The Best Dedicated Web Hosting
With near 100% uptimes, the best dedicated web hosts also offer additional security features and e-commerce tools you won't find on shared or VPS hosting plans, as well as easy upgrade paths for expanding your RAM and storage space. To find our top picks, we sifted through over 15,000 web hosts to determine which had the best of each of these features, and then put the final contenders through one last round of third-party verified uptime testing. After that, we contacted the finalists' customer service departments – repeatedly – to see which were the most timely and helpful.
99.98% average uptime, industry-leading e-commerce tools, and 24/7 customer support.
99.98% average uptime with excellent security and e-commerce tools, but its customer service isn’t as good as GoDaddy’s.
Dedicated servers are the go-to option for businesses that attract consistently high web traffic. They offer more reliability than shared and VPS servers because there are no other websites around to potentially affect your bandwidth and RAM. All of that reliability doesn’t exactly come cheap, however. The best dedicated web hosting will likely cost you more than $100 per month (our top pick, GoDaddy’s, Economy plan starts at $170 monthly), while a good VPS server may cost you as little as $20 each month. It may be tempting to go with the lower price VPS option, but only a dedicated web host can ensure that your site stays fast and reliable, even as it attracts thousands of daily visitors.
Businesses with a significant online presence should place a high priority on website reliability and security, so we looked for dedicated web hosts that offer a combination of super-reliable uptime and safe, effective e-commerce tools. GoDaddy came out on top with five dedicated hosting plans (ranging in price from $170 to $350 per month) that offer a clear, flexible upgrade path, “unmetered” bandwidth (another way of saying unlimited data transfers), and 24/7 customer service. It also boasts an average third-party verified uptime of 99.98 percent, which is the best in the industry. A strong runner-up was Arvixe, whose so-so customer support is largely outweighed by its reasonable pricing ($108-$357 per month) unlimited monthly data transfers, and an average third-party verified uptime that equal’s GoDaddy’s.
How We Found the Best Dedicated Web Hosting
Trying to Sell? You’ll need SSL. If you're selling anything online, you'll want a host like GoDaddy or Arvixe that offers a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). An SSL certificate encrypts the sensitive financial information that transfers between your website and customers’ browsers, ensuring it stays secure.
Our Best Overall Web Host review gave us a solid foundation from which to start our search for the best dedicated web host. We started by only considering companies that passed all of our initial tests, including having an average third-party verified uptime of at least 99.95 percent, 24/7 customer service, and a transparent pricing structure. After that, we assessed the features that make dedicated web hosts the most appealing option to businesses, which meant looking at security and e-commerce tools, storage and bandwidth expansion options, as well as a final round of hands-on customer service testing.
Server uptime was essential. Uptime is exactly what it sounds like – the amount of time your site is up and running versus the amount of time your customers can’t access it. Just 15 minutes of downtime per day could result in a significant loss of business over time. That’s why we required an average uptime of at least 99.95 percent between Webhostingstuff.net and Uptime.besthostratings.com, two independent web host verification sites. Of our top contenders, GoDaddy and Arvixe scored highest with an impressive average uptime of 99.98 percent each.
We also looked at security and e-commerce tools. The best dedicated web hosts include features that can help your business stay secure and even expand its customer base online. GoDaddy scores big on this front by offering its own straightforward ecommerce software (GoDaddy Online Store, $29.00/month) along with SiteLock malware removal, a Web Application Firewall (WAF), and a CDN pre-installed on managed and fully managed plans. It also offers a one-year SSL certificate that covers unlimited secure servers, with the option to renew annually.
Flexibility was key, too. Businesses grow quickly, and a dedicated server must be able to adapt to demands for RAM and bandwidth that may not be entirely predictable. That’s why we focused on hosts with a wide range of plans that were easy to upgrade to at the drop of a hat. Our runner-up top pick, Arvixe’s, options proved especially impressive in this respect, with both cloud-based and traditional plans offering anywhere from 4GB to 32GB of RAM.
Our Picks for the Best Dedicated Web Hosting
GoDaddy’s homepage for dedicated servers promises “Extreme power, flexibility, and control,” and the product itself delivers impressively on all three fronts. Godaddy’s Ultimate dedicated plan comes with 2TB of storage and 32GB of RAM, a full 16GB more than other top-rated hosts like HostGator and Bluehost. It also has an industry-leading third-party verified average uptime of 99.98 percent, which is only matched by our runner-up top pick, Arvixe.
