In the B.C. era (before the cloud) businesses had the option to get online through either shared hosting technology or to invest in a dedicated server. For many small to medium sized businesses this became a difficult choice that was often driven by budgetary considerations. Let’s take a brief look at the online options available to today’s businesses.
Shared hosting is currently the most popular service for many smaller businesses. Once you register your domain name, you shop for host provider weighing your decision based on price and services. Shared hosting basically consists of “renting” a fixed portion of a server. Along with your server space, you receive the benefits of technical support, multiple email addresses and PHP assistance, all for a monthly fee.
For businesses looking to get online quickly shared hosting is a logical choice. Shared hosting features easy start-up, technical support and no expense for costly hardware. There are also drawbacks.
Scalable hosting isn’t an option and because you’re sharing a server, there is a reduced level of security. Another issue is limited resources. With shared hosting if there’s a spike in traffic to another company on your server, your traffic can experience delays, or be suspended.
Dedicated Server Technology
A dedicated server is self-contained hardware consisting of a computer, storage, processing, RAM and a power supply. Dedicated server technology eliminates many of the drawbacks of shared hosting, but at significantly increased cost.
Security risks are lower with a dedicated system and scalable hosting is possible by adding hardware, at a significant cost. In-house dedicated hosting requires you to maintain a complex system that can be difficult without an IT staff.
Dedicated hosting can also be outsourced to a third party provider much like shared hosting. The drawback here is that you do not have physical access to your server. The cost is also significantly higher than shared hosting. You’re not only paying for the physical hosting, you’re paying for the hardware, which remains the property of the host provider. All you own is the data residing on the hardware.
Enter The Cloud
The cloud has changed the playing field. With virtualization there’s no cost for hardware. You pay for only the services and bandwidth you use. With scalable hosting when traffic spikes, your bandwidth is automatically increased to meet demand.
Additional storage can be added in minutes at a very reasonable cost. Compare this with dedicated server technology where scaling is expensive and time consuming. The cloud offers resilience and redundancy. Security isn’t a major issue because your data is spread out among servers on a cloud network. This aids in disaster recovery since this redundancy means your data is immediately backed up in the event of a disaster.
The fact is, the cloud offers flexibility and truly scalable hosting. As the technology evolves, cloud hosting providers are addressing the challenges of both shared hosting and dedicated server technologies. Cloud hosting is worth a look for businesses looking for safe, flexible, affordable hosting!
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