB RAM, and 2×2 TB storage (RAID-10).

Also, these plans include a firewall, daily audits, daily backups, free domain registration, 24/7 support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Price

Money-Back Guarantee

Features

Starter: $79.97/month
The Original: $99.97/month
Smart: $124.97/month
Super Powerful: $149.97/month

30-day

>Uptime: 99.999%
>Customer Support: 24/7 technical support
>More features at TMDHosting

Pros & Cons of TMDHosting Dedicated Hosting

It’s hard to beat TMDHosting’s combination of affordable prices and impressive technical specs. The only flaw with their service is that there is no phone support.

Pros

Cons

>Low starting price
>Daily audits
>Firewall

>No phone support

What Customers Are Saying

TMDHosting may not offer phone support, but users still appear to be satisfied with their customer service. “Having used the services of TMDHosting for about two years now, I have to admit that TMDHosting’s service is the best I have ever known,” wrote one user. “No downtime, very professional and polite staff, amazingly fast all-round support experiences.”

What is a Dedicated Server?

A dedicated server is essentially a rented computer that is available to one customer alone. The host provides all the infrastructure to support it and in many cases does the basic management to keep it running. It is distinct from co-location where a host provides the infrastructure for your own server.

That makes dedicated servers an expensive solution, but it also gives professionals the capacity they need to run resource-intensive applications or host websites that have to cope with huge traffic spikes. For many businesses, dedicated servers are essential.

dedicated servers
Image courtesy of Flickr under a CC-BY 2.0 license.

When you select this kind of hosting, you get, as the name suggests, a dedicated server all to yourself. No other website lives on that server but yours. All the server’s storage space and speed are there for the benefit of your site alone.

Important Benefits of a Dedicated Server

Shared hosting is normally the cheapest hosting available from a web hosting company. Once a site outgrows the shared environment, it can be upgraded into a more flexible plan with higher capacity: normally a Virtual Private Server (VPS).

The trouble with a VPS is that it’s still based on sharing. In terms of its virtual existence, it’s isolated, but it still shares a single physical server with a clutch of other VPS clients. There are fewer risks of problems from overutilization, but the VPS instances are not entirely isolated.

As a consequence, VPS customers only have partial control over the hosting environment, and they can still run into problems if a neighbor behaves badly.

A dedicated server is just that: dedicated to one customer. The entire box is yours. This means acres of space, huge bandwidth limits and no sharing. More importantly, it means that the customer is free to tweak and customize the whole environment, including the server operating system.

Image courtesy of Pexels under a CC0 license
Image courtesy of Pexels under a CC0 license.

Seven Benefits of Using a Dedicated Server

  1. There’s no-one to compete with for page load speed
  2. There’s no-one to compete with for uptime
  3. You get to choose your operating system
  4. You get to install whatever applications are required
  5. All the fire and disaster protection is already set up
  6. Your server is protected by physical security at the datacenter
  7. There’s a speedy network connection to the outside world.

Developers get root access to the server so they can do what they want on it. This is often the only way to host advanced scripts and applications.

Dedicated Resources vs Unlimited Resources

You may think you could just buy a cheap shared hosting plan since most of them offer “unlimited” resources like storage space and bandwidth. But the word “unlimited” is misleading

Shared hosting is aimed at personal or small business sites, and anything outside the norm will trigger alerts with your hosting company.

Since web servers can only handle a certain amount of bandwidth usage, heavy usage takes resources away from other people on the same server. This negatively affects the performance of websites hosted on the server.

To keep single users from using more than their fair share of resources, web hosting companies may throttle your CPU. But more likely, they will simply stop hosting you until you upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server plan.

Dedicated Servers Provide Options

Additionally, dedicated server customers can set their own rules, their own security policies, and control every aspect of the software they run.

If the business outgrows its dedicated server, it can have the server upgraded or rent a second one.

