Choosing Cloud or Dedicated Servers for Your Magento Store
Your company faces a crucial decision when it comes to hosting solutions: choosing between cloud servers and dedicated servers.
Traditionally, businesses used to begin with shared Linux servers for web hosting initiation and later upgrade to dedicated servers as their websites experienced growth and higher web traffic demands.
However, with the emergence of cloud hosting, this conventional trajectory is no longer necessary. Managed cloud plans now allow businesses to construct websites with integrated support for various components like Varnish Cache, Memcached, Nginx, CDNs, etc., which previously required extensive developer effort on a custom dedicated server.
Cloud hosting offers the advantage of scalable server resource allocation through hardware virtualization. On the other hand, dedicated server plans provide a fixed allocation of isolated RAM, CPU, and SSD/HDD storage, leading to enhanced performance and increased security for online business applications. Moreover, there are hybrid dedicated cloud hosting solutions that leverage a single parent server's resources based on dedicated hardware.
What is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting represents a modern approach to website hosting, where data is distributed across multiple machines rather than relying on a single server. Users interact with a "virtual machine" that accesses the computing power and services from various servers within the cloud. A key distinction between cloud hosting and dedicated server hosting lies in how cloud hosting harnesses the collective computing resources of multiple machines.
Many of the latest retail dedicated cloud hosting plans cater to small businesses seeking website publishing support. These plans draw on advancements in web server network management software, inspired by the scalability demands encountered in enterprise corporations dealing with "big data." The responsibility for managing the scalability requirements of the world's largest websites typically falls on DevOps teams in IT giants such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, as well as hosting companies like Liquid Web, Rackspace, and Amazon.
How Does Cloud Hosting Work?
To grasp the functioning of cloud hosting compared to dedicated servers, understanding the core principles of cloud computing is essential. Cloud hosting leverages virtual servers that utilize cloud computing technology to distribute data across interconnected servers located in different regions.
It becomes crucial for business website owners to differentiate between public, private, hybrid, and managed cloud hosting frameworks. Each of these services addresses the specific web hosting needs of various entities, including small businesses, SMEs, start-up software companies, and enterprise corporations (such as multi-nationals or Fortune 500 brands), offering tailored cost-saving solutions to each market segment.
In addition, comprehension of the disparities between Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) plans is vital for making informed decisions about the most suitable hosting solution for their business.
Cloud hosting offers small businesses a significant benefit by providing access to enterprise-grade Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions at a fraction of the cost required to develop the software independently.
Cloud VPS plans often adopt a flexible "pay as you go" billing model, allowing seamless scalability with increased CPU cores, RAM, or I/O processes on demand. This dynamic response proves invaluable during web traffic spikes that can overwhelm shared hosting plans. Elastic cloud platforms expertly manage multiple virtual servers and databases simultaneously, ensuring synchronized changes across versions and efficient caching of web pages for anonymous browsers.
The Advantages Of Cloud Hosting
The advantages of cloud hosting encompass a diverse range of plans, platforms, and services, tailored to meet the unique needs of each company and their development teams. One key benefit lies in the provision of pre-installed elastic web server support, accompanied by custom stack software meticulously optimized for CMS websites operating on LAMP.
Adobe Commerce store owners experience a noticeable enhancement in overall performance when using cloud hosting, owing to a combination of premium hardware configurations, SSD storage options, load balancing for network traffic, and multi-layered database, PHP process, and web file caching services. Additionally, seamless integration with Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) further bolsters website efficiency.
Compared to shared hosting plans, cloud hosting allocates more RAM, CPU cores, and I/O resources to CMS websites, ensuring scalability to meet on-demand resource requirements dictated by live production web traffic. This approach guarantees that websites remain consistently operational, regardless of traffic fluctuations, and results in faster page loading times during regular periods of community use.
Drawbacks of Cloud Hosting
When comparing retail cloud hosting under the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model with a dedicated server plan, one notable disadvantage is the potential lack of full flexibility for systems administrators or web developers to modify the web server stack software installation for custom solutions.
