Is cloud hosting better than shared hosting?

Short Answer (quick read):

The question “is cloud hosting better than shared hosting” can be answered by taking a quick look at both systems. So, here we go:

The correct answer to this good question is: not always. The Cloud is not per se always better when you compare it to shared plans. But, it must be said that it has at least two superior aspects and these are its uptime and it’s scalability. Scalability means that you can instantly and sometimes even automatically down or upgrade the most important aspects of your plan. Think about changing the memory, disk space and CPU processing power. And your site will never be offline so the uptime is 100%. The reason for this is the fact that your website is hosted by many different web servers (powerful internet computers) all over the world (this is the cloud). If a server fails, one of the other computers will automatically and immediately host your site or application. With shared solutions there’s mostly a 99,9% Uptime Guarantee so the uptime difference with the Cloud is in fact not that huge. Then a Cloud service has also a few disadvantages. These are:

  • It can be expensive because you will be billed per minute or per hour usage. Usage here means how much bandwidth was used, how much disk space, memory, processing power, technical support etc.
  • The monthly price is unpredictable since you never know in advance how high or low your usage will be.
  • It can be less secure than shared systems because your website or application is often hosted in different data centers (buildings full of internet computers) all over the world. It’s impossible for a customer or a web host to monitor what is happening in all these data centers.

Is Cloud hosting better than the shared plans of this wonderful company?

Let’s take a look at the only web host in the world with a strict No Overselling Policy. Moreover the company’s shared packages offered by this provider are all in the Cloud. So the company we are talking about here offers cloud shared packages. However, your advantage with them is the fact that you don’t have the above mentioned disadvantages:

  • You will be billed a fixed amount per month (from $4.17) and NOT per minute or hour usage.
  • So your bill is always predictable.
  • Better security because you will use only one big data center (with numerous servers) and that is the one you select when signing up.

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PS. By the way, I use this Cloud Service myself on a daily basis and I love it!

Hopefully this summary was good enough to answer the question “cloud hosting vs web hosting“. However, we invite you to read on to learn everything about the details.

Long explanation.

What is cloud hosting and is it better than other systems?

With traditional systems such as shared, VPS or dedicated services only one web server is in use for your website, your application or project. If anything goes wrong with this server you’ll have to wait for technical support to solve the software or hardware related issue. With the Cloud you don’t have that problem. This is because there are multiple web servers taking care of your website or project. These servers are usually located in different data centers across multiple countries. If a problem occurs in a web server, automatic software ensures that one of the many other well-functioning servers takes over the task from the broken server. So the biggest advantage of this system is that you’ll never be offline. Another advantage is that the performance can be flexibly scaled depending on the requirements. You can scale up or down the bandwidth, processing power and memory depending on what you need. A large number of computers work together in such a way that they seem to be working as a one and the same system. Availability and security are guaranteed by many servers. The provider is responsible for operating the system and for the implementation of good functioning virtualization.

What is virtualization in cloud hosting?

With virtualization the services are made available from the network on the basis of a virtualized infrastructure. Without the application of virtualization, a server can only run one operating system at a time. If you want your own operating system, you will therefore have to rent or purchase an entire server. Virtualization removes this limitation and allows multiple, separate operating systems to run on one computer.

Cost saving and environment

Without virtualization, the available capacity of a server is usually only partially used. By running multiple operating systems on one computer, better use is made of the available capacity. This is good for your wallet but also for the environment.

Technical advantages

Virtualization is achieved by decoupling the software (including the operating system) from the hardware. This means that it will be much easier to automatically transfer the operating system to other hardware in the event of a hardware failure. This significantly reduces the chance of service outages. Backing up data also becomes easier. Without the operating system’s knowledge, it can be fully backed up, making possible restores more reliable and faster.

Cloud hosting and virtualization

Setting up, using and managing virtualization is usually a difficult task. In addition, the above technical advantages are not standard. They must be implemented separately. A Cloud is often an environment in which all these properties and possibilities of virtualization are made available in a user-friendly manner.

Virtualization can be achieved through various techniques. Each technique has its own pros and cons. Your situation is decisive in order to be able to choose the right technique. There is no one best technique. The used techniques in virtualization are hardware virtualization, para-virtualization and container-based virtualization. Within the scope of this article it makes no sense to go into this in more detail.

Cloud hosting vs cloud computing.

These two terms are often used in the same context. However, there are many differences in terms of provided services. Cloud hosting is a kind of subset of cloud computing. The service portfolio of computing goes far beyond hosting. It includes the 3 basic services Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Cloud hosting, however, focuses on infrastructure as a service (IaaS). On the basis of virtualized and physical hardware resources, users have a choice of using web apps or services in the environment.

Cloud hosting vs dedicated hosting.

Dedicated web services use hardware that is dedicated to individual customers. This hardware is usually located in a data center and is limited in performance. Clients get full control over their web servers and can configure them according to their own needs. In order to scale up the computer, its hardware must be upgraded or a more powerful one has to be used. The price of a dedicated plan depends on the performance and resources of the web server. Since dedicated internet computers have to be configured in such a way that load peaks can be dealt with, a part of the resources remains unused during regular operations, but still has to be paid for. With cloud platforms however you only pay for what you use. Moreover scaling up or down is much faster and easier. There’s no need to upgrade hardware or to rent a different server.

Cloud hosting vs shared hosting

When comparing Cloud hosting vs shared hosting you will notice some huge differences between the two systems. A shared account is the provision of storage space on the Internet so that you can store your Internet pages on your provider’s server. The web computer on which the data is stored is online around the clock, so that your site can be accessed at any time and from anywhere in the world.