Dedicated servers are sold with fixed resources. Some hosts offer dizzying arrays of options, allowing you to choose the brand of server, operating system, RAM, disk space and software. Additionally, you can choose between managed and unmanaged; the latter is pretty risky unless you’re a server administrator.

Managed vs Unmanaged Dedicated Hosting

Managed hosting services means that the servers are fully taken care of by the hosting company.

Image courtesy of Flickr under a CC-BY-2.0 license
Image courtesy of Flickr under a CC-BY-2.0 license.

Shared and cloud hosting plans are always at least partially managed by the hosting company. But this is usually optional with dedicated servers. Unmanaged dedicated servers are typically cheaper since they require less administrative work by the host company.

Fully Managed Servers

If a plan states that it is fully managed, the hosting company will usually take care of the following things:

  • Configuring and maintaining the servers
  • Conducting server maintenance tasks
  • Server monitoring to check for failures or errors which prevents service disruptions
  • Updating software, virus scanning, configuring firewall, and other security tasks
  • Backing up the system.

Control Panels

With managed hosting, you’ll probably have access to the control panel for your server.

Control panels let users manage their hosting environment such as scaling bandwidth needs and viewing valuable website statistics. Unmanaged dedicated plans usually don’t come with a control panel but one may be offered as an add-on.

The most popular control panels are cPanel (mostly for Linux machines) and Plesk (mostly for Windows machines). Depending upon how they are configured, they can help you manage files and websites. But the fundamental server maintenance must normally be done by hand.

This is another reason why unmanaged plans are only recommended for server administrators or people who really know what they’re doing.

Customer Support

Managed hosting will also typically include 24/7 customer support. This is important, because when you’re running your own server, you’re not just paying for cloud computing, but for the physical hardware that stores your web projects.

So, if something should go wrong with your server, your data isn’t relocated to another server as it is in cloud hosting environments.

If you experience server failure, you want to be able to contact technical support as soon as possible. That’s why we recommend picking a web host that has round the clock support for dedicated server plans.

What to Look for in a Dedicated Server Hosting Plan

When you’re viewing dedicated server plans, you’ll notice a couple of things.

First, the specifications of each plan will differ from how resources are listed in shared hosting plans. These four things will tell you the power you’ll get from your server:

  • CPU: The CPU is the type of processing unit in the computer. It can be of any type but most dedicated servers use Intel Xeon processors that are designed for workstations and servers. CPUs can contain multiple cores, which are individual processing units. More cores provide the CPU with the ability to handle more requests. A quad-core processor has 4 cores. One of the advantages of the Intel Xeon is that it can offer dozens of cores (4 or 8 are more common).
  • RAM: More gigabytes (GB) of RAM will allow your server to handle working with more information at the same time, helping it load data much faster.
  • Bandwidth: Bandwidth for dedicated servers is typically allotted by the terabyte (TB), often including multiple connections.
  • Storage: Data storage, of course, will tell you how much space you have on the server for files. Bigger applications will need larger data storage amounts. Increasingly, servers use solid-state drives (SSDs) with SATA hard-disk drives (HDDs) used for back-up.

The general thing to remember is that more resources will give your business more power and flexibility for expanding.



Image courtesy of Flickr under a CC-BY 2.0 license
Image courtesy of Flickr under a CC-BY 2.0 license.

RAID Storage

Many dedicated servers include RAID, which stands for redundant array of independent disks. This allows data to be stored on multiple hard disks on the server.

There are, roughly speaking, three kinds of RAID. RAID-0 provides striping, which increases drive throughput. RAID-1 provides data mirroring. Everything is saved on two drives so that if one drive fails, there is no data loss. RAID-5 adds parity to RAID-0 so it is possible to recalculate data lost on another drive.

Depending on the kind of RAID used, your data is faster and protected in the event that one hard drive fails. Hosting companies will usually state if they use a RAID configuration on their servers.

What About Cloud Hosting?

