A dedicated server is a server that you own or lease that is your own. You don’t share it with anyone. Traditional web hosts lease space on shared servers. That is, you have your website and data hosted on a server that other people also have data and websites hosted on. Because it is a shared server, it is typically very cheap and affordable for most businesses and individuals.

Traditional web hosts have been offering dedicated servers since the earliest days of web hosting. But you do have to pay more for them. They’re not cheap.

Since the advent of cloud hosting, many traditional web hosts have started offering dedicated servers and calling them cloud hosting services. It’s important that you know the differences before you start shopping around. Just because you are leasing a dedicated server doesn’t mean you are hosting in the cloud.

That said, a dedicated server could be cloud hosted. Dedicated servers are almost always located in a data center. If you own the server, then it is likely a colocation service. But if you lease the server, then you are simply leasing a hosting service.

What distinguishes a dedicated server in the cloud versus traditional web hosting is often what is loaded on the server. If you are also leasing applications that don’t typically come with the server, then you are participating in cloud hosting with a dedicated server.

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