Shared Hosting or The Cloud - Which is better? Picking the right hosting option is an important part of running a successful web-based business. And, as with most techno jargon, deciding which is the right option can be beyond confusing. Cloud, dedicated, shared, Virtual Private Server (VPS). In general, VPS and dedicated hosting are options for larger businesses. As a company that focuses on SMB and very small business (VSP), we will focus on the other two options in today’s post: cloud and shared hosting. However, we recognize that what we’re talking about some stuff that is downright befuddling. So first, we’re going to cover some terminology surrounding web hosting and cloud services, including the differences in cloud computing and traditional hosting options. Here are some powerful tips how to transform your business with cloud. The Basics Let’s go real basic (not to be confused with REALbasic) here – why is hosting necessary? Well, the best way to describe it is that hosting is the way people make content (whether that is a website, photos, general files, blogs, etc) visible to anyone on the internet at all times. Without web hosting, you would need to email your website content to people in order for them to view it. Laborious, no? By using servers, people can make their content accessible to anyone with the proper web address, at any time. In general, most people prefer this to emailing people their new photos and blogs. And, on the other end, everyone is just as grateful to not receive daily emails from all of our favorite places. But all kidding aside, web hosting is what makes the web a viable place to do business. Think about it – how many people do you think you could email content to a day and how much time would you have after to actually run your business. More importantly, what guarantee do you have that you will be around when your customers want to access more content? No doubt about it, without web hosting the internet would not be the economic driver that we know it as today. There is simply no way to reach the thousands of potential customers 24/7 (learn more about how to do that here) without hosting options. Just to recap, a server is a physical object where all of your content is digitally stored, permanently. This storage, referred to as hosting, is what makes it possible for your customers to access your website, whenever and wherever. Now, we’ll move on to main issue: what’s better, the cloud or Shared Hosting. Stormy Skies Ahead The cloud has an ominous reputation, but it is largely undeserved. The cloud is a way of hosting content without the physical server. The cloud is a digital server where content is stored and hosted, continually. This has several distinct benefits: 1. It’s inexpensive; in fact, business frequently see a 30% decrease in IT costs when they switch to the cloud (want to know how to get on the cloud? Read more here). To be precise, over 75% percent of SMB that that switched to the cloud saw a decrease in their overhead costs. Business save money by a. Hosting from a cloud is less expensive than most physical storage options, thus the actual hosting subscription is generally cheaper. b. Decreasing IT departments. Since the cloud is managed remotely by a company you pay, there’s no need for a large onsite IT team; c. Getting rid of servers. Cloud hosting for your website is all virtual – no hardware required. d. Creating custom tools designed for to do exactly what is needed, as opposed to generic off-the-shelf programs. 2. Those !@#$ servers again. When your data is stored on a physical device, you’re susceptible to acts of god and man, such as fires, floods, theft, earthquakes, and spills. Or even deliberate acts that are in and of themselves not harmful; for example moving. As happened with SDI recently, sometimes a server company needs to move to a new location – which means during the move, many of those servers are offline and your content is inaccessible. 3. Growth. We all know scalability is essential to a company, especially VSBs and SMBs. As your company grows, so will your storage requirements. The cloud allows you to easily purchase and establish new storage space much more efficiently than traditional web hosting. Of course it’s not all clear skies (the weather analogies are hard to resist when discussing the cloud). There are some concerns with digital security (though it’s not as bad as it’s frequently made out) and, unlike shared hosting, requires some IT knowledge (though not as much as running your own server, or a VSP). Cloud hosting is an excellent option for mid-sized businesses; for VSBs, shared hosting maybe a better option. Shared Hosting Shared hosting is a much more traditional form of web hosting. It’s essentially taking a dedicated server and carving out portions of it for different content or businesses. This is an exceptionally inexpensive option for small websites, such as a blog, but can cause problems with larger sites. Since you’re sharing a server with other websites, the speed of your website can be impacted by those others. With shared resources comes the risk of a potential delay in delivery of your content. That being said, this is the most popular hosting option for a reason – it’s cheap, easy to use, and doesn’t require any significant technological know-how. If you have a small website, this is absolutely your best option. As a SMB ourselves, SDI understands the needs and wants of smaller companies. We specialize in delivering tailored products on a cost-effective budget; more importantly, we pride ourselves on the exceptional quality of our work. If you have an idea for a website you need built, or some advice on what is the best hosting option, give us a call at 408.802.2885 today. Get a free quote from our Tech Director, Raj Srivastav, if you get in touch soon.