Shared hosting is certainly designed for small sites, and VPS hosting has its limitations. Cloud hosting is ideal for businesses that experience fluctuating traffic, since you generally only pay for what you use.

The drawback of cloud hosting is that you don’t have total control, so security could be more of a concern. Cloud servers can also be more difficult to monitor.

If you’re not sure that dedicated is the right option, take a look at a cloud or hybrid (dedicated combined with virtualization) hosting plan and compare the features.

Pros and Cons of Dedicated Servers

There are many reasons why people expend the extra money and effort to have a dedicated server. And there are also reasons people avoid them.

Dedicated Hosting Pros

For many individuals and companies, dedicated hosting is exactly what you want. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Set-up your server any way you want
  • Grow and expand your website
  • Run chat servers and other applications that you can’t run on cheap hosting plans
  • Get great performance because all resources are yours
  • Be unaffected by others’ security or coding problems
  • Have no concern about harming others’ performance
  • Lock your server down against security threats and attacks.

Dedicated Hosting Cons

Buying hosting can be confusing, and it’s tempting to buy the biggest and best. However, dedicated servers are not ideal for everyone because:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Difficult for people without technical expertise to set up
  • Complex maintenance requires specialist
  • Still constrained by physical hardware that can fail (although some hosts do market hybrid dedicated plans)
  • Can be hard to manage in a crisis because they are not local.

Dedicated Server Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is dedicated server hosting?

    Dedicated hosting provides you with complete access to a physical server. The only aspect of a dedicated server that is shared with other users is the network connection. People normally choose dedicated hosting when they have particularly demanding projects or specialized security needs. VPS and Cloud hosting plans can be alternatives for dedicated hosting.

  • Does dedicated hosting mean I own the server?

    No. Different hosting companies describe their contracts differently, but usually, it’s a form of a lease or rental agreement. Co-location is similar to dedicated hosting. With it, the host provides you with the infrastructure (network, security) for a server that you own.

  • When do I need a dedicated server?

    In most cases, needing a dedicated server means your website has grown to the point where your traffic consistently outstrips the capabilities of a shared server or VPS. 

    You will want to make sure that your website does have the necessary traffic to justify the cost of the dedicated server, as it will likely be a significant increase. However, a slow, laggy website can hit your bottom line and hurt your business as well, so it’s up to you to do the cost benefit analysis.

  • What kinds of server equipment can I get with dedicated server hosting?

    Different hosts have different servers and different specifications. Some have a small number of packages, while others provide very long lists of different configurations. Generally, servers are fairly powerful. Xeon server-class CPUs are most commonly used. And servers normally have at least 4 GB of RAM, 500 GB of (SSD or HDD) storage, and at least a few TB of monthly bandwidth.

  • Why choose dedicated hosting?

    Dedicated servers offer the maximum processing power and resources, without using cloud infrastructure. With a dedicated plan, you have the full resources of the physical server at your disposal, so you can run resource-intensive software. Most dedicated server plans allow you to create your own configurations and install any software that you need.

  • What does “fully managed” mean?

    When a web host offers a fully managed server, they take care of all the basic security and maintenance. It will still be your responsibility to create websites and do what you need the server for. But the technical issues of keeping the server up and running properly is managed for you.

  • What is the difference between cloud VPS and dedicated server hosting?

    A dedicated server is a physical machine. VPS stands for “virtual private server” and it is a way of creating an isolated software server. In a traditional VPS, a physical machine is divided into a number of virtual machines; in a cloud VPS, the cloud is divided up into a number of virtual machines.

  • How many websites can I host on a dedicated server?

    For the most part, your dedicated server is yours to do with as you will. So there is no limit to the number of websites you can host in theory. You will be limited by the resources of your dedicated server. But a powerful dedicated server can host hundreds and even thousands of websites.

  • Can I upgrade my cloud VPS to a dedicated server?

