Cloud Hosting or Dedicated Server Hosting

What should you prefer?

The rate at which the cloud industry is flourishing in today's IT world, the choice of cloud hosting vs. a dedicated server has become a discussion topic. Thousands of forums, discussion boards, and blogs on the internet discuss this, with most in favor of cloud hosting on account of its benefits.

Here's a brief neutral comparison without being biased towards cloud hosting. We kick-start this comparison with the basics of these technologies.

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Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is perhaps the next big thing in the hosting world. It has the potential of becoming the sole solution to data storage and hosting.

In cloud computing, the server is outsourced and runs on virtualized software. Many large data centers run on servers in a virtualized environment. Therefore, a single server produces many instances of virtual servers.

To a user, virtual servers appear as dedicated servers. However, these virtual servers run on a large number of different servers. So, it is like a dedicated server, but the user doesn't know what hardware their server currently runs on.

Dedicated Server

This is the traditional, reliable, and recommended way of hosting just about anything, be it highly interactive websites, web apps, or anything else. It follows a simple protocol, in which a user buys or leases a server from a provider and pays monthly charges.

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A basic server costs $50 to $100 per month, and the cost goes up depending on the features offered as a part of the package. Once you purchase one of these, there is normally a waiting (set-up) time required for installation.

The server is set up by somebody, as opposed to cloud hosting, where an instance is created in the cloud. The user can access it within a matter of few minutes since the time needed for setting up an instance is less than the time needed to set up a complete web server.

Cost Differences

The monthly cost for dedicated servers may range from $100 to $1,000, depending on the packages. It can start at $50, but such configurations aren't usually useful. The billing of a standard dedicated server normally starts at around $100. In the case of cloud computing, it basically is about how much you use.

Piggy Drowning

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You're only charged for the amount of storage and the time you use the storage. The minimum billing normally starts at $50, and there's no upper limit because you're billed at a pay-as-you-use model.

The best part about cloud storage is that nothing is capped like dedicated servers. Whether it's data storage cost or data transfer cost, you're charged only for what you use on the cloud.

Performance

Performance-wise, both are comparable. Dedicated servers are as fast as their cloud counterparts. However, there is something called a "dirty" instance in the case of dedicated servers.

It is normal to see a computer slowing down over a period of time due to too many unwanted program files and temp files running on the server. This can be the same with cloud servers. However, you can switch to a new instance leaving a dirty instance behind, cleaning up that machine without interrupting things, and then moving back to the same machine in a hassle-free manner.

Reliability

The biggest difference is the reliability aspect. Since data is stored and retrieved from multiple machines on the cloud, if one server crashes unexpectedly, your website or web app won't go down, and you may experience some performance issues and a slowdown in the pace of execution.

However, in the case of a dedicated server, there's no such possibility of a backup kicking in, and your website or web app goes on in the case of a server crash, and there is no interim solution available until the server is repaired.

Virtual private servers offer a midway solution between the two and offer the benefits of a dedicated server at a lower price.

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