A bare-metal server is a physical server dedicated to a single tenant/customer. Each server offered for rental is a distinct physical piece of hardware that is a functional server on its own

Despite seeing the rise of bare metal servers in recent years, as a category, they are not new and have been commercially available since the early 2010's. Many big players now have bare metal server offerings as part of their portfolio, alongside cloud storage or CDN

Bare metal servers remove the overhead hypervisor that enables virtualization with cloud computing services, meaning that there is nothing preventing applications from performing at their fastest

However, some vendors' bare metal server offerings tout both the high-performance benefits of a physical server and the multi-tenancy benefits that come with virtualization

Despite being often used interchangeably, the terms 'bare metal server' and 'dedicated server' refer to different types of servers. As such, it's worth asking yourself: bare-metal vs dedicated servers: which is the better hosting option? (opens in new tab) before making a decision

With all that in mind, here are the best bare metal hosting providers currently on the market

IDrive is usually known for its award winning Cloud Storage service but it also offers a range of products including remote desktop, VPS and bare metal hosting. It currently covers 20 locations in US and Europe

To keep things simple, there's only one SKU on offer (1TB NVMe, Intel Xeon E-2236 CPU with 32GB RAM and a 10Gbps connection). Right now, you can get an exclusive 50% discount off this bare metal server, one that drops the price from $2220 per year to just $1110

Just bear in mind that the offer is applicable for the first year only. For subsequent years, normal charges are applicable. For non-business email addresses, there may be an ID verification process

- You can sign up to iDrive Compute bare metal servers here. (opens in new tab)

If you need a highly tailored bare-metal server configuration that caters for specific workloads, Oracle’s Bare Metal Instances (opens in new tab) could be for you. Options include a 'Standard' instance configuration for standard purpose workloads, which balances CPU cores, memory and network resources to suit a range of applications and use cases. 'HighIO', for performance-intensive database workloads with high IOPS requirements, offers local NVMe-based SSDs and delivers fast random I/O and high IOPs

For big data workloads, there's 'DenseIO', and 'HPC Instance' is Oracle's most powerful config designed for massively parallel HPC (or high-performance computing) workloads

- You can sign up to Oracle Bare Metal Instance here (opens in new tab)

In November 2019 Amazon launched a new bare metal option for its EC2 C5 server instances (opens in new tab), which are commonly used for running compute-heavy workloads like batch processing, distributed analytics, and high-performance computing. Called c5.metal, Amazon is aiming its bare metal instances at companies deploying applications that need to avoid being slowed down by virtualization, need access to physical resources and low-level hardware features, and are intended to run directly on server hardware

Amazon EC2 C5 Instances can take advantage of Elastic Load Balancing, Auto Scaling, Amazon CloudWatch, and other AWS services (opens in new tab)

- You can sign up to Amazon EC2 C5 Instances here (opens in new tab)

Based on the company's next-generation virtualization technology, Alibaba’s ECS Bare Metal Instance (opens in new tab) offers both the elasticity benefits of virtualization and the performance advantages of physical servers. Compatible with all Alibaba Cloud products, ECS Bare Metal Instance supports CPU configurations of between eight and 96 cores, in addition to instance memory expansion from 32GB to 768GB

Storage configurations start from virtual server images or cloud disks and support mounting of multiple cloud disks for better storage capability. It’s all protected by Alibaba’s stringent security requirements, so you won’t need to worry about your data's welfare

- You can sign up to Alibaba Cloud ECS Bare Metal Instance here (opens in new tab)

One for companies that want access to data centers and support based in the UK, Fasthost Bare Metal Servers (opens in new tab) will let you run projects on single-tenant servers with dedicated resources, purchased by the hour or month with pay-as-you-go billing

In terms of storage, you can choose between hard disk for high capacity; SSD (for fast storage); or NVMe for speedy and capacious storage. Servers can be spun up in minutes and feature integrated load balancing for spreading resources around server infrastructure to optimize performance

- You can sign up to Fasthost Bare Metal Servers here (opens in new tab)

Scaleway Elements Bare Metal Cloud Servers (opens in new tab) offers hardware configurations based on Intel Xeon or AMD EPYC CPUs that are available in Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS and other Linux variants. Deployable in a snap, configurations include General Purpose (balancing CPU, RAM and Disks for production environments); High CPU (boosted with CPU for big data applications); and High Memory (boosted with memory for virtualization or RAM-demanding applications)

They offer a slew of features that include remote booting from an ISO file, and the ability to manage servers via Scaleway Console or an API (to automate the creation, installation, reboot or deletion of services)

- You can sign up to Scaleway Elements Bare Metal Cloud Servers here (opens in new tab)

IBM positions its Cloud Bare Metal Servers (opens in new tab) offering as a more affordable alternative to AWS in many cloud computing scenarios. The company acquired SoftLayer and its bare-metal server capabilities six years ago and now runs more than 60 IBM Cloud data centers across 19 countries

Its bare-metal servers can be customized to meet workload needs, with more than 11 million configurations available that can be paid for hourly, monthly or through reserved capacity pricing. IBM uses the latest Nvidia GPUs, in addition to 1-, 2-, or 4-core Intel CPUs, to chew through heavy workloads

- You can sign up to IBM Cloud Bare Metal Servers here (opens in new tab)

Redstation's bare metal servers (opens in new tab) benefit from multiple tier 1 transit and peering partnerships, meaning they are configured to give gamers the lowest pings even if they're located across the other side of the world to their team-mates

The company's fiber network offers unlimited bandwidth and is suitable for hosting applications needed to monitor and optimize performance, monetize moments and deliver advertising. Redstation's servers operate in a DDoS-free environment, so you won't have to worry about your gaming customers falling victim to a DDoS attack mid-session

- You can sign up to Redstation Gaming bare metal servers here (opens in new tab)

HEFICED's bare-metal servers (opens in new tab) promise high performance, robust security, and are available with a high level of customization. Used by companies such as IBM, Avast and PureVPN, the company's servers are located in ISO-certified, state-of-the-art Tier 3 data facilities which feature power and cooling redundancy to ensure maximum uptime and enterprise-grade infrastructure for mission-critical applications

They also come equipped with Intelligence Platform Management Interface (IPMI) to ensure easy remote access and monitoring - and you get access to in-house tech support who can solve infrastructure-related issues onsite without delay

- You can sign up to HEFICED bare metal servers here (opens in new tab).