    Most hosts that offer VPS plans also offer dedicated plans, so it shouldn’t be difficult to upgrade. However, it does mean backing up your virtual server and restoring it on the new dedicated server. And given that there are differences between the two servers, there may be much work to configure the dedicated server correctly.

  • What is server management?

    Dedicated servers can be a significant security risk if they are not properly managed and secured. And if they aren’t properly maintained, they won’t work at all. If you don’t have an in-house technical expert to do this, it’s a good idea to purchase a plan that includes management.

  • Do I need to check the datacenter credentials?

    It’s a good idea to check that the datacenter offers good all-round security and features. If the datacenter has an unreliable power supply, poor physical security, or a relatively slow connection to the internet, you should look elsewhere because your dedicated server will be in danger.

  • Does it matter where the datacenter is located?

    Yes. It’s usually best to have the datacenter reasonably close to the people that will be visiting your site or using your applications. At the very least, the datacenter should be on the same continent as your target audience. If this is not possible, a CDN can mitigate any performance problems.

    Bear in mind that there may be legal implications (both positive and negative) when you place data on a server in another country.

  • What operating systems can I run on a dedicated server?

    Most hosts offer a choice of Linux distributions on dedicated servers such as CentOS, Ubuntu Server, and Red Hat Enterprise. You can also run Windows Server if you need it for certain types of applications (.NET, ASP, Silverlight). These usually cost more, however.

  • What software applications can I run on a dedicated server?

    You should be able to install anything you like because you have complete access to the server. If you have any special requirements, check with the host before you commit to a contract. Some hosts may prohibit some types of content, but there are niche hosting providers for these.

  • Are there any limitations on what I can do with a dedicated server?

    Terms of Service for dedicated servers usually specifically prohibit illegal content. Remember: what’s legal in your own country may not be legal in your host’s country, so be careful. Many providers will object to sexual or graphic content, some types of political content, and material that violates copyright law.

    You need to be especially mindful of the law if you are running a site that allows users to upload their own content to your server. For example, on a social media website, it’s impossible to manually approve everything that users do.

  • Do I need to know about server administration in order to run a dedicated server?

    No, but it helps because you will be responsible for the server, the content, the data security, and all of the software. For example, you must keep scripts up to date, secure it properly, and ensure that it doesn’t provide an open relay. Many hosts won’t help you if your server is wrongly configured. So if you can’t manage the server, make sure you buy a fully managed package.

  • Do I have to monitor my server myself?

    It is a good idea to use monitoring tools to keep track of the status of your server. If you have a managed or semi-managed plan, your host may monitor it for you. If not, they may offer the service as an add-on.

  • Can I get the hosting company to manage my dedicated server?

    Yes. Hosting management ranges from “remote hands” support (which covers hardware and a few other tasks) to complete monitoring and management. You can also buy additional services, such as backup plans. There is always a cost involved with management, so if a dedicated server looks particularly cheap, check that it comes with the support that you actually expect.

  • Are there any drawbacks to dedicated server hosting?

    Dedicated servers are much more expensive than a VPS or shared hosting plan. And they present more of an administrative burden. If you aren’t totally sure that you need a dedicated server, it’s probably wise to begin with a VPS, rather than signing up for a lengthy dedicated server contract.

  • Is dedicated server hosting scalable?

    A dedicated server provides much more storage and bandwidth than a traditional virtual private server, but there is still a physical limit on processing speed and storage. Once you hit those limits, you’ll need to upgrade your hardware in order to expand.

    Some hosting providers will offer cloud or hybrid plans that allow you to increase resources on demand. It is also possible to have a private cloud built for you.

WhoIsHostingThis Team

About WhoIsHostingThis Team

Our writing team comes from all over the world with diverse backgrounds in the arts and sciences. But what links them is their passion for the internet. All together they represent many decades of experience working in all facets of it — from programming and hardware creation to website design and marketing.

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