How Does Cloud Hosting Differ From Conventional Hosting?

Published by Sam Wilson on

With the sudden emergence of cloud computing, website hosts now face an initial decision of whether to place their site on a traditional dedicated server or utilize cloud hosting. A thorough survey of the brave new world of cloud hosting, and how it will impact, and facilitate, web hosting, is therefore in order.

What Is Cloud Hosting?

In conventional dedicated server hosting, the website’s location is on a specified server located in one data centre. With cloud hosting, the server is outsourced, and is operated via virtualised software. Because there are already a multitude of data centres that run on servers that use this virtual environment, each single server that serves the website generates numerous additional servers that are also supporting the website.

In conventional dedicated server hosting, the website’s location is on a specified server located in one data centre. With cloud hosting, the server is outsourced, and is operated via virtualised software. Because there are already a multitude of data centres that run on servers that use this virtual environment, each single server that serves the website generates numerous additional servers that are also supporting the website.

While website visitors will notice no difference, the site they are visiting will in fact be run and supported on a multitude of servers. The difference is that the website user will not know what hardware is currently supporting the site, since that hardware will change over time, depending on capacity constraints and utilisation rates among the different data centres that support cloud-based computing.

Cloud Hosting Vs. Conventional Hosting

Whether you intend to host an interactive website, a web app, or you have some other use in mind, conventional hosting will involve the purchase or rental of a server and the payment of monthly charges. While the use of a basic server for dedicated hosting can start at $50 per month, configurations at that price do not offer the utility that most aspiring hosts require. For that reason, $100 per month is likely a more realistic minimum for those intending to use a conventional, dedicated server.

With cloud hosting, you are purchasing not space on a particular server, but a volume of data usage across multiple servers. As a result, the cost will relate directly to the amount of data processing that your website generates. To be more precise, cloud-based web hosts are charged for the volume of storage and the amount of time during which that storage is utilised.

Moreover, with cloud-based hosting, there is no maximum “cap” to data usage, as there is with dedicated servers. The cost for cloud hosting generally begins at $50 per month, and proceeds on a pay-as-you-utilise” pricing model. The user pays only for the amount used, and this applied both to data storage and data transfer.

What Level of Performance Does Cloud Hosting Deliver?

We’re glad you asked! Cloud hosting provides a level of performance that is broadly comparable to dedicated server hosting. Each offers about the same speed. There is, however, a syndrome among dedicated servers, known as “dirty instances,” when the server slows down as a result of the sheer burden of supporting a high number of temp files and program files.

While cloud servers are subject to the same problems, they are able to move the work they are doing to a new instance, rendering the dirty instance no more than a distant memory. In addition, the larger enterprises which are at the forefront of the shift to cloud computing are adopting VMware, a highly advanced software system that permits smooth and seamless data transfer and processing among multiple servers. The result is a further advance in reliability beyond what conventional, dedicated servers are able to offer.

How Reliable Is Cloud Hosting?

It’s highly reliable, and for most users, this is the factor that persuades them to adopt cloud hosting to serve their web-based needs. Because the information is stored and retrieved from a myriad of machines, if one server crashes, your business won’t. The worst consequence a cloud-hosted site can expect from a server crash is some delayed performance and slowed execution. While not ideal, this will place you miles ahead of a site that has experienced a total service interruption as a result of the crashing of its dedicated server.

How Prevalent is Cloud Hosting Already?

Many major Internet-based operations and major corporations have been utilising cloud hosting for years. The best-known of these may be Google, which utilises and extraordinary number of servers to support its cloud-based search engine, email, and other services. Google is of course known for its reliability and speed, and its use of cloud hosting is clearly a key part of its winning formula.

While dedicated servers can provide reliable service, generally speaking, operations that experience repeated service delays (AdSense would be one example) will be ones that utilise dedicated servers. The only impediment to more widespread adoption of cloud hosting would appear to be the infrastructure investment that larger enterprises must make to effect the transition. Once more of these transitions have occurred, low-cost cloud hosting will become more available to smaller businesses, and the transition will further accelerate beyond its already fast pace.

What About Virtual Private Servers?

Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are a midway service that utilises aspects of both dedicated servers and the cloud. With VPS, a single server is split into several segments, with each managed by a particular user. It’s a little like sharing a condo at the beach among a group of families, and it shares some of the same disadvantages.

Overall, VPS allows you to secure the benefits of dedicated servers at a reduced price, and many observers consider them to represent an advance over dedicated servers, and a useful stepping stone for customers who anticipate shifting to cloud computing at some point in the future, but who are not ready to do so yet.

Many Hands Make Work Light

As the market acceptance of cloud hosting spreads from the major institutions that were its early adopters to smaller enterprises, and to individual clients as well, the broad market of website operators is coming to appreciate the advantages of spreading the work, and the risk, that they ask of their web hosting service across multiple servers. It’s a brave new world that has such things in it, and the bravest market participants will be the soonest to enjoy the advantages of cloud hosting.

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