When you start building your own website, you are faced with a seemingly endless maze of choices. Each of these decisions makes a difference in the performance and success of your site. Knowing this, it’s easy to linger over each crossroads, obsessing over which road to take and why.
Take cloud hosting and Virtual Private Server (VPS), for example. Each has specific implications for running your website.
Presentation: What is “Cloud and VPS” hosting?
VPS hosting is a partition of a dedicated server. It acts as a standalone server, but in fact, constitutes a standalone folder on a powerful physical hosting system that also hosts other virtual servers for other clients. Although you share space on physical hosting, your virtual server is independent of others.
A VPS can be restarted without affecting the other VPSs on that machine. You have a server operating system with root access and you can install the software just like you would if you had a dedicated hosting plan with your own server. Some of the physical hosting’s processor and memory is dedicated to your VPS, but you also share additional resources with other virtual servers.
Cloud hosting refers to a potentially unlimited number of machines connected to a network that act as one: they include a cloud. Virtual machines all use the same data stored on separate networked servers, also connected to a network that acts as a data storage centre. You get a complete infrastructure of connected servers and data storage.
Customization with VPS hosting is very similar to that of a dedicated server. You have full root access with full control over the operating system, website and all software. You can customize and configure as you wish as if you had a separate server. Each physical hosting system can run only one operating system. Therefore, your choice of the operating system may be limited if the hosting company only runs one type of virtual hosting machine. Linux systems are generally more common than Windows systems for this type of hosting.
Personalization with cloud hosting expands to include the ability to fine-tune network architecture, firewalls, load balancing, and IP addresses. However, the need to distribute operation across multiple servers may leave less control over some hosting parameters. Windows and Linux clouds are readily available, so you can choose your operating system. Since a cloud environment is more complex, its configuration may require more technical skills, in particular, to take full advantage of the advantages of the cloud network.
VPS hosting has a scaling limit depending on the physical hosting machine. You have access to an additional amount of memory and processor beyond the amount dedicated to your virtual machine, but the physical host has a fixed amount that they can supply. If you need more, you’ll need to get a new plan and risk some downtime while migrating to a new solution.
Cloud hosting is much more scalable, with the ability to add capacity in real-time. Data storage is essentially unlimited. A full network of servers and data storage servers are ready to go when your website traffic increases. The seamless availability of almost infinite processing power is the main benefit of cloud hosting plans.
VPS hosting ensures a fixed level of performance because a guaranteed level of system resources is dedicated to your virtual server. However, high demand from your server or another virtual server on the same physical host can have a negative impact on performance if you both need more resources at the same time, or if your server needs more than what the physical host cannot provide.
A VPS is also potentially a single point of failure because, if the physical hosting server goes down, all of the VPS on that machine will fail. VPS hosting can be adapted to a cloud network and some providers offer plans that include failover to alternative servers.
Cloud hosting ensures maximum availability due to the presence of several servers in a redundant system. If a server goes down, its files and functional responsibilities are instantly migrated to another server, with no downtime. Memory capacity and processor power also increase on-demand to meet your needs or compensate for those of another customer without impacting other users on the network. It is ideal for sites likely to experience significant fluctuations in traffic volume.
The security of VPS hosting is almost equivalent to that of a dedicated physical server. The VPS is independent of any other VPS on the same physical host as if it were a separate machine, but poor security measures taken by the owner of a VPS could affect others on the same physical server. However, this possibility is much less likely than with shared hosting. The centralized location of the physical host provides increased security for operations with critical data whose location must be known and restricted to comply with data security regulations.
The security of cloud hosting is also very high. Your server is completely separate from other clients, just like with a VPS. However, the nature of the web-based infrastructure can make it vulnerable to attack, as it is physically distributed and therefore more difficult to secure. In addition, since the data is hosted in many places, it may not be possible to comply with certain data security regulations.
VPS hosting saves money compared to a dedicated physical server and is generally less expensive than a cloud server. Guaranteed server resources and limited scaling come at a predictable monthly cost. The cost level will depend in part on the management and support plans accompanying the hosting.
Cloud hosting costs more than a VPS because you pay a lot of hardware, complex networks and the resulting uptime guarantee. With these plans, you pay for what you use. Costs can, therefore, be unpredictable due to unknown traffic peaks. It’s like an electricity bill. Sure, you have a lot of power when you need it, but your bill goes up at the end of the month.
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