We tripled our amount of research to create the best article about dedicated web hosting on the internet. That way, our work can remove any anxiety you could have about making the upgrade from your current hosting. We’ve found InMotion Hosting to be the best dedicated web hosting for most people. They offer the most generous combination of resources and solid performance without being extravagantly priced.
The Best Dedicated Hosting Plan For Most
Want the resources that make your site superior? InMotion Hosting leads the pack with a perfect score on our grading scale for CPUs, RAM, storage, and bandwidth on their entry-level plan.
Better still, server response times are impeccable, so your site visitors are never waiting for your pages to load. And for those of you that aren’t confident in self-management, you’d be hard-pressed to find better technical support than what InMotion’s reps provide.
The 6 Best Dedicated Hosting Options to Consider:
- InMotion Hosting – Best for most
- Liquid Web – Best for setting up a custom server
- HostGator – Best uptime for the price
- Bluehost – Best for getting started in 30 minutes or less
- A2 Hosting – Best for worry-free customer support
- DreamHost – Best guarantee for high-performing website
When it Makes Sense to Invest Into Dedicated Web Hosting
When you know you’re about to outgrow your current hosting, the fear of where to go next can be paralyzing. So we created this section to help you make the right move at the right time.
If you’ve had an immediate rise in traffic or are anticipating a flood of growth in the future, dedicated hosting is a worthwhile option if you think your new popularity is here to stay.
Dedicated hosting stabilizes speed and even offers ways to increase or decrease resources on demand.
You also might want complete control over your server environment. Dedicated hosting provides you with your own server that you get full oversight of. That’s huge if your site runs a web app or other platform that needs rapid updates deployed on the fly.
If you take payments or have a site with sensitive user information like financial, medical or personal data, you can boost security instantly with dedicated hosting—dissolving any concerns about attacks on the data you hold.
Look at it this way—dedicated hosting is the big leagues of hosting.
So don’t invest if you’re just getting started and have little web traffic to worry about. You can start with shared hosting. It’s cheaper and way easier to manage.
But if you’re ready to bring on the avalanche of visitors and need security, performance, and customization that’s unmatched, it’s time to make the switch.
These reviews will show you how.
#1 – InMotion Hosting — The Best for Most
Overall Score: 4/5
InMotion Hosting gives you the resources to handle just about anything visitors can throw at you.
You come to dedicated hosting for generous resources and speed. With InMotion you get that—including the best array of resources of anyone on this list—bolstered by rock-solid customer support if you ever get stumped by an issue.
That makes it the best option for most people making the jump to dedicated hosting.
Let’s look at the details and how they did in our testing.
- Server Reliability: 2/5
- Server Response Time: 5/5
- Technical Resources: 5/5
- Customer Support: 4.7/5
- Pricing: 3/5
Server Reliability: 2/5 – Our InMotion dedicated server had two minutes and 59 seconds of downtime over 25 days, resulting in 99.99% uptime.
You might say that’s good, and it is when looking at it from a high-level view.
But when you get down to the nitty-gritty of what dedicated hosting should offer, this score is not up to the standards of what other providers offer you.
Fortunately, it all came down to a single incident—a connection timeout—on our sixth day of testing.
However, the average downtime across all the hosts we tested was one minute and 29 seconds. So, InMotion comes in just a bit below average.
Incredibly, though, InMotion had the worst uptime performance across all the hosts we tested.
For context, here’s what we saw when we tested their shared and VPS hosting options: InMotion shared hosting had six minutes, 17 seconds of total downtime, while InMotion VPS hosting had just 18 seconds of total downtime.
Our dedicated server was more reliable than InMotion’s shared hosting environment but slightly less reliable than our VPS server during testing.
When you rent your own server, you should be getting better performance than if you’re using VPS. The level of dedicated hosting competition is fierce and being down for almost three minutes is an eternity when you have loads of traffic funneling in.
One nice benefit InMotion gives you, however, is their two-hour hardware replacement guarantee. So, if something technical does cause your server to go down, InMotion will have it fixed in two hours or less.
Server Response Time: 5/5 – InMotion Hosting delivered exceptional server response times.
Our server had an average response time of 292 milliseconds over 25 days.
This was the fastest server we tested in the category, earning InMotion a perfect score.
Your visitors won’t have to wait for pages to load upon arrival. The experience is snappy and exactly what you want from a dedicated host.
Look how smooth that graph is. Not only do you get fast response times on average, but it’s consistent. Just one little spike you’ll recognize from our uptime outage from the previous section.
The average response time across all the hosts we tested was 503 milliseconds, making InMotion significantly better than average in this category.
InMotion Hosting has demonstrated this to us time and again in other categories. Its shared hosting and VPS servers both averaged well under 400 milliseconds themselves (which you’ll notice is still faster than the average of the dedicated hosts we tested for this article).
When you’re running a web app or online business, the expectation everybody hopes for is near-instant page loading times. People want to get to your site and see all it has to offer with no delays. InMotion Hosting provides the perfect environment for you to deliver that to users and site visitors.
Technical Resources: 5/5 – InMotion is the only host that scored perfectly for technical specs and resources.
Its entry-level plan is the most powerful on our list.
Yet, it’s priced right in the middle of the pack, making it an excellent deal if you need a lot of resources and don’t want to pay premium prices up front for them.
It’s important to mention that if you have more than one site you’re hosting on a plan, all resources are spread between them. Most hosting plans work this way.
InMotion offers both managed and unmanaged dedicated hosting plans.
Unmanaged plans give you more flexibility, but InMotion won’t be able to help you as much since you’ll have a more customized server configuration. The managed plans are more expensive and less flexible but much easier to use.
On InMotion’s entry-level dedicated plan, Essential, you get a massive 1 TB solid state drive for storage with RAID 1 mirrored storage. That means your files are kept in duplicate, so if one disk is down or suffering poor performance, the server can pull the data or files from the other instead, making your site more reliable.
You also get 15 TB of bandwidth. The amount of data your site can transfer to users each month is massive.
That’s bolstered by the speed you get from the Essential plan’s 16 GB of RAM and a quad-core CPU with eight total threads.
This lets your site multi-task like a beast and doesn’t slow down your site when multiple users are doing different things. And you saw above our speed test, which serves as a testament to how fast this server’s resources are.
Plus, you get up to 5 dedicated IP addresses. Having multiple dedicated IP addresses ensure email deliverability when marketing your site or communicating with visitors or customers. Email services trust your dedicated IPs more, helping you avoid the spam folder.
InMotion is Linux only, so there’s no way to use Windows as the servers’ operating system. But if you’ve used VPS or cloud hosting previously, you have most likely used Linux as a server OS already.
The advantages of having so much in InMotion’s most basic dedicated hosting plan are numerous. It allows you to plan for how your site can scale without having to move to a more powerful plan as soon as you taste success.
Customer Support: 4.7/5 – In any hosting plan, things can go wrong.
That’s why leaning on a knowledgeable support team matters. When we tested InMotion’s support, they blew us away.
Starting a live chat takes one click. We never had to wait more than a minute to connect with someone and all of the reps we talked to went above and beyond to help us.
You can see below that the chat and support links are always in the top right of your account management dashboard:
In our first support interaction, we needed help logging into the Application Management Panel (AMP)—InMotion’s main dashboard.
