What Are The Factors That Indicate You Should Choose Dedicated Server Hosting?

One of the most common questions our support staff get asked by website owners is whether the owner should sign up for shared web hosting or for dedicated server hosting. While our experts will bend over backwards to help people with any queries they may have, this is one of the most difficult ones to answer. The bottom line is that the website owner really has to do his or her homework to work out which web server hosting package is best for his or her website.

By understanding the basic differences between the two most popular hosting packages, namely shared hosting and dedicated server hosting, website owners will be better placed to decide which one they need. It really comes down to analyzing what resources the website needs, and then working out what kind of hosting package is needed to deliver those resources.

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Resources

The key difference between having a website hosted on a shared server or on a dedicated server is that the former means sharing the server resources with numerous other websites, while the latter means the single website that is hosted on it has exclusive use of resources.

The resources referred to here include everything from the disk storage space, the operating system, RAM, and the CPU. These resources are finite. Therefore, as demand for resources increases, the server is bound to slow down.

The resources assume major importance in the performance of the web server. When your website shares a server with possibly thousands of other websites, all those websites are sharing the same resources. That means that any individual website owner relinquishes full control over the performance of his or her website, since he or she cannot know what demands other websites on the same server are placing on the server resources.

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Most hosting packages include unlimited disk storage space, but website owners need to keep in mind that the more data that is stored on a disk or other storage device, the longer it takes for the OS to find and return that data. Likewise, the greater the number of websites that are trying to utilize the CPU and RAM, the higher the chances of a degradation in performance.

Measuring performance

There are several utilities available that let website owners measure the load performance of their web pages. These will show average page load times, and compare these with load times for specified web pages. The problem with these tools is that their accuracy is seriously compromised when they are used to measure the performance of pages stored on shared servers.

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When you deploy one of these tools to measure performance, the tool will start a counter, request the page from the server, and then report how long it took for the page to load. However, the limitation is that the tool you use has no way of knowing whether the server from which it has requested the page is hosting just your site or many other sites as well.

That means the load time it detects is pretty meaningless. It could have tried to access the web page at a time when none of the other websites on the same server were being accessed, which would return a false positive reading. On the other hand, it could have attempted to access the page at exactly the same time that numerous other websites in the server were processing complex queries. This would return a false negative reading.

Dedicated Server

The bottom line is that there is no way to be sure of consistently good page load times when your website is hosted on a shared server. Even cheap dedicated hosting packages let you overcome this problem. When your website is the only one that is on its server, then any time you run a page load test, you know that there is no outside influence affecting the response times, so you are not getting any false readings.

Improving performance

It goes without saying that it is hard, if not impossible, to improve performance if you cannot identify factors that are impacting performance. By using dedicated servers, you can drill down to the issues that are slowing your load times down. You may need to tweak your web pages, or rebuild your database, to deliver the best performance. When you sign up for dedicated web hosting, you are free to do this. You can even introduce enhancements to the server operating system if that will help.

Calculating resource requirements

This can be one of the most difficult tasks website owners face. It is impossible to precisely calculate what resources will be required, because there are too many variables. Every page on your website may be resource intensive (for example, your site could be streaming movies, which requires a lot of bandwidth). However, if you get just one visitor per hour who downloads from your page, your overall demand on resources is not terribly high. In contrast, if you have hundreds of visitors navigating to your page every hour, your demand on resources will be extremely high. If you provide game server hosting, expect very high resource usage.

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Your website may also have high demand on resources behind the scenes. If your website is an online store with a large inventory, you will need to have a backend database that can be searched and updated. The more complicated the search queries, the more resource intensive your database will be, and the more likely you will be to need dedicated server hosting.

However, just like the example of streaming movies, if you get just one or two complicated search queries every hour, your demand on resources will be negligible, whereas your demand on resources will be very high if you get large volumes of traffic searching for goods in your database. Having dedicated server hosting is best if traffic volumes are high.

Other benefits of dedicated server hosting

Just having a dedicated hosting account speeds up access to your website. When somebody attempts to access your website, the name of your site is passed to a DNS server, which will in turn point the surfer’s browser to an IP address (all websites are located by their IP address). When the website shares a server, there is an additional step involved, since the web server now has to parse the request to determine which website is being asked for.

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Security

Security is an important issue for surfers, especially when they visit sites from which they are going to purchase something. The onus is on website owners to ensure that their customers can conduct transactions on the website without fear of having confidential data fall into the wrong hands.

Sites hosted on dedicated servers are more secure that those on shared hosts, simply because access to the server is restricted to a single account holder. On a shared host, every website owner on the same host has access, albeit limited, to the server, and this brings its own vulnerabilities. There is also a higher risk of malicious software being loaded on to a shared server.

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Avoid being blacklisted

In an effort to counteract spam, blacklists containing the IP addresses of sites know to issue spam are built. Individuals and businesses mark IP addresses from which they have received spam, and instruct their mail client to block emails from that IP address. Unfortunately, if the spam site is on a shared server, this means every other site sharing the same IP address is also blacklisted. The only way you can prevent emails from your website being improperly blacklisted is to have a dedicated server.

The primary reason you should consider dedicated server hosting is to ensure that your website is performing at its peak at all times. Dedicated server hosting brings other benefits such as having your own dedicated IP address. Combining DNS hosting with the best dedicated server hosting gives you total control over access to your website. Webdevel.com’s experts are on hand to answer any other questions you may have about hosting. Please feel free to call us anytime.