An online dedicated server is one kind of hosting service that provides the resources of an entire computer, including storage, memory, and processing power. This type of setup can offer a greater say in the server environment, including the operating system (OS) and various custom settings. The individual or business that pays for an online dedicated server can often run the type of intense applications than might not perform well in a shared hosting environment. Many dedicated servers are located in large hosting facilities that offer multiple redundant connections to the Internet, climate controlled heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and some type of uninteruptible power supply (UPS) to prevent downtime or data loss.
Most inexpensive hosting services work on a shared basis, and multiple individuals or businesses use the resources of a single server. These systems can use a variety of different methods to divide the available resources, though one poorly optimized website can often ruin the hosting experience for the rest of the clients. If one client causes a central processing unit (CPU) spike or uses up all the random access memory (RAM), everyone else will typically experience the consequences. Virtual private servers (VPS), colocation, and dedicated servers are all solutions to this problem.
Colocation and dedicated hosting both give an individual or business the entire resources of a server. The main difference between these two options is that colocation often involves owning the server and simply renting space for it in a hosting facility, while the hosting company retains ownership of an online dedicated server. Since the hosting company owns the server, they will typically offer some level of maintenance and repair services if anything goes wrong and may even perform server administration duties for an additional fee. The online dedicated server host may also offer troubleshooting assistance for software related issues.
Hosting a dedicated server often represents a significant investment in infrastructure and personnel, which leads many companies to use third party providers. Dedicated hosting facilities include a wide variety of amenities that many businesses would need to install prior to hosting their own online dedicated server. If the server operations are critical, a simple home or commercial broadband Internet connection is often insufficient. Many hosting facilities have multiple Internet backbone access points that could prove cost prohibitive for a business to have installed.
Online dedicated server host facilities can also offer a variety of physical and data security benefits. Many facilities employ security personnel around the clock to ensure vandals or thieves do not gain access to the building. It is also common for a UPS system to be installed so that the servers will not go down or be damaged due to power outages. Climate controlled HVAC systems can also ensure that the servers run properly, as these facilities tend to generate a large amount of heat.