Server hosting is a vital part of the world wide web. Whether or not you realize it, every major website is running a server of some kind. Some may be running their own data centers where they house hundreds or even thousands of servers. Others may be running one or two servers. Every website runs on a server, some are shared and some are dedicated. Server hosting is essentially a step up from a typical shared hosting environment.

When to consider your own server?

If your site has grown significantly, or you have been troubled by frequent problems like slow site speed, freezups or temporary database unavailability there usually is no other way out than to change to a dedicated server. Another reasons might include: the need for a special software installed that is not allowed on the shared account or the need for higher security.

Can I use my shared hosting provider to run my own server?

Ask your current shared hosting provider – most of them will be able to manage a dedicated server for you as well. The advantage is that the environment you manage your site in will not change. Hosting companies usually run the same software on their dedicated servers as they use for shared hosting. This means there are unlikely to be problems when switching. You can also look around on the internet and compare prices with other providers to make sure you are not paying too much.

What type of server should I use?

Your hosting company should be able to come up with a fitting server configurations, make sure that you have enough for further growth, you should check these:

Bandwidth: The bandwidth needs for each site is very different. Sites that are loaded with pictures or files, will need more bandwidth than a regular blog. Finding a provider who offers a decent amount of bandwidth is essential. If the bandwidth of your site runs out, your site will go down or you will have to pay even more money to keep it running. Ensuring access to your website is the number one priority for an online presence.

Disk Space: Just like bandwidth, disk space is dependent on your needs. A file host will need a lot more disk space than a regular website. Thankfully, hosts offer a lot of space for the regular user.

Server management: will your hosting company take care of the server administration? If yes you will use the dedicated server as a kind of a bigger, more powerfull shared hosting account – this means you just run your site not caring about administering your server. You can also choose to manage your server yourself, in this case you are responsible for installing and updating the applications as well as keeping the server secure.

Memory: having enough RAM is crucial yet how do you find out how much you need? I would start with 4-8GB for most servers. Just make sure it is possible to add more if you need it. Some servers have limitations and you would not want to have to change the whole server just because it is not possible to use more than 4GB of RAM.

Robustness: go with a reliable brand when ordering a server, don’t use homemade servers, you need a computer that works all the time and a quick srevice team if it fails. Choosing a good hosting provider is important also, you need their network to be highly available and their staff professional and with their customer needs in mind.

Switching to a dedicated server is usually a hectic process but if you choose your hosting partner well it should go smoothly and you can sit back and be proud that your site has grown so far.

I have extensive experience working for a webhosting company for more than 12 years. You can read more of my articles about hosting, domains, serverhousing.

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