With four dedicated hosting plans available on servers running both Linux- and Windows-based operating systems, GoDaddy is also one of the most flexible web hosts out there. New customers can start with the Economy plan (4G RAM, 1TB storage) that starts at $170 per month, and scale up through the other three plans as their traffic increases. (The Ultimate plan costs $350 per month.) Another hugely flexible aspect of GoDaddy’s service is its pricing model, which offers discounts of up to 40 percent on 12-, 24-, and 36-month plan packages. Annual plans also come with an industry standard 30-day money-back guarantee, so you don’t have to stick with the service if you don’t love it.
What does "Unlimited" data transfers really mean? There's only so much disk storage and bandwidth in existence. That's why there's always going to be a cap on data transfers somewhere in the fine print of your "unlimited" web hosting plan. These limits are generally extremely high, and nearly impossible to exceed, but it's still a good idea to read your hosting agreement to be aware of them.
As for control, every dedicated hosting plan comes with a Web Host Manager (WHM) tool that lets you create and customize your own account, as well as manage pretty much every aspect of your server. You’ll also have the choice of a self-managed, managed, or fully managed server. We recommend paying the extra $10 per month for a managed server if you’re unfamiliar with running a website, as it includes essential services like patching, security monitoring, malware removal, and backups (which you’ll have to do yourself if you choose a self-managed plan). You could always opt for a fully managed server that comes with a dedicated team of experts at your beck and call, but that adds on $110 per month, and is only for those who really want the extra comfort of a white-glove treatment. Considering what you get with the managed option, that’s going to be the best option for most people.
GoDaddy’s one potential weakness is its lack of email offerings, as customers will have to purchase email separately from the dedicated plan. Options start as low as $3.49 per month, though, and we don’t see this as a huge deterrent because GoDaddy’s prices remain competitive, even with this fee factored in. One important service that does come included with the managed and fully managed plan is SiteLock, which provides a site-verification certificate, app scanning, and spam and malware monitoring. Throw in that impressive 99.98% uptime and disaster recovery with on-demand backup, and you’re left with an impressively agile web host.
Arvixe didn’t quite make it to the final round of our Best Overall Web Host review on account of an inconsistent customer service experience that doesn’t stack up to the superb 24/7 live chat and phone support offered by companies like InMotion, HostGator, and GoDaddy. As the note dated October 16 on its’ support center page says, “[its] support wait times have been extremely long lately.” It took days to get our questions answered. Regardless, while we consider customer service an important factor in choosing a dedicated web host, Arvixe impressed us in enough all of the other test categories to earn it solid runner-up status – just don’t expect to get your questions answered quickly with Arvixe.
It all starts with Arvixe’s excellent 99.98 percent uptime, which beat every other contender we tested outside of GoDaddy. But what really makes Arvixe’s dedicated hosting stand apart is its commitment to flexibility. Customers who don’t want to pay for a traditional server right away can opt for an effective cloud-based dedicated server option that starts at just $108 per month – almost as low as some VPS plans. These servers are a great value for lower-traffic websites right on the cusp between VPS and dedicated servers, and they serve as a great entry point to the dedicated hosting world. Once your business needs to scale up to the next level, traditional servers range from $129 to $358 per month and come loaded with as much as 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.
Is Dedicated Web Hosting Right for You?
There’s a time and a place for sharing, but running a business-focused website with high traffic volumes demands a server that’s yours and yours alone. Investing in a dedicated web server means that you’ll get an entire server’s RAM and storage resources all to yourself, and you’ll never have to worry about a neighboring website sucking up bandwidth and affecting your site’s performance.
The best web hosts offer a wide range of plans with a clear upgrade path to meet the needs of your expanding business.
Though the scripts and apps you choose to install on your server may affect bandwidth and RAM somewhat, the real metric to pay attention to is traffic. Generally speaking, even the best VPS servers can’t handle more than 30,000–40,000 visitors per day, so if that’s the kind of traffic you’re seeing or anticipating for your business, it’s probably time to make the switch to a dedicated server. The good news is that upgrading from a VPS server to a dedicated server is simple with either GoDaddy or Arvixe, which will move all the data from your existing site to the new server for you at no extra cost.
What's the difference between VPS and dedicated servers?
VPS and dedicated servers both protect against other sites slowing down traffic for your customers, but to varying degrees. Each website on a VPS server receives its own allocation of memory that’s not affected by other websites on the server, but they still have to share that server. Dedicated web hosting, on the other hand, offers unmitigated control of a server’s full resources, including all the RAM and storage your business could possibly need to function at optimal levels.