Best dedicated server hosting: raw power for resource-heavy projects
In this article, I’ve covered the 6 best dedicated server hosting options available. More so, if you’re not sure what to focus on when picking a provider, I have prepared a list of tips for you.
Dedicated hosting is quite a high-end option. By choosing dedicated server hosting, you essentially rent a physical server with all its resources allocated just to you.
While this is an advanced option, it doesn’t mean that a dedicated server is only for experienced web developers. Sure, it can be a maze for an inexperienced user. However, if you opt for a managed dedicated web hosting, the difficulty of use may go down significantly.
A dedicated server is mostly needed if you have a very big corporate website or a massive project. If you’re only after a blog or small online store, a whole personal server is quite frankly too much.
However, if you do need it, worry not, I got you.
To find the best dedicated server hosting providers, I took measures like overall hardware specifications, resources, security, performance, and ease of use.
In the rest of this article, you will find a selection of the best dedicated servers available, including high and low-end options.
Best dedicated server hosting: ranked
- Liquid Web – overall best dedicated server hosting
- Bluehost – affordable unmanaged server hosting
- DreamHost – highly configurable managed servers
- HostGator – fully and semi-managed server hosting
- InterServer – best cheap dedicated hosting
- InMotion Hosting – resource-rich unmanaged solutions
If you’re not too sure what matters when picking a dedicated server, I’ve prepared a quick guide to help you choose the right one for your needs.
1. Liquid Web
|Features||Managed, root access, available panels (InterWorx, Plesk, and cPanel/WHM)|
|Best for||Worry-free managed server hosting|
Liquid Web focuses on high-end VPS and dedicated hosting. The provider is often seen as a more premium option. However, even its entry plans are packed with generous resources. On top of this, it’s known for its exceptional performance and impressive management options. Its dedicated servers start from $169 per month, and dedicated cloud hosting is also available.
One thing to note is that Liquid Web offers only managed dedicated servers; there are no unmanaged options. All servers are managed by the provider’s professional support team, which sets up, monitors the server’s health, installs and updates operational systems. So if you have any issues, know that a fast and knowledgeable support team is there for you.
Talking about management, you can choose 1 out of 3 possible control panels for your website - InterWorx, Plesk, and cPanel/WHM. While cPanel is already included with the entry plan free of charge, other plans come without any control panel as a default. However, you can purchase InterWorx ($20/mo,) Plesk ($20/mo,) and cPanel/WHM (starting $38/mo) as an add-on.
Liquid Web dedicated hosting pricing
Liquid Web offers powerful servers in Michigan (US), Arizona (US), and Amsterdam (Netherlands). Prices start from $169 per month and vary by location. Customizable cloud dedicated hosting service is also available starting at $149/mo.
Each and every Liquid Web’s dedicated hosting plan comes with DDoS protection, Cloudflare, full root access, IPMI access, SSD storage, ServerSecure security tools, and a dedicated IP address.
In the US, there are 3 options costing from $169 to $374.25 per month. The server resources on offer range from 4-32 CPU cores, 16-64GB RAM, 240-480GB storage, and 5-8TB bandwidth.
In Amsterdam, prices are significantly higher. They range from $249 to $549/month with 4-32 CPU cores, 16-64GB RAM, 240GB-480GB storage, and 5-8TB bandwidth.
One pretty interesting thing that Liquid Web offers is its Bundle & Save options, which are basically an upgrade for the standard plans. For a few extra $, you get quite a generous package of additional resources.
Here’s what Bundle & Save option includes if you choose the entry plan:
- 32 GB RAM,
- 4 x 240 GB SSD primary storage hardware RAID 10,
- Additional 1 x 1 TB SATA file storage,
- 8 TB bandwidth,
- 500 GB backups,
- ServerSecurePlus for Linux/Windows.
There is one more thing worth noting. Liquid Web has no refund or money-back policy. However, Liquid Web usually refunds for the service time you failed to use.
If you’re looking to secure the cheapest deal, choose the IntelXeon 1230v6 plan with an annual billing option. However, if you think you might need just a tad bit more storage or RAM, Bundle & Save plan might be what you need.
