Do I Need a Dedicated Server?
Starting a website was just the first step. If you become successful with your original idea, then you may want to consider graduating from your hosting account and getting your own dedicated server. Depending on a number of factors, you may or may not have much choice. There are some questions, however, that you should ask yourself before taking this big step. You answers may tell you that it is time to move up to a dedicated server or they may inform you that waiting is a better idea.
Do I Need a Dedicated Server? How Busy Is Your Website?
Your site primarily uses three resources of your hosting account which are crucial to this question. These are network bandwidth, processor speed and disk storage. Your host has limits on how much of each resource you can use. Your account information should explain in detail just how much data transfer you are permitted each month. You will be able to tell from your own experience just how fast your processor is. Your biggest concern, if you are really busy, is how disk space that you are using. If you overrun your limits, then your host may charge you a possibly exorbitant fee for doing so.
Does Your Site Need Features That Your Hosting Account Does Not Offer?
Perhaps it is not the number of visitors that your site is receiving which has tempted you with the idea of transferring to a dedicated server. You may want a server for some of the special, additional capabilities such independence would grant you. For instance, with a dedicated server you will be able to upload necessary software without waiting for cooperation from your host. You will also be able to run chat servers, java back ends and game servers. These are often not allowed with shared hosting accounts. Finally, you can offer streaming audio and downloads with a dedicated server.
Will You Be Able to Afford a Dedicated Server?
Even if you your answers to the previous questions have led you to believe that you do indeed need a dedicated server, there is still the question of money. If you cannot afford one, the question is moot. While you can get a hosting account for under $10 a month, a dedicated server will cost as much as $100 per month. Continuing on at this point will require an understanding of how much you are making from your site, or how important it is to you. If you can rationalize the cost by determining how much more profit you will make from the transition, then the answer is yes.
Do You Know How to Manage a Dedicated Server? Do You Have Time to Learn?
Finally, you have to ask yourself if you are even capable of handling such a transition. If you have successfully managed your hosting account, you probably have the wherewithal to learn about managing a dedicated serve. Whether you have the time to learn is something only you can answer.