One of the biggest challenges of sole proprietors and small web retailers looking to promote products is not being able to choose the right platform for them. Most of them are not familiar with the difference between the cloud server hosting and normal server, and that’s where things take a wrong turn.
Normal servers, in fact, refers to the regular physical technology you’re installing somewhere in the room, while cloud server is perceived as an online system able to store a large amount of data, deliver software services, balance loading time, automate business process and operations, and allow enough customization for the user to make the desired changes. Super heroes, almost. With a normal server in place, such possibilities won’t be present.
Cloud server hosting vs traditional hosting: Which one should you choose?
Also known as cloud computing, cloud server hosting refers to hosting websites online, and without being directly dependent on a single server. It can either be dedicated or shared with a larger number of users. Check types of servers.
Despite serving thousands and millions of users at the same time, cloud servers create the feeling that you are the only customer, and that it is only the performance of your website that the server is keeping an eye on. Thus, dedicated cloud servers are reasonable alternatives for large and data-sensitive websites that need constant support and supervision, regardless of the fact that they are much more expensive than their shared counterparts. Even small business owners who can afford it should look no further than dedicated cloud server hosting.
The main advantage of cloud servers is flexibility and configuration, as they can provide the exact level of control, security, and performance the user is after. Shared hosting servers happen to have a similar degree of flexibility, but instead of focusing on your needs, they will involve you in a shared virtualized environment where many other users are waiting to be served.
Dedicated cloud server hosting also makes sense in terms of growing traffic, as you can rely on it for impeccable uptimes and security precautions. The only drawback compared to shared hosting is its price, which won’t always suit the budgets of small businesses and startup websites.
Regular, physical servers have been losing popularity in recent years. However, there are still users who consider them as the only acceptable option. In this case, they get to host their own website, instead of sharing a virtualized environment with other users. Their main rationale is that with shared hosting, each user gets a limit portion of bandwidth. Also, they offer the user an amount of disk space on the server. And to exceed those means to subscribe to a premium plan and pay more.
Some shared hosting vendors even allow users to attach as many websites as they want on a single account. This means that the server ends up hosting thousands of different sites at the same time.
As you can conclude so far, there is no universal rule to as which type of hosting could be the right one for you. The decision is in your hands, but make sure you consider all pros & cons of each option before you invest your money.
Here are some helpful guidelines:
The pros of cloud storage
- Ease of use. With cloud servers, all information is neatly arranged in folders. Its transfer is made using a simplified drag-and-drop mechanism between the server and the local storage system.
- Bandwidth – An important advantage of cloud server hosting and storage is the possibility to send data as web links for different recipients to download, instead of sharing files in dedicated emails. This way, you get to save most of your channel bandwidth.
- Simplified access to information. Data that is stored in the cloud will be accessible from any device or operating system. The only condition is to be connected to the internet.
- Data backup & Disaster retrieval. Once data goes in the cloud, a copy is instantly made and transferred to a remote location. Once the internet connection is reestablished, it can easily be accessed and retrieved. This is a useful feature to have in case of emergency, such as hacker attacks.
- Cost-effectiveness. Depending on the variations of their data size, users get to save a large amount of money using cloud servers instead of traditional ones. Note that cloud serving also reduces the number of electricity bills. It just doesn’t require local electrical power.
The cons of dedicated cloud hosting
- High price
- Bandwidth restrictions
- Premium subscriptions for additional disk space
- Expensive subscriptions for additional SQL storage
- No guarantee for 100% uptime
- No personal control on your website’s performance
The pros of shared hosting
- Most affordable pricing. Shared hosting is without any doubt the most cost-effective hosting option, as you divide the overall amount of resources between different users. This makes shared hosting a great alternative for new websites and small businesses.
- No maintenance or updating concerns. When sharing your hosting, you won’t be held responsible for any technical problem that may occur, including such caused due to irregular updates. The hosting provider is the one behind the wheel, both for technical and administrative issues.
- No need for IT knowledge. With shared hosting, you won’t have to install, set up, or maintain anything. The administrator will do all of it on your behalf.
- User-friendly. Using shared hosting is fairly easy, as you get an intuitive cPanel to manage all website operations. This, nevertheless, is not the case with all shared hosting providers, so research before you choose yours.
- The possibility to host several email addresses on your domain. Many users still don’t know that shared servers also make it possible to host personalized emails. Some of them will even provide PHP and MySQL support, and allow access to more than a single database.
The cons of shared hosting
- No security guarantees. The leading downside of shared hosting is the lack of security mechanisms. This won’t always be the case, but even in the best scenario, you will get a limited set of features that come nowhere close to the ones of dedicated hosting. Of course, you can’t expect more having in mind the modest price you are about to pay for the service.
- More hacker intrusions and technical problems. Statistically, websites hosted on shared servers are easier to break into or perform any type of malicious activity. This is once again due to the low-security precautions, and little to none monitoring.
- No possibility to run other utilities. Shared hosting providers will restrict your possibility to run software other than the one they support and offer. Thus, you can forget about installing all those fancy plugins your website needs.
- Slower loading times. It is quite self-intuitive that hosting thousands of sites on a single server affects the loading times. The overload of some famous websites makes them eventually stop working.
- No premium support. When sharing cloud hosting, you can’t expect the vendor to be there for you 24/7, at least not in the sophisticated and attentive fashion of dedicated hosting providers.
Put into perspective, all options have their pros and cons, and it is imperative for the user to understand how many of them he would feel comfortable. Despite being perceived as better options, dedicated cloud hosting and local servers also have their disadvantages.
The cons of local servers
- High price
- Installation, setup and maintenance issues that require IT knowledge to solve
- No data backup and retrieval other than local mechanisms
- No supervision and technical support
Whatever options you may prefer, do some research in advance, and pick an option that corresponds to your needs, budget, and control preferences.