We started the chat at 7:54 a.m. Pacific and were connected to a rep almost immediately. The rep let us know that they were waiting on the data center to finish provisioning the server and reached out to their team to see if there were any updates.
Five minutes later, they told us it could take a few days and we would get an email confirming when it was done.
The rep also confirmed we would not be charged for any days of service until our server was ready.
The chat was done after 16 minutes.
We liked that they don’t charge for services in the lead up before they can be used by a customer. The rep was patient and answered us very clearly so we understood the full process and timeline. And we got an email in a couple of days when the server was ready as promised.
For the second live chat with InMotion support, we wanted to confirm our CPU information.
Several dedicated hosts have an approximate CPU configuration on their sales pages, but it’s not always what you get.
It’s a crucial piece of advice of ours to always verify your CPU configuration when signing up for a dedicated hosting plan.
Sometimes you’ll get a better configuration than what’s listed on a host’s website. But, you also want to make sure you’re not getting less than what was promised.
We asked this question of InMotion support at 1:25 p.m. and got an answer quickly.
Turns out we got a better CPU, but we wanted to know why it wasn’t the same as what was listed on their sales page.
The rep let us know that the CPU configuration there is the minimum hardware they’ll provide and they always either install that or something better if it isn’t available. The rep clearly, politely, and quickly answered the question and clarified why there was a difference.
The chat took only seven minutes.
On the third live chat, at 5:46 p.m., we asked if we could change the operating system.
We were connected to a rep right away. They asked for some time to research our question.
After seven minutes, the rep let us know that they only support CentOS but we could switch the operating system to whatever we want. They just wouldn’t be able to give support for it if something went wrong.
They then said that, in order to switch, we needed to migrate our data from this server to a new one and that they also would not be able to help with that either.
We thanked them and ended the chat. It took 11 minutes. The thorough explanation was great, letting us know what we could do and their limits on assisting us with that.
In closing, InMotion’s support was outstanding. We were connected to each rep super fast and they all gave us the information we needed quickly.
If you value customer support—and, with dedicated hosting, you should—InMotion is just short of perfection.
Pricing: 3/5 – InMotion’s entry-level dedicated plan starts at $139.99 per month for a year commitment up front.
So, with the promotional pricing, your first year runs a total of $1,679.88.
Renewal pricing is just $30 more per month (a 21% increase in rate), leading to a second year that costs $2,039.88.
All told, two years of entry-level dedicated hosting from InMotion is $3,719.76—averaging $154.99 per month over that time.
This may seem like a lot, but InMotion pricing is right in the middle of the pack for dedicated hosting. In fact, it’s about $200 cheaper than our list-wide average cost of $3,919.84.
Three hosts on our list are cheaper and two are more expensive.
In terms of cost, InMotion is about average, but the value of the resource set and site speed means you’re getting a ton out of what you’re paying.
InMotion Hosting is excellent for anybody about to graduate to the big leagues of hosting. You get the perfect blend of resources, performance, and support to make your move up to dedicated as pain-free as possible.
#2 – Liquid Web — The Best for Setting Up a Customized Server
Overall Score: 3.9/5
Liquid Web’s dedicated hosting plans are insanely customizable—the most malleable out of all the options on our list.
You can individually configure all of the resources to match your needs and choose between fully managed, semi-managed, or unmanaged options. They also offer a fleet of add-ons to take advantage of, like additional backup drives and storage encryption.
Let’s take a look at how they scored:
- Server Reliability: 5/5
- Server Response Time: 5/5
- Technical Resources: 2/5
- Customer Support: 4/5
- Pricing: 2/5
Server Reliability: 5/5 – Liquid Web had no downtime over 25 days. Not even one second.
You can’t do better than truly 100% uptime. That’s the sign of a server you can trust.
Liquid Web is one of only two hosts on this list to achieve this.
Look at that nice, smooth sailing all month long.
This isn’t new for Liquid Web. When we tested their VPS servers, we got the same result.
Not only do you get unassailable uptime, but Liquid Web makes sure it always stays that way through automatic software updates and security patches, plus 24/7 server monitoring.
At this stage of hosting, you expect sterling uptime availability and Liquid Web delivers. When you are running a business that puts food on your table, it’s nice to know you don’t ever have to wake up and find out you’ve missed out on opportunities because of your site being down.
Server Response Time: 5/5 – Keeping with the perfection they showed in uptime, Liquid Web also makes your website speedy as all heck.
They are the only dedicated host on our list to score perfectly in both uptime and server response time.
Our server had an average response time of 346 milliseconds over 25 days, making it the second-fastest server on our list.
Liquid Web well out-performed the average speed for our list, 503 milliseconds.
When looking at the image above you can see a long steady line for response time. Showing that server performance is stable and reliable
It’s also a big step up in speed compared to their VPS hosting, which was 343 milliseconds slower than this result on their dedicated servers.
The speed your visitors will experience will make bounce rates a thing of the past while giving you an inside edge to reaching the first page of Google results.
Technical Resources: 2/5 – Liquid Web scored low on technical resources here, but it’s made up for by the customizable environment they provide.
You can get managed dedicated hosting, but you will succumb to the lower level of resources. With semi-managed and unmanaged plans, you can turn your server into a powerhouse if you know how.
As you change your configuration, the price updates in real time so you always know how much you’ll be paying every month.
It’s a great option if you know exactly what you need or none of the cookie-cutter plans match your needs.
Let’s dive into the specs.
To start, you don’t get the standard 6 TB of bandwidth we recommend with dedicated hosting. But the 5 TB that comes standard is close.
You are also in the red with only 480 GB of SSD storage on the entry-level plan and just one dedicated IP address.
You can easily add more IP addresses at checkout, though, at $2 per.
What you do get is a large amount of RAM. 16GB to be exact. And you also get a quad-core CPU with eight threads standard.
The two threads per core gives you substantial processing speed, allowing your site to handle more traffic and requests.
Again, though, it’s easy to customize your plan with Liquid Web. That extends to operating system choices as well.
You can choose from CentOS 7, CloudLinux 6 or 7, Debian 8 or 9, and four different Windows options—Standard 2016 or 2019 and Datacenter 2016 or 2019.
With semi-managed and unmanaged plans, you also get the option to use one of two versions of Ubuntu.
Plus, you get three different control panel options: your standard cPanel with WHM, Interworx, or Plesk Obsidian.
These options can seem mystifying to a dedicated hosting novice. Worry not, though, because you can lean on Liquid Web’s reps to help you create a custom plan that will fit you like a glove.
One crucial detail to note, though: the entry-level plan on Liquid Web only comes with the free version of Softaculous. The free version doesn’t allow you to install WordPress.
You have to purchase a license for Softaculous if you want to use WordPress on your sites.
Given how much you pay, Liquid Web is not necessarily the best deal. But, if you know what you’re doing, the value is incredible for the level of flexibility you get with Liquid Web.
Customer Support: 4/5 – Overall, it’s very easy to get in touch with Liquid Web’s support.
You also don’t have to wait long to connect with someone, but responses may come slowly after. We found you’ll likely have to wait a bit to get an answer, but it didn’t affect the quality of the support we received.
Plus, you can call Liquid Web any time for help, something that’s not always an option with other hosts.
The first thing that stood out was how easy it was to start a chat. You can always open a new live chat from the support button in the top navigation menu. Some hosts don’t make this so easy.
