What exactly is a Dedicated Server?


When you’re looking for great web hosting, shared hosting dominates the conversation so much that most people just kind of assume it’s the right choice for their website. And sometimes, it is.

However if it’s the wrong choice, shared hosting can make it a pain to operate your website. If you use a shared server when what you really need is dedicated hosting, your website will always be running slower than it should be. This could cost you visitors, and if you run an eCommerce site, this could also cost you customers.

So, to help you decide whether you need a dedicated server right now, we’ve answered some of our most frequently asked questions about dedicated servers.

Let’s jump right in!

What’s a server?

A server is the hardware and software on which websites are stored. (Every website on the internet is stored on a server somewhere.) The main job of a server is to store websites, process them, and deliver them to visitors’ browsers.

When a visitor types your website’s URL into their browser, their browser sends a request for that webpage, and a Domain Name Server (DNS) converts the URL into your website’s IP address on a server.

The server then loads your website in your visitor’s browser, and now they can see your web content!

(If all of that was a bit too technical, just remember that a server stores websites and makes it possible for your visitors to see them. That’s all you really need to know for now.)

What is a dedicated server and who is it for?

A dedicated server is a server whose resources are entirely dedicated to storing, processing and loading just one website. Most servers store multiple websites, and those websites share the server’s resources.

With dedicated hosting, only one website is stored on a server. Because all the server’s resources are dedicated to just one website, dedicated hosting offers the most power and the fastest loading speeds. They also give you the most control over your website.

All these extra features mean that dedicated servers are usually among the priciest packages at any hosting company. If it’s what your website needs, however, dedicated hosting is worth its weight in gold.

This brings us to our next point: How do you know if you need dedicated hosting?

Who needs dedicated hosting?

Get a dedicated server if any of these sound like you.

1. Your website handles lots of confidential information:

Secure servers are a hallmark of the service provided at MonsterHost (even for our shared servers), but some websites need more. If lots of confidential information passes through your website, for example, if you collect credit card numbers, addresses and other information that could cause devastation if it were somehow leaked, we at MonsterHost recommend that you choose dedicated hosting. If you choose dedicated hosting, you’ll have more control over your website, and you’ll be able to add whatever extra security features you think will help ensure your customers’ safety.

2. You need the fastest loading speeds at all times:

A shared server is fine for most websites, and at MonsterHost, even our shared servers are fast. but if your website needs to load quickly at all times, a dedicated server is the best way to guarantee that it does. The trouble with a shared server is that you don’t know who else is using your server, and you don’t know what their plans are.

Your server neighbors may experience a traffic spike at certain times of the year, leaving your website fighting for server resources. If the traffic spike is high enough, this might even cause your website to crash. If you need to make sure this doesn’t happen, and you have the budget to ensure that it doesn’t, then dedicated hosting is perfect for you.

3. You need to have control over your server:

Dedicated hosting gives you the most control over your server. So, if you need to be able to choose your own server software, install your own operating system, and even modify hardware specs, then dedicated hosting is perfect for you. So, if you’re a gamer with unique system requirements, or you’re a web developer who likes playing around with new software and tech, dedicated hosting will be right up your alley.

4. You expect massive web traffic right out the gate:

If you already have a huge following on social media, or you’re selling a product with massive demand, or if for any other reason, you expect to have hundreds of thousands of daily website visitors, you need dedicated hosting. Usually, at MonsterHost, we recommend that beginners choose shared hosting, but in this case, choosing shared hosting could be detrimental to your brand. If you have a huge traffic spike, and you’re using a shared server, your website might experience downtime, and your visitors will be furious. So, if you think you might get lots of web traffic, it’s worth investing in dedicated hosting.

Are there any downsides to dedicated hosting? (And what are the alternatives?)

Honestly, if you have the budget for it, there aren’t really any downsides to dedicated hosting. But if it’s outside your budget, and your website would work just fine with a shared server, get shared hosting instead.

If you’d prefer a faster server and more privacy than a shared server, but you don’t have the budget for dedicated hosting, choose one of our Virtual Private Servers. But if dedicated hosting is what your website needs, go ahead and get it!

How do I get dedicated hosting?

At MonsterHost, we make it easy to get dedicated hosting. Just visit our dedicated hosting page and choose the package that seems like the best fit for you!

Wrapping up

Dedicated servers are faster and more reliable than any other server, if a bit more expensive. But if a dedicated server is what your website needs, then it will pay for itself ten times over in new visitors and all the increased opportunities you get when you have more web traffic.

So, take a good, honest look at the needs of your website and use our guide to help you decide. If you don’t actually need a dedicated server, then choose one of our other server options. But if you do need a dedicated server, go ahead and choose one of our dedicated server hosting plans. When you see how beautifully your website performs, you’ll wish you’d done it sooner!