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To make your website visible to internet users, you must host it on a server. Choosing a server is not easy. You need to consider cost, resources, site performance, and the power of the hardware. To decide which server is right for your website, you should first familiarise yourself with different types of servers based on your needs. Two types of servers are available for hosting websites, either dedicated or virtual. This article will explain each server’s function, and help you decide which is best for your website.

Virtual server

In the web hosting industry, virtual servers are commonly referred to as virtual private servers or VPS. They are often situated in an off-site data centre or the cloud. Server virtualization involves converting a physical server into several virtual machines through a hypervisor. As it stands, users reside in their own private slots on one big server that offers processing power. Virtual servers are cost-effective compared to physical servers as they save on hardware expenses. They also need relatively less energy, which is good for the environment. The hypervisor ensures that resources are evenly allocated, and everyone gets a separate domain. The ability to virtualize servers also allows for more flexibility in adapting to dynamic workloads.

Note that each private server operates independently as far as software and resource availability are concerned. Don’t confuse it with shared hosting. With VPS, you get complete access to server configuration, making it an ideal upgrade for shared hosting.

What are the benefits of virtual servers?

A physical server generally serves a specific operation or application with its entire processing power. Maintaining several physical servers takes more energy, money, and space. However, virtual servers use virtual infrastructure implemented across clustered hardware. The resulting benefits are improved data recovery in case of a disaster, minimal or zero downtime, and quick rendering of applications. In addition, virtualization enhances IT productivity, responsiveness, efficiency, and agility.

What are the drawbacks of virtual servers?

A common drawback of virtual servers is resource hogging. An overflow of independent servers in a single physical machine can lead to resource overuse and inferior performance. However the way we configure our virtual private servers means that this won’t occur.

Dedicated server

A dedicated server runs on computer operation systems. This can be a physical device such as computer RAM, hard drive, and processor. Hosting your website on a dedicated server is like connecting your PC to your home network and configuring DNS by yourself. The machine will be running your site and server requests. But you’ll have a few problems, though. What if someone compromises your computer, causes a security breach, and the system crashes? How will you deal with an abrupt power outage and surge in traffic?

Luckily, Catalyst2 offers dedicated servers that can solve all the above issues. When you lease a dedicated server, you can choose the management level. You might want a pre-installed system with the necessary software. If your website is more demanding, you can have multiple devices with separate back-end databases and load balancers.

What are the benefits of a dedicated server?

The dedicated server is just for you and your organisation. Even though there’s complete autonomy, you can always ask for technical assistance when installing, connecting, or configuring the system. You’ll benefit more from a dedicated server if you have a big corporation with pressing IT requirements. The best part is that the server is flexible, allowing you to install anything you want from e.g. Node JS, MariaDB, and PHP8.

Depending on your budget, you can choose an enormous RAM, multi-petabyte hard disks, and ultra-fast processors. You will have resources to yourself and unlimited access to the hard disk. You can also add or replace other components if necessary. Remember that a dedicated server is the most expensive web hosting alternative. Upgrades and technical support can add to the maintenance costs. Despite that, dedicated servers remain the most suitable option for applications that require maximum performance.

Not sure what server is for you?

There is no right or wrong answer when choosing virtual servers versus physical dedicated servers. Here at Catalyst2, we will help you make up your mind depending on your web hosting needs. We provide cloud hosting in the UK at reasonable rates. Our services come with full support, scalability, and reliability. Talk to us today if you need lightning-fast servers that will also keep your data safe. It will be a pleasure to host you!