Cloud vs Dedicated Hosting

Choosing the right web hosting environment is a decision you’re going to face time and time again as a website owner. Even after you make an initial decision, your web hosting needs may change and evolve over time.

Below we dive into the differences between cloud and dedicated hosting, so you can make the best choice for your website and your business.

What Is Cloud Hosting?

When it comes to cloud hosting, a lot of people begin to think about the ethereal cloud. A place that doesn’t quite exist, where all of their data is stored. They have no idea where it’s stored and how it got there, but it does, and it exists.

The cloud is still a relatively new concept, but it’s based upon cloud computing technologies that allow an unlimited number of machines to effectively act as a single system. So, instead of a website being hosted on the actual server it’s being hosted on a virtual partition of the server, which is drawing its resources from a network of existing servers.

Cloud hosting is extremely reliable, because it draws its resources from multiple different servers. If one goes down, the other servers can take its place. Cloud hosting can grow with your company as all you’ll need to do is add additional server resources if your site demands it.

However, most cloud hosting does have a lower level of performance when compared to dedicated servers.

What Is a Dedicated Server?

A dedicated server is exactly like it sounds. Your website and all of the necessary files are stored on a single physical server dedicated to your website. Most dedicated servers will come pre-equipped with certain hardware specifications, so make sure you choose a dedicated server that has the specs your website requires.

This style of hosting is generally more expensive, but dedicated servers come with very high performance, as they can be configured to your exact needs, and provide a high level of security.

This can be a great choice for larger businesses or websites that receive high amounts of traffic. Or, if you have a business that requires a very high level of security for your data storage.

Which One Is Right for Me?

The pricing of each of the server options – cloud or dedicated – will depend upon the hosting company you’re using. Generally, dedicated servers are more expensive and you’ll be paying an up-front monthly fee for the server space you’re using.

Cloud hosting is usually sold on a sliding scale and you’ll end up paying for the total amount of server resources you’re actually using. If you’d like to experiment with different hosting environments and have something more flexible in nature supporting you, then cloud hosting might be the best option for your needs.

Before you make the jump into choosing a web host, or upgrading your current package, make sure you take the needs of your website into account. If you have questions about either of these options, contact HostGator’s support team for more information.

Which style of hosting do you prefer? Please share in the comments below.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.