A client web server consists of software and hardware that enable the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) to exchange information over the World Wide Web. Generally, people use these servers to transmit emails, files, or host data, such as on a website or a game server, making it possible for others to interact with them.
Web management services can decide whether to allocate their resources in two primary ways and, depending on which you choose, you can have a dramatically different experience.
Different types of servers determine how many resources are available to power the hosted material and how smoothly interactions go for users. The most basic type of server is a shared server, which, as the name implies, means that whatever resources the server has available will be shared among multiple hosts.
To illustrate in more tangible terms, let’s represent the server’s maximum power in numerical terms, say “10,” and assume 4 hosts are using it. Things will run smoothly if each person’s content requires minimal power; however, if one of those hosts has a high-traffic website drawing 8 out of those 10 units by itself, there will likely be a power shortage.
The server tries its best to run everything at 100%, but it is impossible. Hence, everyone on the network experiences slower performance or even power outages where hosted content becomes inaccessible.
Fortunately, the dedicated server is an alternative that can alleviate this problem.
What Does a Dedicated Server Do?
Most hosts begin with a shared server because it is less expensive and is an excellent way to get your feet wet running software or a website. However, there comes a time when shared resources are no longer sufficient to provide the quality service your users expect.
Downtime and lag can be devastating for hosted content, especially in the fast-paced gaming world, so you always want to ensure you have enough power to handle large quantities of traffic. In this circumstance, your best course of action is a dedicated server.
A dedicated server is for a single host, so if you subscribe to this service, all available resources go to you and you alone – no sharing. Major content providers use this type of server because it is the best way to ensure that websites and services are fast, efficient, and powerful enough to keep up with high demand and traffic without suffering lag or other complications.
Unfortunately, a dedicated server is not financially viable for small-traffic websites or blogs because it comes at a significantly greater cost than a shared server. While the actual service price depends on the server’s power and other dynamic factors, a reasonable expectation for the expense is at least $100 a month. Nonetheless, if you have a successful web service, it can be worth the added cost.
Managed Vs. Unmanaged Hosting
If you decide that a dedicated server is the way to go, you will need to determine how much control you want over the configuration and settings for the server. You are the only user with complete control over the server setup.
Managed hosting means that while you are the administrator for the server, the service provider will be responsible for monitoring, securing, and adjusting your server settings and configurations. You can set boundaries regarding how much ownership over these aspects the provider handles, taking a more active role yourself or even taking full responsibility.
If you opt for unmanaged hosting, you will be responsible for installing scripts, ensuring the server is secure, and ensuring all software is updated and compatible with the hardware, so you will need to have a certain level of expertise. Otherwise, it is best to leave this to professionals with the know-how and experience.
What are Some Benefits of a Dedicated Server?
Having all the power for your use can make all the difference in running your software and services. Here are some of the most significant advantages you can gain when you choose to pay for the best type of hosting:
Have you ever played an online game, such as Minecraft, that constantly suffered from lag, freeze-ups, or even crashes? This sluggish performance happens when there are too many demands on the system resources, including user traffic.
When you have your server and set up Minecraft server hosting, these issues can be alleviated, making all server interactions smooth and efficient without errors or downtime. The greater the server’s power (and, by extension, the cost), the less likely your users will ever have to endure these frustrations.
Nonetheless, if you have a particularly high-traffic website or service, even a dedicated server can bog down, depending on its maximum resource capacity. If you start to notice performance issues, you may need to upgrade to a more powerful dedicated server because crashes and other performance issues can cause you to lose valuable users, customers, or players.
Another advantage of having a dedicated server is greater control over security. Sharing with anonymous hosts puts you at risk that they employ malicious methods. As the sole server host, you can completely manage your SSL and other security precautions to ensure your website is safe for your users.
You have access to the entire server, and there’s no reason you should be limited to hosting a single website or service! Unless you need to allocate all server reserves to a wildly popular website, you can host multiple sites (or even hundreds!), experimenting with new opportunities. Keep an eye on your total usage, though, so that none of your websites have to compete with one another as you begin to build a fanbase for different projects.
The Bottom Line
While a shared server is less expensive and makes an excellent starting point for hosting web services, you will likely wish to upgrade to a dedicated server as you become more successful and experience higher traffic. This will enable you to use the server’s capabilities to power your web services. Dedicated servers provide greater power, increased security, and additional versatility to ensure your users have the optimum experience possible.