What is cloud hosting and is it better than other hosting systems?
With traditional web hosting such as shared, VPS or dedicated hosting 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 cloud hosting you don’t have that problem. This is because there are multiple web servers hosting 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 hosting task from the broken server. So the biggest advantage of cloud hosting is that you’ll never be offline. Another advantage is that the performance of cloud hosting 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. With cloud hosting, a large number of computers work together in such a way that they seem to be working together as a one and the same system. Availability and security are guaranteed by many servers. The hosting provider is responsible for operating the system and for the implementation of good functioning virtualization.
What is virtualization in cloud hosting?
With cloud hosting, hosting and server services are made available from the network on the basis of a virtualized cloud 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 server.
Cost saving and environment
Without virtualization, the available capacity of a server is usually only partially used. By running multiple operating systems on one server, better use is made of the available capacity.
This is good for your wallet but also for the environment.
Virtualization is achieved by decoupling the software (including the operating system) from the hardware (the server). 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.
Cloud hosting and computing 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. Compared to cloud hosting, the service portfolio of computing goes far beyond hosting and servers. Cloud computing 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 cloud environment.
Cloud hosting vs dedicated hosting.
Unlike the cloud, dedicated web hosting uses 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 server, its hardware must be upgraded or a more powerful server has to be used. The price of dedicated hosting depends on the performance and resources of the web server. Since dedicated servers 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 it still has to be paid. With cloud hosting 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
Shared hosting is the provision of storage space on the Internet so that you can store your Internet pages on your provider’s server. The web server on which the data is stored is online around the clock, so that your website can be accessed at any time and from anywhere in the world.
The server on which your website is located is shared with other customers, with each customer receiving the storage space as defined in their package. As user of a web hosting plan, 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.
Your shared web hosting plan is already preconfigured 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 a lot of knowledge to install your website on a shared hosting package.
Benefits of a web hosting plan that is shared with others:
The shared use of the server with other customers reduces costs, so that shared web hosting is usually cheaper than having your own cloud server. So you can build a website even with a small budget. You present yourself professionally online and can, for example, set up your own e-mail inboxes for communication.
The differences between cloud hosting and shared hosting 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 cloud hosting you don’t have these disadvantages.
- Shared hosting is the cheapest solution. Cloud hosting is more expensive.
- With shared hosting domains are usually included. This is not the case with hosting in the cloud.
- No server knowledge is required for shared hosting in contrast to the cloud.
- The shared solution is usually sufficient for small to medium-sized projects. Cloud hosting is 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 servers are allocated to different customers. So, VPS actually is dedicated hosting 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 shared web hosting of multiple domain names, where you can set up your VPS as a web hosting server. 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 server.
The differences between cloud hosting 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 hosting you don’t have that problem. Your site will never go offline.
- VPS hosting is a cheap solution. Cloud hosting is more expensive.
- You should have server knowledge for a VPS. For cloud hosting this is not necessary.
- VPS hosting is suitable for medium or complicated projects while cloud hosting is intended for large projects.
Cloud hosting advantages and disadvantages
Comparing cloud hosting to regular hosting models such as VPS, dedicated or shared hosting, produces a multitude of advantages. The most important advantages are:
- High reliability due to distributed structures. Since cloud hosting is not based on specific hardware, cloud hosting 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, cloud hosting is the opposite of hosting on dedicated or shared servers. Compared to regular web 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 of cloud hosting is the special billing model. In contrast to regular hosting 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 often be lower compared to the conventional billing model.
- Instead of paying a high price for a VPS, shared or dedicated server, 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 hosting.
- Redundant storage of data
- Depending on the provider(s), cloud hosting can be less secure. After all, your website 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 hosting are always on one specific web server in only one specific data center building that is under control by your web hosting provider with whom you can always have direct contact regarding security matters.
- You don’t know in advance how high the costs will be at the end of each month. As explained before, cloud web hosting 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 may well be faced with an unpleasant surprise every month.
- In many cases, cloud hosting 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 provider. 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, cloud hosting is an ideal solution for websites and other projects that should never be offline, not even a second. For this reason and because of the scalability we can say that cloud hosting is better than traditional web hosting. However, whether it is also better in terms of price and security is of course a completely different question. Since cloud solutions are generally expensive at the end of the month (payment per hour or per minute) and are not exactly among the most secure solutions (due to hosting in multiple countries), we can thus conclude that cloud hosting is not necessarily better when we talk about security and price. An exception to this is the shared hosting provider Linux Hosts Inc. (see the beginning of this article) offering shared cloud web hosting that is more secure, and also cheaper than regular cloud web hosting. I hope your question if a cloud hosting account is better than a shared solution has been answered and wish you success with all your future projects!