Building a website is in some respects akin to building a house. For instance, elaborate design and features mean little unless they are built upon a solid foundation. Therefore, in terms of web design, choosing the correct server hosting option according to your specific requirements and budget must be your first consideration when building a site. To this end, in June we outlined the key differences between virtual private servers (VPS), virtual dedicated servers (VDS) and physical dedicated servers (PDS). In this article, however, we explore another popular solution – cloud hosting.
Cloud hosting in a nutshell
Simply put, cloud hosting utilizes networks of physical web servers in order to run individual virtual servers. Whereas with physical hosting (PDS), you are paying for the computational power of one particular server, or part of one in the case of shared hosting, as cloud hosting pulls its resources from a variety of such physical servers. The result is a virtual server upon which to build your website, without a fixed location.
Similarly to dedicated and shared physical server options, cloud hosting can be operated on either a private or public basis. On the more customizable and expensive end of the spectrum, private clouds are reserved for the use of only organizations, allowing them to manage and have exclusive access to hosting power from a network of physical servers. In contrast, public cloud models of hosting pool these resources for the use of a variety of users. Besides the obvious difference in how much control over your hosting you’re able to command, private cloud hosting also entails a greater level of security since the networks they’re based on can be restricted.
However, there is the third solution of hybrid cloud hosting, which allows organizations to allocate a private cloud for their most vital or security sensitive applications and a public cloud for the rest, for example.
Cloud, virtual or physical hosting?
As ever, this will largely depend on what you need from a hosting solution. However, cloud hosting does have some fairly universal advantages. First, because cloud servers draw their power from a network of physical servers, they tend to be more stable than even dedicated servers. Because cloud hosted sites are not solely reliant on one physical server, they still function perfectly well even if one server in the network fails.
Furthermore, cloud hosting is utility based – you pay according to usage rather than prearranged CPU, RAM and storage specifications. The obvious benefit here is the absence of wasted resources that can occur when the capacities of your server option are fixed, since you can simply pay extra to accommodate any sudden spikes in traffic. Such instantaneous flexibility is not so easy with other forms of server hosting.
That said, the cloud may not be the best option for everyone. A VPS (Virtual Private Server), like the solutions offered by Host1Plus, offers many similar perks. Like cloud hosting, a VPS is your own server for which you have root level access, but is a partition of a physical server rather than powered by a network of them. While this does increase the possibility of your site being affected by the other sites on the host server, it’s an ideal option for smaller sites who are just starting to gain traction – it’s cheaper than cloud hosting, and it’s still relatively easy to scale up. On the other end of the scale, if you’re a larger and highly established company, then often only a virtual or physical dedicated server will do, giving you ultimate control and privacy.