Hosting Dedicated Servers at Home vs. In a Data Center

April 2015

SSD Dedicated Server Hosting

An Overview of Dedicated Hosting Expenses

Dedicated hosting can be an expensive endeavor. It is important to consider your costs and potential savings when it comes to a business relying on a dedicated server.

You might be weighing whether you need the expense of hosting in a data center, or can manage to run your own dedicated server from your home. Due to online delivery services (like Amazon or eBay) and the amount of information available online, some people might imagine it easier to buy their own equipment to host games or an email server. Having an at-home server, it may seem, gives you total control. After all, all of those commercial about ‘the cloud’ and hosting at home are very convincing.

The prospect of saving some money by hosting a dedicated server in your home seems like a lucrative idea, but the benefits may not be as extensive as you may think. This situation might work for some business owners, but there are also many risks associated with hosting at home (and likewise in an office).

There are several aspects to consider such as pricing for electricity, the availability of your network and bandwidth, and the costs of losing hardware or data. If you are determined to hosting at home or in your office, these are the same costs you should calculate before buying your hardware.

Electricity and Cooling Costs

One of the main reasons people host servers in their homes is to save on monthly costs associated with data center space. It is important to remember that the cost of electricity is included in your bill from a hosting provider.

At home you have to take into account the amount of power your server will consume (this varies a lot in different server models). You will also have to plan for your electricity usage. Cities have different prices for electricity, but generally residential electricity costs tend to be higher than commercial. A 450W server running 24 hours a day in a city that charges 13 cents per KW/h will cost you roughly $40 per month.

This does not take into account the additional cooling required to keep a server running optimally. In order to keep servers running perfectly, data centers stay around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Combined with the cost of your hardware and other operating costs at home, it is likely that the costs of powering a server on your own will negate a significant portion of the savings. This is something you’ll need to consider when factoring the costs of hosting a dedicated server at home.

Bandwidth and Network Connections

Since the introduction of high bandwidth services like Netflix and Youtube, it is getting more and more expensive to receive a high volume of bandwidth on a home internet connection. If hosting a server at home, you are likely to be vastly limited by bandwidth capacity and network speed compared to the experience you will receive on a data center hosted server.

According to a 2014 report by Broadview Networks and Akamai, the state of Virginia had the fastest average internet speeds in the USA, which was only 13.7 Mbps. Of course, this is only an average. (Cities with several providers creates competition and drives internet speeds up.)

But even on the higher side, home speeds cannot compete with a data center connection. ReliableSite’s data centers have a 1 Gbps connection on every server.

Network routes in a data center are also far superior to the ones that home networks take when your dedicated server is connected to a premium network. Dedicated hosting from a data center will bring significantly faster ping times and an incredibly fast loading time.

Server Costs and Hardware Replacement

There are many factors to consider before buying a budget 1U server from eBay and placing it in your basement or closet. Mainly, running a computer 24 hours a day means that components need replacement regularly. Unless you are willing to invest a significant amount of money into a quality server (which would negate much of the cost savings), you are not guaranteed stable and long term performance from the server.

In a data center you are guaranteed top of the line components which will immediately be replaced should they fail. The components in data center class servers are among the best available in the world. All hardware fails (and there’s no telling when), but the question is how long can it be offline before you can replace it? This means precious hours and possibly days of server downtime.

Redundancy

Inside the data center, every part of the dedicated hosting experience has a level of redundancy involved. All network routes have multiple connections and paths they can take in the event of a failure. Each server is connected to power fed from multiple sources. In the event of a power failure, the system switches to generator power to avoid downtime. All racks are secured and access to the building is protected. In the event of a fire, suppression systems designed to not damage server components are utilized.

All of these redundant systems are uncommon and in most cases, impossible to implement, on the home server level. Should your home internet connection go down, you are at the discretion of your ISP as to when the situation will be resolved. In case of other emergencies, the fate of your hardware is unclear.

 Support and SLA

One of the major benefits of working with a data center is having a support team standing by 24×7 to intervene when anything happens to your server. Whether a component fails or the OS needs to be reinstalled, you know you are covered.

You also have the protection of a network and server uptime SLA which guarantees a certain level of service for your machine. Residential ISP’s typically offer no guarantee as to the performance and uptime of your connection to the internet. When you work with a data center, you will always be compensated if anything happens to compromise the uptime of your hosted services.

Data center dedicated servers can also be secured with hardware-based DDoS protection, which typically works better than additionally purchased software protection. This would be an additional fee if you host at home. The anti-DDoS hardware components are not within most individual’s budgets.

Of course, data center hosts may also offer managed dedicated servers which would take all of the system administration your of your hands.

Overview

Data centers are the ideal place for a dedicated server. They’re completely controlled environments – for heat and cooling, emergency backups, and data. These are all additional costs associated with a dedicated hosting at home. When it comes down to making a decision, there are not simply base costs to consider but also expenses associated with things like data loss or electricity outages. Taking your business offline might cost you more than leasing a dedicated server.

Long term, the costs associated with home servers outweigh the cost savings when you consider electricity, cooling, and hardware replacement. The bandwidth, network routes, and SLA of data center servers also guarantee a vastly superior experience.