When I was moving web hosts over a year ago, the big decision I had to make was choosing between a VPS and a dedicated server. What’s the difference, and why should you choose one over the other? And why did I end up choosing what I did? 

This post will hopefully lay it all out for you.

First, let’s discuss the fundamental difference between the two.

A VPS/Cloud Server is a ‘virtual’ server where you’re essentially renting a set amount of resources located on an actual dedicated server in a data centre. While your server environment is very much separate from the rest of the server, it is essentially shared hosting on steroids but with root access to the ‘server’.

A dedicated server is a whole box! It is literally the entire computer in the data centre. You’re not sharing it with anyone, and you have complete root control (just like a VPS) over everything the server can do. This gives you the ability to create separate accounts and create different production environments but also try out software that might not be allowed in a VPS environment.

The biggest difference is cost. Since a VPS shares resources on a server with others, the cost is much more affordable. A dedicated server is generally more expensive because you’re renting the whole server and taking up space in the data centre, which is at a premium. However, depending on what you plan to do with the website, running a dedicated server may be more cost-effective in the long run.

Here’s a rundown of things to keep in mind with choosing the right hardware for your business.

A VPS comes with Limits

A VPS cloud server comes with limits. While it’s way more robust than traditional shared hosting, you’re still sharing a server with other VPS instances, and your resources are limited to what you pay for. For small websites that don’t have much ‘overhead’, this isn’t an issue, and a VPS can be perfect. But a VPS can scale as your website grows – adding more RAM or processing more is just a matter of ordering it with the host.

If You Need Lots of Hard Drive Space

The issue I faced when considering the move to dedicated was that I needed a lot of storage, like at least 500GB. My websites were 15 years old, and that meant lots of images, a bloated database and legacy files that couldn’t be deleted. When I was pricing out a VPS, the amount of storage I was going to need immediately put me at a pricing level that would justify the cost of a dedicated server.

You’re hitting the limits regularly

If you’re already on a VPS and find yourself hitting its limits regularly – maxing out the RAM usage or CPU usage, which leads to a sluggish website, then that means you either need to upgrade your VPS to a higher tier or consider a dedicated server where limits are less of an issue.

Bandwidth concerns

VPS plans usually have different tiers of bandwidth and port speed. The bandwidth is how much raw data can be sent and received by your VPS – and if you get a traffic spike, that might max it out and lead to overage charges. Now for port speed, that’s the speed of in/out data you can have at any one time. Again, with a massive traffic spike, that could be maxed out, making your website sluggish and unresponsive at the worst possible time.

VPS Servers are great for experiments

If you’re running a dedicated server in a production environment, and you want to run an experiment, it’s advisable not to do that in your production environment. This is a great use for a VPS – you can spin one up, run your tests and cancel it when you don’t need it anymore (or hold onto it – I have a spare VPS for this very reason). VPS environments are great for learning how to use the different flavours of Linux and finding what works for your operations.

Dedicated can be customised more

If you need a custom server environment, then dedicated is the path for you. You can choose the hardware (to some extent); you can choose the operating system and the software that it runs (and the server control panel). You have complete control over your server. Need your own development stack? We can configure exactly what you need and have it up and running with minimal fuss.

Dedicated gives you flexibility

With a dedicated server, you have more flexibility than you would within the constraints of a VPS. You have more hardware resources to take advantage of (depending on the server you choose), and you have more opportunities to expand your businesses in ways that you can’t foresee right now. You have room to grow, and this is what I love most about my own dedicated server – I can do all kinds of things that I didn’t envision when I initially bought it.

Dedicated can be more cost-effective

When pricing out hardware, you can get a bit of sticker shock at the price of a dedicated server. But when you look at the macro level and consider all the things you’re going to need – it might be more cost-effective to get it now with a dedicated server. It’s easier to buy more servers than you need right now than it is to hit the limits on your VPS in a moment of success or crisis then have to panic buy a dedicated server and migrate in an emergency. Business decisions made under duress are the worst type of decisions.

Co-Location Might be a better option

Considering a VPS but already have your own hardware that’s working well for your business? Then you might want to consider co-location instead. We can place your hardware in our data centre, give it our world-class connections and support, and you won’t need to invest in costly new hardware or migrate to a VPS or new dedicated server.

In summary

If you’re still unsure as to exactly what you’re going to need, Get in touch with our sales team today. We can discuss your requirements and then build the perfect solution for you, your business, and your price point. We’ll walk you through the whole process so success online.

Consider a VPS if…. 

  • You don’t need a lot of resources
  • You still need root access
  • You want less processing power
  • You need less RAM
  • Don’t need a lot of storage
  • Don’t mind sharing a virtual environment
  • Bandwidth requirements are low
  • Port speed needed is low

Consider a dedicated server if…. 

  • You want to control the whole box
  • Don’t want to share
  • You need more processing power
  • You need more RAM
  • You need a lot more storage
  • You need more bandwidth
  • You need more port speed

Are you ready to make the leap and get your own dedicated hardware with Blacknight? Get in touch with our sales team today so we can figure out your requirements and put together the best package for your current and future business needs. You won’t regret it! Getting a dedicated server was the best business decision I’ve made in years.

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