You are probably already familiar with terms like dedicated servers and shared hosting if you have dealt with web hosting providers before. There’s a new term popping up on the scene of web hosting provider’s offerings though — cloud hosting. VPS, dedicated hosting, and shared hosting aren’t the only games in town anymore. Cloud hosting has become the go-to option for many people.
“The cloud” is subjected to a lot of talk these days, but not many people are aware of how web hosting providers are using it to their full advantage, so they can offer new services. It’s always a good idea to know your options, even if you’re happy with the web hosting service you have now. It’s also a good idea to know how those options work and what their benefits are, in case you need a change in the future.
Cloud Hosting — An Introduction
Although cloud hosting may sound like just another buzzword, it’s actually a real hosting alternative with significant benefits. Since it is, it should be an option you are aware of when you’re shopping for a new web hosting plan. We need to first discuss what cloud hosting is though to understand why it is a real option in hosting.
Cloud services are actually server clusters made up of virtual computers. Instead of your website being run along with other websites on just one server, each website has its own virtual server. This allows you to add and subtract from your system resources as is fit to your specific needs, and also guarantees your system resources will only be available to you and not other websites. Because of this, cloud hosting is a lot like having dedicated server hosting, but at a lower price point.
Here are some advantages of cloud hosting:
Scalability — As mentioned before, you are able to add and subtract your system resources on the fly as they are needed. This means you can scale your services up or down, and you only pay for the service you need. Many cloud services can do this automatically for you, as well.
Minimized downtimes — With most web hosting options, if your server goes down, you have to wait for your web hosting provider to fix it. This isn’t the case with cloud hosting — you are free to fix any issues yourself at any time. This can result in a minimum downtime experience since you won’t have to wait for your web hosting provider to fix issues.
More customization options — Remember how we said your cloud hosting server is scalable? This of course includes more customization options for you. You can choose how many CPU cores you want to use, how much RAM, and how much space. You can even change the speed of your processors.
Reasonable Pricing — In terms of price, cloud hosting tends to sit somewhere between shared and dedicated hosting options. This equals an incredible value for you if you’ve outgrown shared hosting options but don’t need (or want) a dedicated server hosting solution. You can get a lot of bang for your buck as long as you don’t add on too many system resources to your cloud server.
What’s The Difference Between Cloud Hosting and VPS?
VPS, or virtual private hosting, is very similar to cloud hosting in that it involves slicing one server up into many virtual servers. That is pretty much where the similarities end, however.
VPS can be cheaper than cloud hosting with some web hosting providers, and more expensive than cloud hosting with other web hosting service providers. Because of this, it is important to do your homework whether you are looking for a VPS or a cloud hosting solution.
Like cloud hosting, there is no interaction between different virtual private servers on the same server. One VPS cannot access files on another VPS, so they are kept completely separated. Additionally, you can stop, start, and reboot a VPS on the same server with other VPSes without having to stop, start, or reboot the other VPSes.
However, that is where the similarities between VPS and cloud hosting end. Unlike cloud hosting, if the main server fails, all the VPSes on that server fail, as well. Because of this, VPS hosting does not have as a high of a potential for availability as a cloud hosting solution does.
For resellers, there can be security issues with VPS, as well. Since you can’t create separate servers for each customer like you can with cloud hosting, if one customer on your VPS account doesn’t take security seriously and/or gets hacked, it can compromise the security of your entire VPS. Additionally, with a VPS the same CPU, RAM, and other system resources are shared, so if a client’s website takes up a lot of resources, it can affect the performance of other customers’ websites. With cloud hosting, you can assign a certain amount of system resources to each customer, so no one website can hog all the system resources. In these situations, cloud hosting emerges as the clear ideal alternative.
However, VPS can come managed, unlike cloud hosting. This means that you can get the web hosting provider to do all the maintenance on your VPS if you don’t have the time or the expertise to do it yourself. Cloud hosting doesn’t have this option, and it can be a real deal breaker if you need your web hosting provider’s help and expertise in managing your server.
Finally, VPS isn’t as easily scalable as cloud hosting is. If you find you are in need of more resources or space with VPS, it can take several days of downtime for you to upgrade your account. However, with cloud hosting, you can change your amount of resources on the fly, without ever having to wait for a system upgrade.
What’s The Difference Between Cloud Hosting and A Dedicated Server?
Like cloud hosting, dedicated servers give you complete control over your own server. However, there are a lot of key differences between the two.
With a dedicated server, you will get all of an individual server’s system resources at your disposal to do with what you wish. There is no need to upgrade or scale up because you already have all the power of a single server at your disposal.
A dedicated server however is at risk of more downtime than a cloud hosting account is, mostly because it lacks the scalability of cloud hosting. With cloud hosting, if one part of the server fails it can be picked up by another part of the server. However, with a dedicated server, if one part of the server fails, the complete server can go down.
Security can be a problem with dedicated servers, as well. While cloud hosting depends on the web hosting provider to provide its security in part, a dedicated server depends on you to provide all of its security. Depending on your level of experience and who you have to help you, security can be a very difficult thing to provide if you haven’t got the right set of knowledge and expertise.
A dedicated server costs a set amount each month, no matter if you use all its resources or not. This is part of what makes it significantly more expensive than cloud hosting. Because of this, it’s wisest to only purchase a dedicated server if you really need full use of its resources. If you don’t, you could end up overpaying for system resources you don’t need or use.
A dedicated server also offers complete control, unlike cloud hosting. With cloud hosting, you have to depend on the maintenance of the web hosting provider. With a dedicated server, you alone are in charge of all its logical maintenance at the software level. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your needs and level of expertise. If you don’t need that kind of control, and/or don’t have the expertise to know what to do with it, you are probably best sticking to cloud hosting.
As you can see, whether to use cloud hosting can be a big decision to make that depends heavily on your specific needs and your level of expertise. While cloud hosting can be a major blessing in its level of control, scalability, pricing, and more, it can also be a major curse if you don’t have the expertise to manage it, or don’t need its full range of power. Still, it is an important option to consider if you are looking to upgrade from shared hosting and could use the extra control and cost savings.