No matter what new technologies get incorporated into the hosting world, there will always be a place for the dedicated server hosting account. It doesn’t necessarily make the host the most money: squeezing a few hundred accounts on a shared server does that. But it’s a market need that will never go away.
Web hosting companies to this day respond to this demand by loading up their dedicated server plans with as many goodies as they can to lure in more fish. But which ones should you bite at, and which ones should you swim by? Here is a list of some common dedicated server options, and how much they actually give you.
A lot of at-home users have been hit with throttling or bandwidth usage charges for playing their World of Warcraft or downloading just a few too many Transformers movies. The reason your ISP doesn’t let you slide on this is that they are just as crunched on costs for it as you are. Bandwidth costs are one of the most inelastic of all services that any host can offer.
So if one host is giving you a much better deal on it than another, and you think there’s a good chance that you might actually need that much, you can strongly consider going with them on the basis of that alone. The chances that a host will let you “slide” for going over are slim, no matter how good your reputation with them is.
The important thing to remember with advertising credits that come with a hosting account is that the dollar values that you receive aren’t “real” values in any way. They are just the cost of a certain type of advertising block on that site. If, say FaceBook, were to double all their ad rates tomorrow, many hosting companies would likely follow suit by doubling, or at least increasing their offerings. You would still be getting about the same advertising placement…mostly.
Saying this does neglect the fact that if FaceBook did do this, less people would be able to afford it, and you’d wind up with a higher listing by attrition. That does highlight the ambiguity with this service, though. Major web sites seldom release the algorithms they use for how someone gets a higher page rank or ad frequency rate. Worse, these algorithms can often change without notice. Your $50 might get you page 1 with Google today, and page 42 tomorrow.
This should not imply that advertising credits are worthless. A lot of webmasters plan on advertising on these sites anyway: for them, these credits can’t hurt. How much it will help, though, is the great unknown. If you do want one good rule of thumb, it’s better to have your advertising credits spread out.
We’ve covered this one before but it bears repeating: this is all shine. It’s not that most hosts won’t actually achieve this, assuming that they haven’t set the bar ludicrously high with a parade of 9’s. It’s that life is simply too chaotic. As the old proverb goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
No host would survive long if your site went down much as it is. Customers don’t need a calculator in front of them to know that their host is reliable. On the other hand if a comet struck a web host, few would blame them for taking just a second to get your site back up while they looked for a broom.
This, on the other hand, is one that you want to place a high value upon. If you would believe it, there are still plenty of hosts that take the view that your backups are your responsibility. If your machine dies, oh well.
Then there are also hosts who realize the kind of business that the above hosts are losing and want to claim them for their own. There are a wide variety of ways that hosts will guarantee this. They are all good. Look especially for speed of recovery, redundant data centers, and manual recovery options as things that are worth the extra buck.
This one is only worthless because no host at this stage would be without it. True, there won’t be someone staring at a process chart for your server all night, and you may not be able to necessarily get a hold of a tech support worker for basic questions.
But what goes on with your machine could be going on with the rest of the network. Furthermore, even if they are not guaranteeing support, if they see your server down, your host knows full well that taking 30 seconds to walk over and hit the reboot switch because they “just happened to see it was down” is a great way to keep your loyalty.
We’ll close our list with one that you will not see often. If you do, take it, but with a grain of salt.
Root access is great for you. You don’t need to be told the functionality that this gives you. If you find out about a serious software bug or need some kernel recompiled fast, you don’t have to wait for a tech worker, and you don’t have to hope that they do it right. The back and forth that you get from this kind of a problem as you quote error messages to each other can be a true pain and time waster.
However, if your host does offer it, step back and take a look at them. Do they look like a fly-by-night host, or are they around for the long term? When a company allows this they are opening themselves up to danger if the customer doesn’t know what they are doing. If they look like they are established enough and organized enough to handle it when a customer does something that makes the network hiccup, then this is a good thing. If they look like someone who will be chasing their tail trying to find the problem, this means that this service could negatively affect you even if it’s not you who used it recklessly. Not being affected by other users was the whole point of getting a dedicated server in the first place.