Dedicated servers offer a plethora of benefits to their owners. They are designed to meet all of your own personalized needs and serve you/your customer base with a specialized design. They’re a great way for you to take your site to the next level, but they can easily burn through your budget too. Understanding how to reduce the cost of a dedicated server is imperative if you want yours to be successful in the long run.
Whether you’re hosting a gaming server for a group of users to play on or running a business and need a website, dedicated servers help bring your vision to life. To better understand what a dedicated server is we can look at other types of servers. There is a range of ways to host your game or site, and on the two ends of the spectrum, we have shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
Shared hosting is where several smaller sites pool their assets together and share the hardware/software required to set up a server. This server is then used to host all of their sites at a very efficient cost. While this can be great for users just getting started, one downside to shared hosting is that the server isn’t entirely yours and therefore isn’t customizable. You are subject to using it as it already is designed to meet other user’s needs. This is completely fine in many cases, but not for everyone. Another potential downside is overshadowing. If one site using your shared server starts to take off and gain a lot of user traffic, performance on other sites will get worse. So, if you’re expecting a large number of users and they need snappy response times, shared hosting is probably not the right move for you.
On the other side of the coin is dedicated hosting. Instead of sharing a server with several sites, the server is completely yours. This means that you can’t be overshadowed by anyone else, and you can design your server exactly as you see fit. Whatever operating system, apps, and specs you think are fitting is what will go into it. The downside to this of course is it is more expensive, so finding ways to reduce the cost is important.
One of the biggest ways you can reduce server cost is to make sure you’re paying for exactly what you’re getting. By this, I mean making sure you have enough support for your users when you need it, but also aren’t overpaying for any services. Your goal should be for server bandwidth chart up and down in a similar trend as your user traffic.
For example, let’s say you have a big promotion coming up for a sale on your site and expect it to draw a lot of attention. Before your promotion begins you should ensure your server is scaled up and ready to handle all of your incoming users. If it’s not, users are likely to have long loading times on pages or get locked up in the site’s natural flow. Whether you’re selling a product or providing a service, a frustrating user experience is a surefire way to damage your user retention.
Then when the promotion ends there’s no reason you should continue paying for a bulky server if there isn’t enough traffic to put it to use. At this point, you should scale your server down to save some money. It may take a little time to gain a solid understanding of what your traffic trends look like, but understanding them and adapting to them can save in the long run.
Trimming the fat is savings 101 for any industry. If there are applications that are adding unnecessary burdens onto your server load, then scrap them. And if there are applications that can be combined or replaced with more efficient apps, combine what you can. There’s not much more to this, but the concept is surprisingly powerful and can make a huge difference in your budget.
‘If it ain’t broken don’t fix it’ is a great saying for many situations, but that doesn’t mean you should build your server once and then never evaluate its performance again. Quite the opposite, actually. Through thorough logging and continuous integration, you can always be improving your server. There may be ways to cut costs, or there may be new ways to implement applications that can replace your outdated system. Whatever the changes are, being educated on what opportunities business are available to you is never a bad thing.
If after looking into all these suggestions you still want more ways to drive down your cost, consulting with a professional may prove beneficial. Someone taking an in-depth look at your server needs can offer more detailed insights into how to save money without sacrificing quality. These tips are general rules of thumb but are by no means the only things you can do to save. To find the ideal budget, talk with a specialist who can review, analyze, and adjust your plan.