Choosing the right web hosting plan is essential for all businesses. The plan you choose should have the speed and storage that your business needs, or may need in the future. In absence of this, you may lose website traffic, or good customers, which will have a bad impact on the profits of your business.
One of the major issues faced by every company who wants to host a website is the choice of web host, whether they should go for cloud hosting or dedicated server. Both are almost equal if the features or functions are compared, but the technique of providing those features is very different. Read on to know more about the difference between the two web hosting plans.
What is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is a technique where many physical servers create a virtual environment whose resources are then shared by the websites. To make this simpler, consider an example where 5 boys want to buy a video game, to be shared by all of them. So, their parents contribute some money and buy the game, whose benefits are then shared by the boys together. Here, the parents can be called the physical servers, the video game can be called the virtual environment and the boys represent the various businesses who want to host their website.
What is a Dedicated Server?
In a dedicated server, you actually buy a physical server and enjoy alone the benefits offered by it. This means that 1 of the boys himself buys the video game and plays it alone. However, you may also buy multiple physical servers with varied features to make a “private cloud” which will enhance the capabilities of the cloud but can be used only by you.
Differences Between Cloud Hosting and Dedicated Server
- Expansion of Storage or Other Resources
Cloud hosting allows you to easily expand your storage or speed requirements in future. Creating a virtual server is a really fast process, and thus, cloud hosting provides more resources as and when your business needs them. For example, if after a year of web hosting, your website’s traffic has increased and you need more storage, cloud hosting can easily provide for that, either by adding more space to the virtual environment you use or by taking up the space booked by another website which is not using it.
In case of a dedicated server, to expand the storage or the features you will have to make changes in the physical server, which is not only costly but also a time-consuming process. So, if you want to use a dedicated server, you should correctly estimate your storage, speed and other requirements not only for the present but also for the future.
Usually, cloud hosting has more downtime than a dedicated server. This means, that cloud hosting is slower in retrieving or transferring data, as compared to a dedicated server.
In the case of cloud hosting, the data is stored on a “cloud” or a virtual place which takes time to access. You have to go through multiple steps to reach your own data, which may reduce the speed of operations. Also, since you share the servers with other websites, if they are using the services simultaneously, this will increase the load on the bandwidth, which will decrease the speed for you.
On the other hand, dedicated server stores data locally. Your data stays on your server, that is, you can easily access and retrieve the data you require. The dedicated server works only for you, and it is almost impossible that all its resources are being used at the same time. So, when you want to access data, or process information, the dedicated server will do it for you in no time.
An important fact to be noted here is that in case of cloud hosting if you buy the Network Interface Card (NIC), you will be allowed to use the maximum bandwidth available on the server. This is useful if you desire a higher speed, but is also quite expensive.
- Performance after a certain time period
In the initial stages, a dedicated server offers greater speed. However, in the long run, the tables turn in favour of cloud hosting. That is, cloud hosting offers a better speed after a certain time period.
When you use a server for a long time, it is obvious that it will slow down, due to the running of multiple programs or due to storage of a number of files and folders. You may compare it with how a cupboard loses its capacity to store when you keep too many clothes in there. Your cupboard may be so clustered, that you cannot even find what you need without wasting time in removing the other things and searching for it.
Cloud hosting helps you deal with the problem. The cloud hosting service providers have a number of physical servers, so if one of them has a lot of data, they will shift you to the other one. You may think of it as a wardrobe with multiple cupboards, so you can shift your things to another cupboard for better access.
A dedicated server, on the other hand, constitutes only one physical server. So if you store a lot of data on it, chances are that the server will be clustered, making processing and retrieval of data tougher and slower.
If you want your customers to trust you, you should choose a web hosting plan which you can always trust. When it comes to reliability, cloud hosting plans are way ahead of dedicated servers. In case of dedicated servers, businesses buy only 1 physical server for hosting their website. If it fails or crashes due to excessive load, malware, or any other reason, it will take a long time to arrange another server and get your website online again. Needless to say, your website will be down for a long time, and you will incur huge losses.
On the other hand, cloud hosting service providers own a number of physical servers spread around the world. No matter what happens, a server will always be available to support you. If any server or machine crashes or calamities affect any part of the world, the servers present in other places will take up their position almost instantly, and your website will lose a lot less traffic. So your company and your profits are not affected as much.
- Wastage of Resources and Features
Cloud hosting is like sharing everything without losing anything. Cloud hosting allows you to share the features and resources of hosting a website through a functional server, which reduces your cost. Dedicated servers, on the other hand, have specific features which are used only by you.
In a dedicated server, you have a certain number of features. Consider the storage. You may have a certain amount of storage in your physical server, but almost 10% of it will be unused. So you bought a server with more storage so you won’t have to change it later. But as of now, the increased storage is pretty much useless for you. This is a kind of wastage of the money you spent on purchasing it.
In cloud hosting, you may assume that you purchase only what you actually need. If you consider the above example if you book a certain amount of space for storing data, and as of now, you are not using 10% of it, then this 10% will be lent to another website, and you will not be charged for it. When you need it, the company will expand the space allotted to you. Thus you pay only for what you use, thanks to sharing.
The cost of cloud hosting depends on the storage you are using and the time period for which you are using the service. If you are using a large amount of storage space, for a long time every day, then you might find cloud hosting more expensive than a dedicated server.
But, if you are hosting small business, require less storage space, and are required to use the services for a short period of time, cloud hosting is a much cheaper option.
Cloud hosting services start at $50, and maybe more expensive if you use it a lot. There is no limit on how expensive it can be, as that depends on its usage.
Dedicated servers cost $100 to $1000, depending upon the features you purchase or rent.
By now, hopefully, you are clear about the differences between cloud hosting and dedicated server. When you are choosing your server, you should first list out your needs. How much storage space will you need? How many hours a day will you use the server? Will your needs to expand in the future? If yes, then how much? Once you have the answers to all these questions, and you know your budget, it will not be difficult to make a decision. Remember, your website represents your business. If you want to make your business the best, you should make your website the best.