For our first support chat, at 8:21 a.m. Pacific, we asked about Acronis backups. We did not see this with any other host and wanted to know what this provided us.
We were immediately connected to a rep who told us the main benefit of Acronis backups is that they don’t take up storage space.
We then asked if the backups are automated. The rep placed us on hold, then took a total of 12 minutes to find the answer, eventually letting us know it depended on our personal settings. By default, they’re set to daily automatic backups.
They also sent us an article with more information. We thanked them and ended the chat after 25 minutes.
We felt the questions we asked were pretty basic and easy, but it took forever to hear back in between responses. It was great that the rep actually explained things to us rather than sending us just a tutorial or article to read through. We also liked that the rep looked into our own backup settings to offer personalized help.
For live chat number two, we asked about the included version of Softaculous. We only had the free version and that did not allow us to install WordPress.
We asked a sales rep before we signed up if the Liquid Web plan comes with Softaculous and they told us yes, although they didn’t specify if it was the free version or the premium version.
We started this chat at 12:44 p.m. and got an answer in five minutes. The rep said that we would have to purchase a license to Softaculous if we wanted to install WordPress.
All told, the interaction took 10 minutes.
When we started the third chat at 6:05 p.m., we asked about switching operating systems.
The rep joined immediately and asked three minutes later if we meant switching from CentOS to something like Ubuntu or Windows. We confirmed and added that we were curious what that process would look like.
The rep said it basically means destroying the existing server and starting fresh with a migration to a new one.
We followed up by asking how we’d start this process if we wanted to move forward with it. After being on hold for 15 minutes, they let us know of two ways to do so.
One way is reimaging the server, which would destroy all the data. The other way is paying for a new server, migrating to the new one, then destroying the existing server.
We thanked them for their time and we ended the chat after 22 minutes.
Our only gripe is the length of time to get answers. We loved how clear the rep was about our options and how they walked us through the process so we understood the differences of each choice.
All in all, Liquid Web offered excellent support.
Our interactions were longer than we’d like but they still answered all of our questions and the reps were nice and knowledgeable. As an advanced user, you want a pro that can answer any questions you have about custom dedicated hosting. We feel you will get that support with Liquid Web.
Pricing: 2/5 – Liquid Web is expensive. They are known for this but they give you the flexibility that many dedicated hosts can’t. So you pay the price for that.
Again, you can choose to go the managed, semi-managed, or fully self-managed route.
Most people choose managed plans, so that’s what we tested and used for scoring. But our power users normally prefer unmanaged for full customization and control, so we’ve included pricing for the non-managed options as well.
The entry-level plan starts at $169 per month, equaling $2,028 for your first year.
Renewal pricing for your second year is 30% higher at $219 per month.
That adds up to a second-year total of $2628 and an overall two-year cost of $4656, well above our list-wide average of $3919.84.
Also, be aware that opting for Windows as your OS costs more, starting at $30 extra per month.
You do get to choose between one-year, six-month, and one-month plans. So you can give them a shot and see if they’re a fit, though it costs $199 per month when starting with a month-to-month plan.
Depending on your needs, more flexibility may be worth Liquid Web’s price. Going with self-managed or semi-managed will cost a bit more but allow for greater freedom.
They start at $199.00 per month with no uptick on renewal, so it’s not all that much more than the managed options in the long run.
There’s not a pricing table for semi-managed or unmanaged plans, but it is an option you can choose at checkout if you want to compare rates or sign up for it. You can fully customize your entire server setup, so pricing depends heavily on your other choices as well.
This kind of fine tuning in dedicated hosting is where Liquid Web shines. You also get incredible service that will come in handy during any major problems. The price is high, yes, so take advantage of the payment options and see if Liquid Web’s superior customization is worth it before you commit to a long-term plan.
#3 – HostGator — The Best Uptime for the Price
Overall Score: 3.4/5
HostGator stands out by delivering the uptime reliability you expect from dedicated hosting at a very reasonable price. And, it can be even better for you if you opt for a longer-term commitment up front.
There are some issues that keep HostGator from being our pick for most people getting started with dedicated hosting for the first time (namely, the poor quality of their customer support), but if you’re looking for reliability at a great price, HostGator is a great entry point into top-tier hosting.
Let’s look at how they do in the top categories to look out for in dedicated hosting.
- Server Reliability: 5/5
- Server Response Time: 2/5
- Technical Resources: 4/5
- Customer Support: 2.3/5
- Pricing: 4/5
Server Reliability: 5/5 – HostGator gave us a perfect uptime score of 100%.
We watched closely and never saw one incident threatening our server’s availability. They’re one of two hosts that delivered flawless uptime with no issues at all.
As you can see, our site was always available to visitors.
HostGator delivered this as well when we tested their VPS servers, showing that they’re serious about ensuring their customers’ sites are always up and running.
Even their shared servers delivered 99.99% uptime when we put that category through its paces.
HostGator has a fantastic infrastructure for maintaining reliable access to your website and apps, so your visitors, shoppers, and users can count on your site being there when they need it.
Server Response Time: 2/5 – However, HostGator falls below the bar with regards to site speed.
Yes, an average response time of 565 milliseconds is well below one second. But when you’re comparing that to other hosts on this list that come in well under that, it makes a difference.
There are three other providers that are faster than HostGator.
You can see our testing below:
You can see from September 16 through the 18th, there was a spike in the server response time. It’s just a few days and it’s minor, but affects the overall score and performance.
That slight blip may be the difference between ranking above your competitors on Google.
But when you couple this average speed with a perfect uptime, it’s not terrible. Just something you want to be aware of.
This tracks with the other testing we’ve done on HostGator servers. Its VPS hosting was a bit worse than average as well.
HostGator doesn’t do a terrible job with speed, it’s just not as good as the competition. It won’t affect the user experience much, because it’s splitting hairs when everyone loads sites in under a second. But, again, it may be crucial to getting more eyeballs on your site than the rest of the crowd.
Technical Resources: 4/5 – HostGator offers above-average technology to get you started with dedicated web hosting.
You get three dedicated IP addresses so you can avoid the spam folder when sending emails from your site’s URL.
We know it’s important to have adequate storage for all your content and HostGator meets our standards with 1 TB of SSD storage on its entry-level plan.
Both your storage and bandwidth are unmetered. That means you don’t have to worry about hitting limits as long as you’re not taxing servers too much. You’ll only incur a penalty if you’re using more than 25% of system resources for longer than 90 seconds at a time.
You also get 8 GB of RAM on HostGator’s cheapest dedicated plan. But the main issue is with HostGator servers’ processing power. Our plan featured a dual-core CPU, albeit with eight threads to compensate a bit.
However, they list a quad-core processor on their sales pages. That’s a big problem, not getting what you’re paying for.
Having more cores is better than having extra threads, but the extra threads do offer a boost in processing power. We asked customer support why our actual processor wasn’t what was promised. Stay tuned for more details on that in our section below on HostGator’s support.
We highlight this because HostGator is the only provider that we tested that actually gave us a CPU that’s worse than what’s listed on the sales page.
We like how much you get with HostGator for the price, but the misrepresentation about the CPU cores is a big problem to us. If your traffic spikes and you need your website to handle multiple processes at once, you will notice a difference and so will your visitors.
