Even with the advent of highly available Cloud Hosting, it is still true that Shared hosting is the most popular web hosting option. This is probably because it is the most affordable option, and is easy to get started. However, it is also true that shared hosting has many disadvantages such as slower performance, higher risk of downtime, problems associated with bad neighbours, difficulties to scale, and more.
On the other hand, Cloud hosting provides dedicated resources (processing power, memory, storage space) from a pool of servers. It solves many of the shared hosting problems, and nowadays is available at an ever more affordable price.
In this article, we will compare cloud hosting vs shared hosting, exploring the benefits and disadvantages of each hosting option. I will be making the case for why cloud hosting is better for your business.
You will learn how to use RunCloud to manage your cloud server just as easily as managing shared hosting. You can also take advantage of DigitalOcean’s offer of $100 free credit to try out a modern cloud hosting service with our easy to follow tutorial.
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is the most popular hosting option for people’s first website primarily because it is the most affordable option avaiable, with many services offering site hosting for as little as $3 a month.
Shared hosting is beginner friendly because it comes with an easy-to-use web hosting control panel with pre-installed software and tools. Usually, it includes extra features such as one-click software installations, marketing credits, and website builders
Only the minimum technical knowledge is required to use shared hosting. The web hosting company is responsible for managing, maintaining, and updating the shared hosting server. You do not need any particularly deep know-how.
Shared hosting services can offer these incredibly low price hosting options because they are putting hundreds (sometimes thousands) of websites on every single physical server!
Each customer shares the same server resources (CPU, memory, disk space) together with all the other customers on their shared server. As a result they only have limited access to a tiny part of the server resources.
The Condo Equivalence – undesirable housemates
It is like sharing a condo with your housemates, where you all have to share the same amenities and space – but imagine that condo has hundreds of housemates!
If someone on the same server happens to use a lot of resources (running a high traffic website) and often has traffic spikes, this will affect your site performance and thus your site speed will be drastically reduced. A neighbors site doesn’t even have to maintain high traffic, any site can receive spikes for any number of reasons, they will all affect your site’s performance.
Your web application will be affected when the other customer’s site is hacked. If the security breach affects the whole server, then your web application will be in a serious threat. If someone else’s site is suffering from a brute force attack, likewise, this will affect your site’s performance even if they don’t manage to breach the security.
Also, when you are using shared hosting, you are sharing the same IP address with all the other customers on the same server. If your neighbours behave badly it can affect your web application too.
For example, if another customer’s website is listed as a spammer and gets blacklisted, then every website that shares the same IP address will also get blacklisted – You have been blacklisted because of someone else’s irresponsible behaviour.
Shared hosting may be good if you have predictable traffic because you are paying for a set amount of server resources. However, if your traffic may increase rapidly or spike due to a new product or marketing campaign, you may be limited to the resources you currently have – this can lead to site downtime during the most crucial business opportunities.
You will need to upgrade your shared hosting plan to add more server resources – indeed this upsell is what the hosting providers are counting on. But, if traffic falls again, you will be paying for the resources that you are now not using. Scaling is not flexible.
Benefits of Shared Hosting
- Affordable — the most affordable hosting option
- Beginner friendly — requires least amount of technical knowledge
- Easy to start — comes with hosting control panel like cPanel with pre-installed software and tools.
- Managed by hosting provider — maintenance, security, and upgrades of the server are managed for you.
Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
- Slow performance — Performance drops on an over-crowded server. Other websites on the same server may affect your website performance
- Security is not guaranteed — If one site is hacked, your site could be affected
- No control of the server — do not have access to advance server settings
- Difficult to scale — limited server resources (processing power, storage, memory, bandwidth)
Shared Hosting Price
Shared hosting prices range from $3 per month to $30 plus per month, depending on the web hosting plan and web hosting provider you choose.
Shared Hosting is Best for…
Small and simple websites with minimal traffic, such as personal sites and blogs. You should not expect high traffic at any time.
What is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is based on cloud computing technology that connects a pool of an unlimited number of servers that effectively act as one system (“the cloud”). In theory, cloud hosting is infinitely scalable and offers unlimited resources.
Isolated yet elastic, secure, and performant
It is usually container based, your web application has a virtual space and dedicated resources (processing power, memory, storage space, bandwidth) in the cloud. It is more elastic yet isolated, a problem with other cloud hosting customers is unlikely to affect your account.
Multiple servers may work together to serve a high traffic web application or handle sudden traffic spikes. The load is balanced across multiple servers. If an individual server goes down, extra servers are ready to take the load. There is no lost data, and rarely any downtime.
