, by  Tom Simnett

"Hosting part 2: Dedicate yourselves"

When is dedicated hosting right for your app?

It’s been a little while since our last post - we’ve been crazy busy, and we’ve got some more fuel for this series in the process too. In this part, we’re looking at Dedicated hosting, and what it means.

Simply put, dedicated hosting means having hardware dedicated to one website or one application. Nothing else sits on that server, such as other websites that can interfere, or use up precious resources. There are a number of scenarios that suit dedicated hosting and it is usually relevant for the larger scale websites rather than smaller ones. Lets say for example that you’re expecting your site to get hundreds and thousands of hits in the first few days. You might want to look at getting at least a dedicated server, if not a cluster of them to handle the load that the machine will experience.

But again, this depends on the site itself. If it’s just a single page site with nothing but static flash or HTML to load, you’ll manage a huge amount of throughput on a relatively low performance machine. It’s all the database calls and all the dynamic data and the lack of being able to cache it a lot of the time that makes a server seem slow or even make it give up!

Again, this is ultimately going to be a decision that needs to be made between the strategists for the project, the developers and the server admins. They’ll tell you if you need it or if you need something more or less than just a single dedicated machine. And it’ll cost money for a good service. You’ll normally want to get the server managed for you if you don’t have your own admins that can keep it up to date and patched regularly.

A single dedicated server will often cost more for the hardware than a similarly specified virtual machine, but with it comes the knowledge that you’re not sharing any resources with other virtual machines. There is nothing wrong with either approach. It just depends on the requirements of the application.

If you’ve got a site you’re expecting a lot of hits to, or you know it’s a big application and it needs something beefy to run it, your best bet is usually going to be dedicated. Just be prepared to stump up for it.