Keep this in mind if you consider using HostGator. Complex sites or web apps may run into issues here.
Customer Support: 2.3/5 – Our experience with HostGator’s customer support was not a pleasant one. All in all, our interactions were slow and not very productive. We also had two separate reps join the chat and leave without saying anything.
A good thing, however, is there’s a live chat button always in the top-right corner of your account dashboard (look for the text bubble icon).
It’s there regardless of what page you’re on. So, you can start a chat very easily or you can call them any time.
For our first support chat, at 8:35 a.m. Pacific, we reached out about both our site data backups and clarification on our CPU specs. It took eight minutes to be connected initially.
The rep told us that backups count towards our server’s storage limits and sent us a support article that talks about all the different software their hosting plans use. It didn’t mention the CPU or hardware, though.
We noticed our messages were not delivering and had to start a new chat at 9:07.
This was a terrible experience. Imagine waiting on hold for over 20 minutes just to have to start all over. What’s even worse is that the next chat also ended abruptly and we were on our third rep after a few more minutes of waiting.
By then, it had already been over 30 minutes of dealing with support.
At 9:19, our latest rep sent us a support article that said the Value plan comes with two cores. We then sent them the dedicated hosting page on their site that clearly says four cores in reply.
They told us the sales page was wrong, after which we mildly suggested they update that and ended the chat after 48 minutes.
This was one of the most frustrating interactions we have ever had and we did not like being bounced around with no answers. HostGator’s reps treated us like our issue wasn’t important, and that doesn’t feel good.
Our second interaction was about our web host manager (WHM) not working and timing out with an error message.
The chat started at 10:33 a.m. The rep joined immediately but didn’t say anything for four minutes. Then, they disconnected and we had to wait for a new chat.
After our last experience, we were thirsty for a better one. But things got even worse. It was like some customer support prank we didn’t know about.
When the second rep came on, they said that just because our server was ready didn’t mean our WHM was. We felt the words used in this explanation were less than professional. They then said we had to wait another four to eight hours for everything to be ready, possibly even up to 24 hours.
This wasn’t listed anywhere and we had to spend 22 minutes in live chat to find this out. Altogether, another terrible experience.
Most people getting dedicated hosting know that provisioning takes time, but why wouldn’t this information about lag in WHM’s readiness be something HostGator informed us of beforehand?
Our third chat was a vast improvement, raising HostGator’s score for this consideration. We asked at 3:53 p.m. how long our server would take to be ready.
After five minutes the rep told us their servers were down and rebooted the server, but that did not help.
They said they would email us once the issue was resolved, which we received at 7:35 p.m. that evening. It included the IP addresses, name servers, and root login information for our server, information about backups, and a link to the knowledge base.
It took three hours to resolve our issue, but we appreciated that the rep went above and beyond by rebooting the server. They were very kind and empathetic towards the situation, which was nice for a change.
In brief, HostGator did not offer good service and their score shows it. They only scored a 2.3 because it’s easy to start a chat, they offer phone support, and our third interaction wasn’t absolutely terrible.
They did the bare minimum and it showed. They also made us feel that our problems were not important with how the reps bounced us around and even dropped chats without warning.
Pricing: 4/5 – Pricing for an entry-level HostGator dedicated hosting plan is very affordable. In fact, it’s one of the most affordable plans we tested.
It’s only $109.98 per month, totaling $1,319.76 for your first year.
Once your promotional pricing period is done, the renewal rate jumps by 72% (the highest increase on our list) to $189 per month.
So, your second year is $2,268.00, leading to a full two-year cost of $3,587.76. That comes in just under the list-wide average of $3,919.84 for two years of hosting.
You can save more by going with a three-year plan, which brings the promotional price down to $89.98 per month. That’s a total of $3,239.28 due up front for three years of hosting. The renewal rate after your first three years stays at $189.
Basically, you’re getting an extra year while saving $348.48. That’s the key note to end on here. HostGator does fall well short in live chat support and the speed of their servers isn’t anything to write home about. But if you want unflagging uptime that you can secure for a great deal, HostGator is the place for you to start on dedicated hosting.
#4 – Bluehost — Best for Getting Started in 30 Minutes or Less
Overall Score: 2.7/5
If you want to get started today—right away—the nearly instant provisioning time for Bluehost servers is a big, unique benefit.
We had our website totally set up and ready to go in about 30 minutes.
That’s a big difference. All of the others on our list have a pretty extensive waiting and provisioning period while the server is set up and configured.
Something else that makes Bluehost unique is that all their dedicated hosting packages are unmanaged.
You, as the server owner, are in charge of security, maintenance, software updates, and everything else. The Bluehost team doesn’t monitor your server or anything like that.
But if you have a team already, this shouldn’t be a problem. Just remember Bluehost dedicated hosting is not for beginners who aren’t up for self-management of servers.
Here’s a look at our test results:
- Server Reliability: 2/5
- Server Response Time: 4/5
- Technical Resources: 1/5
- Customer Support: 2.7/5
- Pricing: 5/5
Server Reliability: 2/5 – Our Bluehost server had two minutes and five seconds of downtime over 25 days, resulting in 99.99% uptime. There was one incident that caused the server to go down, a connection timeout error.
Though the uptime is 99.99%, having any downtime on dedicated hosting is not good. Even at just two minutes.
Being just one incident, there’s hope that this is the exception rather than the rule for Bluehost. Indeed, when we tested their VPS hosting, we experienced no downtime.
Still, compared to most of the other dedicated hosts, this isn’t quite up to par.
Server Response Time: 4/5 – Bluehost delivered better on site loading times, averaging 411 milliseconds. That places it right in the middle of the pack in terms of speed.
If you look at the blue line in the graph above, you can see the ups and downs the server speed had, though it never climbed too far above 500 milliseconds.
It helps that site speed is consistent on Bluehost. You can always count on load times of half a second or less.
There’s a big gap between this performance and Bluehost’s results when we tested their VPS and shared plans. The former averaged 810 milliseconds while shared averaged 1.1 seconds. So, the improvement from the lower tiers to dedicated is noticeable.
Take into consideration that our websites are bare with no media or customizations to the server. Things could be different depending on what you’re doing with the hosting plan.
Technical Resources: 1/5 – It’s not that you don’t get the resources with Bluehost that others have. You just just get less. But, keep in mind, they are also the cheapest.
When it comes to SSD storage you’re capped at 500 GB for the entry-level plan, less than half of what we recommend for a basic dedicated hosting plan. You do get RAID 1 storage, so all your content is mirrored and accessible if there is a problem with your primary disk.
For bandwidth, you’re given 5 TB each month, only one TB short of our benchmark.
RAM as well is lacking, with Bluehost providing just half (4 GB) of what our recommended 8 GB.
And Bluehost’s processors are lacking dual threads on each core. You get a quad-core CPU, but only four threads as well. That can cause those great server speeds to disappear if you have a lot of visitors accessing different parts of your site or web app at once.
It pretty much strangles your website’s ability to multitask efficiently.
However, when our test server was set up, we got an unexpected upgrade to a 16-core, 32-thread CPU. That’s the fastest machine on our list.
But we could not factor that into the score because of the inconsistency between what the sales page said and what we got. You should expect to get what is listed on a host’s website and we can’t predict you’ll get the same or a similar upgrade.
