What is a dedicated server and do I need one?

I’m looking for somewhere to host my blog and everyone seems to have lots of options. One of these is a dedicated server. What is this and do I need one?

I got this question from a friend of mine who was making hew first foray into the world of blogging. If you’ve ever tried looking around for different options to host your website, I’m sure you’ve seen the huge variety of different options for web hosting available out there, dedicated servers being just one of them.

A dedicated server is basically where you have a whole machine to yourself. It is a different option to a shared service where you live on a machine with a number of other people and as you can imagine, having a server just for one website can be extremely expensive. There are circumstances however where you need just that. I found a great article on Web Hosting Geeks that explains exactly what the attributes of dedicated hosting are and what you get for your money. These are basically:

  • Server Security – Having your own server means there’s less chance of someone else’s software affecting your system.
  • Storage Space – Having your own server usually means you get loads more space for your website and any files it needs
  • Data Transfer – Most dedicated server offerings have lots more bandwidth than other packages
  • Control Panel – You get much more control with your own server, including options to power up and down the machine and restart it when you need
  • Software Options – Dedicated hosting packages are much more flexible in that you can install anything you like on them

I’ll add my own point over here and bring performance into it. The fact that you’re not sharing a machine with a number of other people means that you’re no susceptible to any slowdowns related to other sites being particularly busy. In fact, the reason people usually go for a dedicated server option is to get as much performance as possible out of their system.

As your question implied you’re looking to host a blog, I would avoid going down the expensive dedicated hosting route at this point. There are a number of options which will cost less and give you the same result for now. Head down to Web Hosting Geeks and you’ll find a number of web hosting reviews and web hosting articles that can guide you in the right direction.

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