Liquid Web performance
The performance of Liquid Web’s dedicated servers is impressive, to say the least. Over a month of monitoring, my test server had an uptime of over 99.99% and an average response time of 417ms.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the 99.99% uptime. My server was offline for 3 minutes across the month of testing, which isn’t an issue.
What’s even better is Liquid Web’s 100% service level agreement (SLA), which states that you will credit worth ten times the amount of downtime your server has. Simply put, 3 minutes of downtime are equal to 30 minutes of free hosting.
Liquid Web’s 417ms average server response time is also great. This was consistent across the month, suggesting that there are no server issues to worry about.
Simply said, I was more than happy with Liquid Web’s performance. Note, however, that the actual performance you experience will depend largely on your server configuration.
Overall, Liquid Web offers some of the best dedicated server hosting in the world. Its managed services are great and easy to manage, while its performance is very impressive.
- Fully managed dedicated servers
- 100% uptime SLA
- 3 server locations are available
- Great introductory discounts
- There is no refund policy
- EU servers are significantly more expensive
|Features||Unmanaged, root access, cPanel & WHM|
|Best for||Unmanaged server hosting with cPanel integration|
Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting providers in the market. Its name is mostly known in the shared hosting context, but the host also offers affordable unmanaged server hosting solutions. On top of this, it comes with a cPanel and WHM for easier server and hosting management.
One thing to note is that Bluehost only offers unmanaged dedicated server hosting options. This means that this option might not be the most suitable for beginners.
Here’s what you can expect from the provider:
- You get cPanel & WHM. This way, you can manage your server and its resources as well as your website easily.
- Additionally, if you face any possible issues, it’s good to know that dedicated support is at your disposal 24/7.
- Bluehost includes high-quality storage configuration tools like RAID 1. This subsystem “mirrors” your data onto a second drive, which makes it much more redundant.
- If at any point you see that current storage space is just not cutting it anymore, Bluehost allows you to increase the available storage on your server in real-time, whenever you need.
Bluehost dedicated hosting pricing
Bluehost offers 3 dedicated server plans with initial prices ranging from $79.99 to $119.99 per month for a 36-month plan. Prices increase on renewal and are significantly higher with shorter subscriptions.
All plans come with a selection of advanced features, including root access, a free SSL certificate, RAID storage, and a free domain for the first year.
The only thing that differentiates them is the amount of server resources they include. They vary from 500GB to 1TB storage, 4 to 16GB RAM, 5 to 15TB bandwidth, and 3 to 5 IP addresses.
One thing to note is that Bluehost does increase its prices after the renewal. For example, the Standard plan increases to $119.99/mo once the first term is over. On top of this, prices for shorter subscriptions are also much higher.
Luckily, your hosting will be covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Domain fees and most add-ons aren’t covered.
To get the best value for money ratio you should consider the Standard plan. By committing to a 3-year billing option, you will secure the lowest price for this plan.
There was very little to worry about with the performance of my Bluehost test server. Over a month of monitoring, it had 100% uptime and a 438ms average response time.
Bluehost’s 100% uptime is great. Just be aware that there’s no uptime guarantee or applicable SLA to protect you if things do go south.
Looking at the response time, the 438ms average server response time is up there with the best on this list. As this is just a bare server, this means that you can expect even better results with a few optimization tools in place.
Finally, note that Bluehost’s data centers are located in the US exclusively. This simply means that the performance will be the speediest in the US too.
Overall, Bluehost’s performance is very reliable and fast. While the uptime guarantee might seem concerning to some, the provider delivered only the best.
Ultimately, Bluehost is a great choice if you’re looking for an unmanaged dedicated server. The prices are relatively low, and the resources are plenty. Its performance is very impressive too.
- Very competitively priced
- Unmanaged servers with cPanel integration
- Good performance
- No uptime guarantee
- No managed options
|Features||Managed, root access, native panel|
|Best for||Resource-heavy and performance-oriented server hosting|
DreamHost is another hosting industry giant best known for its very affordable and resource-rich shared hosting plans. Well, the provider keeps the same quality and generosity with its dedicated server hosting too. It has 9 managed dedicated hosting plans which come with a 100% uptime SLA guarantee.
To begin with, DreamHost offers only managed server hosting solutions, but you get full root & shell access (SSH,) meaning you are in full control of your server. You can reboot or power-cycle your server whenever you see fit too.