Really, it’s common in the dedicated hosting space to get something different than what’s listed because of the constant updating of equipment.
And if you do get left with the quad-core, four-thread CPU on the entry-level plan, it’s not going to be ideal if you’re going to skyrocket to popularity. Your site will suffer with processing speed.
You do get three dedicated IP addresses standard. That helps you with email deliverability and accessing your site if there are any issues with pointing your domain to name servers.
But, overall, Bluehost falls well short in this category. We can’t promise you’ll get the CPU configuration we did and most of their other resources fall short of our minimum requirements.
Customer Support: 2.7/5 – Getting support from Bluehost was a bit frustrating overall and it’s hard to start a chat quickly when you need to get in touch with someone.
You have to go through the shared hosting queue and wait for someone to transfer you to a rep that can actually help. That’s an unnecessary step for dedicated hosting clients, especially given the amount of money you’re paying.
To start a chat, you have to click the help button in the top right corner of your dashboard.
From there, you can either click the chat button in the drop-down menu or scroll down to the Contact Us section and click Visit Contact Page.
On this page, you can click the chat button or the big Chat Now button in the hero section at the top of the page.
Doing so opens up a new window with a short form where you can input your question, choose which type of support you need, and enter your contact info.
Then you are offered the option to chat with a rep.
Our first chat started at 8:26 a.m. Pacific. We wanted to know about the possibility of switching operating systems.
A rep joined after about 30 seconds, but they needed to transfer us to someone else. Fortunately, a new rep joined almost immediately.
This rep asked what operating system we wanted to switch to. We told them we didn’t have one in mind and were just curious if it’s possible to switch to something else than CentOS.
The rep let us know we could switch to Ubuntu or reimage the server and use Debian OS.
We followed up by asking if we could still use cPanel with these other operating systems, to which the rep replied that we could not. We’d be stuck using a command line interface.
We ended the chat after 13 minutes. The second rep was very helpful and gave us the right information we needed. They answered all of the questions thoroughly, which was awesome. We just wished there was a clear path to the dedicated web hosting professional instead of being transferred to another rep.
Our second chat with Bluehost support was about our CPU and finding out if it was the same one advertised on their website.
We only had to wait two minutes to be connected. But, again, we were transferred to another rep to handle our dedicated hosting question.
When the rep joined they told us we had received an upgrade to a better processor. A massive upgrade from quad-core to a 16-core/32-thread CPU that was at no cost to us.
However, the interaction took way longer than it should have (14 minutes). The rep put us on hold and dragged out the chat for what felt like forever to give us an answer we felt should have been easy to find quickly.
Our last support interaction was when we asked about enabling our SSL certificate at 3:55 p.m.
Someone joined the chat immediately but they didn’t say anything for over five minutes. Eventually, we retyped our question into the chat. Five more minutes passed without a response.
It took 22 minutes after joining the chat to get an initial response from a rep. And, of course, it just led to us being transferred again.
We couldn’t believe it. We waited 22 minutes with no word on the other end just to be transferred anyway. Horrific.
The new rep joined within a minute. Five minutes later, the rep said that they had installed the SSL for us and it would be ready in about 15 minutes.
We ended the chat at 4:26 p.m. after 31 minutes of frustration.
It was not good support. What’s the point of being connected immediately if we still have to wait anyway?
Plus, they never told us how to set up the SSL on our own. So, now we have to go through this nightmare again if we want to set up a new site later.
We feel if you want to get help quickly, Bluehost has work to do to improve. Being transferred to a dedicated hosting professional should be seamless.
Pricing: 5/5 – Bluehost offers the cheapest entry-level plan on our list. But it’s also the only host that only offers unmanaged plans, so keep that in mind.
It’s cheaper because you handle everything regarding your server management.
The entry-level plan starts off at $99.99 per month, leading to a year-one price tag of $1,199.88.
To renew for another year, your rate goes up by 25% to $124.99 per month.
That’s a second-year cost of $1,499.88, leading to a two-year total of $2,699.76.
That comes in over a grand below the two-year average across all the hosts we tested of $3,919.84.
Remember, they are also the fastest way to get started because your set up takes just 30 minutes. Can you see why so many users work with Bluehost?
Surprisingly enough, you can save even more by going with a three-year plan.
If you do that, you take $20 off the promotional price, knocking it down to $79.99 per month. That means $2,879.64 is due up front for three years of hosting.
You’re basically locking in a third year for under $200.
Even better still, the renewal rate also drops to $109.99 so you’ll continue to save over the long term. That’s a huge benefit, because not many people are getting into dedicated hosting for a short-term solution.
Bluehost makes setting up and getting running with dedicated hosting super easy where many other plans are super complicated to set up.
They also make it a no brainer with how cheap they are to get started. In our opinion, they can improve on customer support and resources. But when you are paying a bargain rate like this for a dedicated server, sacrifices must be made.
#5 – A2 Hosting — The Best for Worry-Free Customer Support
Overall Score: 2.7/5
Everyone hates waiting on hold only to get lackluster support. A2 Hosting not only answers your chat requests like a speed demon, but they actually care and really help you.
That’s why they get a perfect rating from us in that category. They have an uncanny way of making your dedicated hosting experience disaster-proof.
We never had to wait more than a few minutes to connect with a rep every time. Which is crucial for busy people who are suffering with a website problem that is costing you dollars and cents every minute that goes by.
We reached out to test A2’s support and every single interaction was resolved within 15 minutes. That’s huge for busy people who need revenue-altering issues resolved fast. You can trust A2’s support reps to get problems solved in one interaction so you can get back to your day.
That makes A2 one of the best options for dedicated hosting if you’re new to the category and value peace of mind above all else.
Here’s a look at how they scored across all our testing categories:
- Server Reliability: 3/5
- Server Response Time: 1/5
- Technical Resources: 3/5
- Customer Support: 5/5
- Pricing: 1/5
Server Reliability: 3/5 – A2 had an uptime of virtually 100%. That’s because there was one outage of one minute and 26 seconds, a connection timeout, that was short enough to result in an uptime percentage above 99.99%.
But, with there being any downtime at all, A2 only scores as average here among dedicated hosting providers.
It’s quite an improvement over A2’s shared servers which we tested for a different article. Those returned 15 minutes of downtime during our month of testing.
But it shows that A2 invests properly in their infrastructure for higher-octane hosting options. This was pretty good performance from their dedicated servers, and A2’s VPS hosting had no downtime at all when we tested that.
Server Response Time:1/5 – The response time for A2 was the slowest among the dedicated servers we tested, averaging 786 milliseconds over 25 days.
For dedicated hosting this is an eternity. And it surprised us, actually. This is more on par with shared hosting speeds.
But, you’re paying dedicated hosting prices. It just doesn’t add up to us.
That’s a good deal slower than our list-wide average of 503 milliseconds.
The performance line on this graph is consistent; it hardly has any spikes all month. So, it’s fair to conclude that A2 just has slower server speeds in general.
That’s borne out by our previous speed tests on A2 servers. For shared hosting, they weren’t much slower than this (895 milliseconds, which isn’t too bad at all for that tier). Their VPS servers were also near the slowest of that bunch, averaging nearly 1.3 seconds.
It’s a bit troubling to see loading speeds this long in dedicated hosting. Beware of this if you’re thinking about running a complex site on A2’s servers.
