Choosing the right type of server is an important decision for any business, but with a wide range of different systems available, which solution best suits the needs of your business?

So far in this series of articles we’ve spent time looking at shared servers and virtual private servers, both good entry level solutions for small businesses because of the low associated costs.

Arguably, one of the greatest drawbacks of a shared hosting system is the simple fact that the system is shared with others. This can mean that if one user encounters a problem it can have knock-on effects for others. A run away process can end up taking all the CPU resources which means that all websites respond slowly or not at all, until it is fixed often with a reboot. Similarly, a hacked website, for example, can result in all websites being blacklisted or result all websites held on the server offline until the problem is resolved, even if your own data remains secure.

However, it’s worth remembering that there are alternatives to shared servers available. Today we are going to look at physical dedicated servers which operate in a different way to shared hosting systems and can provide advantages for businesses both in terms of the flexibility and performance.

What is a dedicated server?

A dedicated server, as the name suggests, is a single server which is rented exclusively by a single business from a hosting provider. This means there are no up-front costs in purchasing expensive server equipment, but perhaps the key to understanding dedicated servers is the flexibility they can provide.

To help avoid confusion, some people and service providers refer to dedicated servers as being a Dedicated VPS or Dedicated Virtual Servers, but the principles are the same: The key aspect of a dedicated server is that it is used exclusively by one business and the hardware is configured to suit their needs.

One of the greatest advantages of a dedicated server is its flexibility. All aspects of the server’s hardware can be configured, ranging from the amount of memory, speed and number of processors, to the physical size of the hard drives used to store software applications and data.

Dedicated servers come in various different specifications. Some are based on generic hardware options whilst others use branded server equipment such as Dell or HP. It is worth spending time researching the different types of hardware offered by datacentres. In some cases, cheap unbranded technology can offer little more in terms of performance than a standard desktop computer which just happens to be housed in a datacentre. When it comes to our own hardware, we prefer to use HP servers because of their high build quality and reliability.

Dedicated servers allow businesses to enjoy complete control over the hosting environment, enabling the server to undertake a wide range of tasks ranging from email and website hosting to storing data and running software applications which can be accessed by members of staff both in the workplace and remotely.

It’s perhaps worth noting that whilst dedicated servers offer many advantages over shared hosting systems, a greater degree of technical knowledge is required. The settings and performance of a dedicated server are managed remotely, which means physical access to the server is not required to install new software or perform updates.

One of the greatest advantages of a dedicated server their exclusivity. This means that your business doesn’t compete with others when it comes to using the resources on the server and it’s perhaps also with mentioning that dedicated servers also benefit from their own IP addresses, which is not shared with others, offering greater security than a shared resource.


  • Flexibility. All aspects of a dedicated server can be customised to suit the needs of your business.
  • No up-front costs. Purchasing server equipment can be expensive, with costs running into many thousands of pounds. The costs of server colocation, hardware and maintenance are usually billed in one single monthly fee by a data center provider.
  • Performance. Dedicated servers are reserved exclusively for the use of one business, meaning greater performance and reliability.
  • Improved security: Dedicated servers benefit from allocated IP addresses which are not shared with others.


  • Although there are many benefits to a dedicated server, the cost of the technology is higher than a shared solution.
  • Unmanaged hosting. In most cases the hosting environment managed by the client, who is responsible for monitoring performance, administering updates and undertaking software maintenance. This can be a time-consuming job, particularly if you are not a seasoned IT pro. Although some providers do offer technical support, it is usually an additional service, due to the flexible way in which dedicated servers are utilised.
  • Technical knowledge. Managing a server can require a great deal of technical know-how.

To find out more about dedicated servers, visit:


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