Dedicated web hosting is often relatively expensive compared to cheaper shared hosting plans.
Although shared hosting can be only a few dollars a month, dedicated plans can sometimes run over a hundred a month.
When reviewing your hosting options, the price may deter you from choosing a dedicated option. Depending on the traffic to your site and the customization you need, dedicated hosting can be a much smarter choice in the long run.
When choosing a web hosting plan, it is important to carefully review your requirements.
Usually, companies will offer three levels of hosting. The most basic level is shared hosting which means that you and many other people share the same server.
The next level is VPS (virtual private server) hosting. At this level, you have full command line access and can run your own operating system. However, you are still sharing the physical server with multiple users. The highest level is dedicated hosting which gives you all the hardware to yourself and you have total control.
Dedicated hosting is usually best suited for traffic intensive websites that need custom programs and databases.
Large-scale enterprise applications, such as Microsoft Exchange, are also commonly hosted on a dedicated server. Shared hosting plans usually don't offer much outside of the standard packages.
For example, it is rare to see a Linux shared hosting company offer the ability to host Java Server Pages. You need to either have a dedicated server or have a VPS to make use of this technology in your web site.
Choosing between a VPS and dedicated server can be challenging. A VPS offers most of the same features as a dedicated machine. However, for large traffic sites a VPS may not be the best idea.
Consider a case where a web host puts 12 VPS instances on an eight-core machine. Now suppose that all 12 of those instances are experiencing high loads. Your site might experience some significant slowdowns. Not only is there the overhead of running 12 independent operating system instances on one machine, but also the general load of the machine is very high.
With a dedicated server, you can always rest assured that the necessary resources will be available when you need them.
For many small sites, shared hosting or even a VPS plan makes sense.
Large sites need robust and reliable hosting. Trying to serve large web sites on a shared plan is a bad idea. Large sites need quality dedicated hosting that gives the performance needed.
If you have or expect to have a large site, then you should take a look at dedicated servers closely. Find one that's a good deal and don't be afraid to buy it.
It's easy to scale down later if you find you don't need it. It's hard to be frantically trying to add more servers when you find the plans you have no longer meet your requirements.