Technical Resources: 3/5 – A2’s entry-level Warp 1 plan is right around the middle of the pack in terms of the resources you get.
You only get two dedicated IP addresses instead of the standard three we look for from a host. But at least you get more than one to help with email deliverability and content access if you have a DNS issue.
Add up to five more, if you’d like, for $5.99 per month, but there are many hosts that offer five for free.
You get 16 GB of RAM, which is quite ample. That can help mitigate some concerns about their server speed, knowing that your server can handle multiple tasks a bit better with the most RAM you’re likely to get on a basic dedicated plan.
However, your processor is a bit lacking. You get a quad-core, four-thread CPU, which does diminish the server’s ability to handle a lot at once. But it’s not the worst option on our list in that regard.
You’re also given 6 TB of monthly bandwidth and 1 TB of storage space, which both meet our minimum benchmarks. That’s ample allotment for most site’s needs.
You also have the option of unmanaged or managed hosting. That gives you the choice to have more flexibility without customer support or paying a bit more for managed hosting but having full customer support for your server.
In the end, A2 gives you just enough to wield a dedicated server effectively. Depending on the type of site you have, you should be able to get by with it without having to upgrade. Just be advised of speed and user experience limitations because of the lesser processor.
Customer Support: 5/5 – A2 Hosting has top-tier support delivered by agents who know what they’re talking about. Plus, wait times are practically nonexistent. We felt like we only held for seconds before a rep was jumping into the conversation to help us.
A perfect score is not earned easily. Here’s how they did it.
Getting in touch with support is super easy. There’s a chat button in the top navigation menu no matter what page you’re on.
When you click on it, a chat window pops up with a short form to fill out regarding the nature of your question. And that’s it.
One click starts your chat.
Our first question for their support team was about our site backups. We started the chat at 9:15 a.m. Pacific and a rep joined immediately.
They explained that storage for our backups counts toward our total site storage allotment.
It was a quick and simple answer. The rep was very kind and thorough while also being really fast to answer the question. We’ve had some other hosts take 10 minutes to answer this same question.
This chat took just four minutes.
On the second interaction, we asked if the CPU we had for our plan matched the specs listed on the sales page.
The chat started at 1:47 p.m. A rep took our question, took two minutes to cross-examine our machine with the listed specs, and then told us our server was as advertised.
We expected the chat to be longer since many hosts have differences between the processor they list on their websites and what you get. Not with A2, though. What we saw is what we got.
On our third live chat, at 6:36 p.m., we asked if we could switch operating systems and what the process looked like if we decided to switch.
Within a minute, the rep told us that the only way to switch is if we’re on an unmanaged plan. They then asked which OS we wanted to use and why.
We mentioned that we didn’t have one picked out but were curious if we ever wanted to in the future. We also asked what the process of switching from a managed to an unmanaged plan would look like.
The rep explained that we’d need to migrate all of our data in order to make the change. We thanked them and ended the chat after eight minutes.
Once again, we got the information we were looking for and the attention to detail from the rep to make sure all our concerns were addressed.
Overall, customer support from A2 Hosting is fast, the reps were patient in answering all of our questions, and we never felt they were just giving us answers to get rid of us.
It may seem there is not much to our interactions, but that is where A2’s skill shows up—making what is normally complicated for other hosts seem easy for them.
As a beginner, this is so important because straight answers you can understand quickly are not easy to find when things go wrong with dedicated hosting.
They also somehow made us feel genuinely welcomed over live chat and that is saying something.
Pricing: 1/5 – A2’s pricing is not great. There are definitely more affordable options on the list.
But you get a solid crop of resources and sterling support. If you’re looking for help with navigating your new dedicated servers, the value might be enough to justify the price tag.
We tested the managed Warp 1 plan, which is the entry level for A2’s managed dedicated hosting.
If you’re looking for the best support in dedicated hosting, you’re definitely not looking for unmanaged plans.
The Warp 1 plan is $199.99 per month, equaling $2,399.88 for your first year.
At renewal, the rate bumps up to $239.99 for each month—a 20% increase in price—leading to a total of $2,879.88 for the second year.
Your cost for two full years of dedicated hosting is $5,279.76. That’s the most expensive on our list and a great deal higher than our average of $3,919.84.
But, you might as well opt for the better deal, which is a full two-year commitment up front. That locks in a rate of $179.99 per month, leading to a more palatable two-year price tag of $4,319.76.
After two years, your renewal rate is also a bit easier to swallow at $229.99 per month.
As we said A2 Hosting has the most expensive plans on this list but you can get more value if you go with their longer term plans. The key is the level of support. If you’re a first-timer in the world of dedicated hosting, the effective and fast technical support you get from A2 Hosting can be worth its weight in gold. The key is to be mindful of its lackluster performance and whether its enough of a red flag for the kind of site you want to host on A2.
#6 – DreamHost — The Best Guarantee for a High-Performing Website
Overall Score: 2.4/5
What does high performance mean? It means that your site will be available running smoothly 99.99% of the time.
How does DreamHost guarantee this?
They offer a service level agreement that pays you if they don’t deliver.
They take all the risk so you don’t have to.
Plus they make that guarantee for WordPress sites, so you can rest assured you won’t have to worry about adding tons of extra plugins to improve performance.
It comes standard when you get dedicated hosting from DreamHost. And, don’t worry if you’re not tech savvy—there are step-by-step instructions for adding new WordPress sites and migrating existing ones, making DreamHost one of the easiest and most beginner-friendly options on our list.
Here’s a look at their overall scorecard:
- Server Reliability: 2/5
- Server Response Time: 2/5
- Technical Resources: 3/5
- Customer Support: 2/5
- Pricing: 4/5
Server Reliability: 2/5 – So, DreamHost guarantees high performance and we rated them a two out of five. Why? Well, because there are other hosts that presented less downtime during our month of testing, to put it simply.
But none of them will pay you if they fall short of set expectations.
Look, having any downtime on dedicated servers is not ideal. You still have a site down for over two minutes in 25 days.
But DreamHost’s promise to you is not broken. They’ve delivered what they promised. And if they didn’t, they’d make good on compensation.
No other providers on this list offer you a service level agreement for performance, so we didn’t take that lightly. We just couldn’t factor that into our objective scoring rubric.
Most hosts, when their server crashes, will say, “sorry about that” and that’s it. Even if they have delivered 100% uptime before then. But if it costs you hundreds of dollars because your site wasn’t available at a crucial time (like a flash sale), you won’t get a dime of that back.
But, with DreamHost, you will.
Also reassuring is that DreamHost’s performance here is consistent with what we’ve seen from their other types of hosting.
When we tested their shared servers, DreamHost boasted an incredible uptime rate with only 49 seconds of total downtime the whole month. Their VPS offering was even better—no incidents and no downtime whatsoever.
Their uptime has always been stable, backing up the confidence they have in their guarantee.
Server Response Time: 2/5 – However, speed is a different matter and DreamHost came in second-to-last on our list.
Our test site averaged loading times of 616 milliseconds on their dedicated servers. Still under one second (and consistently so all month), but slower than you’d like from this level of hosting.
When you look at the image above and study the response time, you can see the consistency of the server and the speed. It’s not all over the place like some of the previous hosts we’ve seen.
But, the numbers don’t lie. DreamHost is a good 100 milliseconds slower than our list-wide average on server speed.
