This is a debate which has been raging right from the time when the cloud entered the hosting space. Many professionals swear by the cloud while others still cling to the old traditional hosting. Here are some reasons why you should opt for one or the other.
The most important factor influencing your choice of hosting is whether you have a small or large online footprint. There are many successful but small websites which can very well run on shared hosting. Individual blogs running on WordPress don’t need heavy resources. However, some websites may be quite small but have lots of videos which have to be streamed requiring large bandwidth. Such sites need shoring up of resources which can be fulfilled only by a cloud setup.
The big players with thousands of web pages and visitors from across the globe need a heftier hardware to work seamlessly. These giants of the internet would be well off in a cloud. They can elastically grow or shrink their server instances quickly and save money.
Scaling means adding and deleting computational power of servers elastically, with demand. Seasonal businesses which experience surge in demand during certain times in a year can easily increase their servers during peak season and reduce during rest of the year. For example, a website dealing with college admissions will be busy in the months of July-September. Some retail online businesses thrive during the holiday season. Such online enterprises would do well to embrace the cloud. Here, it is easy to scale infrastructure. In case of traditional hosting, it takes a month to add or delete servers. Moreover such traditional hosting services cannot respond to sudden surges in demand.
Maintenance cost is almost nil in case of a cloud. You need not employ costly technical staff to deploy servers. In addition, a cloud hosting service is a pay per use model and you need not spend upfront for purchasing hardware. Expenses can be budgeted and server capacity added or reduced as per demand or traffic. This is a major advantage of cloud hosting. The economies of scale mean that larger the requirement more the benefit of cloud hosting. It is a sad but known fact that most new ventures fold up and very few make it beyond the first year of operation. Buying server hardware for these new ventures is therefore not recommended. A cloud hosting environment can mitigate losses in these circumstances.
Many traditional hosting providers cater to a local audience. This means their servers are located in a particular geographical area. If your customers belong to a different geographical location, far away from the server, website download speed would certainly be compromised. In case of cloud hosting, the footprint of the provider is usually global which results in higher download speeds all over the world. Some cloud hosting providers have a linkup with CDN services which improve website performance.
Traditional hosting is complex to setup and operate. You have to install various software, beginning with the operating system. This operation has to be repeated whenever you are adding a server. In a cloud hosting environment you don’t have to carry out such activities. The cloud server instances already have preloaded operating system. Additionally, server instances can be added effortlessly. The additional benefit of cloud hosting is that you can avoid employing costly manpower to manage your online resources. Cloud hosting service providers can be approached to provide technical assistance whenever you face any problems in handling resources.
Shared hosting is preferred by smaller websites. The control panel provided by shared hosting provider is standard and usually caters to all the requirements for running a website. If your website does not require heavy resources, shared hosting can be a good option. You should remember that shared hosting means your website resides in a server which has few hundred more websites. Sudden traffic surges or spikes in other sites can cause your website to slow down.
One of the major problems faced by those wanting move from traditional hosting to cloud is migration. You have obviously spent exorbitant amount of resources setting up your website and don’t want to encounter any problem in its working. This poses a serious problem in migration. One of the solutions is to use a test server and then migrate to live environment. Migration expertise is available with most cloud hosting providers and may be utilized to avoid trouble during migration.
The issue of security has been widely debated in case of cloud hosting. Some experts claim that cloud is riddled with security issues while some other feel that cloud is the most secure environment. In case of any security breach you can face downtime, which in turn can cause incalculable loss in business. Malicious viruses and dangerous hacking incidences have made users cautious. This aspect can be managed in case of traditional hosting because you are in control of the hosting environment. In cloud environment you are at the mercy of the provider. A reliable and trustworthy cloud hosting provider is therefore essential to avoid security issues.
Load balancing in case of cloud hosting is more efficient because it is managed over a large cluster of servers. In such instances, failure is minimized because of easy restoration from a mirror server. In many cloud hosting services, websites can be replicated or mirrored in a different geographical location. Such an arrangement results in almost nil failure due to server outage.
Small businesses can very well remain hosted on traditional shared hosting which are cost effective and reliable. These websites do not need resources and power which a cloud hosting can provide. Entrepreneurs who cannot estimate the load on servers must choose a cloud provider where the load fluctuation can be smoothly handled by scaling. Since there is no capital expenditure, cloud hosting is economical. Both traditional and cloud hosting have a place in the scheme of things.