Cloud Hosting Vs. Traditional Hosting Explained

2015-03-16by Anand Srinivasan

Cloud hosting is becoming popular among businesses because of its many advantages, especially when it comes to reliability and scalability. However, does it really provide significant benefits compared to traditional hosting solutions? How is it different? Is it better than hosted setups or on-premises solutions?

Cloud hosting is a setup wherein the resources needed to host a website are spread across more than a single server and rendered on demand. This creates various advantages especially when it comes to addressing downtimes. Traditional web hosting, on the other hand, exists in many forms, and each of these forms can be compared and contrasted to cloud hosting as follows.

Cloud Hosting vs. Managed Hosting

Managed hosting involves the leasing of an entire server in an off-site data center to be dedicated to the needs of the leasing party. It provides the customer complete control on the entirety of the server, including maximum hardware, bandwidth, and processor speed usage. The leasing party may choose the operating system and have full control over optional services such as upgrades, firewalls, backups, and security patches.

Cloud hosting offers many of the perks of managed and dedicated hosting although there will be less control. The server operating system, for instance, cannot be dictated by the customer, although cloud service providers may offer both operating systems and the customer chooses which one to get. In terms of cost, cloud hosting is cheaper than managed hosting because of the dynamic resource allocation and billing involved. Cloud providers often charge on a pay-as-you-go scheme, which can be beneficial for small to medium businesses or growing enterprises that start out small, but expect to scale at some point.

Cloud Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is similar to managed hosting (and usually integrates managed hosting) but is different when it comes to the technical know-how aspect. Businesses that employ dedicated hosting services need to have technical know-how to be able to handle system administration and management through a remote desktop setup. The level of control is similar to managed hosting. Technical support and backup services are also available.

Compared to cloud hosting, dedicated hosting may not offer the maximum capacity (based on the leased hardware). In most cases, utilization is only 60% or lower, relative to capacity. Cloud takes the upper hand here as it can deliver the maximum capacity being paid for – or rather, you only pay for the capacity that you need and actually use.

Cloud Hosting vs. Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is arguably the most widely used web hosting solution mainly because of its price. It is relatively cheap, so it is easily accessible to most of those who need server solutions. In shared hosting, however, there are certain risks, as available resources are sometimes shared without strict divisions as to how much resource allocation one customer should be getting. Hence, if there is overloading caused by one customer on the same server box, everybody else is affected.

Cloud hosting addresses this major drawback of shared hosting by offering similar solutions at affordable rates, but without putting a customer’s operations at the risk of suffering downtimes due to overloads caused by other customers. Because of the distributed nature of cloud hosting, no single point of failure can bring down the entire service.

Cloud Hosting vs. Virtual Private Server (VPS)

VPS hosting is a type of hosting solution that employs virtualization technology. It mimics a dedicated server within a shared hosting environment. It can be considered a fusion of shared and dedicated hosting. VPS hosting enables multiple servers to act as one physical server to address bigger needs.

Cloud hosting one-ups VPS by being able to offer the advantages, while also providing operational efficiency. VPS allocates specific amounts of (or a percentage of the whole) server resources to multiple customers but is unable to allow others to access the allocated resources even when these resources are idle. Cloud hosts can route traffic if the situation calls for it. This means that resources are dynamically used so available resources are maximized and those that require more resources may be accommodated.

Cloud Hosting vs. Grid Hosting

Grid hosting – or more accurately, grid computing, refers to the use of the combined resources of multiple server hardware geared toward low-transactional, but high-processing needs. Several servers contribute in establishing a bigger capacity on a grid. The grid offers the advantage of scalability, as customers can increase their request for more resources whenever the need arises.

With such a distributed infrastructure, traffic needs to be managed through load balancing, which dynamically distributes load across different servers to prevent overloading. This is traditionally done with an appliance in an on-premises deployment, or a cheaper DNS-based solution. However, once a distributed server grid spans several locations, there needs to be an alternative software-based solution. A better option is to route traffic through a cloud-based load balancing service, which works with geographically distributed on-premises grid deployments, private clouds and hybrid clouds, which involve both public cloud providers and on-premises servers.

Cloud computing can be considered an evolved form of the grid, allowing for more agile scaling. The cloud addresses the foremost disadvantage of grid hosting, in which the emergence of a single point of failure can fully degrade the grid. Cloud hosting does not get affected by individual hardware failures. Moreover, the compound units in a cloud hosting system are automatically interchangeable, offering the benefit of better data security.

A simple point of comparison would be that grid essentially involves shared computing power, while the cloud involves leased computing power and storage from a provider.


Overall, cloud hosting can be considered as the preferable option for most small to medium businesses, due to the low barrier to entry, flexibility and scalability. Cloud hosting facilitates efficiency, reduces hosting costs, and addresses potential problems involving downtimes, server overloads, and resource maximization and allocation.

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Anand Srinivasan

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