When we tested DreamHost’s VPS, it was actually even faster than this. But, you don’t get the same consistency as you do with dedicated servers. Our test site on DreamHost’s VPS may have been faster on average, but had plenty of spikes throughout the testing period that rose above one full second.
Technical Resources: 3/5 – DreamHost is one of the cheapest options on this list but still gives you excellent resources to get you started.
On their entry-level dedicated plan, you get 1 TB of HDD storage with RAID 1 mirroring (meaning your data is kept in duplicate in case of loading issues) and unlimited bandwidth.
That’s a generous start, further bolstered by the quad-core, eight-thread CPU you’re promised.
To our surprise, though, we actually got a server with an eight-core, eight-thread processor—an unexpected upgrade at no cost to us. Don’t count on that, but know it’s a possibility.
Either way, you get a CPU that can handle almost anything you throw at it. Theoretically, that should help mitigate the below-average speed we uncovered in our server testing, as it will be able to process many requests at once without straining.
However, you get only 4 GB of RAM on this entry-level plan and only one dedicated IP address. You can purchase additional IP addresses for $5.99 per month each, but that’s quite pricey compared to others.
Given DreamHost’s incredible pricing that you will see later on, though, these tech specs are an incredible value—especially when considering the performance guarantees on top of that.
Customer Support: 2/5 – The slowness of DreamHost’s live chat support, a lack of phone support, and how hard it is to even start a chat are what resulted in DreamHost’s low customer support score.
With that said, DreamHost’s support team is incredibly friendly.
The reps are eager to help but very slow. None of our interactions took less than 15 minutes because the reps had to go check with someone else before giving us an answer.
It made us feel like their support team isn’t well-versed on dedicated servers. But at least they’re getting their facts right before answering.
Another downside is that there’s also no option for phone support unless you request a call back. You can’t just give them a call if you need help. And, if you use more than three call backs in a month you have to pay for them after that.
To open a live chat window, you have to go to Support in the left sidebar menu, then click Contact Support.
Doing so opens up the live chat window in the bottom right corner of the screen. From there, you can choose one of the topics or enter your own question.
After that, they try to answer your question with a chat bot. If they can’t, you’ll be prompted to scroll to the bottom where there is an option to speak to an agent.
Once you click to talk to support, you’ll be redirected to a new window with a form to fill out.
After filling out the form in its entirety, you have the option to either start a live chat or submit it as a ticket.
It’s a nightmare and takes so much more time than other hosts. After going through this you’ll think twice next time before you ask for help. And this isn’t the way any paying customer should feel.
Once we finally got to the chat we first asked about switching the operating system at 8:55 a.m. It looks like Ubuntu is the only operating system that DreamHost allows, so we wanted to double check.
A minute later the rep joined and told us they needed five minutes to review our account. After that, they came back and said they still didn’t have an answer and they were still looking into it.
Five more minutes passed and they still didn’t have a definitive answer. After another long hold, they returned and said they cannot offer another operating system besides Ubuntu. But they offered an alternative—we could control our OS choice on their DreamCompute cloud hosting offerings.
We thanked them and ended the chat. It took 34 minutes in total.
Though the rep wanted to make sure they had the right information before giving us an answer, it took a painfully long time. It was a lot of waiting around for them to get back with us. However, we did appreciate the effort and the thoroughness of their answers.
On our second live chat with support, we asked about how long our dedicated server takes to configure. The chat started at 12:58 p.m. and it took 10 minutes to connect with a rep.
They mentioned that they had some trouble doing maintenance with dedicated machines that morning, so we might experience additional delays. The rep offered to check on the status of it.
We asked how long it normally takes and if we’ll get an email when it’s ready.
The rep said we’ll be notified by email and sent a very detailed response about how long it could take. They mentioned that if we didn’t hear from them by the same time tomorrow, we could reach out again and they could try to speed up the process.
The chat took 19 minutes.
Again, it took pretty long to get our answers, but the rep was very nice and worked hard to explain everything once we did get connected.
For the third interaction, we asked to confirm the CPU specs on our server. We launched a chat at 3:19 p.m. and had to wait ten minutes for a rep.
Four minutes later, they thanked us for holding and let us know our AMD processor’s specs. They also told us how to find that info on our own and sent us a tutorial on how to add an admin user to our server.
We kindly let them know that their signup page for dedicated servers lists an Intel Xeon CPU. We had actually gotten a better processor, but it’s always jarring to not get what you were told your were paying for.
This is a common thread in dedicated hosting. You see one list of specs for CPUs but get something different. In the world of technology, hardware must be updated often and sometimes the website is the last to get updated.
The rep said that they would pass that info along to the right team to see about getting the signup page changed to the correct information.
We thanked the rep and ended the chat after 19 minutes.
It’s a bummer because all the reps were very nice and thorough in their interactions. It just takes way too long to get answers. DreamHost could have scored higher here if they offered easy phone support and faster live chat solutions.
Pricing: 4/5 – DreamHost is the second-cheapest host on this list. When you couple that with a performance guarantee and a quality feature set, you get way more than you pay for.
The entry-level plan runs you $149 per month for the first year, totalling $1,788.00.
And there’s an even bigger advantage with DreamHost’s pricing. There is no renewal rate hike.
The second year costs the same as the first. In hosting, not raising renewal rates is like landing an airplane on the Hudson—you rarely see it happen twice.
We took this a step further and confirmed this with customer support. For two years of premium dedicated hosting it’s $3,576, all in. That’s $343.84 cheaper than the average spread across all hosts on our list.
All of the plans are listed below. We only tested the entry-level Standard 4 plan.
You can create a high-performing WordPress site at an incredibly low price when compared to the other top hosts on this list.
If you’re looking to get the most value out of your dollar while also having an easy onboarding experience, DreamHost is a clear winner.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Dedicated Hosting Plan
You’re looking into dedicated web hosting because you need top-tier performance. So, we weighed that heavily in these reviews.
But there’s certainly more beyond solid uptime and speed to reap from graduating to dedicated hosting.
Here’s the full view of our scoring categories and the weights we assigned to each:
- Server Reliability (25%)
- Server Response Time (25%)
- Technical Specs/Resources (20%)
- Customer Support (20%)
- Pricing (10%)
We took the time to create new accounts for each host—choosing the entry-level plan for each and digging deep into the features and benefits that make the most impact for you.
We tested every plan for uptime and speed performance, counted resource allocations against our recommended minimums. logged how each provider’s customer service performed, and give you the rundown on what two years of dedicated hosting service will actually cost you.
It’s time we look at each method we used below, so you can understand why you can’t ignore these areas of dedicated hosting for your new website.
Reliable Servers that Won’t Let You Or Your Site Down (25%)
Performance and reliability are two of the most significant reasons users are willing to pay so much for dedicated hosting.
So, uptime testing is weighted at 25%. You want your site to be available to your visitors at any given time.
We signed up for each provider’s entry-level plan and plugged the URL into FreshPing, which monitors uptime at one-minute intervals. We then let them sit with constant monitoring for 25 days to give you a reliable and unbiased indication of server uptime and reliability for each provider.
