To say that cloud hosting has taken off in a big way would be an understatement.
Looking at public cloud computing services, the market was projected to surpass $330bn in value in 2020, as companies provided cloud storage, hosting and tools to their customers. This is no surprise, given that 90% of companies were already operating across public and private cloud services by 2019.
With such an overwhelming shift towards the cloud, is it right to say that traditional forms of web hosting are dead?
Not at all. Hybrid cloud adoption hit 58% in 2020, which shows us that businesses still value the traditional model to some extent.
But what exactly is cloud hosting and how is it different to traditional hosting?
Cloud hosting simply refers to the hosting of websites and other digital properties in a cloud environment — i.e. a distributed set of servers linked via a web connection, functioning as a unified server.
Traditional web hosting can refer to one of three things: a business may decide to host their website on a dedicated server that is 100% devoted to their requirements. Alternatively, they may decide to host on a shared server, which will simultaneously be used by other businesses.
A third option is to host via a Virtual Private Server, or VPS, which utilises a shared server but with a virtual partition so that it functions as a dedicated server.
Basically, the difference is this: with traditional web hosting, your audience is accessing your website via a single physical server. With cloud hosting, they are accessing the same content via a multitude of different physical servers.
Cloud hosting vs. traditional web hosting:
How do the two options stack up?
To help you choose the best option for your business, we’ve compared the two web hosting options. Take a look at how these forms of web hosting stack up against each other.
Cloud services are generally the most cost-effective. This is because you don’t need to invest in a personal or a dedicated server to experience hosting benefits. Compared to deploying a server in-house, the cost savings are even greater, because you don’t need to worry about purchasing and installing the equipment, ongoing maintenance, employing an in-house team, and bearing other costs.
With cloud services, you will also have the option to adopt a pay as you go model. In effect, you only need to pay for the storage capacity you use. This is great for businesses that are not sure precisely how much hosting capability they need, and it better reflects the fluid nature of running a business in 2021.
Again, cloud services win out here. From your business’ point of view — and from the point of view of your users — your servers are invisible. You are interacting only with the hosting provider, who is drawing upon a large number of distributed servers to provide what you need. In this sense, you can simply reach out to your provider, who can offer you additional capabilities. This is even easier on the pay-as-you-go model mentioned above.
This scalability is possible with traditional hosting services. However, it may be more difficult to achieve. Traditional hosting providers are working with finite resources themselves, and so may not be able to offer this level of scalability. You may also find that any additional capability is more expensive than it would be in the cloud. If you are hosting your own in-house server, it will be a major undertaking to expand your capacity and an expensive one at that.
If you are hosting your own in-house server, deployment will be slow. You will need to set up and test the server ahead of deployment, and any problems during this phase will need to be handled by you. However, other forms of traditional web hosting will not be so difficult to deploy, as the servers will already be up and running and you simply need to wait a short time for your provider to begin your service.
This means you won’t experience much difference in terms of deployment whether you are using a cloud or traditional hosting service provider. Both types of provider should be able to set your solution up with minimal delay.
Deploying new functionality for your website and other online properties should also be easy with both options. It all comes down to your provider.
Cloud hosting options are generally the most efficient. You will gain the flexibility and agility required to modify and alter your hosting options whenever required, and you also won’t have to worry about finding the additional resources to run an in-house server.
If you are connecting with traditional web hosting services via a service provider, you should also have a relatively efficient experience. While traditional options do not provide the kind of unlimited scalability that cloud hosting can — and so it is feasible that a business might outgrow their provider — it is still likely that you will be able to achieve the same kind of operational efficiency with either option.
One area in which traditional web hosting poses a risk is in relation to downtime. If you choose the right provider, they will have a professional attitude and will be able to guarantee a certain level of uptime. However, you are still putting all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak. A natural disaster or another incident that knocks out a server could have serious repercussions for your business.
Choosing the Right Option for Your Business
Looking at the comparisons above, it’s difficult to argue that cloud hosting represents the best option for most businesses. Unless you have the resources to install an in-house server, you are going to need to choose a hosting provider anyway, so it makes sense to simply opt for a cloud model.
However, the choice is not a binary one. As noted at the beginning of this article, increasing numbers of businesses are opting for a hybrid option, combining the best of both worlds. More established businesses may be unwilling to completely do away with their traditional hosting setup and may instead look for a cloud provider that can offer increased flexibility and scalability as the organisation grows.
Additionally, while cloud hosting is undoubtedly a secure option, some businesses may prefer to host elements of their online presence on a physical server, providing them with peace of mind. As trust in cloud hosting grows, however, we may see this balance shifting as increasing numbers of business owners turn to the cloud as a more viable option.
Contact us to learn more about your website hosting options and to understand the best course of action for your business.