For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Lead Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web h... See Full Bio
A dedicated server, or computing server, is a server where all the physical resources of the machine are available. Unlike a virtual server, which uses a portion of the resources to run its virtualisation technology, a dedicated server allows you to benefit from all of the machine’s available RAM, storage, and computing power. With cloud computing, we can also define this type of solution as "bare metal", highlighting the physical availability of the machine’s resources, in contrast to standard solutions based on virtual instances.
A cursory glance at the many web hosting services we've listed here reveals many similar-looking offerings, but the discerning eye will identify some subtle differences. You'll want a dedicated server with significant amounts of disk space—preferably 1TB or more—for storing files. You can typically choose either a traditional hard drive or a solid-state drive as your website's storage medium. There's a trade-off, however. Solid-state drives are often faster and more reliable than HDDs, but they cost more money and have smaller storage capacities. Traditional hard drives, on the other hand, have large capacities and lower prices but aren't quite as resilient as their SSD counterparts. Unless you truly need blazingly fast storage, a traditional hard drive will get the job done.
You can save a nice chunk of money if you sign up for a year or more of dedicated hosting at a time. For example, you can rent a GoDaddy dedicated server for $129 per month, but if you commit to a 12-month contract, the price drops to $79.99 per month. Chances are, if you're serious enough about your site that you think it needs a dedicated host, you're probably planning for it to be up for a year. Of course, that's where the money-back guarantees come in, and some sites definitely offer more than others in that regard, so do your research. All our web-hosting reviews cover these guarantees.
Hosts like InMotion Hosting, for example, pack plenty of RAM, CPU power, storage, and allocated IP addresses into each dedicated server plan, and package pricing starts right around $100 a month. No, this is not the lowest price tag you’ll find in the hosting market, but remember, dedicated hosting is the expensive hosting niche. You’re not sharing any of your server’s compute power or storage or bandwidth with anyone else, so you’re the only one paying for it all.
The answer to this question largely depends on two factors. Are you new to server technology and not very interested? In this case, Windows is the easiest option to get where you want to go. Do you already have experience with Linux or would you like to familiarize yourself with this operating system? If so, Linux gives you more freedoms to configure your server, and you will be using an operating system that is less vulnerable to attacks from the Internet. Linux is also open source and therefore free.
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