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Top 10 Dedicated Web Hosting Companies

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Standard web hosting is shared web hosting, but for many websites — particularly ones with lots of traffic or a big reputation to maintain— sharing a web server just won't do. Enter dedicated hosting: designed to give big-reputation, in-house, high-traffic, and high-security sites the level of reliability that only one's own dedicated server can provide.

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Read our 1&1 Dedicated review
    **High performance hardware with many inclusions starting at $59.99/month**
    • 100 Mbit data connection
    • Serial console access: access your server as if you were sitting in front of it
    • Premium software suite, including Adobe Elements 5.0, Adobe GoLive CS2, Ulead GIF Animator,Hello Engines 6, Ranking Toolbox 6.0 and WISE FTP 5
    • $400 worth of PPC marketing vouchers for Google Adwords, Microsoft adCenter and Yahoo! SearchMarketing
    • Green web hosting: 1 and 1 dedicated purchases renewable energy certificates to match allenergy consumed by their data centers
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Read our GoDaddy Dedicated review
    **Exclusive 20% off select dedicated hosting packages!**
    • Dedicated plans start off as low as $84.95 a month
    • No long term contracts required
    • Assisted dedicated service plans - Set-up, Maintenance, Monitoring
    • Servers are set-up within hours of receipt of payment

Shared vs. Dedicated Server Hosting

How a web hosting company "hosts" your website is by keeping it accessible at all times on a computer or network of computers that are always left turned on: aka a "server". You could, in fact, use your own computer as the server for your website, if you kept it on 24/7/365.

Of course most people (and certainly most businesses) want more certainty (and less hassle) than housing and maintaining their own server could provide. And for the average website owner, sharing the computer network that serves their website with other websites is sufficient, but for some — who receive heavy traffic, whose visitors expect the utmost in service, speed, and reliability every time they visit, who rely on the utmost in privacy or security — sharing a server or server network with other businesses just isn't adequate.

With dedicated hosting, you essentially rent or lease your own server: your own high-quality computer housed in a state-of-the-art datacenter under top-notch security and environmental controls. This not only gives your customer the consistently greatest experience of your website, but it gives you total power and control over how that website is managed (more on that in a moment).

Dedicated Internet

Dedicated hosting also frees you from the concerns of bandwidth and disk space allotments imposed by most shared hosting plans. Remember, disk space determines how much information your site can offer, or put another way, how "big" your website can be, while bandwidth determines how much access visitors have to your site, or put another way, the size of the roads bringing traffic to and from your site.

When you own your own server (even if it is just rented or leased), you don't have to worry about sharing any of that with anyone. That's because a dedicated server comes with its own dedicated IP address, which means its own dedicated connection to the Internet.

Server Updates on Your Clock

Servers need to update regularly; they need to update their own technology (i.e. their operating software) and they need to update the information that the websites they serve are providing to visitors (i.e. the "content"). When servers update, they go offline for some amount of time, often several hours, during which websites hosted by that server will not be available to visitors (barring a backup server). With shared web hosting, you generally have to accept the server update times set by your shared host; with dedicated hosting, you can set the clock for server updates to occur when it's most convenient for you and your visitors.

Dedicated Support

Many dedicated hosting plans come with a dedicated customer support representative. This means anytime you have a concern or need assistance, you'll be dealing with the same individual, who you know by name and how to reach directly, and who's been familiar with you and your website since you started service with their company. Oftentimes, in fact, these dedicated support representatives will take you on a personal walkthrough as you set up your dedicated web hosting service on day one.

Remote Access

With most dedicated hosting plans, you'll get some form of remote access to your server that allows you to control it from your own computer at home or work as if you were sitting directly in front of it. Some dedicated hosts will even go so far as to give you remote access when needed to a service tech in the datacenter to act as your physical eyes and hands while you fix a technical problem requiring more in-person attention. This is of particular importance with dedicated web hosting because you, the customer, instead of the datacenter are responsible for maintaining the hardware and software running your server, down to the very cables themselves.

Creative Flexibility

Having a dedicated server is kind of like having a private workshop to play with. A dedicated server allows you to experiment with different versions of your website to see which gets the greatest user response, or to explore adding different apps to your website's functionality without upsetting your whole system.

Self Control

Of course, having this level of control over your dedicated server assumes that you know what to do with it. It's not enough to understand how to use web-based control panels like a shared hosting customer. Different servers run on different operating systems (e.g. Linux, Windows, CentOS, Fedora, OpenBSD, Ubuntu, Gentoo, etc.) and either you or someone on your staff will need to be fluent, or at least familiar, with one of the operating systems offered by the dedicated web host you choose in order for a dedicated server plan to work for you.

That also means when choosing a dedicated hosting plan, be sure that the software provided is the software you know how to use, and vice-versa. (The exception to this is the occasional Managed Hosting plan offered at some sites, in which you pay for a dedicated server but get help setting it up and monitoring and maintaining it.)

Privacy & Security

If control is the number one reason why companies choose dedicated server plans, then privacy and security are a close second and third. By not sharing computer space with other websites, other businesses and individuals are kept from inadvertently (or advertently) accessing your files and interfering with your operational flow.

Despite availing the datacenter you use of its physical site security systems, with a dedicated server you are the sole entity responsible for your site's online security. Again, with great power comes great responsibility... (who said that?).

The Trade-Offs

The trade-offs with dedicated hosting is firstly, of course, that it is considerably more expensive than traditional shared hosting, and secondly, that it demands more time, knowledge, and responsibility from you to maintain. With shared hosting, the shared hosting company's own staff handles many of the tasks that you would otherwise have to take on yourself, were you to use a dedicated server. The bottom line is you or somebody on your staff should really know a thing or two about managing a web server to make dedicated hosting a practical and cost-effective solution for you.


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