For instance, PaaS cloud hosting plans may not allow for changes to the operating system or the installation of alternative web server platform software such as Nginx, Tomcat, Hadoop, Lightspeed, or Lighttpd.
Advantages of Dedicated Servers
The key advantage lies in customization, as companies dealing with high traffic or intricate applications prioritize a server tailored to their unique needs. Web developers and programmers rely on dedicated server hardware to create custom web server environments, supporting complex application requirements. This entails installing alternative operating systems, custom developer extensions for programming languages, performance-enhancing utilities, advanced page caching systems, or alternative database frameworks like MySQL.
Java, ASP.NET, Node.js, PHP, and Python developers all benefit from fully customizable dedicated server hardware, enabling the creation of new applications or support for legacy software with specific runtime demands. Dedicated servers can be optimized to handle substantial web traffic for various purposes, including eCommerce, media, publishing, and promotional activities.
Disadvantages of Dedicated Servers
The main drawback arises when dealing with unmanaged dedicated servers, where systems administrators must shoulder the responsibility for all aspects of web security, including the operating system (OS) and installed extension frameworks.
In contrast, dedicated servers with managed stack software environments receive continuous updates from remote technicians in the data center, including security patches. However, this approach can result in data access issues with unregistered employees, which may be unacceptable for certain business operations.
Leasing remote dedicated servers can sometimes incur higher costs than purchasing and provisioning local hardware. However, replicating the speed of fiber optic network resources found in world-class data centers or international colocation facilities can prove challenging.
Key Differences between Dedicated Server Hosting and Cloud Hosting
When determining their web presence, businesses must weigh the differences between dedicated server and cloud hosting solutions. The ultimate choice hinges on how each server addresses the specific needs of the individual business.
For most small business web hosting needs, cloud hosting solutions offer competitive web server resource scalability options, comparable to dedicated server hardware rates, especially for high-traffic websites.
It is crucial to note that many cloud platforms use a single web server stack software, which might not accommodate the custom software requirements of legacy web applications or databases. In such cases, dedicated server plans become a necessity. However, cloud hosting plans often present a user-friendly "plug and play" PaaS option, enabling smooth website migration and improved web server performance at scale, complete with integrated page caching.
On the other hand, dedicated servers offer fundamental hardware resources that developers can tailor with specific programming language extensions, tools, utilities, and third-party frameworks necessary for complex, database-driven web and mobile applications. Over-provisioning dedicated server hardware for such applications can lead to enhanced performance, leveraging virtualization even with thousands of domain names active on a single server instance—a contrast to shared hosting scenarios.
In conclusion, cloud hosting has undoubtedly emerged as a popular choice for hosting Magento stores, often touted as the cheapest and most convenient solution. Its elastic scalability, pay-as-you-go model, and ease of setup make it an attractive option for businesses seeking flexibility and cost-effectiveness in their hosting arrangements. Additionally, cloud hosting's ability to handle traffic spikes and its seamless integration with various applications further reinforce its appeal.
However, it is essential to recognize that the perception of cloud hosting as a one-size-fits-all solution may not always align with reality. While it offers numerous benefits, there are instances where other hosting options might better suit specific business needs.
Renting computing resources from external providers can indeed be costly, but the cloud industry presents it as "computing on demand," emphasizing its futuristic and innovative nature rather than the more mundane reality of "renting computers."
However, the issue goes beyond cost considerations. It pertains to the future landscape of the internet and how it should be operated. Presently, a decentralized marvel like the internet predominantly runs on computers owned by some number of huge corporations.
At Mygento, we recognize the importance of resisting this trend. Our business model aligns well with owning hardware and amortizing its cost over an extended period. With predictable growth trajectories and a skilled team, we believe it is our responsibility to contribute to a more decentralized approach.
In the not-so-distant past, most entities operated their own servers, and the progress in tooling enabling the cloud is equally applicable to in-house setups. Let us not be dazzled by entrenched cloud interests; running our own infrastructure is not as complex as they might suggest. Countless individuals and organizations managed it to establish the internet, and the process has only become more streamlined over time.