Here are some additional features you can make use of:
- If you’re not entirely familiar with the command-line interface or find panels just overall easier to use, DreamHost offers a custom-built panel to manage your websites, databases, email, and billing.
- DreamHost offers RAID 1 storage for faster and safer data-keeping. Simply put, RAID 1 “mirrors” your data onto a second drive, which means that you can restore your files if anything goes sideways.
- DreamHost offers unlimited bandwidth with all its dedicated servers. While they do have some tiny-font extra regulations, the host claims to not limit your traffic.
DreamHost dedicated hosting pricing
DreamHost’s 9 base plans cost from $149.99 to $379.00 per month with an annual subscription. Every option is fully managed and comes with 24/7 technical support and server management.
DreamHost’s dedicated servers have a selection of very impressive features, including DDoS protection, root access, SSH, unlimited bandwidth (which is uncommon with dedicated hosting), Ubuntu Linux OS, and Raid storage, among other things.
The 3 Standard plans use an Intel Xeon 4-Core 8-Thread system with 1TB of HDD storage. RAM, however, varies between 4GB and 16GB, respectively.
The 6 Enhanced plans use an Intel Xeon 12-Core 24-Thread system. The resources vary from 16 to 64GB RAM and 2TB HDD to 240GB SSD storage.
Additionally, DreamHost does not increase its prices on the renewal. You get to stay worry-free, knowing that the price won’t skyrocket at any time. Unfortunately, though, all dedicated hosting plans are nonrefundable.
Depending on your resource needs and what kind of performance you’re after, you have a few options. If performance is not of top priority, Standard 4 should be more than enough. However, if enhanced performance is something you’re specifically looking for, you might consider the Enhanced 16 plan.
I monitored the performance of my DreamHost server over a 4-week period and was very happy with the 100% uptime and 636ms average response time.
I must note that 100% uptime is great but also pretty much expected. The provider has a 100% uptime SLA guarantee. However, it seems that the provider does not make any compensation claims for dedicated server users.
Unfortunately, the 636ms average server response time is quite slow compared to the other options on this list. That in itself wouldn’t be a major problem, but the heavy fluctuations and 918ms max response time are concerning. But worry not, as this is a bare server, with a few optimization tools, the speed is expected to increase.
What’s more, DreamHost has data centers in the USA alone. This means that the best performance will be guaranteed for the US audiences too.
Overall, DreamHost’s performance is good, yet not the frontrunner of this list. The uptime is reliable, and the response time can be easily improved.
Ultimately, DreamHost is a great option for affordable managed dedicated server hosting. It includes unlimited bandwidth with all plans, but its slow server response times are a little concerning.
- Very affordable managed servers
- 100% uptime SLA
- Server management and control panel included
- Only Ubuntu Linux OS
- No money-back or refund policy
|Features||Managed and semi-managed, root access, available panels (cPanel, Plesk)|
|Best for||Fast and reliable Linux or Windows server hosting|
HostGator offers a selection of very flexible dedicated server hosting solutions. These include fully and semi-managed options, the choice of Windows and Linux operating systems, and very generous server resources.
The flexibility these plans offer is impressive. Just some of the things you can select include:
- Semi or fully-managed dedicated server hosting. This allows you the freedom to choose how hands-on you want your server management to be.
- Windows or Linux operating system, with the further choice of CentOS, Ubuntu, or Debian if you go for a semi-managed Linux plan.
- SSD or HDD storage. Just keep in mind that SSD is not available with the entry plan.
Regardless of what you choose, HostGator promises you full control of your server. You get full root access and are free to configure your server any way you see fit.
Additionally, if you happen to experience any issues along the way, know that you can contact support 24/7/365. No matter the time or place, they’re there to help you out.
HostGator dedicated hosting pricing
HostGator offers 3 dedicated server hosting plans with prices ranging from $89.98/mo to $139.99/mo.
All 3 plans come with unmetered bandwidth, Intel Xeon-D CPU, DDoS protection, automatic backups, 3 dedicated IP addresses, full root access, RAID 1 storage, and unlimited databases.
The included amount of resources varies from 4 to 8 cores, 1TB HDD to 1TB SSD storage, and 8 to 30GB RAM.
