The ability to customize almost anything and everything is usually my reason for seeking out a dedicated server / vps instead of shared hosting. I like to run my own Apache setup as well as RSync and SVN. Configuration wise I like to have one copy of my major PHP libraries (Zend Framework as an example) and be able to symlink against it. The list of examples could go on and on but I have yet to see a shared host really offer a service to fit my every need.
One other major reason people use dedicated servers is its theirs, all theirs. There's no substitute for being isolated from other users on a physical machine. If you need specific modules, security needs, privacy, or the peace of mind that comes from knowing your neighbor on the server won't do something stupid to cause your site/software problems.
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These days, the only reason I 'd ever buy a dedicated server would be to cluster them then host my application suite in a cloud. But with managed load balancing and redundancy of a cloud instance at somewhere like Rackspace or SoftLayer, dedicated servers just can't compete with that. The cloud > all. : )
Last edited by AQORN-Adam; 08-13-2009 at 01:53 AM.
I suppose everyone starts with shared web hosting account then go to the VPS and then dedicated server. In this case I have to say that people do become experts and do understand and certain in what they are looking for