Guidelines for choosing a dedicated server

Hi, I have received quite a lot of questions after sharing the “Good Problems to have while running a website“. You are most likely looking for a dedicated server if you are reading this article. I hope you will find your answers about dedicated server here and make your life easier after reading these guidelines. There is no ‘one size fit all’ solution when it comes to dedicated server, you can save a lot of money and time if you have chosen a right hosting provider. Before you go for any cheap or branded hosting provider, there are two things you should bare in your mind:

1. “Cheaper is not always better”

There are plenty of FREE or cheap hosting out there. You don’t really want to try your luck with your school projects, prototyping or staging on these.

If you ever have the guts to use free hosting, chances are high that you will end up 100% data lost, some provider just disappear and you got no where to contact them.

How about cheap hosting, I would say yes you can still use them for small scale development such as internal staging environment, UAT or school project as long as you don’t drive massive of traffic to them. Some of the famous providers out there has been proving low cost hosting for more than 7 years such as Hostgator.

2. “Expensive is not always Good”

Not all big companies are good, some branded provider charging 30% – 50% more compared with other brands, just because they already in the hosting industry for more than 10 years and they are doing it very well.

Managed or Unmanaged Hosting ?

Before we go further, make sure you know the differences between managed and unmanaged hosting.  A managed hosting mean that they will setup and configure the server for your needs. An unmanaged hosting mean you have to do everything yourself. If you know nothing about configure and troubleshoot your server, having an unmanaged server would be a pain when you need to configure something to make your site work like configure mod_security rules, installing GD library or other PHP modules.

I am going to list down all the hosting providers that I’ve been using for many years without problems.


HostGator Dedicated Servers

“We Eat Up The Competition” said Hostgator. Sometime I feel this is quit true as they provide hosting at really cheap price yet reliable. I’ve been using Shared Hosting and Dedicated Hosting from HostGator for up to 7 years without much problems until one day I got massive traffic that even the Best Dedicated Server from Hostgator couldn’t handle it.

All the dedicated servers in Hostgator are claimed as “FULLY MANAGED” but I am not very happy with it.

They take 1 – 2 days to reply my ticket and response to my problem. Some time they will send you some funny article or “How to” instructions, you will read it and do it yourself.

Well, by spending $USD 170 /month for a reliable dedicated server, I am expecting some good support as well.

There are only 4 choices of dedicated Servers in HostGator.

Start with the Basic package and it can takes up to 1 million unique traffic per month without problem.


SoftLayer Dedicated Servers

SoftLayer is a Big Player in the Hosting Field, The have data centers from Western countries to middle East Asia.

How about the price ? Well you will need to spend from $USD 200 – 400 to get an unmanaged dedicated server from SoftLayer. However there are not giving very clear instructions in order to setup and configure your server, most of the case you have to do it yourself, else you can pay $USD 300 – 400 extra per month to get your server “managed”.

How about support ? Well, similar to Hostgator it takes 1 – 2 days to response to your ticket / problem, some time it will get fixed within 24 hours. However, you can pay like $3 per ticket to ask for an immediate response for your ticket or advance server setup or configuration.

SoftLayer have the scalability where you can upgrade your ram, processor anytime without migrate to another server. ( That’s why it is much more expensive.)


Jonesolutions Dedicated Servers

Jonesolutions is not yet a big player but they are doing very well in terms of support and reliability. They don’t have much choice for data center and server location, most of the server located in US.

I am currently using server from jonesolutions,  the price is too good to be true. The offer the real “managed” server with the price from $USD139 – 399 depends on your server specs.

They response to your problem very quickly and they will setup or configure almost everything you request for. The only funny thing is sometime they are being rude in terms of support, they will not entertaining any stupid or noob questions asked. ( come on…. We are noobs that’s the reason why we wanted our server to be managed … )


At last, I wish you have a better idea for choosing a dedicated server after read this. cheers 🙂 If you are not ready yet for a dedicated server yet, try the shared hosting at the moment before you need a scale up.