There comes a point in many sites lives when shared hosting just doesn’t cut it anymore, and you have to move on to dedicated hosting. Sometimes the performance of your site starts to crawl, or you receive that dreaded letter from your hosting provider stating that you have exceeded system resources. In any event, upgrading to dedicated hosting is a decision that must be completed carefully. There are a number of different choices you must make in upgrading from shared to dedicated hosting. In this article, we will outline some options you have when making this transition.
First, you migrate to your own dedicated server, which only hosts your website’s resources. To do this you will have to decide on the hardware inside the machine that will serve your website to a new influx of visitors.
Choosing CPU and RAM for Dedicated Hosting
When coming from a shared server, determining exactly what size CPU and RAM you need will be difficult. You might not have any exact numbers on your current usage, so this will more or less be a guess. (Ask your hosting provider if they use a system that tracks account memory and CPU usage, such as CloudFlare, just in case).
As a general rule, sites upgrading from shared hosting to dedicated hosting tend to require around 2GB of RAM. If your budget allows, you will want to select a server with as much RAM as possible. This will leave you with a buffer for operating system processes and further growth of your site.
CPU usage requirements vary based on what kind of site you are running. If you are rendering video or performing other CPU intensive operations, you may wish to opt for a quad core server with at least 2.6GHz of power on each core. Less CPU intensive sites would perform optimally on a standard dual core server. You will want to work with a dedicated server provider that easily allows you to upgrade hardware or switch servers. Fast server deployment is key in this area as you don’t want to be stuck on an overloaded server if you find you need more resources.
Operating System Choices
Something you likely have never had to consider in a shared hosting environment is what operating system your server should run. This is one of the more important components in dedicated server configurations.
Before deciding, consider these questions:
Do you use software on your website that requires a specific operating system?
Do you have experience with any particular operating system?
Which OS is going to perform most optimally for your needs?
If you are running a standard WordPress website and are familiar with cPanel, then you will want to select CentOS. You will not need an extensive knowledge of the operating system outside of running a few commands to install cPanel.
If you plan on administrating the server yourself, without a control panel, you may want to choose Microsoft Server. Every site is unique, so this is something you will need to explore and take time to research. Our support team can help if you’re stuck in choosing an OS. Also look for forums related to web hosting and dedicated hosting where you can get advice and learn from people working with experience in the hosting.
Do you need a SSD or HDD?
Arguably, one of the most significant enhancements in server performance in recent years has been the introduction of SSD, or Solid State Disks, in servers. This new generation of hard drives has no moving disk, and significantly improved read and write access. This means increased site and server performance. The tradeoff is that SSDs are more expensive and tend to have less disk space than traditional HDD.
Many sites with higher disk usage requirements store the operating system on one SSD, and the bulk of the site content on a traditional HDD. This delivers both high disk quotas, as well as fast operating system speeds. You need to review your site and determine what disk space requirements you have, and if the increased expense of SSD’s justify the performance enhancements it brings to the table.
Can You Afford a Dedicated Server?
Choosing the right CPU, RAM, operating system, and hard disk may seem like a daunting task, but it’s one you will need to make to grow your website. Every few months there is new hardware on the market that allows dedicated hosting to become more effective and less expensive for those looking to upgrade. Servers are no longer isolated to big companies, so now is the time to move your slow site into a server completely dedicated to you.