A lot of businesses, both large multinational companies, and smaller startups are increasingly moving their web hosting from traditional physical servers to the more versatile cloud hosting. Why is this? Are companies proffering traditional hosting solutions going the way of the Dodo? What exactly are the differences between these two forms of hosting? These are the questions this article is aiming to answer
Let’s imagine for a moment that a particular online store runs a warehouse for their stock. It is a growing company with minimal inventory. They share the warehousing space with a similar company with both of them dividing the costs between themselves. This model was perfect until they started to grow and scalability was becoming an issue, they needed a larger warehousing space.
They were confronted with two options; they could either buy their own warehouse and move their inventory there or they could employ a company to take care of their warehousing needs. The former would involve a huge initial capital commitment on their part and will also mean recurring costs of maintaining the warehouse on their own, but it will grant them direct access to their stock, they would also have total control. The later would effectively divest them of any and all responsibilities concerning their inventory with the added peace of mind that it is all safe and accounted for. They also get added services like free delivery and packaging, although it also means they have to trust another company with their livelihood. All they had to do was pay a relatively reasonable amount for access to such a comprehensive service.
This is an easy way to view the forms of web hosting and their interrelationship. Before cloud hosting, there were three web hosting options available for companies. Shared hosting with a hosting company in which several companies share the same web servers, with the bandwidth and maintenance costs distributed among them. This option is quite cheap, as the cost is shared, but it is also unreliable as many sites are sharing the resources of a single server. Security is gnarly too, for if a site on the server gets infected with malware, the other sites sharing the server are exposed too.
The second is basically the same as the first, except the server is not shared with any other company. The hosting company provides a dedicated server that will be serving just one of their clients. This is more reliable than the former, also more expensive. This is useful for those companies that have outgrown the usefulness of a shared server.
The third is an option for companies with deep pockets, as it requires a huge initial capital investment. It involves the company basically running their own data center on their premises. They buy their own servers, cooling equipment, hire engineers to look after the equipment, effectively being their own hosting company. This can be very convenient and fast as the company would have absolute control over their hosting services and security.
For cloud hosting, all the repairs and general maintenance of the servers are taken over by a company that is fully dedicated to that. They also, usually have the resources to have a better array of equipment than individual companies could afford. They operate multiple servers which are then shared among their clients which does much to temper the costs, although they could still cost quite a bit for those companies that use them for a long period. The upside here is the almost absolute reliability as there is little or no downtime because there are redundancies in place to handle that. Say, for instance, server A goes down, there is usually a server B or C or D and so on that can pick up the slack until server A is ready to fire up again. The company also retains full control as they can control their usage and options without reverting to customer service or contacting the cloud services company.
Also, there is no need to pay for what is not used, based on the bandwidth needs of a website, more or less can be used and paid for, at will, without having to invest huge amounts in gaining access to large bandwidths that later turn out to be unnecessary or not adequate, basically, pay-as-you-use which can be very attractive to growing companies.
Even with cloud computing, there are still public and private clouds which is reminiscent of the shared and dedicated servers explained above. Public clouds have infrastructure localized to a cloud company who then share it among its clients. Private clouds have infrastructure acquired and used only by one company. The cloud could be externally hosted (remotely located) or located on premises, which affords direct control of the infrastructure, but also considerably more expensive. There is a final type, the hybrid cloud which is, of course, a combination of the two. These classifications are made based on location
A more intensive classification is based on services that are offered by the cloud, the most popular of which are those offering infrastructure, platform, software, and storage services. The so-called Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud services offer virtual servers and storage disks, examples include the very popular Amazon Web Services. The platform cloud services offer a development platform from which users can run and develop applications without the usual infrastructural investment typical in the development of apps. These are known as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and examples include Microsoft Azure. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) gives users access to software which they can pay for as they use instead of buying licensed software at high prices.
As to the future of web hosting, it seems to be a matter of perception. Large companies are still willing to keep making the considerable investment for their dedicated servers while smaller companies are finding the flexibility and cost of cloud hosting quite irresistible. What is more important though, is to determine the web hosting needs of the companies and create a plan for meeting them.
Website development companies are also being more inclusive in their services. Companies like Magento E-commerce Agency offer a wide range of web hosting services to their clients. As noted previously, they help their clients figure out which web hosting services are most fitted for their company needs and create solutions that work for their particular brand. This is not as easy as it might seem, it requires a deep understanding of the web hosting landscape and lots of creativity.
Cloud web hosting obviously has a huge role to play in our approach to web hosting, now and in many years to come, hey, leading tech companies like Google already see the writing on the wall. Even so, the last word is not yet penned about the traditional web hosting options, not by a long shot Website development companies.