Computer Tips: Dedicated vs. Cloud Hosting

We’re glad to have you back for part two of our series on Shared, VPS, Dedicated and Cloud hosting. If you missed part one, which covered Shared and VPS hosting, you can find that article here. In this post, we will discuss dedicated and cloud hosting plans, their pros and cons, and more.

Computer Tips: Dedicated vs. Cloud Hosting

Did you know: General cloud storage, such as Dropbox, has recently become very popular for everyday computer users and consumers. However, cloud hosting has been popular among web hosts and businesses for quite a while. One of the main reasons why we have cloud storage services such as Dropbox, is because we first used cloud storage for business infrastructure deployments and web hosting.

Cloud Hosting

Computer Tips: Dedicated vs. Cloud Hosting

Pricing for cloud hosting plans are a bit different than anything we’ve covered thus far, because cloud hosting is usually priced off of a usage based model. So, instead of paying a set fee each month, most cloud hosting services charge per hour.

Cloud Hosting plans

Not every web host offers cloud hosting plans, but many of the more popular, direct hosts are beginning to offer cloud services.

With a cloud hosting plan, your website, email, apps or other deployment is hosted on a dedicated server that most times uses virtualization. This makes cloud hosting seem like VPS hosting, but there are a few slight differences. The following diagram helps describe the basics of cloud hosting:

Computer Tips: Dedicated vs. Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting plans range significantly in actual deployment and structure, depending on the host. Most cloud hosting plans are in a way, shared plans, as a single server may be used to deploy multiple virtual machine instances, from which the cloud hosting originates, as depicted in the above flow chart.

Alternatively, if a host is setup to jump directly from server to cloud technology, without being deployed by isolated virtual machines, it may be considered a shared cloud host. Additionally, many hosts also offer both private and public cloud hosting.

Because these setups are more versatile and range differently than shared, VPS or dedicated hosting plans, cloud hosting plans and actual UI interface can vary significantly. For example, Amazon AWS is different, but similar to Softlayer’s Cloudlayer.

Most cloud storage plans allow the end user to administer, manage and access key and root files and services. Additionally, cloud hosting plans range in speed from host/provider. Generally, cloud storage hosting options are on par with VPS hosting, making them more flexible and more secure than shared hosting plans, but not as powerful as a dedicated server.

The way that cloud hosting plans manage data also gives them an edge over VPS in terms of scalability. For example, with a cloud hosting plan, your website hosting may be more dynamic, changing and restructuring itself as your website grows.

With a VPS plan, you are often defined a set bandwidth and storage capacity. Should your website or deployment exceed this bandwidth or storage capacity, you will need to jump to a higher level VPS. With cloud, you don’t necessarily need to entirely get a new plan if your website or deployment sees a traffic increase, but you will likely need to pay for the additional usage.

What are the advantages of Cloud Hosting?

Great scalability
Offers most features of a dedicated server, at a reduced price.
Managed by you, with root level access.
Set server specs. Cloud plans give you a defined amount of CPU, RAM and storage.
Many cloud storage plans offer unlimited bandwidth.
What are the disadvantages of Cloud Hosting?

More expensive than shared hosting and even VPS in some cases, depending on hours used.
Not as defined as other hosting options. Cloud hosting can be deployed and created in many different ways, depending on web host.
Most cloud hosting is in a way, shared.
May not offer as much security as VPS, depending on actual host setup.
Requires more of a learning curve than basic shared hosting.
Who should use Cloud Hosting?

Because cloud hosting is so flexible and scalable, hosting a basic blog or even hosting a popular website can be great options for cloud hosting. Although, many cloud hosting plans may not be ideal for company infrastructures, unless your company is the one deploying the server.

Dedicated Hosting

Computer Tips: Dedicated vs. Cloud Hosting

The final hosting option on our list, dedicated hosting, is the most powerful option, but also the most expensive. Dedicated hosting usually starts at $100.00 USD per month on the low end, and ranges to thousands on the high end.

Dedicated Hosting Plans

Dedicated hosting plans are offered by most hosts, and some web hosts specialize in dedicated hosting only.

Unlike shared, VPS and cloud hosting that we’ve covered thus far, dedicated hosting is the true, non-shared hosting option. With a dedicated hosting plan, you will actually have your own server/own computer in the hosting provider’s warehouse that is assigned specifically for your business and usually powered by a T1, T3 or high-speed fiber optic connection.

With dedicated hosting plans you are given root level access, and in many times full, one hundred percent server access. This means that you can setup your website, company infrastructure or other deployment in a completely unique and custom way. You can control what goes on with the server, the base software and foundation of the server, etc… Of course, these requirements vary by host provider.

Companies and individuals who rent dedicated servers often times have a full-time, dedicated administrator to manage the server at all times. Dedicated servers, for the most part, are unrestricted, vs. cloud, shared and VPS hosting.

What are the advantages of Dedicated Hosting?

Full control on a server level.
Non-shared, fast and effective. Dedicated, full speed.
More server options and many hosts allow custom builds. Have the exact server that you want built custom for your application, from CPU type and speed/cores to amount and type of RAM.
Greater bandwidth allowances with most hosting providers.
What are the disadvantages of Dedicated Hosting?

Very expensive.
Usually requires a full time administrator or user with vast knowledge of servers.
Who should use Dedicated Hosting?

Because of the extreme price of dedicated hosting, it’s likely not suitable for low traffic blogs and websites and some mid traffic websites. Companies and individuals with server training and knowledge are quality candidates for dedicated hosting plans. Dedicated servers are also recommended for custom deployments and applications that will not operate using cloud or VPS, requiring server level access.

In conclusion, the following recommendations may help you to choose a quality hosting plan for your website, app or deployment. These are not completely accurate in every situation, but rather, simple guidelines and recommendations.

Shared Hosting Plan

Low traffic websites and blogs.

Personal websites and portfolios.

Basic app deployments.

Limited traffic networks.

Basic email servers.

VPS Hosting Plan

Mid traffic websites and blogs.

App deployments.

Limited traffic networks and private communities.

Anything that requires root access, which is sometimes not available in a shared hosting plan.

Email servers.

Cloud Hosting Plan

Low to mid traffic websites and blogs.

App deployments.

Limited traffic networks and private communities.

Deployments that often see fluctuating or rapid growth traffic and visitor increases.

Email servers.

Dedicated Hosting Plan

High traffic websites and blogs.

Popular app deployments.

Closed business infrastructures, networks and communities.

Very high traffic email servers.

That concludes our web hosting server review. Overall, each web hosting plan/type offers it’s share of pros and cons. Usually, the higher-end or more expensive the hosting, the higher the maintenance, learning curve and complexity also. If any of our site visitors are administrators, if there’s anything I missed or stated incorrectly, feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for stopping by the site for this series of posts.3

"Computer Tips: Dedicated vs. Cloud Hosting"

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