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How many websites can you host on a dedicated server?

Clients often ask us how many websites can be added to their dedicated server? This unfortunately does not come with one easy answer. There are many factors that come into play when trying to determine which dedicated server configuration is best. Here are a few key points to consider when trying to choose the appropriate size of dedicated server to maximize the number of websites you are able to host:

Web Design - There are a number of different options available today for designing a website, including static and dynamic web development. Understanding these types of web design is very important as it is among the leaders in server resource consumption.

Static HTML sites typically have very simple web pages (with limited information on them) and are generally created from scratch to be edited by a web designer. We commonly encounter web sites built with static HTML that are smaller in size and do not offer the options and control as more modern solutions.

Dynamic websites have more complex pages with ever changing content which can usually be managed by the website owner. In most cases they are built using a Content Management System ("CMS"). The CMS systems utilize PHP, MySQL databases and a WYSWYG ("What You See is What You Get") editor to manage the website content. This makes it simpler to use - even a non-technical person can make changes. Some of the most popular CMS Systems available today include Joomla, WordPress, Drupal and Concrete5, each with their own unique features and functionality.

What does this mean for your server? Well, if a majority of the websites you are hosting are static HTML sites, you will want to choose a dedicated server with larger hard drives and faster spindle speeds. This should allow you to run anywhere from 250 to 500 websites on the same server. If a majority of the websites are CMS based, you will want to increase the CPU and RAM on the server to process the MySQL database requests quickly. A moderate dedicated server configuration should be able to run 150 to 250 websites. No matter which design method is chosen, it is always important to optimize your website for the best speed results and visitor experience.

Bandwidth Requirements - Bandwidth is the amount of data, typically measured in gigabytes (GB), that is transferred from your website to the world through the web server. Trying to predetermine the amount of traffic a website is going to get is very difficult, but does factor into which dedicated server configuration to choose. If you have high traffic sites running, you will want to not only ensure you have the proper disk space allocated, but you want to ensure the CPU and RAM resources are available to handle the traffic for those peak visiting times.

Available Features - Different clients have different dedicated server requirements for the options and features they plan to use. As an example, if cPanel is required for your clients, it is recommend that a minimum of 1GB RAM be available when hosting a larger number of accounts. As more and more applications become available, it is very important to gather as much information as possible about the minimum requirements of those applications to ensure they are met. The more websites you host and the more applications you have running, the more resources you will need to support them.

Email Services - If you are offering an email service to your clients, you will want to consider the ever increasing amount of email passed through the websites each day. On a basic web hosting package we recommend offering 25GB of disk space and 100 email accounts, this should allow you to host approximately 250 sites on a moderately equipped dedicated server. Again, the number of sites you can host on a server will depend on the types of applications you are running on that server.

Expandability - If your client base and offerings are growing, we recommend talking to your provider sooner as opposed to later. With all server upgrades you should expect a short period of downtime to upgrade drives, CPU, RAM, etc. Therefore, if you wait until there is a problem with the server, there could be other unforeseen delays installing the new hardware. Talk with your provider and find out what their procedures, timelines and policies are for performing server upgrades before it becomes an issue that is problematic for you.

Finally, it is important to properly evaluate the services you are being offered in order to find the right dedicated server option for you. Don't be afraid to ask your service provider specific questions and volunteer as many details as possible about what you would like to setup. They will be able to offer suggestions on which server configuration is going to benefit your business the most. Remember, there is not one clear answer to how many websites you can host on your dedicated server as the results are determined by so many different factors.