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Answering Your Dedicated Server Questions

Jun 21, 2008
So you're in the market to host some data on the Internet. We've all seen the pop-up adds listing web hosting as low as $5 a month. But what do you really get for that fee? Usually you get shared space on a companies' server, with your hosting battling it out with others on the same machine.

What if you have specific needs or non standard requirements for your hosting? Do you have concerns that poor performance of your hosting will affect your web presence? Are there concerns that other account users may access or damage your information? If so, perhaps a dedicated server is right for you.

How does it work?

Dedicated servers differ from the standard home computer primarily by means of the operating system. Specialized versions of Windows, optimized for network operations, and UNIX are utilized by dedicated servers.

Whereas your home computer becomes a word processor, a video game system, a check book balancer, and so on, a dedicated server utilizes a minimal user interface, allowing the majority of its work to occur on the network. CPUs are similar, as are memory and storage systems; however servers tend to have vast amounts of each.

Why dedicate a server?

In the hosting market, it is not uncommon for a service provider to rent server space to dozens, if not more, accounts on the same server. Depending on usage and number of requests, some accounts may suffer as the server reaches its limits.

Service providers also determine the hardware and software configuration of the machine. If you have requirements for some piece of software they have not installed, you may be out of luck. Dedicating a server puts you in control. From the hardware to the software, you choose the components that your server will employ.

Do I need special equipment to make a dedicated server?

Yes and no. It all depends on the type of performance you expect from your server. Older business systems have been recycled into company mail and web servers, as long as the users don't overload the capacity of the system, everything works well.

By today's standards, a typical dedicated server will have multiple processors, large amounts of redundant storage, and lots of memory. Additionally, a symmetrical high speed connection is required, or information will cause the server to bog down.

Do I need a dedicated server?

If you are interested in providing information to a large client base, then you may need a dedicated server. If the information you are processing contains confidential items, such as personal or credit information, then you probably should have a dedicated server.

Whether or not you choose to rent a server or host your own depends or your capability and budget. Owning a server will be less expensive, but means that you are responsible for keeping it up and running. Some individuals and companies will choose to rent a server, and pay someone else to handle the headaches.
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