A dedicated server is essentially a single piece of equipment (computer) that is dedicated to serve the purposes of running various data related tasks over a network.
How does dedicated servers differ?
With dedicated servers, you would be the sole user of the equipment and have complete control over its use. In comparison to shared hosting, you won’t be sharing the use of the server or be restricted to a certain level of access which may prevent you from running certain programs or scripts. Read more about the difference between shared and dedicated hosting.
What would you use a dedicated server for?
There are many uses to dedicated servers and one of most commonly associated uses are to host websites or handle web traffic to an application or software. As the sole user of the server, you can pretty much get it to do whatever you want within reason.
Why would you use a dedicated server?
The advantages of using a dedicated server is that there are performance & flexibility benefits from being the sole user of the hardware. Dedicated servers are highly configurable and could be built to specification. This also means it could be upgraded to a certain point to accommodate varying levels of use – this is relatively easy to do as most hardware upgrades could be done in a couple of hours.
As you have complete control over the server, you are also in control of its security and deployment of use. This is quite an important requirement if you are a business which has a specific level of standard you need the servers to work to.
Dedicated servers do need to be managed and monitored by a knowledge individual, so this is something you would need to consider if you’re looking to move to one.
Where are the dedicated servers located?
Dedicated servers could be held in a variety of locations. Essentially you could buy the equipment and keep it under your desk (we don’t recommend this). However, keeping the machine in your local premises, you would be responsible for its power requirements, power back up plan, cooling requirements, up-time and any limitations you may have from your cabled connection.
Alternatively, you could rent the servers from a company that provides dedicated servers as a service. This would work out at a fraction of the price of owning one outright.
The data centres where the servers are housed would be built specifically to consider all the requirements and back-up plans that servers would require. On top of this, a good data centre would take into consideration the security of the physical location as well as on site staff to monitor the general health of the servers.
Of course, if you already own and house your own server, you may want to look at colocation options. This is the ability to house your own equipment at a data centre local to you; benefiting from the infrastructure and data centre technologies. You can find more about what colocation offers here.
When looking for dedicated servers, it may be a good idea to look for one that is local to either you or your market. There are performance benefits from doing this, as well as the type of support you will receive.