Cloud vs. Shared hosting. What do you need to know?

15.05.2024 1,921 6

Cloud and shared hosting both provide vital infrastructure for the availability of websites and applications on the Internet. They offer essential, scalable, and affordable solutions for hosting your online business. Without them, that e-shop, personal portfolio site, or company page would not exist online. We have already talked about the technologies behind the two – cloud computing and virtualization, but now let’s take a different perspective of a customer who wants to host a site. Cloud hosting vs shared hosting: What do you need to know? Which one should you choose? 

What is cloud hosting? 

Cloud hosting is a web hosting service that utilizes virtualized servers and resources distributed across multiple physical servers and data centers spread across multiple geographical locations. Unlike traditional hosting solutions that rely on a single physical server to host websites or applications, cloud hosting leverages the power of interconnected servers to provide scalability, reliability, and flexibility. 

What are the advantages of cloud hosting? 

This combination of resources taken from different servers means valuable benefits for the customer, such as high availability of resources, enhanced performance, the risk reduction of single points of failure, and more: 

  • Better uptime. If the network of a data center experiences issues or one of the servers is down, the rest can still function properly so traffic can be automatically redirected to another location with minimal downtime. That is very handy for bigger websites, like e-commerce sites, which require always-on connectivity, so they don’t miss out on any sales due to server issues. 
  • Virtualization. The virtual servers or virtual machines (VMs) utilized by cloud hosting, operate independently of physical hardware and can be easily provisioned, scaled, and managed through a centralized management interface. 
  • Redundancy. When using cloud hosting, data is replicated across multiple servers and data centers, and automated failover processes ensure that services remain accessible even in the event of hardware failures or network disruptions. 
  • Enhanced security. Cloud hosting providers invest heavily in security measures to protect customer data and infrastructure. This includes implementing firewalls, intrusion detection systems, encryption protocols, and regular security updates to mitigate threats and vulnerabilities. Additionally, cloud hosting platforms often undergo third-party security audits  and certifications to ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations. 
  • Scalability. Users can easily scale resources (storage, bandwidth, CPU, RAM, etc.) up or down based on demand, allowing them to accommodate fluctuations in website traffic, application usage, or resource requirements. As your website or application grows, you can quickly add more resources without the need for significant hardware upgrades or migration to a different server. 
  • Resource pooling. Cloud hosting pools together resources such as processing power, memory, storage, and bandwidth from multiple physical servers to create a shared pool of resources. This way, cloud hosting providers enable efficient utilization of hardware resources and allow users to access additional resources on-demand without the need for physical hardware upgrades. 
  • Self-service provisioning. Users can easily deploy and manage virtual servers and resources through web-based control panels or APIs. They have full control over their hosting environment and can customize configurations, install applications, and manage security settings as needed. 
  • Automated backups and disaster recovery. Regular backups are performed automatically, and data can be easily restored in the event of data loss or corruption. 
  • Pay-per-use billing. Cloud hosting providers offer flexible billing models that typically charge users based on usage, making it cost-effective to scale resources as needed. This flexible billing approach eliminates the need for long-term contracts or upfront investments and allows users to optimize costs based on their specific requirements. This is a big advantage for everybody, but especially for small businesses and startups. That way, they avoid over-provisioning, eliminate the need for upfront hardware investments, and reduce ongoing maintenance and operational expenses. 

What is shared hosting? 

Shared hosting is a service where multiple websites are hosted on a single physical server and share its resources, including processing power, memory, storage, bandwidth, etc. In a shared hosting environment, each website has its separate account and is allocated a portion of the server’s resources to operate. Depending on your plan, you might be able to host more than one website. 

What are the advantages of shared hosting? 

  • Quick setup. Shared hosting plans often come with pre-configured server environments and one-click installation options for popular applications such as content management systems (CMS) like Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla. This makes it fast and easy to set up and launch a website without the need for complex server installations or configurations. 
  • Managed services. Shared hosting providers handle security patches, server maintenance, hardware upgrades, and other technical tasks on behalf of users. This allows them to focus on building and managing their websites without worrying about the underlying server infrastructure. 
  • Ease-of-use. Shared hosting is a user-friendly and accessible service for everybody. Even individuals with limited technical expertise can use shared hosting for their business to be available online. The best hosting providers offer management interfaces or intuitive control panels that allow users to manage their websites, domains, email accounts, and other hosting-related features with ease. 
  • Technical support. Plans for this type of hosting include access to technical support from the provider. Users can easily reach out to support teams via email, live chat, or phone for assistance with server issues, troubleshooting, and other hosting-related questions or concerns. 
  • Resource allocation. Users are allocated a portion of the server’s resources, including CPU, RAM, storage, and bandwidth, based on their hosting plan. These hosting plans have resource limitations compared to more robust solutions, but they offer sufficient resources for small to medium, and even big-sized websites. 
  • Scalability. Shared hosting is not as scalable as cloud hosting or other hosting solutions, but most shared hosting providers offer scalable upgrade options that allow users to easily upgrade their hosting plans as their websites grow. If you can anticipate your growth, this can be a choice for you. 
  • Cost-effectiveness. Shared hosting is affordable. Remember that multiple websites share the same server and its resources, so the cost of server maintenance, hardware, and infrastructure is divided among users. This makes shared hosting plans much cheaper than other hosting solutions. 

