My business partner paid extra for a shared server to a dedicated, private server - for my database only; the code remains on the shared server, as we can't afford 2 private servers.

That's just the way that the company works.

  1. I want to be able to create databases programatically, and they only allow that on a private server
  2. They won't let code and database share the same server.

I know, I know, I could get a truly private server for a third of the price, but my partner is non-techie, has used the ISP for years and won't change. So, let's get on with the question ...

I was told that I should code the database host as server76.XXX.net - which sounds like a sub-domain to me - but I admit that I am not much of a network guru. I was also given an IP address, and when I whois that, the info is all about the ISP.

So - do I have a dedicated, private server, or not? How can tell definitively?

  • As opposed to a shared server? Or as opposed to a virtual private server? or either? Sep 30, 2016 at 10:38
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    "which sounds like a sub-domain to me" — It is a subdomain, but so what? Domain hierarchy has nothing to do with what a FQDN resolves to.
    – Quentin
    Sep 30, 2016 at 10:54
  • I admit that I don't know too much about networking, which is why I ask. It is a subdomain of the dame domain as the shared server, which is what I found strange. Are they, then, redirecting traffic to that subdomain to my private server? They seem very legitimate, but I just wondered ... feel free to post an answer (I don't have enough rep to upvote your comment; sorry)
    – Sam Fox
    Sep 30, 2016 at 11:46
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    I was a web host for many years, an original registered ISP, a consultant to all the major global telecom companies, and I can tell you sub-domains is how companies manage their resources. The fact that a server can be found as a sub-domain of the ISP domain name is not only perfectly normal, but required. This is not a factor or proof of anything.
    – closetnoc
    Sep 30, 2016 at 16:26
  • Then it sounds like I got hold of the wrong end of the stick. I can't upvote comments, but if you post an answer, I will award it.How does it work?
    – Sam Fox
    Sep 30, 2016 at 19:35

2 Answers 2


Apologies if I cover anything you already know below. :-)

Do I have a dedicated, private server, or not? How can [I] tell definitively?

(Re-) Ask your hosting provider. Specifically, ask them if there is a dedicated hardware-based server that you alone exclusively control and do not share in any way with anyone else. If they say no, then you are not using a (truly) dedicated server.

"Private Server" could mean anything but often this is a term used in lieu of "Virtual Private Server" (VPS).

These differ from "shared" hosting in the sense that shared hosting simply jams all the resources and process onto a single hardware device with one OS and likely little resource management. Virtual Private Servers use virtual machines to emulate dedicated hardware - so each "fake" server occupies the same physical server (and it's resources) but acts like it is a totally separate device (complete with its own OS, memory limits, etc.)

VPS hosting can be better than shared in the sense that resources are potentially better allocated than with shared hosting and physical servers that are used for virtual hosts tend to be more powerful simply because hosting multiple virtual machines is resource intensive. That said, it still is generally not the same as having a truly dedicated server.

Regarding whether you have a VPS or shared hosting -- again, ask your hosting provider. Assuming they are honest, they should be able to tell you exactly how things are managed.

I was told that I should code the database host as server76.XXX.net - which sounds like a sub-domain to me[.]

Regarding the sub-domain, these are simply resource pointers.

The resource itself could be a folder on a system, a web application, a single machine or a group of machines. Sub-domains in no way indicate that a resource is a "shared" host in the sense we are discussing here.

Sub-domains are mapped to resources via a combination of hardware (e.g. routers, etc.) and software (e.g. Apache web server, etc.)... which why a sub-domain can point to both a single machine (e.g. somename.dynamic-home-dns.net) or multiple machines (mail.yahoo.com, translate.google.com - 'cause we all know those services run off exactly one shared server... :-D )

That said, if it is a single machine, it still says nothing about how that machine operates or whether it is physical or virtual. Likewise, it could be running all kinds of processes, it could be a dedicated database machine you share with others or it could be totally dedicated to the task of processing your database alone.

They won't even let me telnet in ("in case you mess things up"), just create databases[.]

This isn't totally out of the ordinary and unfortunately doesn't give any clues about the situation either, since not all hosting providers give Telnet/SSH access to machines regardless of being dedicated servers, VPS machines or shared hosting.

That said, as comments from the peanut gallery, this isn't an unreasonable thing to expect from VPS or dedicated hosting and I would be sorely tempted to look at other providers which would allow this.

  • That is a very comprehensive answer. I have awarded you the answer, but still do not have enough reputation to upvite you, alas
    – Sam Fox
    Oct 1, 2016 at 8:35
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    @SamFox That's fine. Thank you very much. :-) Check marks count +15 rep.. that is an upvote and a half. =P Seriously though, I just hope you got some questions answered. It's unfortunate hosting services aren't always clear as they could be about the details. Oct 1, 2016 at 8:48
  • I have enough points to upvote you now :-)
    – Sam Fox
    Aug 29, 2017 at 7:49
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    @SamFox Excellent! Glad to hear it! And thanks again. :-) Aug 29, 2017 at 7:55

If it's a "shared server to a dedicated, private server" then, no, you don't have a dedicated server. A dedicated server means you are on it all by yourself. Running as a subdomain, and yes it's a subdomain, is indication enough.

Now, if you are asking if the people you are sharing the server with are on a dedicated server, that's a different story but answerable depending on what the operating system is.

  • Sorry that I still can't upvote you. They told us only we have access to the server. BUT they won't even let me telnet in ("in case you mess things up"), just create databases
    – Sam Fox
    Sep 30, 2016 at 12:40
  • I have enough points to upvote you now :-)
    – Sam Fox
    Aug 29, 2017 at 7:48

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