Many entrepreneurs have a hard time distinguishing between cloud services and hosted services. Both of these services may be similar in that they are tiered at the same level (in that they provide web hosting functions) but through totally different processes. Understanding how each of these styles works may be what it takes to choose a web hosting that is ideally suited to meet the needs of your business.

Finding the right home for your website is an important but tough process. There are tons of considerations to take into account, ranging from technical aspects to issues of reliability and customer support. Assessing your requirements and then matching solutions that best address them is a good way to start. This post helps you choose between cloud and hosted services based on cost, reliability, and other factors.

What are Hosted Services?

In traditional hosted services, the servers and infrastructure facilitating the service are located at a vendor’s private location (away from the recipient’s physical location). This infrastructure includes hardware servers, software, storage, network capacity, and other networking components. Offsite clients use a direct network connection (e.g., remote desktop or VPN) to access the hosted services.

Examples of hosted services:

  • Web hosting
  • Virtual server hosting
  • Storage (file hosting)
  • SaaS
  • Monitoring
  • Email

One thing to keep in mind about this type of web hosting is that your company is responsible for managing and monitoring it. You need to have a team that is equipped with the IT knowledge and expertise to set up, maintain, and troubleshoot server environments.

What are Cloud Services?

Cloud services are a subset of hosted services that ride on cloud technology. This type of web hosting uses multiple different servers to share load and maximize uptime. Rather than use a single server, your website taps from a cluster of networked servers that share resources. Cloud servers can be configured to offer varying levels of security, performance, and control to suit the needs of your business.

Examples of cloud hosting services include:

  • Cloud storage
  • Cloud desktops
  • Cloud computing
  • SaaS (Software as a Service)

Over the last few years, cloud technology has become immensely popular. 85% of businesses worldwide already use this technology to store and use information. Projections show that 94% of internet workload may be processed in the cloud by the end of 2021.

→ Benefits of cloud services

  • Scalability & Flexibility – the most significant benefit of cloud computing compared to hosted services is the level of scalability that it offers. If you have a very busy month with lots of traffic to your website, you can quickly scale up resources to meet the need. You can just as easily scale down when traffic is low. This means you never have to get stuck paying for excess server resources that you are not even using (as would be the case with a dedicated hosting service).
  • Incredible Performance – cloud servers allow businesses to optimize IT performance without the overbearing costs associated with the purchase and management of dedicated infrastructure. If your website is experiencing downtime and loading speed issues, then it’ll be automatically switched to a better performing server. This ensures that you optimize your web presence and keep your products and services available to customers.

Cloud vs Hosted: Differences

When weighing up cloud computing vs hosted services, it is important to look at the differences between these two web hosting styles.

  • Approach – hosted services are offered by a vendor who owns and maintains physical servers in a private location. Cloud services – in contrast – are multi-tenant. Multiple instances of one or more applications are operated in a shared (distributed) environment. This modern approach allows for infrastructure to be set up in locations with lower costs. It also maximizes load capacity, efficiency, and utilization.
  • Control – a hosted service means that your website is hosted in a specific server. You can easily access and control resources in a customizable environment. Cloud hosting – on the other hand – means that resources are shared and distributed. You lack the same level of control that you would have with a hosted service.
  • Accessibility – with hosted services, your website may be inaccessible if the private server where it is hosted goes down. Cloud computing, however, offers a higher degree of resilience. Data is hosted in a distributed environment where it is accessible even if one or a few servers go down.
  • Cost – many hosted service setups require that you pay a fixed recurring fee for measurable resources and services. This is tantamount to paying rent for a house (the amount remains fixed even if you only occupy it for two days throughout the month).  With cloud hosting, you only pay for the resources that you use. You also gain access to additional services such as virtual terminals, software suites, automatic resource reallocation, and dynamic bandwidth adjustment that are not typically available with traditional hosted services.

Hosted vs Cloud: Which is Right for You?

When it comes to hosted services vs cloud computing, there is no right or wrong answer. The right style can be selected by evaluating the needs of your services and matching the solution that best meets them. Hosted services rely on a conventional mode of operation that has been there for decades, and that has efficiently served scores of businesses. This approach allows you to purchase web hosting space and resources based on the projected needs of your business. Cloud hosting is the new norm for many organizations- offering unique advantages in terms of performance, reliability, and uptime. Cloud servers may be the right web hosting solution for businesses that have variable demands and workloads, including businesses that experience high traffic or spikes in visits.

When choosing a web hosting package, focus on your priorities and go for the type of hosting that seems best for your needs. You can always switch or upgrade later if you find out that the service you selected doesn’t serve you well. 

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