Dedicated Hosting vs. Semi-Dedicated Hosting

Updated September 25, 2020

Dedicated hosting has been around since the beginning of the web, offering 100% of server resources to a single business customer, a dedicated server provides security, performance and control, though not at the lowest possible hosting price point.

Semi-dedicated hosting is another name for a virtual dedicated server (VDS), or virtual private server (VPS). It’s where an entire server is sliced into segments that are shared by multiple customers, much like an apartment building is owned by one company but houses multiple residents who each share the building.

When Dedicated Hosting is the Right Choice


The most popular reason for choosing a dedicated server is the fact that dedicated servers offer the ultimate in high-performance hosting. Whereas other types of hosting offer slices of RAM and slices of CPU cores, a dedicated server gives all of them over to the needs of one customer.


A dedicated server, being controlled by a single business entity, is ideal for those seeking the maximum in security. Because no other customers have access to any of the server systems, the entire hosting account can be locked down tight, maximizing security and data privacy protections.

Restricted or Demanding Applications

Few other hosting account types can handle the requirements of certain applications, such as game hosting. A dedicated server can run demanding apps like gaming as well as can run different operating systems, control panels and even accept VPN connections that might not be available on VPS plans.

Isolation for Uptime

By keeping the server instance away from the influence of other hosting customers, a dedicated server isolates one customer from anyone else. This isolation is a layer of protection, making sure that there are no resource-hogging users who impact the services of others while they go over their limits.

Protecting against cross-site scripting is more of a security issue (see Security above). Isolation, on the other hand, is about maintaining resources so that there is plenty of available memory, story, network throughput and uptime for the one and only hosting customer.

Administrative Control

There are many configuration options and server settings that cannot be changed server-wide on any hosting account type other than dedicated.

Dedicated hosting gives customers the ultimate in root level access and administrative control. Want a different version of PHP? No problem. Rather run Oracle than MariaDB? No problem. Need access to full-blown programming language environments like Python? No problem.

Nothing gives the customer as much control as a dedicated server.

IP Addresses

It’s one thing to want one or two IP addresses (IPv4 or IPv6). It’s quite another to want a large block, or range, of IP addresses. Many hosting account types don’t offer blocks as an option, at any price. However, with a dedicated server, there can be justifications for needing more IP addresses, particularly if the dedicated hosting customer is reselling space to others.


For those wishing to run a business based on reselling hosting services, leasing a dedicated server and then adding client accounts gives the reseller full control on which clients have access to how much resources.

With this level of control, a reseller is able to maintain high levels of security and control without worrying about other resellers having access to any of the systems.

Enterprise Solutions

When looking at one semi-dedicated account vs one dedicated server account, there are times when either decision could be the right one.

When looking at a medium to large-sized company needing multiple servers, the choice becomes clear. There’s no point chaining together multiple semi-dedicated servers – it just doesn’t make sense, particularly when one or more dedicated servers are wholly available.

Custom Hardware Additions

When you’re sharing hardware, such as one a semi-dedicated server account, there are many restrictions on what hardware can be added to the server.

A dedicated server can give you options previously unavailable such as….

       – More solid state drives

       – Custom RAID controllers or configurations

       – SAS, SAN, NAS, SSD, SATA, NVMe and others

       – Backup drives directly connected

       – Fiber network connections

       – Multiple network connections

       – Memory above 32GB

       – KVM

When multiple customers have to share a server, such as a semi-dedicated server, there are limits on what can be added, removed and changed with regard to server hardware.

When a single customer pays for the entire server, such as a dedicated server, the limits only exist due to how much it will cost and how well equipped the web hosting company is, to deal with the requests.


People often confuse security and privacy, despite the fact that security deals with protecting the server and data from attack and privacy deals with keeping the server drives and data from being viewed or accessed by others. There’s some overlap, but privacy can mean different things.

With a dedicated server, all disks can be encrypted. Full disk encryption means that even if someone breaks into the datacenter and gets their hands on the physical drives, they won’t be able to read a single byte of what’s on them. They might as well steal the bricks on which the building rests for all the good those drives will do them.

Privacy is ideal for those who want absolute security over the content of their business data, and customer data, online. For mission critical information, like financial details, personal health data, political opinions in countries where expressing such could result in persecution – all these scenarios could benefit from the privacy only achievable with a dedicated server.

When Semi-Dedicated (VPS) Hosting is the Right Choice


Justifying the expense of a full-blown dedicated server is a tough call for most. When web hosting needs exceed shared or reseller, but budget prevents dedicated servers from consideration, a semi-dedicated server is a top contender.


If you need fast website page loads (faster than shared or reseller accounts) then a VPS is a great option, particularly when you don’t need the insane performance of a full dedicated server.

Demanding Applications

Trying to run a heavyweight application, like Magento, particularly when you’ve got massive numbers of products or visitors, and suddenly shared and reseller hosting options no longer become reasonable options.

Highly demanding apps necessitate a semi-dedicated or fully dedicated server. Just how demanding the needs become and how expensive are the solution choices – that’s what determines which is the preferred choice.


In general, when you need more than shared or reseller hosting, but can’t justify the expense of going fully dedicated, then a semi-dedicated hosting account is the top choice.

Sometimes it can boil down to how much RAM, storage, bandwidth or other resource that you need which will decide it.

Other times it’s a matter of special configurations required.

Details about KnownHost hosting options can be found online:

Dedicated Server Hosting

Semi-Dedicated Server Hosting (VPS)

You don’t have to make this decision on your own. KnownHost technical sales experts have helped thousands of customers in deciding what’s the perfect plan for their needs.

Give the sales team a call, explain what you’re doing, what you’ve got now, what you’re looking to achieve – and what’s your budget. They’ll present options and the pricing associated.

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