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Can a Dedicated Server Equate to an Immediate Performance Boost?

Dedicated Servers Improve User Experience, Overall Performance

Performance is your website’s first impression to visitors. Almost 50% of users expect a web page to load within two seconds. The move from a shared server to a dedicated server can alleviate many of a website’s performance issues and improve overall revenue and user experience.

Shared hosting, by contrast, has hundreds of other websites on the same server. All bandwidth, server memory, hard drive space and CPU cycles are shared with other website owners. Database servers are also shared with these hundreds of other site owners. The result can be a bottleneck at the server-level.

Dedicated servers are leased or fully purchased machines completely controlled by the webmaster. All server resources and databases are dedicated to the one business. Bandwidth, which plays a major role in how quickly a page loads, is also dedicated to the server, so no other website traffic interferes with the business’ traffic.

Dedicated Servers and Performance
With shared hosting, the webmaster has limited control of the server. The web host reserves some disk space and gives the webmaster an account used to log in and upload files and make minor site changes. The overall server settings are controlled only by the web host, and no server customizations are applied, because these customizations can affect other websites on the shared server.

Bandwidth, memory resources and CPU usage are also issues. The business website is on one physical machine. If another webmaster has a spike in traffic, the bandwidth for all other sites on the shared server suffers. Memory resources and CPU usage spike for this one, high-traffic website, so your business’ site performance slows as does all other sites on the server.

Dedicated servers eliminate all of these bottlenecks. The web host gives the business their own backend, a small network. Bandwidth is not shared and the webmaster has complete control over server resources. Most web hosts offer a remote control protocol to view the server’s desktop. Within this window, the webmaster can add as many sites as needed, change server settings, add server roles and even reboot the server. None of these options are permitted in a shared environment.

If the webmaster needs to install software or updates, it’s completely permissible. This comes in handy with software-as-a-service (SaaS). SaaS involves hosting applications for end users, which can be public-facing applications or internal software for employees. SaaS often requires customizable settings to keep the application running smoothly. These customizations aren’t allowed on shared hosting, so moving to a dedicated server helps the webmaster make the necessary tweaks to server configurations to improve SaaS software performance.

How Performance Affects Traffic
It’s hard to believe that milliseconds matter in terms of site performance. However, Google did a study on its own search engine to gauge user response when injecting up to a 400 millisecond delay in search results. For users who experienced a 200 millisecond delay, Google reports users performed .22% fewer searches. For users who experienced a 400 millisecond delay, they performed .44% fewer searches.

While this percentage seems low, consider .22% and .44% of billions of queries and the impact such a small percent has on Google search. 400 milliseconds are less than one second, so translate this impact into your own site performance and how it affects sales.

Dedicated servers are the answer for any business experiencing performance issues on shared servers. The move creates an instant performance boost, and it can improve sales along with user experience.

This is a guest post by Jennifer Marsh. Jennifer is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for dedicated server hosting company Rackspace Hosting.

More Stories By Amy Bishop

Amy Bishop works in marketing and digital strategy for a technology startup. Her previous experience has included five years in enterprise and agency environments. She specializes in helping businesses learn about ways rapidly changing enterprise solutions, business strategies and technologies can refine organizational communication, improve customer experience and maximize co-created value with converged marketing strategies.

Connect with Amy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Pinterest.

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