Difference between Cloud and shared/dedicated/VPS hosting

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Posted on : 27-11-2010 | By : Jack Davidson | In : Cloud Hosting
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Cloud hosting may be a totally new way of hosting websites but its foundations are the same as the ones used for traditional web hosting methods. By foundations we mean the technical aspects used to come up with cloud hosting are the same as the ones used for dedicated and shared server hosting.

While all web hosting methods are based on the same framework, they are all unique in their own ways. However to understand their differences one must have a good idea of how they function.

In the shared server hosting, there is one main server. The server admin allocates space to multiple users of the servers from his hard disk in the main server. The website owner is then expected to pay a regular fee to keep using that space. The period of payment varies with hosts, it could be annual or on a monthly basis. This is most ideal users for this type of hosting is private individuals who own websites. As the name suggests everything from space to memory is shared among its users.

The dedicated server, which is one of the two traditional methods of web hosting, is where one person has the whole server to himself. This includes the hard disk space and memory. Essentially everything in the server is dedicated to only one website or user. This type of hosting suits websites with complex applications and need more space, power and also bandwidth.

There is also another new method of web hosting known as Virtual Private Server (VPS), this is a mixture of both the dedicated and shared server hosting. It has one physical server which is then split into other virtual servers. The virtual servers are also created with their own independent operating systems. This enables the user to do enhancements like installing software on them. The VPS costs less than the dedicated server in terms of maintenance but more than shared hosting as the whole system is dedicated to one user.

So where does cloud hosting come in? Cloud hosting embraces the technology used in all the above web hosting methods but the major difference is that it provides better options. It solves a major problem experienced in the three web hosting methods described above.

If you have hardware that cannot handle the demands of your website the next possible option is upgrading the machine which is quite costly. On the other hand you may have a website that has more space and memory than it needs meaning these resources end up getting wasted. It gets wasted since in dedicated hosting whether you use it or not you still pay for the entire space and memory.

Cloud hosting unlike the others allows you to manage the use of resources like bandwidth, disk space, RAM and the CPU. Cloud hosting allows users to program the machine to automatically assign more resources when the application requires them. Consequently cloud hosting enables one to bill only the amount of resources consumed.

In other words this ability to scale a server for effective resource management is the major difference between cloud hosting and the above mentioned types of hosting.

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