The best hosting for your website is a tough and often all too confusing process in general. It’s even tougher considering that when you are evaluating a Dedicated Server Hosting provider.
The fact that you are looking for Dedicated Server Hosting means that you’re already working with much higher traffic & data than most website owners. You likely know that there is no such thing as an absolute “Best Dedicated Server Hosting company” – there is only the hosting that is right for you considering all the tradeoffs – speed, bandwidth, service, customer support and of course – price.
Based on my experience working with many hosting providers, there are a few that are a good starting point for most businesses using dedicated hosting.
|Name||Best if you want…||Plans!|
|InMotion||Excellent technical support & competitive pricing.||Explore.|
|SiteGround||Creative bundled features & good support.||Explore.|
|HostGator||Solid price point w/ brand name network.||Explore.|
|RackSpace||Established name-brand w/ customized products.||Explore.|
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All opinions and data are based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Alternatives to Dedicated Server Hosting
The thing about dedicated hosting servers is that there are now tons of options to solve your exact server demands. And with each option, there’s also an alternative.
If you want a bespoke solution, then the providers mentioned above will all work with you. For example, SiteGround recently rolled out an Enterprise hosting solution. And RackSpace built their business on customized offerings.
If your site needs extra bandwidth or more power to deliver content assets, you might be able to use a dedicated server combined with a good content distribution network (CDN) like MaxCDN.
If your site uses a well-known CMS like WordPress or Drupal, there’s a whole universe of options like WP Engine, WordPress VIP, or Pantheon.io.
And, of course, no guide to dedicated hosting can avoid mentioning cloud hosting. There’s the big brand of Amazon Web Services of course. But there’s also Google Cloud and then there are services like Digital Ocean and Cloudways who will help deploy your services to the cloud for a monthly fee.
All this is not to say that dedicated hosting is obsolete – it’s not and it’s preferable for many businesses. But – if your only problem is a lack of server power – then there may be other solutions available.
Considerations for Choosing The Best Dedicated Hosting
Hosting companies all have different strengths and weaknesses. The core product of a Dedicated Server is straightforward – you get an entire server to use however you’d like for a monthly price. The upsides are that:
- You get a lot of dedicated resources for your website.
- You get 100% freedom & ownership compared to a managed hosting provider.
- You have cutting edge equipment and trained support staff.
- You have all the benefits of ownership without the costs.
- You get cloud backup options without cloud-based problems.
- You have a dedicated IP address and options to use the highest web security.
The downsides are that:
- You need much more technical wherewithal than a shared server or managed server.
- Dedicated server options are very customized and start blurring into “bespoke solution land”.
- You are much more tied into the success of your hosting company than you are with shared hosting.
- Higher traffic levels inherently mean more expensive mistakes.
Here are some of the considerations that are factored into the quiz.
Speed & Performance & Network
One of the main reasons to switch to a dedicated hosting is to get better performance than you can get with a shared or VPS hosting provider. There are tons of variables that go into website speed, but a dedicated hosting provider should provide plenty of resources & features to handle high-traffic websites quickly.
The additional feature with performance is network access. Even if your provider has excellent resources – what is their access to the main Internet pipelines? As an analogy – it doesn’t matter if you are driving a Tesla if your driveway is a mud road.
Do you want an established brand that is part of a large company? Or do you want a smaller, independent company? There is no right answer. Usually, large companies have more resources for discounts and more support channels. Independent companies usually have a more personal touch and are focused on investing over cost-cutting. Name brands have a reputation to maintain – and a huge user base for feedback. And newer, cloud-based providers have simply interfaces and quick deployment.
Bandwidth is how much data can be transferred to and from your server. Think of it like the size of the pipe running to your server. Your server needs to be fast, but if it’s sending & receiving many files (ie, many website visitors), then it’s also going to need plenty of bandwidth to serve visitors.
Everyone wants good customer service. But providing solid customer support costs money. If you are a DIY type who is comfortable troubleshooting and Googling, you might value pricing and performance more than having several channels of support. Also, think about what support channels you want. Do you want to be able to talk on the phone? Do you want chat & email? Do they need to be responsive on Twitter? What about a self-help knowledgebase? Do you want your server to be fully managed or do you want to be left alone with root access?
Resources & Use Cases
Resources go beyond simply which company has more RAM or better processors. How you are using your dedicated server also matters. Do you have a high-traffic content website? Are you running a database for online apps? Does your use case have traffic spikes or is it stable demand?
How many files do you need to store on your server? This may or may not be a huge issue if you are storing your largest files with a media provider (ie, audio or video files). But if you have a lot of imagery and internal resources, you’ll need to consider this number in your budget.
Discounts & Pricing
How important is getting a good deal? Sometimes it’s worth paying more if performance or customer support is a priority, but sometimes pricing beats them both.
How long are you willing to sign on? Many dedicated providers offer deep signup discounts if you can commit for a year or more. Some charge per hour of use. Some create a hybrid.
User-friendliness & Server Management
Some customers value a clean, well-designed account area. Some customers do not really care what the buttons look like as long as all the features are there. And some customers don’t really care compared to other factors like price or performance. And some want a developer-friendly setup with staging and integrated developer tools.
Best VPS Hosting Providers – if you don’t think you’ll need a VPS, here’s where to start for shared servers.
What Is Cloud Hosting? – an explainers that I put together.
What Is VPS Hosting? – an explainer that I put together.
Contact Me – I built this page as a useful starting point for users who are looking for a short list of good providers. I’ve used all the providers mentioned as a customer or consultant to a customer but the very nature of dedicated hosting means that I simply cannot find or evaluate all things dedicated hosting (or consider every use case). If there is something missing or lacking in this page – please contact me and let me know. Whether it’s an experience, a provider or something else – I’d love to hear from you.