Dedicated web hosting is widely regarded as the most comprehensive and powerful type of web hosting in the industry. Many people praise dedicated servers and their capabilities, but they fail to mention the vast selection of plans and options that one must choose from when investigating prospective hosting providers.
Every web hosting type has many plans to choose from, and each provider is different. Even after you’ve selected a plan there are still options that you have to consider in regards to optimizing your dedicated server for maximum functionality and compatibility with your sites. The following information may help you make some of these crucial decisions if you are in the process of selecting or setting up a dedicated web hosting account.
Managed or Unmanaged
The first decision you have to make is whether you need managed or unmanaged dedicated web hosting. Managed web hosting is perfect for those who have little experience with internet technology and web servers. Since dedicated servers are devoted to sole owners, they need to be maintained by their owners, unless you have managed hosting. If you’re a novice with no technical knowledge then you absolutely need fully manage hosting. If you have technical skills and you’re on a budget then you may want to choose unmanaged hosting.
Next you’ll want to choose your operating system, whether it be Linux, Unix or even Windows. Most web hosting companies offer variations of Linux or Unix by default with no additional charge. Dedicated servers usually operate on a corporate network of publicly distributed operating systems known as the Red Hat Network. Some of the operating systems within the Red Hat Network include variations of Linux like FedoreCore, CentOS, Debian and more.
Many times Windows dedicated servers cost slightly more because of the support involved with keeping the operating system running smoothly. Many webmasters simply install virtualization software on their dedicated server that will let them run several partitions of different operating systems. For example, you could install a software like VMware within Linux and then install Windows inside of that virtualization software. You should choose your operating system based on your site’s needs. If you run server-side Microsoft applications then you will need access to Windows in some form, whether it be directly or through a virtualization software.
Finally, you’ll need to choose the size of your web server. There are many different configurations and server types available for web hosting providers. Ideally, you should base your decision on your budget and the needs of your web sites. Most webmasters will do fine with a small dedicated server that has about 2GB memory, however, if you plan on running software with your dedicated server then you may want to consider one with 4GB of memory or more. Look for the quad core Xeon servers if you’re a fan of power and functionality. Keep in mind the price difference between a 2GB and 8GB web server is about $150 in most cases. Dedicated hosting plans start at about $120 and go up to around $400, so you definitely have a broad selection to choose from.