Cloud hosting vs shared hosting 

Now, it is time to make a comparison between cloud vs shared hosting from the perspective of a regular user looking to host a website. Cloud vs shared hosting. Let’s start! 

  • Security 

Quality cloud hosting providers frequently offer advanced security measures, such as encryption, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems. Data is stored across multiple servers and data centers, enhancing security and protecting against data breaches. 

Currently, security on shared hosting is good but may be a concern, as websites share the same server environment. Vulnerabilities in one website could potentially affect others. If a website or several sites are getting a lot of traffic your site will suffer. If one of the sites hosted on the server gets a strong DDoS attack, that could mean downtime for all of the hosted sites. 

  • Scalability 

Cloud hosting allows users to easily scale resources up or down based on demand. This flexibility makes it suitable for websites experiencing fluctuations in traffic. 

Shared hosting plans have limited scalability since resources are shared among multiple users. Scaling up may require upgrading to a higher-tier plan. 

  • Performance 

Cloud hosting generally offers better performance and reliability due to the use of distributed infrastructure. Websites hosted on the cloud benefit from optimized server configurations and faster response times. 

Performance on shared hosting is excellent but sometimes, it can be inconsistent as these resources are shared among multiple websites. Websites may experience slower loading times during peak traffic periods. 

  • Reliability 

When comparing cloud vs shared web hosting reliability, cloud hosting is known for its reliability and uptime guarantees. The distributed nature of cloud infrastructure ensures high availability and redundancy, minimizing the risk of downtime. 

Shared hosting can be less reliable than cloud hosting, as websites may be affected by the performance of other websites on the same server. Downtime due to maintenance or server issues may occur. 

  • Control and customization 

Cloud hosting offers a great level of control and customization. Users can configure server settings, install custom software, and tailor resources to their specific requirements. 

Shared hosting providers offer limited control and customization options as users share the same server environment. Therefore, custom software installations or server configurations may be limited or not allowed. 

  • Ease-of-Use 

Complexity vs ease of use is another vital factor to include in this comparison of cloud vs shared hosting. 

Cloud hosting may require more technical knowledge to set up and manage effectively. While control panels are available, users may need to configure server settings and monitor resource usage more actively. 

Shared hosting is generally easier to set up and manage, making it suitable for users with limited technical expertise. Control panels provide intuitive interfaces for managing websites and hosting accounts. 

  • Cost 

Most quality cloud hosting plans offer pay-as-you-go pricing, where users only pay for the resources they use. While this can be cost-effective for websites with fluctuating traffic, it may result in higher costs for websites with consistent traffic. 

Shared hosting plans are generally more affordable than cloud hosting plans. They offer fixed monthly fees with unlimited resources. Just consider that the offer of “unlimited resources” can be tricky because they are shared by multiple websites or applications simultaneously. Still, it can be a great choice for your business. Its convenience must be analyzed based on your website’s size and needs. 

Cloud hosting vs shared hosting, summary 

Features  Cloud hosting  Shared hosting 
Security  Advanced security measures. Data is stored across multiple servers and data centers.  Good security, but since websites share the same server environment, vulnerabilities in one website can affect others. 
Uptime  High uptime, minimal risk of downtime due to its distributed infrastructure.  Downtime due to maintenance or server issues may occur. 
Scalability  Easy to scale resources up or down based on demand.   Limited scalability since resources are shared among multiple websites. Scaling up requires upgrading to a higher-tier plan. 
Performance  Great performance, optimized server configurations, and faster response times due to its distributed infrastructure.  Acceptable but it can be inconsistent, as resources are shared among multiple websites.  
Reliability  High availability and redundancy, due to its distributed infrastructure.  OK, but websites may be affected by the performance of other websites on the same server.  
Control and customization  High. You can configure server settings, install custom software, and tailor resources to their specific requirements.  Limited or not allowed because multiple websites share the same server environment. 
Ease of use  It requires technical knowledge to set up and manage effectively.  It is easier to set up and manage. Better suited for users with limited technical expertise.  
Cost  Pay-as-you-go pricing. You only pay for the resources you use.  Fixed monthly fees. Plans are very affordable and include unlimited, but shared, resources. 

Cloud hosting vs shared hosting final decision.  

In summary, this cloud hosting vs shared hosting shows that shared hosting is better for individuals and small businesses looking to establish an online presence on a tight budget; users who require simplicity and ease of use. On the other hand, cloud hosting is more suitable for bigger needs (businesses) such as scalability, performance, high uptime, and control, even if it comes at a higher cost and requires more technical expertise to manage effectively. Cost is the biggest reason why new companies prefer to start on shared hosting and move to cloud hosting in their growth phase.  

Go ahead and analyze the needs of your business before you make a decision. Check out our attractive cloud servers and our shared hosting plans. We wish you consistent growth and big success! 

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