Cloud hosting has been around for a while now and is growing in popularity, but there are still some misconceptions about what it entails. In this blog, we’ll explain what cloud hosting is compared to the “old-fashioned” variant: hosting on hardware.
What is cloud hosting?
Cloud hosting has become an indispensable part of the internet industry, but many hosting parties that offer cloud hosting often don’t know the best way to describe it. Therefore, here is a fun comparison:
Cloud Hosting is a bit like carpooling where the passengers are the websites and the cars are the servers – bare with us here. If five passengers each drive their own car to the same destination, a lot of space is lost. They can also choose to share one car, which saves space. It sounds a little simplistic but that’s more or less how cloud hosting works.
Essentially, cloud hosting is hosting on multiple servers. These servers are divided into smaller virtual servers on which websites are hosted. The most common packages that come with a cloud hosting package are therefore often shared hosting packages.
Cloud hosting parties generally do not have their own hardware, they rent it from another party. Because they do not have to maintain the hardware themselves, they can often offer the regular service for a lower price.
Because of hosting on multiple servers, it is a lot easier to scale up and down when a site gets busier or less busy. There is a misconception about this. Just because it is easier does not mean it will happen automatically. Nor does it mean that Cloud Hosting is the best option for every shop.
What is Hardware Hosting
Hardware Hosting is a lot easier to explain. Hosting on hardware is seen as the “old fashioned” way of hosting. There is a lot less automation and no intermediate layer between hardware and end users. A web shop buys physical space on a server from a hosting company. This server can be divided into small parts, but not in the virtual way as with cloud hosting. Instead, the servers are physically divided. This way multiple web shops can still use the same server to save costs but the division is not virtual.
At Magehost this means that we can help our customer a lot faster in case of problems because we maintain the hardware ourselves. Hosting on hardware might be seen as old-school but for many shops it can also have advantages.
If we go back to the carpool comparison, we could explain this well. Sharing one car with several people is convenient if every passenger is lightly packed. However, as soon as one of these passengers is carrying a lot of heavy luggage, this is also a disadvantage for the others: the car becomes heavier and therefore slower. As soon as there are several passengers with very heavy luggage, the car might not be able to cope with the weight.
This also works for web shops. The heavier and more complex a webshop is, the more demands it makes on the hardware. Take Magento shops as an example. Magento needs a lot of disk i/o, which means that the application has to request and deliver a lot of information to or from a physical disk. This is more difficult with cloud hosting because there is a layer between the physical disk and the web shop: the hosting party. Loading can then take longer for Magento shops. This is why Magento shops would be better off hosting their site the old-fashioned way.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it in real life than we can tell you. But we would like to point out that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for every shop. So when you are choosing your hosting providers, think carefully about which solution is best for your shop.
Do you want to read more about this topic? Then read our next blog: Cloud hosting & Hardware hosting: The differences.