Dedicated Server Meaning & Definition

Virtually all organizations must store data, whether it be personally identifiable information (PII) of their customers, user credentials or analytics. They also need to maintain access to their websites and business applications, such as email or customer relationship management (CRM) systems. These needs are met by hosting these assets on servers.

What is a dedicated server?

A dedicated server, also called a bare-metal server, is a piece of computer hardware that an organization has exclusive use of to host their websites, data and applications.

Dedicated vs. Shared hosting

There are two types of hosting on hardware servers that cater to different business needs: dedicated hosting and shared hosting.

Shared hosting means that multiple organizations host their business assets on the same server. Each party is given a limited amount of disk space and bandwidth. Dedicated hosting, on the other hand, means an organization has full and exclusive access to all of the storage space and bandwidth that the server can provide.

Shared hosting is typically used by smaller organizations that may not require extensive scalability or large amounts of disk space. Shared hosting services often provide maintenance, administration and security for the servers which also makes it a good option for smaller organizations that don’t have the internal resources required for server management.

Dedicated hosting is a better option for large organizations that need scalability to handle large spikes in traffic to their website, or if they need to host multiple sites because they will have access to more bandwidth. And generally speaking, the larger the business, the more data they will need to store, which makes more storage space valuable.

Unlike shared hosting services, dedicated hosting usually doesn’t provide maintenance, administration and security with standard plans. These added services can be purchased for a higher price but large organizations are more likely to have in-house resources and team members to manage it themselves. Overall, dedicated hosting is the more expensive option.

Benefits of a dedicated server

Beyond access to more bandwidth and disk space, dedicated servers also provide a number of other benefits:

  • Improved performance: Dedicated servers can offer better performance for applications as they are not as stretched thin by multiple workloads being used by different organizations.
  • Customizability: Having a dedicated server allows for more customization, such as microsegmentation of a network or deploying specialized software. Shared hosting is more limited as not all organizations on the server may want or need the same customization.
  • Data security: There is a reduced chance of data breaches with dedicated hosting. On shared servers, if one organization is compromised due to inefficient security infrastructure, that can put all other organizations hosted on that server at risk.

Cloud hosting vs. dedicated servers

In recent years, cloud hosting has become a popular alternative to hosting on a dedicated hardware server. While dedicated servers offer more bandwidth and disk space than a shared server, they still have a limit. Cloud servers are far more scalable as they can virtually expand to support any amount of traffic by diverting it to other data centers.

Dedicated servers still offer more customization than cloud hosting but one of the biggest reasons some organizations would opt for a hardware server is that they are able to support legacy applications and databases, unlike cloud.




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Kyle Guercio
Kyle Guercio has worked in content creation for six years contributing blog posts, featured news articles, press releases, white papers and more for a wide variety of subjects in the technology space.

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