One thing to note - prices are much higher on renewal. The first-time prices are a one-off thing. For example, a 36-month Value plan renews at $189/month. Additionally, note that there is no money-back guarantee or refunds with dedicated server hosting.
The cheapest yet very resource-rich plan is Value. If you’re willing to commit for 36 months, the price point for this plan will be the lowest.
When it comes to performance, HostGator’s test server performed very well.
For starters, HostGator’s uptime came up to a perfect 100%. During the month of monitoring, it was offline for 2 minutes over 2 times. And, HostGator’s network guarantee means you will be credited for any time your server is down.
The 448ms average server response time is also great. Especially when you take into consideration that this is a bare server without any optimizations to make it faster.
However, keep in mind that all of HostGator’s data centers are in the US. This means that the best performance is expected for US audiences too.
All in all, HostGator’s performance is great, and there’s nothing to be concerned about on this front.
Overall, you shouldn’t have any issues with HostGator. Its performance is great, and plans are pretty resource-rich.
- Very flexible servers
- Fast and reliable performance
- Fully and semi-managed server hosting
- No unmanaged options
- No money-back guarantee
|Features||Managed, free Webuzo panel (others available for extra $)|
|Best for||Highly customizable budget dedicated server hosting|
With prices starting at just $49 per month, InterServer offers the cheapest dedicated server hosting available. It’s also the only provider that has such a variety of customization opinions when it comes to plans and resources.
There is a huge range of options available, and all come with very generous server resources. There are 11 standard plans, and every single one of them can be customized to fit your specific needs. You can add more storage, RAM, or even a different OS option. And even though the provider’s plans are very resource-rich, rapid deploy plans are also available for an extra charge. Do you need a quick boost of resources? There you go.
Apart from all that, the provider also offers such features:
- Remote reboots,
- Remote KVM,
- Managed support,
- 24/7 uptime monitoring.
Additionally, you can choose if you’d like to manage your websites or applications through a command line or through a panel. The provider offers a free Webuzo panel and cPanel & WHM ($40/mo +,) Plesk ($35/mo,) and DirectAdmin ($15/mo) for an extra charge.
InterServer dedicated hosting pricing
InterServer offers a wide range of highly configurable dedicated servers. Prices start from $49/mo and range to hundreds per month for advanced configurations. Rapid deploy servers are available within 15 minutes of purchase, but custom solutions will take longer to set up.
For starters, InterServer’s dedicated hosting solutions all come with a selection of free features, including:
- DDoS protection,
- 24/7 monitoring,
- Data migration from an existing service,
- 10TB of bandwidth,
- Managed support services,
- The choice of a 1GB or a 10GB port.
However, they do vary in resources - 4 to 24 cores, 1 to 2TB SSD storage, and 8 to 128GB RAM.
Note that there are countless other configurations available where you can configure the server as you wish.
What I particularly like about InterServer is that all prices are available with monthly subscriptions, and they don’t increase on renewal. However, there doesn’t appear to be any money-back option guarantee or refund policy.
The choice lies entirely with you. You can either opt for a standard plan or customize your personal one best suited for you. However, if you’re looking for the lowest price, choose Xeon E3-1230 (4 cores.) No long-term commitments are needed.
InterServer’s performance was good but not great.
Now, the 99.92% uptime is the lowest of any provider on this list.
However, it seems that the majority of downtimes have happened almost at the same time, meaning this could have been a one-time issue. Hosting credits are available if the uptime drops below 99.9%.
Similarly, the 512ms average server response time is pretty good. Don’t forget that this is just plain hardware without any speed-enhancing features, meaning you can make it faster yourself.
Lastly, it’s good to know that all data centers are located in the US only. What this means is that it will perform best if your audience is based in the US too.
Overall, though, there’s not too much to worry about here. Neither the uptime nor the average server response time is perfect, but they’re far from terrible.
All in all, InterServer is a high-quality host with some minor flaws. Its prices are great, and it offers very generous server resources. However, its performance isn’t quite as good as that of the other providers on this list, and I know from experience that its customer service can be hit and miss.