Here is what our scoring system looks like:
- 5 points for no downtime
- 4 points for less than one minute of downtime
- 3 points for one to two minutes of downtime
- 2 points for two to three minutes of downtime
- 1 point for more than three minutes of downtime
There’s nowhere for the host to hide. Any flaws are immediately highlighted and explained so you don’t have to guess what’s going on.
Dedicated hosting is known for being reliable but our research shows how each host actually holds up.
Even if you don’t know how dedicated hosting works we explain it clearly, telling you what each incident is and why it happened.
Optimized Servers That Respond in 250 Milliseconds or Less (25%)
You know that if your site is slow you won’t ever rank first on Google. But you probably didn’t know that, at this level of hosting, even 10 milliseconds can give your competitor the advantage.
That’s why response time is weighted so significantly. The people using dedicated hosting know it’s win or lose by a thin margin.
So you can’t afford to lose clients because of speed limitations.
Just like uptime, we took our URLs from each site we created and put them into FreshPing. For almost a full month (25 days) we watched how every host performed. And we captured it all.
We then scored each one individually and on average across all sites:
- 5 points for less than 350 milliseconds
- 4 points for 351 milliseconds to 450 milliseconds
- 3 points for 451 milliseconds to 550 milliseconds
- 2 points for 551 milliseconds to 650 milliseconds
- 1 point for more than 651 milliseconds
The average across all the hosts we tested was 503 milliseconds .
There is something else we want you to think about honestly.
You see promises of blazing fast speeds or something like that all over these hosts’ homepages.
How are you supposed to know if a host really delivers on what they promise you?
We completely understand, and that’s why we go so much further when studying and delivering results for dedicated hosting.
The results we show you are real numbers we tested and can be confirmed with screenshots we provide. We don’t want you to have any doubts about your host of choice’s speed.
Customizable Servers That Have Everything You Need (20%)
Ever run out of something you need?
Now imagine not having enough processing power coming from your server CPUs to manage all your customer traffic.
You did everything right and got the traffic there to your site. But your dedicated host is costing you money because your server is underperforming.
That’s something we want you to avoid.
You need to have more than enough resources, whether you’re running a website, application, a gaming server, or something else entirely.
We clearly document what comes or doesn’t come with each service. Then we highlight that for you, so you can spot a winner at a glance.
This lets you easily determine if a host meets the minimum criteria and if not, what’s missing.
We also like to point out that all the resources we discuss in our reviews are the total numbers each plan. So how much you use depends on how many sites you have and how they’re used.
For example, if you have one site you can max out your website with everything your host’s plan has to offer. But if you have two or three sites, your hosting limits are spread over all your sites.
The majority of plans work that way.
How did we figure out what to score?
We researched hundreds of reviews to find out what real customers are talking about.
We tallied the number of times we saw a concern. Once we found all the desperate problems users are facing, we plucked them out of the reviews and included them here.
We found the amount of storage space, bandwidth, RAM, free dedicated IP addresses, and CPU power that comes with each entry-level plan is what an overwhelming majority of users care about.
Here are our minimum requirements for each resource:
- One point for at least 1 TB of storage space
- One point for at least 6 TB of bandwidth
- One point for at least 8 GB of RAM
- One point for at least 3 free dedicated IP addresses
- One point for at least a 4 core / 8 thread CPU
Our grading scale is out of five, so if a host meets all the criteria they score a point for each feature.
One host scored five of five, while the others fell between four and one point.
In fact, we found that dedicated IP addresses really make a difference.
They let you access your website even if the DNS isn’t ready yet. Yup, this lets you reach your content whenever there is a problem pointing your domain to the name servers. It’s a virtual backdoor to your site if you ever need it.
Plus, dedicated IPs prevent your emails from going to spam.
Email delivery is much more accurate when you use a dedicated IP address, because you’re not sharing an IP address with a bunch of other website owners on the same server as you, doing who-knows-what with their emails. These other websites on your shared server could be using tactics that ISPs don’t like, preventing your messages from ever reaching your subscribers.
So finding which providers give you one or more free was important. Because the more you have, the more emails you can send that get where they’re going.
One provider gives you up to five at no cost. While a couple only offers one for free and you have to pay for more.
Connect with a Dedicated Hosting Expert in 10 Minutes or Less (20%)
At this stage, most of you are pretty well-versed in hosting but you should still be able to get help with your dedicated server when you need it.
It’s well understood that dedicated servers require more hands-on work and administration.
You get more control over your operating system, configuring your settings, securing your server, and maintaining your server as well. But now there’s more room for accidents and mishaps.
Whether the server goes down, you have a question, or you need help with a specific feature, you need a reliable support team. We at Crazy Egg believe great customer support is a necessity regardless of where that ranks in reviews.
Though support speed is important, you really want to pay attention to support quality as well.
To test customer support, we reached out to each host’s reps via live chat on three separate occasions at different times of the day.
Some interactions were things we actually needed help with or had problems with. Others were purely informational questions to test how knowledgeable the reps were.
Our questions are based on our experience during set up or onboarding or something else we notice is a common thread among dedicated hosting.
A few questions we asked are:
- Where are our backups stored?
- Is it possible to switch operating systems and if so what’s the process?
- Can you tell us the model of the CPU used in our server?
We then scored each interaction and averaged the scores of the three interactions for an overall customer support score:
- One point if our question was answered by the first rep we connected with
- One point if our question was resolved in less than 15 minutes
- One point if the rep went above and beyond to help us
- One point if you can start a live chat in less than two clicks
- One point if 24/7 phone support is an option
We find this approach to testing customer support is focused on the most important things you should know and pay attention to. Because we all have different levels of understanding what good support really is.
Each product review goes into detail and also has what we loved and did not like about each interaction with their support teams. Obviously, your experience can be different with the same host.
What we hope to do is give you a look into our experience and make your decision to select a provider easier.
Does More Expensive Always Equal Better? (10%)
We want you to be able to balance out the pricing criteria—if a host is more expensive, does that mean you get more?
If it’s cheaper, does that mean you’re sacrificing resources?
We explain this in detail so you leave this post with a real sense of what value for dedicated hosting looks and feels like.
Dedicated hosting is expensive (and everyone knows it), so of course you care about the price.
More importantly though, dedicated web hosting buyers still want to make sure they’re not getting the short end of the stick. No one wants to spend more than they need to right?
It’s all about getting the most value out of the price tag.
Let’s be honest, we all have a tough time deciding if we are getting the best value for the money. Especially when it’s something new we are researching.
Our review makes this easy for you to figure out because we take so much time breaking down the pricing—what you get in the entry-level plan and how much you’ll need to invest over the next two years to keep it.
Most users with loftier budgets are willing to spend more to get better performance and more control to match their needs.
We calculated the cost of an annual plan for the first year and second year pricing for each host.
After that we give you the total cost for two years of hosting—assigning a score based on the grading scale below.
- 5 points for less than $2,900
- 4 points for $2,901 – $3,600
- 3 points for $3,601 – $4,300
- 2 points for $4,301 – $5,000
- 1 point for more than $5,001
The average price for two years of hosting across all the providers we tested is $3,919.84.
One host had a perfect score, two scored a four, while the others scored from three to one point.
In our appraisal, InMotion Hosting offers the best route to dedicated hosting for most people.
But we reviewed several of the best options in the category so you can zoom in one whose virtues align best with your needs.
Just follow our recommended use cases and methodology to find the best dedicated hosting plan for your specific circumstances.