The cloud hosting companies house, run, and maintain all the hardware and customers pays for the resources they use, similar to how you pay for utilities like electricity. Your company’s IT department does not need to invest in in-house server hardware or maintenance staff.
You can easily scale, allocate or remove additional computing resources to meet your web application’s changing demands in a dynamic fashion. The cloud server can scale up and down automatically or with just a few clicks.
It is like renting a condominium or AirBnB. You can rent a small house when you want to be alone, and rent a villa when you want to have a house party.
Benefits of Cloud Hosting
- Reliable — Cloud infrastructure consists of many servers with redundancies to protect against failures
- On-demand scalability and flexibility — adjust server resources to meet your needs, freed from the limits of physical hardware.
- Flexible pricing — you only pay for the resources you use
- Better performance — dedicated resources for each customer on the cloud
- Better security — other hacked websites on the cloud rarely affect your web application
Disadvantage of Cloud Hosting
- Learning curve — More advanced technical knowledge is needed. It is not an easy solution to setup and start using.
Cloud Hosting Prices
Start from $5 per month and above. (Read on to get $100 free DigitalOcean credits)
Cloud Hosting is Best for…
Cloud hosting is suitable for any size business. However, if you do not have technical knowledge, you might want to hire a system administrator or use a cloud server management platform like RunCloud.
Table: Shared Hosting vs. Cloud Hosting
The following table summarize the Shared Hosting vs. Cloud Hosting:
|Shared Hosting||Cloud Hosting|
|Server Sharing Model||Shared Server||Dedicated Cloud Server|
|Pay As You Go||No||Yes|
|Customization||Depends on vendor||Yes|
|Security||Depends on vendor||Yes|
Cloud Hosting is Better for Your Business
Cloud hosting is secure, on-demand, scalable, highly performant, and comes with dedicated resources. You have full control of your cloud hosting server.
Here are some criteria that may suggest when cloud hosting is better for your business:
- Your web application demands a certain amount of server resources
- You need a feature or application that is not available and cannot be installed on shared hosting
- Your business needs to scale server resources on-demand
- Your business demands high web application uptime
- You are planning a big launch and want to make sure your website is ready to serve high customer traffic
- Your web application needs to be ready for traffic spikes because of regular marketing campaigns
- You requires faster site load speed for better conversion rates
- Your web applications are experiencing continuous slowness
- You are experiencing continuous uptime issues with your web application
How to Easily manage DigitalOcean Cloud Hosting with RunCloud
DigitalOcean (DO) is a reliable, easy-to-use cloud computing platform of virtual servers, object storage, and more. It is very popular with developers and competes with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Compute Engine.
DigitalOcean cloud servers (droplets) start from $5 per month ($0.007/hr) with 1 virtual CPU, 25GB SSD storage, and 1 TB data transfer.
RunCloud, the cloud server control panel and management platform, supports DigitalOcean and other cloud hosting providers like Linode, AWS, Vultr, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, etc.
Here is a tutorial on how to easily setup and manage a DigitalOcean cloud server with RunCloud:
- Login your DigitalOcean account to create a DigitalOcean droplet (cloud server) with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 64-bit image.
- Select the DO plan (vCPU, memory, SSD disk, transfer bandwidth) that best suites your needs.
- Select the DO datacenter closest to your target market.
- Choose a hostname and provision your DigitalOcean droplet.
- Connect to your droplet’s IP address by SSH using a terminal application.
- Name your server, enter DO droplet IP address, then click “Connect this server”.
- Copy the RunCloud installer script command.
- Paste the command into the terminal connected to your droplet to install RunCloud server stack and agent.
- When the installation process is completed, you will see the MySQL root password and RunCloud user password. Copy and keep them in a safe place.
- RunCloud panel will refresh and you will see the cloud server’s summary. Now you can manage the server with the user-friendly RunCloud panel.
Free $100 DigitalOcean Cloud Hosting
Looking at the comparative data, it seems clear – there is no doubt that cloud hosting is better than shared hosting and provides more value. If you are looking for a flexible and scalable hosting solution, it may be time to move to the Cloud.
Yes, we did see that Cloud Server management traditionally requires more technical knowledge, but don’t worry about that….
With RunCloud, you can manage your cloud hosting with the same level of minimal technical knowledge that any Shared hosting provider requires, and at the same time enjoy the many benefits of the cloud.
Use RunCloud to easily leverage the power of the Cloud.