A dedicated hosting service, dedicated server, or managed hosting service is a type of Internet hosting in which the client leases an entire server not shared with anyone else. This is more flexible than shared hosting, as organizations have full control over the server(s), including choice of operating system, hardware, etc. There is also another level of dedicated or managed hosting commonly referred to as complex managed hosting. Complex Managed Hosting applies to both physical dedicated servers, Hybrid server and virtual servers, with many companies choosing a hybrid (combination of physical and virtual) hosting solution. There are many similarities between standard and complex managed hosting but the key difference is the level of administrative and engineering support that the customer pays for – owing to both the increased size and complexity of the infrastructure deployment. The provider steps in to take over most of the management, including security, memory, storage and IT support. The service is primarily proactive in nature. Server administration can usually be provided by the hosting company as an add-on service. In some cases a dedicated server can offer less overhead and a larger return on investment. Dedicated servers are most often housed in data centers, similar to colocation facilities, providing redundant power sources and HVAC systems. In contrast to colocation, the server hardware is owned by the provider and in some cases they will provide support for operating systems or applications.
Using a dedicated hosting service offers the benefits of high performance, security, email stability, and control. Due to the relatively high price of dedicated hosting, it is mostly used by websites that receive a large volume of traffic.
Availability, price and employee familiarity often determines which operating systems are offered on dedicated servers. Variations of Linux and Unix (open source operating systems) are often included at no charge to the customer. Commercial operating systems include Microsoft Windows Server, provided through a special program called Microsoft SPLA. Red Hat Enterprise is a commercial version of Linux offered to hosting providers on a monthly fee basis. The monthly fee provides OS updates through the Red Hat Network using an application called yum. Other operating systems are available from the open source community at no charge. These include CentOS, Fedora Core, Debian, and many other Linux distributions or BSD systems FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD.
Support for any of these operating systems typically depends on the level of management offered with a particular dedicated server plan. Operating system support may include updates to the core system in order to acquire the latest security fixes, patches, and system-wide vulnerability resolutions. Updates to core operating systems include kernel upgrades, service packs, application updates, and security patches that keep server secure and safe. Operating system updates and support relieves the burden of server management from the dedicated server owner.
Bandwidth refers to the data transfer rate or the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period (usually a second) and is often represented in bits (of data) per second (bit/s). For example, visitors to your server, web site, or applications utilize bandwidth *Third – Total Transfer (measured in bytes transferred)
Dedicated hosting services primarily differ from managed hosting services in that managed hosting services usually offer more support and other services. As such, managed hosting is targeted towards clients with less technical knowledge, whereas dedicated hosting services, or unmanaged hosting services, are suitable for web development and system administrator professionals.
To date, no industry standards have been set to clearly define the management role of dedicated server providers. What this means is that each provider will use industry standard terms, but each provider will define them differently. For some dedicated server providers, fully managed is defined as having a web based control panel while other providers define it as having dedicated system engineers readily available to handle all server and network related functions of the dedicated server provider.
Server management can include some or all of the following:
Dedicated hosting server providers define their level of management based on the services they provide. In comparison, fully managed could equal self managed from provider to provider.
Administrative maintenance of the operating system, often including upgrades, security patches, and sometimes even daemon updates are included. Differing levels of management may include adding users, domains, daemon configuration, or even custom programming.
Dedicated server hosting providers may provide the following types of server managed support:
Dedicated hosting server providers utilize extreme security measures to ensure the safety of data stored on their network of servers. Providers will often deploy various software programs for scanning systems and networks for obtrusive invaders, spammers, hackers, and other harmful problems such as Trojans, worms, and crashers (Sending multiple connections). Linux and Windows use different software for security protection.
Providers often bill for dedicated servers on a fixed monthly price to include specific software packages. Over the years, software vendors realized the significant market opportunity to bundle their software with dedicated servers. They have since started introducing pricing models that allow dedicated hosting providers the ability to purchase and resell software based on reduced monthly fees.
Microsoft offers software licenses through a program called the Service Provider License Agreement. The SPLA model provides use of Microsoft products through a monthly user or processor based fee. SPLA software includes the Windows Operating System, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint and shoutcast hosting, and many other server based products.
Dedicated server providers usually offer the ability to select the software you want installed on a dedicated server. Depending on the overall usage of the server, this will include your choice of operating system, database, and specific applications. Servers can be customized and tailored specific to the customer’s needs and requirements.
Other software applications available are specialized web hosting specific programs called control panels. Control panel software is an all inclusive set of software applications, server applications, and automation tools that can be installed on a dedicated server. Control panels include integration into web servers, database applications, programming languages, application deployment, server administration tasks, and include the ability to automate tasks via a web based front end.
Most dedicated servers are packaged with a control panel. Control panels are often confused with management tools, but these control panels are actually web based automation tools created to help automate the process of web site creation and server management. Control panels should not be confused with a full server management solution by a dedicated hosting providers.
Many providers do not allow IRC (bots, clients or daemons). This is due to rogue IRC users triggering DDoS attacks against the provider, which may overwhelm their networks, lowering service quality for all customers.