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Dedicated Servers - Do You Need One?

How to determine if you need a dedicated server

Do I need a dedicated server?

This is one of those questions that is always present in the back of a webmaster's mind. As a website grows, the demands placed on the server grow right along with it, slowing performance for every site that is hosted on it.

The typical small site can get along just fine on a shared server, but dedicated servers are a must for larger, busier sites.

Is it time for a dedicated server?

Here are a few things to consider if you're wondering if you need to move to a dedicated server:

  • How large is your site? The more pages it has, the more traffic it will have (in general). Higher traffic sites perform better on dedicated servers.
  • Do your pages use a lot of server side scripting and/or databases? If you use server side includes to place several pieces of content on your pages, it can really affect the performance of a shared server.

    Large, heavily used CGI scripts and SQL databases are also resource intensive. If you use any of these capabilities on your site (especially if you use more than one), you would probably be better off with a dedicated server.
  • Have you noticed a severe decrease in your website's response time? You may have two or more of these factors working together to place a heavy strain on the server. If so, it's probably time to make the move to a dedicated server.

Dedicated servers aren't cheap to operate and maintain. They usually cost several times more than shared hosting. And dedicated servers typically don't come with the management that you're probably used to with shared servers. Even simply having your dedicated server rebooted occasionally may cost you extra!

You'll have to either learn how to manage your dedicated server yourself, hire someone else to do it for you, or pay extra for a managed dedicated server.

But if your website's size, traffic, and design make a dedicated server a necessity, you'll be better off making the move now instead of waiting for your current server to come to an abrupt halt.

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