By Jerry Whitehead January 11, 2017, 12:21 AM
When Do You Need a Dedicated Server?
Getting a business of the ground can often feel like a balancing act. You don’t want to handicap yourself by not investing enough into the business to ensure it runs successfully. Conversely, you can easily find yourself in a situation where you have too much overhead in relation to the value you’re actually getting from sinking so much money into your venture. This can happen at every level of your operation. Whether it’s having too many employees vs. too little or renting out huge office space, it’s important to be critical of what you’re paying for. This extends to your website, as well.
There are many options when it comes to hosting solutions and they’re all priced differently. They range all the way from a couple of dollars a month for shared hosting all the way up to having dedicated servers for maximum performance. Everyone wants the latest, greatest, best, and fastest. It’s why people upgrade their smartphones every year. But, when it comes to running your business, the highest performance speeds come at a cost. If you’re running a static, informational site, a dedicated server is probably overkill when it comes to your needs. Do you have a big e-commerce store, though? Then going dedicated might make more sense for you.
Let’s explore who would benefit the most from opting for a dedicated server.
What is a Dedicated Server?
First things first, a quick explanation of what a dedicated server actually is. When you sign up for shared hosting, you’re on a physical server with many other different websites and you’re using the same resource pool. One machine, many sites. A VPS is the web hosting solution that most developers and business owners will probably want to opt for because it is a safe middle option. You are still on one physical machine with many sites, but each site gets its own resources so there is absolute minimal impact on your performance due to your neighbors.
Then there is a dedicated server which is an entire physical machine dedicated to just your site. As you can imagine, the performance is unrivaled because the entirety of the server’s resources are going towards powering only your site. Sounds great, right? But who needs all that?
It’s All About Traffic
The shorthand answer is: anyone expecting high volumes of traffic consistently (six figures to millions of visitors) should opt for a dedicated server. High volumes of traffic on a site without the proper infrastructure to handle it can definitely cause slow downs. This can be very damaging to your business. It’s been shown time and again that there is a direct correlation between page speed and conversions. Consider that even a company as big as Walmart has learned this. They found that when load times jumped from 1 second to 4 seconds, conversions dropped sharply. And when load times went up? Each second increased the conversion rate. If you’re running an e-commerce site with a large customer base, you can’t afford to have that traffic bottleneck. A dedicated server would probably benefit you here.
E-commerce will probably be the most typical use case for many business owners curious about going dedicated. Some more specialized types of sites that would benefit from a dedicated server include social networks and high trafficked content delivery sites (think Buzzfeed and the like). So, if you’re looking to create a social empire, you may want your own server.
Let’s start with the caveat that security shouldn’t be the only reason you opt for a dedicated server. That would be an expensive investment. But, as a bonus, having your own server does lend itself to being a bit more secure. This security comes from the relative isolation. On a shared hosting plan, yes, it is possible for a vulnerability in one site to allow malicious actions to occur in other sites sharing the server space.
You Have an Exceptionally “Heavy” Site
If you have a feature rich site that has specialized functionality (you are constantly pulling in raw financial data and presenting it live, for example) or if your site has some serious server-side programming going on (complicated PHP) you may need a dedicated server to ensure visitors have a smooth experience on your site and don’t see stuttering when trying to load pages.
Make no mistake; dedicated servers put a lot of power into your hands. Your site will experience industry leading performance and you can be rest assured that visitors won’t suffer from slow loading times or, worse, downtime. However, depending on the kind of site you have, you may see the same kind of performance with a VPS. If you’re unsure what hosting solution would best meet your needs, contact the team at JaguarPC today. We have years of experience helping business owners just like you get the most out of their websites.