Should I Buy My Own Server?
If you’re reading this, then the question
‘Should I buy my own server’ has already piqued your interest. There are many
scenarios where purchasing your own server can provide benefits, but before
doing so it’s also important to understand some of the tradeoffs that come with
it. By the end of this post, you will be able to properly evaluate your needs
and understand if you should buy your own server.
Types of Servers
You’ve already started considering purchasing
a server, but before really diving in it’s important we understand
some of the different types of servers and where each hosting technique is
optimal. There is a spectrum of hosting
options, and on the least-personalized side, we have shared hosting. Shared hosting is not owning your own server,
but rather pooling your resources together with several other people and
sharing a server.
A common analogy for this type of hosting is
living in an apartment. You pay rent, but do not own your residence. Much like
renting there are some positives, but a big downfall is that you do not have
the freedom to customize the server as you want (since others are also using
it). Another big issue with shared hosting
is that if one user begins to grow Marketing and take up server space, their
success can come at the cost of other user’s performance. In short, it’s cheap
to get started but hard to create a well-refined experience.
On the other end of the spectrum is dedicated
hosting. This is where you buy your own server, and it is completely yours to
customize as you see fit. The biggest con here is that it is more expensive
than shared hosting, but at the same time, you gain leverage over a lot more
tools. Think of this as homeownership. There are also other hosting options in
between the two, but for the sake of our original question, we just need to
understand that there are ways to utilize both a shared server and a personalized
Serving Up Your Own
We know it’s possible to leverage a server
without actually owning one, but how do we know if our specific scenario
justifies bucking up the extra cash to get a dedicated server? There’s no
simple one-word answer here, but there are several factors to take into
consideration that can help steer you in the right direction. If you’re trying
to host a server for your business here are some key scenarios to consider
Is your team growing rapidly?
If you find your business is taking off and
personal need a system to meet their demands, odds are you can’t keep existing
on a shared server. To create a well-oiled business, multiple users are going
to need access to the same data and have a well-designed system for sharing it.
Tasks as simple as managing emails and meeting organization for large groups
can make a huge difference in the success or failure of your team’s ability to
meet its goals.
Tools like Microsoft Office are useful, but even Microsoft recommends that as you scale up you
find a balance between their tools and a dedicated server. Having the ability
to manage your team and mold sources of communication to fit their work style
is priceless (not really, but you get the idea).
Does your business need a secure database?
If your business handles payments (as most do)
and manages user data there are compliances that you need to meet. Customers
want to know that their information is safe, and as such things like PCI
compliance require certain rules and regulations to be met. Having a
dedicated server allows you to be sure that you are handling information with
the right security streams and that no unwanted parties are involved.
The damage that could be done from security
leaks goes beyond personal information though. Without a proper disaster
recovery plan, you may lose access to information about a user’s rewards in
your system or their past purchases. Either way that’s going to lead to unhappy
customers. Security compliance doesn’t just protect your users either.
Employees need their information to be stored in secure locations as well, so
the less risk you expose your server to the better.
Do you need the increased performance?
We’ve already touched on it, but the simple fact
is snappier sites keep users coming back.
If your site is dragging then it will lead to bad experiences and low
user retention. An easy way to improve this is to move to a dedicated server
and scale it up to meet your demand. Having a flexible hosting plan can be
useful here to adjust your bandwidth as demand changes over the year as
well. There may be times your server
gets a ton of foot traffic and times it’s a ghost town. You should always try
to pay for exactly what you need.
One big threat to snappy sites is cybersecurity
against things like Distributed Denial of Server (DDoS) attacks. These attacks involve a malicious third party
flooding your server with fake requests that bog it down, and if your server is
busy responding to fake requests it can’t service real customers. Server DDoS protection is crucial in this day
and age when buying your own server.
Fun and Games:
So far we’ve talked about using a server to meet
your business needs, but it’s also very possible that you don’t have a business
and want a server for other reasons. One of these being that you want to take
your gaming to the next level. If you’re an avid gamer and are thinking of
buying your own server here are a few things to consider:
Do you want customization?
When you own your own server you gain the
ability to customize it however you would like. For gaming, this means that you
can leverage all sorts of mods to change gameplay. A popular example of this is
Minecraft which has countless mods available. Applying some of these to your
virtual world means that you can create a server unlike any others out there.
And a unique world means unique gameplay.
Just make sure that the mods your applying are going to improve your
gaming experience (this can be a trial and error process). With customization,
you can also control who joins your server, so if you want to play with just a
group of friends or grow a community this may be right for you.
Are you trying to avoid poor gameplay?
Ok, yes that’s a loaded question. Of course,
everyone wants to avoid poor gameplay. But what we mean is to what extent are
you willing to utilize a dedicated server to dodge pitfalls that exist in
certain games. For one thing, your
performance across the board is going to improve, but you also can begin to
avoid issues like host tethering in ARK: Survival Evolved. Host tethering is
when your player is only able to roam so far away from the server’s host
without being rubber-banded back to them.
Having a dedicated server for this game allows users to not be dependent
on one another and drastically improves the gaming experience. This is just one example, but there are many
others like it.
Do you have the budget?
Buying your own server has all sorts of pros
associated with it, but the simple fact is that you are buying it. The service doesn’t come for free, so it’s important to
consider if the benefits you will be getting are worth the amount, you’ll have
to pay in. There’s not much more to this topic, but the list of considerations
would be incomplete without mentioning it.
Conclusion – Should I Buy
My Own Server?
Buying your own server brings a lot to the
table, but it’s not for everyone. Some
people can get by utilizing things like shared hosting, but if your checklist
of requirements overlaps with any of those mentions above it may be worth
considering. If you do decide that personal server hosting is right for you, make
sure that you set one up through a trusted company so that you can be sure
you’re getting a fair deal.