Every website needs a web hosting service. There simply isn’t any way that a website can exist without the server that hosts it. However, as is the nature of technology, there will always be attempts to create better, more efficient ways of doing things. Remember when virtual machines were created in order for computer hardware to be used more efficiently? That kind of change is constantly happening, and while not every attempt becomes disruptive enough to replace its predecessor, each attempt is a step in the right direction. Cloud hosting is a good example of such an attempt. It can pave the way for a more efficient use of physical servers, after all.
But before adopting a particular method, technology, or trend, you first need to determine if it’s going to be beneficial to your objectives and goals. And when there’s a significant amount of money involved, you wouldn’t want to spend it just on a trial-and-error session.
So, you resort to the next best thing — gather information from other people who’ve had experience with cloud hosting. So, what makes cloud hosting so special? In order to thoroughly understand this new technology, we first have to look at how traditional web hosting functions.
What Is Traditional Web Hosting?
Web hosting is a service that allows persons and companies to publish websites on the internet. A web hosting service provider provides the resources necessary for a website to function. These websites are saved on physical servers, which are what contain the resources necessary for a website to function. When users visit your website, they first type your web address on their browser, which will prompt their computer to connect to the server where your website is stored. This is when your website becomes viewable by the user.
There are three types of web hosting:
Shared – multiple websites depend on a single server. As you might imagine, this limits website performance and the failure of a single server could mean downtime for all the websites stored on that server. This, however, is still a valid option for websites that do not require a lot of resources to handle traffic because they aren’t as costly as other types of web hosting. There is also an innate security risk in a shared web hosting.
Dedicated – dedicated servers provide the best performance and the highest degree of customizability among all types of web hosting. This is where a single server is dedicated to a single website. This also means that the very best of support would be made available to the website. This is an ideal option for websites that require a lot of performance to handle massive amounts of web traffic.
VPS – a virtual private server is a virtual machine that caters to the individual needs of a user just as a separate physical computer that is dedicated to a particular user. This means that resources are pre-allocated to each website that is connected to the server to prevent websites from pulling resources from one another. Several virtual private servers can be maintained on a single physical server, which means that if that single physical server fails, all the websites that rely on that server experience downtime.
What Is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting, much like many other cloud-based services, is a type of hosting service that makes use of parts of several servers to support a single website’s resource requirements and to ensure maximum website uptime. Because a website is supported by multiple servers in a server cluster, it will have the necessary resources needed for it to remain functional even when a single server in that cluster fails. So, in essence, the resources needed can simply be drawn from a different server in the event that one of the multiple servers fails.
So, yes. Cloud hosting does sound similar to a virtual private server, but there are a few differences that set them apart from each other.
How Does Cloud Hosting Differ From VPS?
The primary difference between cloud hosting and VPS is their approach and scalability. Remember that cloud hosting servers make use of server clusters, where parts of multiple servers support a single website. This means that users have access to near-unlimited resources needed to run their website and that these resources can easily be adjusted to the needs of the website. This is especially valuable for websites that experience spikes in traffic on a regular basis.
On the other hand, VPS runs multiple instances of servers on a single physical server. This means that while the websites hosted by the physical do not battle over resources, if that single physical server fails, all the websites that are linked to that server would experience downtime.
It’s also significantly more difficult to scale with a VPS server because the resources allocated to each website are predetermined, which means that while these servers are going to be able to perform much better than shared servers, there is still a chance that your website’s load could exceed the amount of resources allocated for your website. Despite this, VPS hosting tends to cost less than cloud hosting.
Should You Use Cloud Hosting?
While hosting your website on the cloud does sound like the future, it isn’t as tried and tested as traditional web hosting options. Whether you’re willing to take a risk or not depends on what you use your website for. If you use your website as a means of earning money, then betting on something that isn’t tried and tested could prove to be catastrophic if it fails.
Otherwise, by all means, opt for a cloud hosting service.
What truly minimizes the risk here is the fact that traditional web hosting methods have been around for as long as anyone can remember. This means that there is a wealth of information that can help guide users toward good service providers. A good source of this information can be found in web hosting review sites. For example, MangoMatter has some great hosting comparisons that provide readers with an in-depth comparison between the web hosting options that are available on the market.