A dedicated hosting service, dedicated server, or managed hosting service is a type of Internet hosting in which the client leases an entire server not shared with anyone else. This is more flexible than shared hosting, as organizations have full control over the server(s), including choice of operating system, hardware, etc. There is also another level of dedicated or managed hosting commonly referred to as complex managed hosting. Complex Managed Hosting applies to both physical dedicated servers, Hybrid server and virtual servers, with many companies choosing a hybrid (combination of physical and virtual) hosting solution.
There are many similarities between standard and complex managed hosting but the key difference is the level of administrative and engineering support that the customer pays for – owing to both the increased size and complexity of the infrastructure deployment. The provider steps in to take over most of the management, including security, memory, storage and IT support. The service is primarily proactive in nature.
Server administration can usually be provided by the hosting company as an add-on service. In some cases a dedicated server can offer less overhead and a larger return on investment. Dedicated servers are hosted in data centers, often providing redundant power sources and HVAC systems. In contrast to colocation, the server hardware is owned by the provider and in some cases they will provide support for operating systems or applications.
Availability, price and employee familiarity often determines which operating systems are offered on dedicated servers. Variations of Linux and Unix (open source operating systems) are often included at no charge to the customer. Commercial operating systems include Microsoft Windows Server, provided through a special program called Microsoft SPLA. Red Hat Enterprise is a commercial version of Linux offered to hosting providers on a monthly fee basis. The monthly fee provides OS updates through the Red Hat Network using an application called Yum. Other operating systems are available from the open source community at no charge.