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What is a Dedicated Server?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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A dedicated server is a single web server within a network of computers, dedicated solely to one customer, most often a large business.

This type of server better meets the needs of a large business for several reasons. The client can customize the hardware setup as well as the software to meet exact needs. Data access is faster and high traffic is easily accommodated.

Dedicated servers normally come with good customer service from the web hosting company. The host will work with the client to make sure the server is meeting all of the needs of the client.

Another advantage of a dedicated server is that the client can easily create several domains on that server. In the case of a company that has multiple divisions or a chain of retail outlets, this becomes much more cost-effective and efficient than each individual division or retail outlet renting host space on a different web server.

For example, lets assume "wiseGEEK Motorcycles Inc." runs a chain of dealerships. Each dealership could have an individual website under the umbrella of the parent company, all located on the same dedicated server. The sites might look like this:

  • www.wiseGEEKmotorcycles.com (The parent company)
  • www.wiseGEEKsaleschicago.com (The retail dealership in Chicago)
  • www.wiseGEEKsaleslosangeles.com (The retail dealership in Los Angeles)
  • www.wiseGEEKsalesmanhattan.com (The retail dealership in Manhattan, etc.)

The advantage of having all of the sites located on the same dedicated server, is that the point of sale software would be customized and uniform. In other words, the dealership in Chicago would be learning and using the same online tools as the dealership in Los Angeles. This greatly simplifies administration and support, making the online component of wiseGEEK Motorcycles very streamlined and cost-efficient. This advantage becomes exponential when considering different divisions of the same company can reside on the same dedicated server.

In the case where a business may want a dedicated server for the benefits of fast access, customer service, and customization, but they don't require all of the physical space, they can become a web host themselves and sub-lease that extra space to others to set up their own websites and domains.

Another added advantage of a dedicated server is stability. In operating this type of server you have much control over what can happen on that server. What scripts can be run, what types of online activities can occur, etc. Conversely when you are one of many businesses on a shared server, your "up-time" can be affected by activities that are beyond your control. The ability to enhance security is also an advantage for any business residing on a such a server.

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Discussion Comments

By anon341020 — On Jul 08, 2013

Great. I've been thinking about purchasing dedicated servers to host my websites. Thank you so much for that post. I don't think my current server offers dedicated webhosting. I will have to find some good deals because they tend to be quite expensive.

By SkyWhisperer — On May 25, 2011

@everetra - I’ve never used them myself, but I wouldn’t recommend that you go that route. Think of it this way. There is no free lunch. If they’re offering you free hosting, they have to make money somehow.

It may mean they’ll throw a bunch of advertisements on your website or something like that. If you’ve got a business, just use a paid, dedicated server and chalk it up as a business expense. This is one area where you shouldn’t cut corners.

By everetra — On May 23, 2011

I’ve seen some ads on the web for free dedicated server hosting. Has anyone ever used these hosts and should I consider them?

By NathanG — On May 21, 2011

If you decide to use dedicated server hosting you will have more flexibility over the operating system you choose. Most servers use Linux but you can use Windows if you want to with a dedicated server.

Also you will probably have more control over server administration, and some of the hosting providers may provide server management software for an additional fee.

The most important thing to remember with a dedicated server, in my opinion, is to make sure it’s got a solid, redundant network. That basically means the server has a backup, so if the server goes down your business can continue to run.

By recapitulate — On Feb 22, 2011

Dedicated servers not only aid in making things easier, faster, and generally simpler for the customers, they also aid in organization and general upkeep for the company itself. Overall a winning combination for businesses large enough to need one.

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