The hosting industry is a very crowded place nowadays, with dozens of competitors offering everything from cheap shared hosting packages to high end unlimited cloud servers that can be used to replace a small data center if you so wish (Amazon Web Services is the most prominent in that case).
Surprisingly, a lot of businesses and startups tend to choose a shared hosting package or a VPS when starting out online, while some of the more advanced companies are going with cloud hosting because it’s newer and supposedly much better. However, I would argue that a dedicated server is always a better choice than any of the other solutions. Here are just a few advantages that a dedicated server has over shared, VPS and cloud hosting:
Better security. A dedicated server is basically your own physical machine that sits in a data center connected permanently to the World Wide Web. What’s on the machine is nobody else’s business, and if you or your company’s techs are at least somewhat good at managing servers and operating systems, you will get the best security possible on a dedicated server. Shared hosting and VPS have long been proved less reliable when it comes to hacking and DDoS attempts – if any other account/virtual machine on the physical server is compromised, there’s a high chance that yours is, too. Needless to say, that can be extremely bad if your business depends on it. Cloud hosting is no more reliable than VPS and has pretty much the same issues. When you have a single dedicated machine, it’s much harder for hackers to break into it and access your files or DDoS your machine – of course, that’s assuming you have a good system administrator.
Highest Performance. Because you have your own box that no one else uses when you get a dedicated server, you’ll also get the highest performance out of it. First of all, your machine is connected by a separate network cable, meaning you get all the bandwidth you pay for (and I recommend getting the 100 Mbps link, you never know when your site can get Dugg, Slashdotted or HackerNews’d), plus you can configure everything to your heart’s desire – with just a few modifications, even the cheapest single core server with 1 GB of RAM can serve hundreds or even thousands of pages per second.
Very flexible and customizable. Again, you can easily customize everything on a dedicated server – and I mean everything, you can even delete the whole OS and replace it with a custom built solution that your business employs. You can remove the sluggish Apache and replace it with Lighttpd or Nginx, install a database caching package like memcached, reconfigure the partitions and the RAM allocation, and much more – even the cheapest box can be made into a lean, mean, page serving machine.
Cheaper in the long run. Even if it doesn’t seem like it right away, a dedicated server is actually cheaper in the long run. First of all, you won’t have to worry about downtime (which can be pretty bad on your Search Engine rankings because Google checks and drops the pages pretty fast now) when switching to a more powerful hosting package. Second, dedicated servers are cheap already – you can find them for less than $100 for a nice configuration from a reputable provider (obviously, you shouldn’t go with the cheapest solution for your production environment).
A dedicated server is the best choice you can make when choosing a hosting solution for your business, especially if you’re serious about it succeeding. Compared to other solutions, a dedicated machine is safer, faster, much more flexible and cheaper – there’s really nothing more to ask from a hosting package.