To cloud or not to cloud – in the 21st century, that’s the question. When you’re looking for a platform on which to build a website there are two roads to go down, but it’s often tough to know what to choose.
So let’s take a detailed look at cloud and dedicated server-based hosting. How do they both work? What types of businesses and websites do they suit? When might it be good to use each?
What are cloud servers?
‘The cloud’ as a concept is a theoretically-inexhaustible online network where data can be stored.
Cloud servers allow you to rent server space from the cloud from a third party and save all of your data to an online storage system. When you rent virtual server space through a cloud, it means you don’t have to use a specific physical server.
In short, storing data on a cloud server means you’re saving it online.
What are physical dedicated servers?
Dedicated servers are the more traditional way to store data online. As opposed to cloud hosting, these servers take up physical space and, as the name suggests, aren’t shared with anyone else.
Physical dedicated servers can be set up in house or used externally from third-party data centres. The ‘pros’ of cloud servers:
Flexibility – it’s easy to amend the amount of online storage that your website needs with the cloud.
Cost-effective – because cloud storage is so flexible, your website will only have to pay for what it uses and so keep costs to a minimum. Cheaper – cloud rates are spread across more renters and so are typically more affordable.
Easy to set up – once a company has paid for storage, access to the cloud can be made almost instantly.
Reliable – the cloud very rarely goes down because it consists of a number of different servers. If one server is struggling to service cloud storage it can be easily transferred to another quicker server.
No geographic limitations – employees and clients can upload and download files from the cloud across the world.
Environmentally friendly – the cloud is more efficient than regular servers and so better for the environment.
Space saving – it’s perfect for space-strapped businesses or those that are constantly on the move.
The ‘cons’ of cloud servers
Too much dependency – some webmasters find that they become too dependent on a cloud provider and that it’s problematic to transfer data to new providers.
Online only – the cloud can’t be accessed offline, and so is less effective for employees without consistent internet access.
Lower performance – the cloud is typically slightly slower than using a physical server, so the speed of some sites can suffer, depending on the cloud provider and your arrangements with them.
No control – IT teams can find that they have little control over how the software and hardware in the cloud works.
Lack of privacy or security – because cloud storage is effectively shared with other people online, many people find that some cloud services aren’t secure enough to store important corporate information.
The ‘pros’ of dedicated servers
High performance – in terms of speed, dedicated servers are at least comparable to cloud services and are usually faster and more consistent because they’re only being used by you.
Customisation – businesses are able to create and install software that integrates systems and helps towards a more effective website. Customisation on this level isn’t usually available on cloud servers.
Security – dedicated servers can sometimes mean that there are fewer security vulnerabilities, and that it’s easier to implement effective anti-virus software.
Control – You have complete control on the information that’s viewed and shared on your website – perfect if you’re handling sensitive, personal data.
The ‘cons’ of dedicated servers:
Costs – because dedicated servers are more complicated than cloud alternatives from your point of view, they are often more expensive to run, maintain and fix.
In-depth knowledge needed – it takes extensive experience to create and manage a website on a dedicated server.
Too big – some offices may find that dedicated servers take up too much space. Rigid specifications – it’s harder to update and adapt server space to suit the needs of a business.
So which type of server is best?
Ultimately, the best solution is the one that is best for you. Choosing between cloud and dedicated servers totally depends on you or the client you’re representing – the size of the website, your future plans, your industry and many other factors.
Talk to us today at TheGenieLab about what you want from a fresh website. We’ll help you identify what you need.
Call 01633 415 364 or email firstname.lastname@example.org