How Bare Metal Hosting Solutions Can Help Your Business

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 8:08 AM ET Thu, February 4th 2021

Bare metal server room

Many businesses start their online presence with a free WordPress site. For a time, this is an excellent solution that will provide perfectly adequate support. However, every growing enterprise eventually expands beyond the limits of free hosting. This is because free websites have certain limitations baked into the servers that host them. While there are many ways to upgrade your web hosting, bare metal servers are one extremely powerful solution.

What Are Bare Metal Servers?

What you need to know about bare metal servers

Bare metal servers are one of the most advanced web hosting solutions. Understanding what makes them unique requires understanding the other server types. In general, there are two dichotomies that separate one type of server from another: shared vs private and physical vs virtual. Regardless of the type, all servers consist of a certain set of computing and storage resources that power their hosted websites.

Old-fashioned servers represent a single, physical entity. On the other hand, virtualized options, such as cloud hosting, pool the resources from multiple physical architectures. While the power of a physical server is limited unless upgraded, you can always simply add more resources to a virtual space.

A shared server is one that uses its physical resources to support numerous websites. This has several benefits, particularly the fact that it spreads the operating costs out among many different users. Services such as WordPress use shared hosting to make owning a website affordable. On the other hand, shared hosting leaves fewer resources to go around.

When one or more websites experience excessively high traffic, it can harm the performance of the others on the server. A private server has the benefit of keeping all of its resources at the disposal of a single user, which improves consistency and performance. It’s also possible to create a private server for a single user within a larger, virtualized space. While they technically share the resources with others, they have a certain amount dedicated to them.

Is Bare Metal Better Than Dedicated Hosting Solutions?

Comparing bare metal and hosting solutions

In general, the two most powerful types of hosting solutions are dedicated and bare metal servers. They’re both private, physical servers that allocate all of their resources to a single user. Compared to a cloud environment or shared server, they benefit from the absence of competitors for server resources. Even in the case of a private virtual server, a private physical still allows you to interact directly with the hardware without an operating system in the way.

The similarities between a dedicated and bare metal server are obvious, but the differences are more subtle. According to some definitions, they’re technically the same thing in many cases. However, the naming takes on more subtle connotations in a web hosting context. A service that advertises itself as bare metal typically seeks to fill a different niche. This divergence in goals will go on to inform differences in hardware, operation, and compensation.

The Role Of Bare Metal Servers

How to create a versatile online platform

A bare metal server is meant to offer a flexible, powerful solution for websites that experience variable amounts of traffic. More specifically, websites that might have modest demands most of the time while experiencing exponentially higher traffic during peak hours. When a business needs to handle these peaks with the bare minimum of latency, that’s where the difference comes into play.

One relatively recent example of the applicability of bare metal servers is the 2019 epic.LAN Counter-Strike tournament. The epic.LAN tournament used such a solution to ensure latency-free play for hundreds of simultaneous games among thousands of players. Additionally, this type of server is extremely customizable. Since you have access to the root hardware, you can tailor it to your unique requirements.

Providers achieve this degree of performance by outfitting bare metal servers with the latest technology. This includes the cutting edge in SSDs, DDR4 RAM, and ultra-high performance CPUs. This orientation towards achieving the absolute peak of performance available in shorter bursts is poorly suited toward traditional payment plans.

While a business will lease a dedicated server on a monthly or yearly basis, bare metal servers use utility-style billing. You can activate or deactivate them at any moment, which prevents you from needing to pay for assets you aren’t using. This makes for a much more cost-efficient way to temporarily access an extremely high level of performance than using a similarly powerful dedicated server.

When you are using the server, you pay by the hour. This reflects the short-term, high-intensity nature of the bare metal server business model. Overall, the difference between the two types of private physical servers is not fundamental or technical. Instead, it emphasizes differences in power and usage.

How To Choose The Best Bare Metal Hosting Solution For You

Find the right bare metal hosting solution for you

The question of how to choose bare metal server hosting depends on the needs of your organization. As a highly specialized hosting option, many businesses won’t have any use for them. On the other hand, any business that needs short-term high performance is a perfect fit.

Choosing between different providers comes down to deciding which one suits you best. While they all offer powerful hosting solutions, services differ in terms of regional availability and scale. Additionally, there are many different features that a bare metal hosting provider might emphasize. For instance, IBM advertises its servers off of affordability and the strength of its deep customization options. Alibaba relies on overwhelmingly high performance to separate itself from the competition.

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