Cloud Servers Compared to Traditional Dedicated Servers

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When becoming a Liquid Web customer, you may be curious about whether you should go with our Cloud Servers, our public cloud offering, or whether you should go with the Traditional Dedicated route. The short answer to that question is: it depends. Cloud Servers and Traditional Dedicated servers both have different advantages.

Advantages of Cloud Servers over Traditional Dedicated servers

Quick Deployment and Granular Billing
One of the most apparent advantages with a Cloud Server is the fact that they are pre-racked, and can thus be provisioned within minutes. This, combined with the fact that billing is done daily to make cloud-based servers ideal for developers who may need to kick instances quickly and for a relatively short amount of time for a project.

Although the creation of a Cloud Server will bill you for the days remaining in your billing period, or when a new billing period arrives, you will be credited back days that you have not used when it is destroyed.

Dynamic Resizing
Another advantage of a Cloud Server is the ability to dynamically resize an instance. This is certainly beneficial for long-term upgrades, as the migrations are completely automatic and transparent to the user. However, users who have cyclic periods of increased usage can really benefit from this feature, especially given the daily billing.

For example, we worked with a customer who had an older traditional dedicated server. On certain nights (which were known in advance), his traffic literally doubled, which caused problems for that server. In this case, we decided that a Cloud Server was an excellent choice. Now prior to the start of the busy time, he upsizes the server to handle the significantly increased load, and then when the busy time is done, he just resizes down. The customer then only pays for the larger server for the time it was used.

It was truly a win/win situation. The customer was able to handle the increased load as needed, yet at the same time was able to save money by not having to keep running an underutilized server.

Automated Advanced Networking
The advanced networking features of Cloud Servers are another significant advantage over traditional dedicated servers. Through the interface at, you can set up load balancing, firewall rules, and a private network. This makes it easy to transition from, say, a single server, which is both hosting static web content as well as the database, to a frontend-backend setup where the two servers, one web, and one database, are linked via private networking, as no physical cabling needs to be run, nor switches set up.

Creating Server Images
With Cloud Servers, you have the ability to create server images, which you can then use to create additional instances.

For example, say that you were anticipating building a site with a load balanced architecture. One thing that you might do is create a base configuration server that all future front-end servers (also known as nodes) would have, and then create an image from that server. That way, additional node creation simply involves using that image upon creation. This saves you the time of having to manually configure each server.

Advantages of Traditional Dedicated Servers over Cloud Servers

Hardware Customization
One of the key advantages that a Traditional Dedicated server has over a Cloud Server is that you are able to customize various hardware components in a much more granular fashion. For example, it is easy to add additional hard drive space or RAM with a Traditional Dedicated server. However, with a Cloud Server, you have to upgrade the whole instance.

Operating System Selection
Another advantage that Traditional Dedicated servers have over Cloud Servers is that, for now, the selection is limited to what is available from our template selection. With a Traditional Dedicated server, although we wouldn’t be able to offer any support, essentially any operating system (such as any BSD or Linux distribution) can be installed.

Traditional Dedicated servers can have a custom partitioning scheme. Although the partitioning scheme that comes with Cloud Servers is adequate for many, some may require a more customized scheme. In fact, this is a requirement for customers who are interested in our Managed High Availability MySQL engineering service.

Hybrid Solutions

You may find yourself with requirements that call for the use of both Cloud Servers as well as Traditional Dedicated servers, such as utilizing Cloud Servers for front-end servers and Traditional Dedicated servers for a Managed High Availability MySQL back end.

Fortunately, Liquid Web can design a Hybrid environment that is right for you. With a Hybrid environment, you can leverage the benefits of both platforms.


If you are looking for more information, whether it is regarding Cloud Servers, Traditional Dedicated servers, or Hybrid solutions, don’t hesitate to contact a Liquid web Sales Engineer at the number below. For more information, please feel free to contact our Solutions team; they can be reached at 1-800-580-4985, or (1-517-322-0434).

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