What is a Bare Metal Server?

There are several ways to host a website or game server, and each brings its own list of pros and cons to the table. If you’re looking for a solution with top-tier performance, a bare metal server might be the right fit for you. By the end of this article, you will both understand what a bare metal hosting server is, as well as if it is the ideal hosting solution for your needs.

The Root:

A bare-metal server is aptly named, as it is the physical manifestation of a server. By this we mean it’s a server you could reach out and physically touch, compared to a virtual counterpart. A server is just a computer that serves information to other computers, so bare metal servers at their most basic form. To get a better understanding of what this really means consider a virtual server. Virtual servers still have to exist somewhere physically (they didn’t just come into being magically), but they are created from a hypervisor.

A hypervisor is computer hardware, firmware, or software that creates and runs virtual machines. These virtual machines are all independent of one another, but in reality, they all share the same base physical server (known as the root). Virtual Private Servers are independent of one another in theory, but there can still be spillover effects that impact your environment (like if something happened that impacted the root server).

Pros for Bare Metal:

This is where a bare metal server differs from the virtual counterpart. Because it is the physical manifestation of the server and is dedicated entirely to your business, there are no external impacts on it. This is a big plus as it helps you avoid issues that other hosting plans like shared hosting encounter. In a shared hosting plan when multiple sites pool their money together to purchase resources it allows them to get up and running quickly/cheaply. But if one site begins to take off it takes up all the resources and leaves the other sites in the dust. Their users will deal with slow response times to no fault of you the site owner. Having a dedicated server helps you avoid this pitfall among others.

Another big plus of using a bare metal server is that you get root access to everything. All the server’s resources are dedicated entirely to you and are yours to customize as you see fit. Think of owning a bare metal server like owning a house. It may be more expensive up front, but there’s no landlord that you have to answer to, and you can make any additions/demolitions you want.

Bare metal servers are also extremely high quality when it comes to performance. There’s no hypervisor that gets into the mix so middle-man burdens are negligent, and a bare metal server can typically handle a larger workload than a similar virtual counterpart.

Cons for Bare Metal:

There are definite pros to owning a bare metal server, but on the other side of things, they can be more burdensome to scale up and down. If your demand is relatively constant they are a no-brainer, but since they must be physically managed to scale up/down is a little more complicated than with a hypervisor.

They also come with a steeper price tag than virtual servers. This makes sense since you’re purchasing a dedicated server that will only be servicing you. Bare metal might not be the route to go if you’re a startup that is looking to hit the ground running, but if you’re serious about your business the extra cost could be well worth it. In any case, you should at least consider a bare metal server for down the road when your business has taken off and you need to increase your level of throughput.

Conclusion – What is a Bare Metal Server:

In summary, a bare metal server is a physical server that is dedicated to serving you a single client. There is no hypervisor in the mix and there are not multiple virtual environments built on top of it to host different sites. Everything that comes with bare metal performance is customized just for you. For that reason, it can be more static and expensive, but depending on your needs these downsides could be well worth it for the benefits bare metal brings.

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