Cloud vs. Dedicated Hosting

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Cloud and dedicated servers are two types of hosting solutions that you will find across professional web hosting companies. Whether your a small business or a thriving enterprise the question remains, what is the difference between Cloud and Dedicating hosting and which one is the best solution for you? For a third year in a row voted by Cloud Spectator, in top server side performance, we are here to give you a comprehensive break down of these two types of hosting environments as well as impactful aspects:  performance through speed and uptime, and most importantly cost.

Simply put the cloud a virtual space on multiple servers. A typical product of the cloud environment is a Cloud VPS. We can compare Cloud hosting to the service of a restaurant. The restaurant would represent the physical server, within that server lives the Cloud VPS, in this case, represented by the restaurant’s tables. Each waitress/waiter equals the resources that each table or Cloud VPS can pull from. If your party is growing, you can add another table (Cloud VPS) together and therefore increase your waiter/waitresses (resources). If your party is leaving the same concept can be applied, quickly adjusting to your needs. On the other hand, a dedicated server would have one table, the whole restaurant to yourself, having six wait staff attending to your dedicated server needs.

Dedicated and Cloud both have the option to manage or self-manage. Unmanaged means you’ll be responsible for running routine software updates, which are essential to security, as opposed to your hosting provider. The choice to go managed or unmanaged is better left to a broader discussion but as you can guess unmanaged is usually the cheaper option.

Cloud hosting wins over with price as there is no hardware to buy and you usually pay for what you use. While your business grows, you’ll be able to scale up by adding more file space for more or larger websites.  Because these are actual physical pieces that you can own, dedicated servers, sometimes have a setup fee associated with them. The freedom of having your server means you’ll be paying for maximum power even with you are not utilizing the whole server.  Your hosting provider can maintain both Cloud VPS and Dedicated, but dedicated servers often will need an additional team with a deeper understanding of resource monitoring and network setup. Lastly, Cloud VPS average entry-level servers start around $60 per month while dedicated entry level starts off around $199 per month.

Cloud Costs
  • Average entry level $60 per month
  • No hardware to buy
  • Unlimited resource scaling
  • Pay for what you use
Dedicated Costs
  • Average entry level $199 per month
  • Initial setup fees
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Uptime, defined as the amount of time your server is online and available to your users.  For most, uptime is of the utmost importance because businesses rely on the revenue or information that their site provides. More and more cloud environments uptimes are improving though there is always the chance of downtime due to resource abuse from other customers on the same server.  Dedicated servers face similar issues with, but those are due to a different reason such as hardware failures. You’ll also find cloud environments are resilient and redundant with their environmental setup and are ideal for minimal downtime in scaling up. Scaling up within dedicated will prove to be more of an impact on uptime due to its intricacies. Regardless of their scaling and known for their superb uptime, dedicated servers are favorites to more significant e-commerce business with larger mission-critical websites.

Cloud Uptime
  • More for small to medium business because uptime can sometimes be an issue
  • Resilient and Redundant
  • Can have occasional downtime due to shared resources
Dedicated Uptime
  • Great uptime for larger websites, such as e-commerce businesses and high-traffic sites
  • One point of failure
Check MarkLearn how HA infrastructure can help your business. Download our white paper on Why High Availability Matters – And How You Can Achieve It Reliably and Affordably.

How fast a network or website is most often the number one concern amongst website developers and users.  When differentiating whether the cloud or a dedicated server is faster, the short of it is, dedicated will usually be faster. It’s difficult to compare the two environments because not all websites are created equal, front-end and backend development play into speed.  In this instance, we are going to assume the code is sufficient for optimal performance. If we think of our restaurant analogy from earlier, resources (the wait staff) are limited in Cloud environment. These resources get pulled by the website’s processes, so you may reach a limit that your hosting provider or Cloud VPS cant handle as fast as a dedicated server. (Though there are some free caching services you can implement to be SEO competitive.)  Remember resources for dedicated servers are all yours, and this equals out to a significant increase in speed.

Cloud Speed
  • Average page load times
  • Extra work needed to implement caching
Dedicated Speed
  • Quicker website load times
  • High performance due to unshared resources
You’ll find that determining the current need of your business will help to ease the choice of hosting environments.  Dedicated servers remain the best choice where performance is critical if you have the money to spend but can be rigid in upscaling.  Most small to medium sites are optimal to run on the cloud or can stand for the occasional downtime and are best for growing businesses.   For a side by side comparison, visit our products to see how our Dedicated Servers  and Cloud VPS win over big name hosting providers.


Author Bio

About the Author: Echo Diaz

Throughout Echo's four year stint as a technical support specialist, her passion for breaking down complex concepts has to lead to a career in professional writing. As a top tier support specialist, she adds a distinctive element to her written work that speaks to customer feedback and concerns.

Echo occasionally pops her head out from behind her computer to watch her dog energetically run around the yard and unabashedly shovels money into buying tickets to see her favorite musical artists.

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