- Very competitive prices and monthly billing
- Generous server resources
- Highly customizable solutions
- The uptime is on the lower end
- Some of the hardware is outdated
6. InMotion Hosting
|Features||Managed and unmanaged, root access, control panels available only with managed plans|
|Best for||A variety of managed and unmanaged server hosting solutions|
InMotion Hosting has one of the widest range of options when it comes to server hosting. You can choose from a wide range of plans as well as customize one yourself. However, one thing to keep in mind - InMotion offers Linux only. Windows options are missing.
One of the things that stood out to me the most was the powerful customizable server options. In short, the provider allows you to configure a server that meets your exact needs – and essentially, you will only have to pay for the resources you’re actually going to use.
Custom servers come with:
- High-performance Intel processors with up to 32 cores,
- SSD or HDD storage,
- Secure server enhancements,
- Custom software solutions,
- A custom amount of RAM and bandwidth.
You can customize both managed and unmanaged plans. Just keep in mind, both options include full root access, however, only managed plans include cPanel/WHM.
Custom server hosting is developed on a case-by-case basis with the help of the InMotion team.
InMotion Hosting dedicated hosting pricing
InMotion Hosting offers 10 dedicated server hosting options - 5 managed and 5 unmanaged hosting plans. The lowest price for managed dedicated server plans starts at $139.99/mo and goes up to $539.99/mo. The unmanaged options range from $99.99/mo to $499.99/mo. If pre-configured plans are not your cup of tea, you can also customize your own plan.
InMotion Hosting’s dedicated servers are highly advanced and come with an impressive selection of security features, smart routing technology, and much, much more. In fact, InMotion has an option for pretty much everything you can think of.
Naturally, the managed and unmanaged plans include different software and configuration options. Regardless, both options offer plans that range from 4 to 24 cores, 1 SSD to 2TB NVMe SSD storage, and 16 up to 192 GB RAM.
Note that you can add and remove storage, RAM, and bandwidth even if you don’t want to build a fully customized server. Managed plans also include a minimum of 2 hours of free support.
Meanwhile, I particularly like InMotion’s price structure. It’s transparent, and prices don’t increase on renewal. You will also be protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Depending on your skills and level of experience, you can either choose a managed or unmanaged server hosting plan. However, to get the most for least, I suggest you consider an Essential plan for a managed or unmanaged hosting, depending on your skills.
InMotion Hosting performance
InMotion’s performance results were quite mixed.
First, my server was offline for 31 minutes across the month of testing. While this doesn’t seem like much, it’s significantly higher than the majority of options on this list. And, this equals a relatively low 99.93% uptime – just slightly above the 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Fortunately, though, the 414ms average server response time is as good as it gets. On top of this, server response times were consistent throughout the test, ranging between 400ms and 467ms.
Note, though, that all servers are located in the USA. This simply means that the US audiences will get the best performance results.
Overall, InMotion’s performance is very good. Its uptime is a little low, but still, nothing to be seriously worried about, while the response time is very speedy without any enhancements.
In the end, InMotion Hosting is on this list of the best dedicated server hosting providers for a reason. It provides highly customizable solutions backed by great performance and high-quality support.
- Highly customizable servers
- Managed and unmanaged options are available
- Reliable and very fast performance
- The uptime is on the lower end
- Servers in the US only
Dedicated server hosting comparison
All providers mentioned on this lists offer different resources at different price points. To get a side-by-side comparison and visually see how providers stack up against each other in terms of resources, I've prepared a short table.
|Liquid Web||4||16GB||240GB SSD||5TB||99.99%||Managed||$169/mo|
|HostGator||4||8GB||1TB HHD||2TB||100%||Semi/fully managed||$89.98/mo|
|InMotion Hosting||4||16GB||1TB SSD||15TB||99.93%||Unmanaged||$99.99/mo|
Best dedicated server hosting: final recommendations
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all best option when it comes to dedicated hosting. In saying that, though, the 6 providers listed above have all stood up to the test of time, have passed my rigorous analysis, and are viable options for those who need a high-end hosting solution.
Here’s a quick recap of each one:
- Liquid Web is the best all-around managed dedicated hosting provider. It offers very resource-rich plans and top-notch reliability.
- Bluehost offers unmanaged server hosting with a cPanel integration for a very reasonable price.
- DreamHost provides great managed dedicated hosting with improved performance options.
- HostGator offers affordable managed and semi-managed Linux or Windows server hosting.
