A Dedicated Server is a physical server that allows you to have exclusive access to its resources. Choosing a Dedicated Server provides you with the highest level of performance, allowing for peak performance for your web applications. As a single tenant, you can expect to enjoy full control in optimizing, curating an environment tailored your business.
Dedicated servers sound pretty great, right? They are. That said, you should be aware of their relatively high prices. Setting up shop on a dedicated server will likely cost you more than $100 per month; shared servers, on the other hand, are far less expensive. The cheapest web hosting services will lease you space on the web for well under $10 per month. In addition, you'll need to handle firewalls and maintenance yourself unless you opt for a managed server, which costs even more.
Many dedicated server providers include a service level agreement based on network up-time. Some dedicated server hosting providers offer a 100% up-time guarantee on their network. By securing multiple vendors for connectivity and using redundant hardware, providers are able to guarantee higher up-times; usually between 99-100% up-time if they are a higher quality provider. One aspect of higher quality providers is they are most likely to be multi-homed across multiple quality up-link providers, which in turn, provides significant redundancy in the event one goes down in addition to potentially improved routes to destinations.
Bandwidth consumption over the last several years has shifted from a per megabit usage model to a per gigabyte usage model. Bandwidth was traditionally measured in line speed access that included the ability to purchase needed megabits at a given monthly cost. As the shared hosting model developed, the trend towards gigabyte or total bytes transferred, replaced the megabit line speed model so dedicated server providers started offering per gigabyte.
Ample RAM (5GB or more), e-commerce options for selling products, 24/7 customer service, and unlimited monthly data transfers are highly sought-after features, too. Many web hosts cap their dedicated monthly data transfer offerings at 16GB, which is probably fine for most users. Some web hosts offer unlimited monthly data transfers, but they are few and far between, and you need to read the terms of service very carefully to understand just what "unlimited" means to the host in question. In addition, companies that offer dedicated web hosting typically offer daily backups, security options, and malware detection and removal—all very important factors in your website's day-to-day operation.
The answer to this question largely depends on two factors. Are you new to server technology and not very interested? In this case, Windows is the easiest option to get where you want to go. Do you already have experience with Linux or would you like to familiarize yourself with this operating system? If so, Linux gives you more freedoms to configure your server, and you will be using an operating system that is less vulnerable to attacks from the Internet. Linux is also open source and therefore free.
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