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Dedicated Server

Getting a dedicated server is the right option if shared plans don't offer enough transfer, disk space, CPU power or flexibility.  With a dedicated server you have the whole server to yourself and the data transfer limits are high.  You get the root access and you can run whatever programs you wish.  You get the whole hard drive with gigabytes of free space to fill and a 100% of the CPU power.  If you have multiple websites or you want to host web sites for others, you can put all of them on this one server without increasing your costs (provided you have unused space and bandwidth).

The obvious disadvantage of dedicated servers is their significantly higher cost.  Another disadvantage is the need to know how to manage a server: monitoring, installing and upgrading programs, configuring programs, adding sites, dealing with hack attempts, troubleshooting and fixing problems, etc.  This can be avoided by getting a managed dedicated server (what this includes varies with each company) or hiring a system administrator.

Jumping from shared web hosting to an unmanaged dedicated server without system administration skills is a bad idea.  For example the ability to install patches is required to prevent hackers from exploiting new software vulnerabilities to compromise your server.  A web based control panels that are often included with dedicated servers have limitations and can't be used for all server administration tasks. 

New dedicated servers usually have an operating system (ex. Linux, Windows 2000), web server software (ex. Apache, IIs), control panel (ex. CPanel, Plesk), and basic services (ex. Sendmail) pre-installed.  What else you decide to install is entirely your choice.  Most rent servers for a monthly fee.  Prices usually include some monthly bandwidth limit and extra transfer will cost extra (but probably much less than with shared hosting plans).  At least one IP address should be included.  Additional IPs can cost extra and require a justification before use (since virtual IP hosting is possible, some companies don't consider hosting an additional website to be a valid justification).

Biggest companies selling dedicated and managed servers include:

WebIntellects

Hostony.com

NTT/VERIO

Apollo Hosting

Rackspace

 

 
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