A cloud host will have many servers, often located all over the globe. Using a technology called load balancing, the cloud host will allocate server resources to each customer as needed. Generally, you’ll pay a flat fee for cloud hosting, plus additional monthly fees based on time or resource usage. You’ll always have the bandwidth you need during peak traffic periods, but you won’t pay for unused resources during slow periods.
While the scalability of cloud hosting is attractive, many geo-based hosts offer scalability as well. Most large geo hosts can rapidly move your shared web hosting account to a more robust server if and when needed, although you may experience some downtime if it is necessary to migrate to VPS hosting or a dedicated server.
The flexibility of cloud hosting comes with a price; the unit cost of data transfer is usually higher from cloud hosting providers then from geo hosts.
Cloud hosting is particularly well suited to companies doing , as well as customers whose .
For the fastest connection to your server, you’ll want to minimize the distance your data has to travel. If you go with cloud hosting, you’ll never know the physical location of the server that the load balancer has assigned to you. It could be on the other side of the planet! If you’re on the West Coast of the United States, for example, and the load balancer moves your server from the West Coast to the East Coast, your server connection may be up to 23 times slower.
And what if your cloud host decides to serve your website from India, London, or the Philippines? This can make a significant difference when running server-intensive applications such as email – and time is money. The load balancing process also slows performance, as the cloud host is constantly adjusting and reallocating server resources.
If connection time is a priority, you’ll probably want to go with geo hosting. Of course, this requires you to do a little research; you’ll need to find a host with a data center that’s located close to you and your customer base.
Geo hosting is particularly well suited to , as well as companies that seek predictable hosting costs.
Another important factor to consider in deciding between cloud hosting and geo hosting is security. Cloud hosting, like shared hosting, places multiple websites in a common environment. However, cloud hosting adds another potential vulnerability by introducing the load balancer – a technology that constantly distributes storage and processing power among the servers in the cloud. While there are well-established best practices that make traditional shared hosting secure, cloud hosting is relatively new.
Although some cloud hosting providers are developing protections against unauthorized access and exposure, these are by no means standardized in the industry. Therefore, at this point, cloud hosting does not generally offer the same level of security as traditional shared hosting.
Of course, if security is critical to your business operations, the best way to protect your mission-critical data is with a dedicated server plan from a geo hosting provider.
(In addition, some cloud hosting providers don’t support SSH. Ask the providers you’re considering – migrating a large database without SSH could turn into a major headache!)
Cloud hosting is designed to be a scalable environment for resource intensive application development. Geo hosting eliminates unnecessary data connection delays, making it a great fit for business websites and email, and can provide greater data security. Make sure to factor these details into your decision about which hosting platform is right for your business. Take a look at the chart below for a quick recap of the relative strengths of each type of hosting:
Regardless of whether you choose cloud hosting or geo hosting, be sure to conduct careful research before selecting a hosting provider. You’ll also want to make sure that your provider offers knowledgeable, professional U.S.-based support, 24 hours a day/365 days a year.
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