The server on which your site is located is shared with other customers, with each customer receiving the storage space as defined in their package. As user of a plan that is shared, you will be provided with your storage space and, for example, the required network connection. You don’t have to worry about maintenance, technical updates or security updates. Your web host will do that for you.

A package that is being shared with others is already configured so that you can easily install a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla or, for example, your desired shop system. You don’t need much knowledge to install your site on a shared plan.

Benefits of a plan that is shared with others:

The shared use of the server with other customers reduces costs, so that a shared account is usually cheaper than having your own server. So you can build a site even with a small budget. You present yourself professionally online and can, for example, set up your own email inboxes.

Benefits of the Cloud.

Your site can no longer go offline and you can enjoy maximum scalability.

The differences between Cloud and shared platforms at a glance:

  • When you share a web server with others there is a chance that your site goes offline while sharing also increases security risks. With the cloud you don’t have these disadvantages.
  • Sharing is the cheapest solution.
  • With shared accounts domains are often included. This is not the case when you use a Cloud service.
  • No server knowledge is required for sharing accounts.
  • The shared solution is usually sufficient for small to medium-sized projects. Cloud platforms are more suitable for large projects.

Cloud hosting vs VPS

VPS is an abbreviation for Virtual Private Server. A VPS is a physical server, which is divided into smaller virtual servers. These smaller virtual internet computers are allocated to different customers. So, VPS actually is a dedicated service but your server is smaller and virtualized. A VPS offers you complete freedom: from managing your server, choosing the operating system (Linux or Windows), to installing the necessary software, and also offers you the possibility to keep your software up-to-date and sufficiently secure it against abuse.

In case of managed VPS the provider is responsible for all the hardware and for software installations, maintenance, updates and backups.

VPS is an excellent alternative for hosting of multiple domain names. You don’t have to buy any hardware yourself, but you only rent/buy a small part of a server. You save on expenses, but you have the same options as when you have a dedicated account.

The differences between the Cloud and VPS at a glance:

  • With VPS when there’s a technical problem your website can go offline until technical support has solved the issue. With cloud platforms you don’t have that problem. Your site will never go offline.
  • VPS is a cheap solution. Cloud servers are more expensive.
  • You should have server knowledge for a VPS. For cloud accounts this is not necessary.
  • VPS hosting is suitable for medium or complicated projects while the Cloud is intended for large projects.

Cloud hosting advantages and disadvantages

Advantages:

Comparing this system to regular models such as VPS, dedicated or shared platforms, produces a multitude of advantages. The most important advantages are:

  • High reliability due to distributed structures. Since the system is not based on specific hardware, it will not easily fail and offers excellent availability. If a server fails, it won’t have any effect on availability and performance. The remaining resources continue to deliver the performance.
  • High performance due to the large number of underlying hardware resources
  • Good and fast scalability of the performance. The customer is given the opportunity to adjust resources individually. These adjustable resources are CPU power, RAM and storage space. Because of these properties, it is the opposite of dedicated or shared servers. Compared to regular website hosting, it offers significantly more flexibility.
  • Price models where you only have to pay for services actually used. Due to flexible billing models, you only have to pay for the service actually used. There are no costs for unused resources. An advantage is the special billing model. In contrast to regular services, there are no fixed monthly bills. Instead, the service is calculated based on actual use. You only pay for the service that has been used. As a rule, hourly, or per minute billing is possible. which means that the actual usage price can be lower compared to the conventional billing model. Instead of paying a high price for a VPS, shared or dedicated account, the fees adapt to what has actually been used. The price is not higher for peak times, while billing is lower during a period of low usage. Customers don’t incur costs for excess capacities. Small and medium-sized businesses that cannot fall back on their own IT infrastructure can enjoy a cost-effective and flexible type of service.
  • Redundant storage of data

Disadvantages:

  • Depending on the provider(s), this solution can be less secure. After all, your site or application is “spread” all over the world via different data centers. You absolutely have no control over what happens in these data centers and countries. Shared, VPS and dedicated systems are always on one specific web server in only one specific data center building that is under control by your provider with whom you can always have direct contact regarding security matters.
  • You don’t know in advance how high or low the costs will be at the end of each month. As explained before, the costs depend on usage. So that means how many visitors did you have in the past month, how much bandwidth did you use, how much processing power was needed, how much memory was used, etc. So you can also be faced with an unpleasant surprise every month instead of paying a lower price.
  • In many cases, these companies are giants like the companies Amazon and Google. This automatically means that the service is less personal than smaller web hosts. This impersonal service can lead to misunderstandings and/or disturbed relationships with the company. These aspects can make solving possible technical problems more difficult.

Is cloud hosting better than shared hosting? – a conclusion.

So, is cloud hosting worth it? Well, as we have read, it is an ideal solution for sites and other projects that should never be offline, not even a second. For this reason and because of the scalability we can say that it’s better than traditional systems. However, whether it is also better in terms of price and security is of course a completely different question. Since these solutions are sometimes expensive at the end of the month (payment per hour or per minute) and are not exactly among the most secure solutions (due to data centers in multiple countries), we can thus conclude that this system is not necessarily better when we talk about security and price. An exception to this rule is the shared provider Linux Hosts Inc. (see the beginning of this article) offering shared Cloud accounts that are more secure, and also cheaper than regular Cloud systems. I hope your question has been answered and wish you success with all your future projects!