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What is a Dedicated Server?

A dedicated web server is a web server you lease from the hosting company. The web server is dedicated to your needs only; no other customers of the hosting company have access to any portion of the dedicated server. The hosting company is responsible for the server hardware, the operating system and any other software you may have them install for you (typically a database engine or scripting support). Once the server is setup by the hosting company, you are free to load your software onto the server.

This solution provides you with the widest flexibility in what you can load onto your server (within the limits of the hosting company’s contract). Dedicated web hosting is also better suited for mission critical applications, since possible side-affects of other sites hosted by the company are minimized. Since the hosting company owns the server and you simply lease the server, any hardware problems are the responsibility of the hosting company to resolve.

To manage your web server, most hosting company’s make a control panel available via the web. Through the control panel you have access to most all the functionality of the server.

While this may sound like the best possible solution, that is not always the case. If you need specialized hardware this may not be supported by your hosting provider; most hosting provides have a list of authorized hardware for their dedicated servers, this makes maintenance easier. While the hosting company owns the server, if you install software that causes problems on the server the hosting company can fix the issues but you may have to pay as much as $200 per hour for support.

This solution may be best for you if your site gets lots of visitors, uses a lot of system resources (through the use of CGI scripts or ASP), if it will house important data or if you have special software needs not supported on a virtual server. A dedicate web server typically is faster than virtual servers and since the server is dedicated, the data is more secure too.

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