- InterServer is the cheapest managed server hosting provider with many customizable plans to choose from.
- InMotion Hosting is a speed-oriented provider offering a variety of managed and unmanaged server hosting solutions.
What should I think about when choosing a dedicated server?
While there are many providers offering dedicated server hosting solutions, not all of them are equal. To really make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible, you should take a few things such as server managed vs unmanaged, resources, operating systems, and long-term performance into consideration.
Which hosting type should you go for?
Depending on the level of your experience, you might find managed, semi-managed or unmanaged server hosting more beneficial for you.
- Inexperienced users might go for the managed dedicated server, which usually comes with free software updates and technical support.
- Semi-managed hosting is like the best of both worlds. You still get the most basic tasks like updates and hardware/software failures, but you get more flexibility in how to set up and manage your server.
- Unmanaged plans are for the most advanced users. While you still can contact technical support, server setup, maintenance, and updates are entirely up to you.
Additionally, even a more experienced user may find managed hosting very appealing, as it takes care of common tasks like security measures, server monitoring, or software updates. At the same time, you get full root access to manage your server as you please. Best of both worlds, really.
Which operating system do you prefer?
Choosing an operating system (OS) also ties into ease of use. More often than not, providers will offer Linux as the default OS with a possibility of Windows OS for a significantly higher price. Others may not offer Windows at all.
Here’s how the 2 differ:
- Linux requires more technical knowledge but is generally more versatile and secure.
- Windows OS is generally more beginner-friendly but often costs slightly more.
So before you choose a provider, decide on the OS you wish to have and check if it’s available. By the way, Windows OS is required if you plan to use ASP.NET or MSSQL.
Estimate the amount of resources you’ll need
Before you jump to purchase the best value for your money, sit down and think about the server resources you’re going to need for your project.
Here are a few resources you should consider when choosing a plan:
- Cores – if you’re planning on running loads of heavy applications or websites on your server, you might need 4-8 CPUs. The more cores you opt for, the heavier tasks and projects you’ll be able to carry out.
- Storage – to keep things simple, the more content you’re planning on hosting, the more storage space you will need. If you’re planning on uploading a lot of HD video and other media, look for 1TB+. If your new site or application won’t be very heavy, you should be fine with a smaller 256GB or 512GB SSD storage.
- RAM – resource-intensive websites will need more RAM. For example, something like a large and popular eCommerce store might need upwards of 32GB of RAM, while a smaller video storage server should work fine with just 8GB.
- Bandwidth – if you’re expecting to attract loads of traffic to your website/application, you will need more bandwidth. To estimate the needed amount of bandwidth per month, you can use this equation - approximate number of visitors x estimated website’s size in GB x number of pages on the site x 30.
Overall, estimate how much of each of these resources you might need in the future. If you’re not too sure yet, look for a provider that allows you to increase resources on the fly.
Make sure that your server will stay live and perform well
It’s worth analyzing the long-term performance of prospective hosts to ensure your website will be fast and responsive.
When it comes to uptime, anything above 99.9% is considered good. However, the close to the perfect 100% you get, the better. Quite a few providers offer 100% uptime guarantees but take this with a pinch of salt. Even though you are promised 100% uptime, this does not include mandatory maintenance or downtime whenever you choose to reboot your server.
Talking about response time, there’s a clear limit you should be cautious of. Average response time over 600ms is considered to be below average, and anything close to 1 second is just unacceptable. For best results, make sure your provider’s response time is faster than 600ms.
All in all, all you need to do is estimate the resources you’ll need and choose the best management option for you. Don’t forget performance and the importance of a fast and reliable server, and you should be ready to make your pick.
Best dedicated server hosting FAQs
What is a dedicated server?
A dedicated server is a physical server that is entirely dedicated to your website(s). Unlike when using shared hosting, you won’t have to share server resources with other users, and your site’s performance won’t be impacted by any third parties.
Do I need dedicated server hosting?
You need a dedicated server if you run a large, resource-intensive website with high traffic. Some people upgrade to dedicated hosting ahead of time for improved security, optimal performance, and a high level of customizability.
How much does dedicated server hosting cost?
The cost of dedicated hosting varies. Cheap servers start from around $49 per month, and prices increase to thousands of dollars per month, depending on the resources, software, and add-ons you need.