Cloud hosting is definitely something more and more people are talking about these days but there’s unfortunately a fine line between marketing hype and performance-based fundamentals which recommend one service or another as effective.
As an online business owner, you can’t afford to make uninformed decisions. After all, if your site is offline, you’re not able to make money and at the end of the day, that counts more than going with the flow in terms of hosting.
The Differences between Cloud Hosting and Dedicated Servers
As far as dedicated servers are concerned, the concept is extremely simple: you pay for a server and itâ€™s yours. You pay the same amount each month regardless of how many resources you use.
Nowadays, â€œonly pay for what you useâ€ is an approach which is as controversial as it is innovative. Cloud hosting is all about usage-based billing. In other words, if youâ€™ve used more server resources today than yesterday, youâ€™ll pay more today. An eloquent example is represented by websites which are subject to the digg effect every once in a while. Letâ€™s assume that your website receives 1,000 uniques per day but that it makes it to the digg frontpage once or twice per month. The result: a huge spike of traffic which takes its toll on the server.
The owner of such a website has a difficult decision to make: normally, a Virtual Private Server or even shared hosting is enough if youâ€™re only receiving 1,000 visitors daily. On the other hand, you can get in trouble if your websites receives sudden spikes of traffic.
Should you stick with your current plan and pay less? You could do that but what if your server goes down the minute you start receiving a lot of traffic from Digg? Would you be willing to let tens of thousands of visitors land on a page which doesnâ€™t load and never come back?
How much is that traffic worth to you? Should you upgrade to a dedicated server? Wouldnâ€™t you be overpaying if you go dedicated just because you receive more traffic a few days per month?
Cloud Hosting to the Rescue?
Cloud hosting, in theory, represents the solution to such problems. If you receive a lot of traffic once per month, youâ€™ll pay a lot more once a month (only for that day or those days).
As a concept, cloud hosting is extremely fair because the customer only has to pay based on how demanding his or her site is in terms of resource. But thereâ€™s more to cloud hosting than meets the eye and the fact is that this type of hosting is still in its infancy infrastructure-wise:
When it comes to support, things get problematic. With a dedicated server, everything is as simple as it gets. Whenever a problem occurs, you can simply pick up the phone and call support. Assuming that youâ€™re dealing with a responsible company, the problem will be identified and taken care of in a matter of minutes.
On the other hand, you shouldnâ€™t expect the same level of support with most cloud hosting companies. Logistically speaking, itâ€™s considerably harder to identify a problem if youâ€™re dealing with a cloud hosting-type setup than it is if youâ€™re dealing with a dedicated server.
Then thereâ€™s also another factor which needs to be taken into consideration: most cloud hosting companies donâ€™t have the maturity it takes in order to provide truly professional services yet. In other words, it would be extremely smart to back up your databases as often as possible because if you receive an email which contains â€œbad newsâ€ from your cloud hosting company, that email will unfortunately not come with a â€œbut donâ€™t worry, weâ€™ve managed toâ€¦â€ silver lining.
Which Option Gives Customers the Best Bang for Their Buck?
Itâ€™s important to understand that the â€œverdictâ€ is not set in stone. As time passes by, cloud hosting companies will become more and more competent when it comes to support-related issues. At this point however, itâ€™s smart to stick with a dedicated server if youâ€™re not an expert when it comes to server management.
At the end of the day, going with a managed dedicated hosting solution will give you the possibility to always be able to pick up the phone and get things sorted out. You will unfortunately not have this luxury if you choose to work with a cloud hosting provider. As a concept, cloud hosting is definitely innovative and if companies will have the desire to keep on improving their service, weâ€™re definitely in for a bright future. But given the fact that we live in the present, a fully managed dedicated server will have to do for now (unless, again, youâ€™re an expert when it comes to server management).