What is a dedicated server? And what are the benefits?

Craig Greenup 02/02/24, 11:32

Why Your Site Needs A Dedicated Server

If you’re not a techie, hosting and servers can be confusing.

But, the thing is, hosting and servers are nearly as important to your business as having a working website. So it’s important to understand your options.

When you choose a server, you generally have three options to choose from:

  • A dedicated server
  • A cloud server
  • A shared server

Here, we’re going to focus on dedicated servers. We’re going to look at what a dedicated server is, how it compares to the alternatives and the benefits of a dedicated server for your business.

What is a server? And what is hosting?

First a quick recap.

When we talk about a server, we’re talking about the programs and computers that store your website.

Imagine a user wants to view your site. They type in the URL or click a link. This connects their computer to your chosen server. The server then retrieves and “serves” your site via the user’s browser.

Hosting is just another word for “storing”. We say that a server hosts your website information. Your chosen hosting provider can store your website on a dedicated server, a cloud server or a shared server.

Simple? Kinda. But there’s a bit more to it than our quick explainer. There are a whole bunch of server and hosting service factors that affect your site.

Different servers and different hosting providers have their pros and cons. So finding out which options best suit your business and website is an important step in the website-building process.

What is a dedicated server?

A dedicated server only serves one organisation. It exclusively hosts your website(s). And you have a unique IP address.

This is like having an in-house server. But – because the server still resides with your host – you don’t need to pay overhead costs for specialist equipment and maintenance.

A dedicated server usually costs more than other server options. But it’s the gold standard in terms of performance.

Benefits of a dedicated server for your website

So is a dedicated server worth it? Here are all the benefits you get when you host your website on your own private server.

Better performance

One of the main benefits of a dedicated server is website performance. A dedicated server handles requests for your site only. You don’t have to share space with other sites.

This means you get the fastest possible site speeds. Your site can also handle greater volumes of traffic. And it takes traffic spikes in its stride. This translates to a better user experience (UX) and search engine optimisation (SEO) performance.

Better security

Dedicated server security is top-notch. It has fewer entry points than other types of servers. So you’re a lot less vulnerable to hacking and data loss.

You can also rest assured that you’re not sharing a server and an IP address with a malicious or spam site. And you can configure your security settings to meet the regulations of the industry you’re working in.


Another big dedicated server benefit is customisation.

You (or server tech support) can optimise a dedicated server so it meets your precise needs. You can include the applications, platforms, software and security settings that work best for your site. And this means better performance.


We’ve mentioned that a dedicated server tends to cost more than other options. But it can be more cost-effective in the long run.

Compared to other hosting options, a dedicated server makes your website fast, secure and really effective. This equals happy customers and more sales. You don’t miss out on revenue because of, for instance, website downtime or slow load speeds.

Choose a robust hosting package, with network and server hardware maintenance included, and you get even more bang for your buck.

Shared server vs dedicated server

As its name suggests – a shared server is divided between lots of different websites. This makes shared servers cheap but slow.

You share the cost of the server with other businesses. But you also share the space. Sometimes your server neighbours end up hogging server resources. This slows your website down.

There are a couple of other considerations you need to bear in mind with a shared server.

First, one size has to fit all. You can’t customise your server like you can when you use a dedicated server. This can be a problem if you have a website with very specific requirements.

Second, shared servers don’t offer the best security. Because they can be accessed by anyone who uses the server, they’re more vulnerable to hacking and data loss.

And lastly, you share an IP address with other websites on the server. If someone using your server is sending out spam, they could get blacklisted. And because you’re sharing an IP address, you could end up being blacklisted too.

So why would you choose shared hosting over dedicated hosting? It all comes down to price. A shared server is the cheapest option, which makes it very tempting for smaller and newer businesses.

Cloud server vs dedicated server

A cloud server isn’t hosted in a physical environment. It sits in a shared virtual environment. And it shares data between connected servers in different locations.

Cloud servers are fast and reliable. They’re also really secure. As with shared hosting, you share resources with other websites. But – because the cloud model is more flexible – the shared environment doesn’t impact your website so much.

A dedicated server still has the edge in terms of customisation and control. Dedicated servers can also handle more traffic than cloud servers.

However, cloud servers offer great flexibility. Most hosting providers offer a pay-for-usage model. That means you pay less when website traffic is low – and more when it’s high.

So does your website need a dedicated server?

You’ll benefit from dedicated hosting if you answer yes to any of the following statements:

  • Your website has high volumes of traffic
  • You process lots of ecommerce transactions
  • You manage large amounts of data
  • You run web applications that require a lot of resources
  • Security is one of your top website priorities

However, if your budget doesn’t stretch to a dedicated server, we’d still avoid using a shared server.

That’s because, when you use a shared server, you sacrifice website performance – and this can end up offsetting any cost savings. People get a sub-par experience so they’re less likely to buy from or return to your website.

If a client tells us they can’t afford a dedicated server, we recommend a cloud server as the next best option.

Website design, development and hosting with Radical

Here at Radical, we give you all the advice you need to choose the right host and server for your business. We can also help you migrate your site from an old host you’ve outgrown.

Want us to take care of everything? We can build an innovative, custom website for your business. And host it on our dedicated server, too.

Get us to build and host your business website and you can count on:

  • A bespoke website
  • Hosting on a dedicated server, with weekly backups
  • High performance and reliability
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Regularly updated software and plugins
  • A security-first approach

Find out more about our hosting service. Or head over to the Radical blog for more web design and development insight.