With the advancement of technology and a consistently increasing number of websites today, there is now more hosting options available than say, a couple of years ago. First, there were shared hosting and dedicated servers. These are now known as traditional hosting. Then we were introduced to VPS. And in recent years, you have an option to host your website in the Cloud.
Though it may sound like something taken from the movie Matrix, do be assured that this Cloud Web Hosting technology is not that surreal. Perhaps it would be easier to explain if I were to compare these 4 types of hosting methods and highlight their features. Sort of like Hosting 101 if you may.
Like its name suggest, this hosting method places your website alongside hundreds, maybe thousands of other websites in a server. Not only does all these websites share the same space, they also have the same CPU, RAM, IP address and bandwidth. Of course this server has to be a powerful machine in order to do so, one that has plenty of disk space and high bandwidth. Think of it like sharing a cab with other passengers, each going to different destinations. Shared hosting is by far the most popular hosting plan now.
- Affordable. It is the cheapest among all the hosting plans and from as low as a couple of dollars per month, you can get a very good shared hosting plan.
- Low maintenance. Website owners do not need to worry about server maintenance and updating unlike dedicated servers plans.
Because of the disadvantages of shared hosting, some website owners prefer to have the whole server for themselves. This is where dedicated servers plans come into the picture. Hosting providers offer dedicated servers to corporations and popular websites who need (or want) large space and high bandwidth for their websites.
- Dedicated space, bandwidth, CPU, RAM and IP address.
- More secure as there’s less compromising of data.
- Customization of hardware and software are allowed. Great for websites that required such modifications.
VPS hosting is a “crossover” of shared hosting and dedicated server plans. It functions like a virtual machine, where a server is virtually partitioned (element of shared hosting) to serve as a separate computer (element of dedicated server) for a particular user.
VPS is often used for those whose websites have requirements that exceed what a shared hosting plan can offer and yet, do not wish to pay so much for a dedicated server plan.
- More affordable than dedicated server plans.
- Better performance than shared hosting eg dedicated CPU, RAM and IP address.
- User control through customization and own management of server and software.
CLOUD WEB HOSTING
Thus, realizing that VPS still has its limitations and that users want more flexibility in their hosting plans, hosting providers have now come up with the latest hosting method, Cloud Web Hosting.
Cloud hosting utilizes Cloud computing technology. Google and Amazon are two companies which utilizes this cloud computing method. And majority of us are exposed to Cloud computing whether we are aware of it or not.
Cloud hosting is similar to VPS but is dynamic, where instead on a single server, it functions on an interconnected network of servers whose only purposes are to provide users various hosting services. This concept eliminates the limitation of traditional hosting of having just a single server to do the job. Since there are so many virtually connected servers, there is bound to be an available server or two available when you need it eg when you experience traffic surges or when one server breaks down. This also means that downtime can be avoided, well, almost entirely.
In Cloud hosting, hosting resources like additional storage space and server time, can be changed instantly to meet demand. Hence, the Cloud hosting plan can be upgraded and downgraded as often as needed depending on the website’s requirements. And you are only billed for what you have used, much like how you get billed for your mobile usage. This way, resources are much better utilized than the other plans mentioned before this.
- Economical as you only pay for what you use. Scalability as it allows website owner to obtain more resources when they required it eg during peak hours and then release these resources when they no longer need them.
- Easy access to the network since your data and applications are stored virtually from anywhere, at anytime and from any devices that are connected to the internet eg PCs, laptops, mobile phones and tablets.
- Reliable hosting with no downtime as there are plenty of resources that are being shared. Have you seen Google and Amazon having downtimes? I rest my case.
Many people have trouble grasping the Cloud hosting concept. Should you like to read more on cloud hosting, do check out this excellent Cloud Hosting article on 100webhosting.com.
Is Cloud hosting suitable for your website? Well, it depends. If you are planning to start a blog or develop a simple 5 page website on your retail business or create a local online business, then shared hosting is pretty adequate.
If you are getting higher traffic or require more resources to support your website, then you may want to consider dedicated servers. And if you are experiencing, say, thousands of unique visits per day from all over the world and need to store and retrieve hundreds of files, then dedicated server or Cloud hosting may be your choice, especially if you want the maximum website uptime! In short, it all boils down to your website’s requirements.