Cloud computing or Web hosting?

A lot of people seem confused when they are asked to differentiate between web hosting and cloud computing. Both services not only have almost similar setups, but also deliver a lot of similar results. There are some noticeable critical differences between the two and this article is intended to figure out the same.

What is web hosting?

Web hosting is a business where the web hosting company provides server space, file maintenance and other web services to their customer companies that do not have their own web servers. To put it simply, web hosting puts your website on the internet. For example, your personal computer has all your files and documents that are accessible only to you. If you want to provide your content for the public usage, internet is the only answer. Web hosting puts your website on the internet for people to view. People can type your website URL and view your files and content there. Web hosting allows people to view what you upload on there, whether it’s your official web page, a blog or some images and videos. It makes life a lot easier for people as they don’t have to write the contents offline and then send their files to multiple people individually. Now, they can upload their content on their blog or website and web hosting makes it accessible to everyone. Having web hosting makes your website or blog available to your potential customers or readers all over the world round the clock; even when you are asleep!

The different types of web hosting:

  • Virtual hosting/Shared hosting/Mass hosting: In this type of web hosting, the applications and content are uploaded into a server to be shared with other customers of web hosting service provider. The equipment is owned by the service provider. There will be a team of technicians to manage and monitor the servers.
  • Dedicated hosting: This type is the most sophisticated and specialized hosting. This is also the most popular type of web hosting. Dedicated hosting gives you the liberty of renting and using the entire server for your personal usage. Off course, you will have to pay more to have an access to all of your web host’s resources. You can also use his resources to host more than one websites too. With dedicated hosting, you can also own the equipment other than your service provider.
  • Semi-managed or Root server hosting: This is basically a kind of dedicated hosting. Semi-managed hosting offers an uninterrupted internet activity. It is flexible which means the customer is free to select hardware specifications and operating systems to suit their specific needs.
  • Reseller hosting: This is a type of hosting where businesses and entrepreneurs can host on behalf of their clients. So, one can buy the hosting services from a web hosting service provider and then sell the service to his customers under his own brand name.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is about sharing computing resources without having to rely on local servers and personal devices to handle the applications. Following are the popular three different types of cloud computing.

cloud computing

  • Saas or Software as a service: Saas is a quite a popular form of cloud computing. It enables you to avail all the functions of a complicated conventional application. The functions will be made available to you via a web browser and not a locally installed application.
  • Service in the form of a platform: This type provides the users with virtual servers where they have the choice to run the existing applications or to develop new applications without having to worry about the maintenance of the server hardware, load balancing and operating systems.
  • Service in the form of infrastructure: In this type of cloud computing, users get virtualized servers, storage, networks, operating systems to add to or to replace the already existing functions of a data center.

Advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing and web hosting:

Dedicated web hosting is the most regarded one of all. The reason is the fact that the control over the dedicated server is in the hand of web administrator. This ensures more security for the server as compared to the shared hosting. A dedicated hosting is always more reliable since it is the server administrator who looks after the server by optimizing the loading as and when required by tweaking the variables, general server allocation and loading speed.

The pitfall of web hosting is the very fact that one needs to constantly monitor, install, configure and upgrade the applications, protect the web site from hackers and run troubleshooting. Now, all this requires deploying a full time employee or employees to keep the server up and running. This person has to have a sound technical knowledge of successful implementation of a website hosted on a dedicated server. Businessmen and entrepreneurs with budget constraints find it a bit on the “pricy” side. For them, “cloud” is the only respite! All the corporate information and data can be stored in the “cloud” reducing the overall expenses. But then again, there may be security issues related to the cloud storage. Corporate and businesses cannot fully trust their service provider and they will have their security concerns.

There are many big organizations that are just not convinced with the idea of putting every detail in the “cloud”. Hackers are always ready for the catch and with every detail available in the cloud can be really dangerous! Also, if the cloud service provider shuts its company, retrieving your data would be an uphill task for you.

So Which one to choose now?

Well, you need to understand your business, its requirements and its priorities first. If you are someone looking for minimal operational expenses, cloud computing is your answer. If you want more security for all your business data, web hosting will be the solution for you.