Using a Cloud Server - Advantages of cloud servers, Types of cloud server
Today, in most situations using a cloud server instead of a self-hosted server is the most obvious choice.
There are many reasons for this. In short, cloud server hosting is today not only much more reliable, but also cheaper in comparison with traditional hosting or on-premises hosted server.
Advantages of Cloud Servers:
- No large investments needed at first. In the traditional on-premises hosted server model, an user would have to purchase an expensive piece of server hardware first. Instead, cloud servers come with minimal installation fees and often without any upfront fee, just a monthly rental fee.
- No long-term commitments. You can rent a cloud server for just one month or a few months. Sometimes you can even rent it for minutes or hours, depending on cloud provider's pricing model. On the other hand, with a self-hosted server you have to use it long time in order to create enough revenue to cover the initial investment.
- Minimal to zero support team. With traditional self-hosted servers, you probably need a technician to monitor the server and fix any downtime needed. Instead, cloud servers not only are monitored by technicians 24/7 (free of charge) but also in many cases have emergency notifications in place that can alert an user if something bad has occurred. For example, you might receive a message letting you know that the server has gone unresponsive, or that a master disk drive has a fault and might become defective soon; or that your server might be under attack if such situation occurs. The provider's technicians also monitor network connections and are ready to apply mitigation measures if needed.
- No more high-speed, high-price, redundant Internet connections. Traditionally you need a high-speed, expensive network connection to your server. Furthermore in order to ensure 24/7 service you need a secondary, backup connection from a different provider. This makes the solution way more expensive and difficult to install. The provider contracts also come with long-term commitment, so you lose a lot of flexibility in such model. Chances are, within a year or so the existing solution might not work anymore for your business since the situation is always changing.
On the other hand, with a cloud server you can always choose a larger bandwidth connection OR opt for more traffic etc. There is no expensive initial investment as well. Furthermore you can switch, upgrade or downgrade your cloud server or even move to a different cloud server provider if needed.
- Another advantage is that many cloud server providers offer ready to install server images including various operating systems, e-commerce or CMS platforms such as Wordpress or Magento for example. Such images are ready to be deployed on your server through a single click, making things way easier for the average user.
Types of cloud servers:
VPS (Virtual Private Server): It is the smallest, lightweight type of server. Usually a provider might host on a physical server several VPS servers, typically 8 or 16 servers for example. Due to the fact that resources are shared among clients and a given VPS might not need full disk and/or CPU resources all the time, overall this is a highly economical option if you do not need a lot of computer power. Most common websites including rather busy ones can be hosted on a VPS type of server.
- Standard Cloud Server: This type of server varies from one provider to another, so make sure you analyze the offer properly to understand what you are getting. In most cases, a standard cloud server will offer more power and additional features in comparison with a VPS, although technically it might still be some sort of high-power VPS in the end.
- Baremetal Servers: This kind of architecture is offered by a smaller number of cloud providers. They provide direct access to the full power of physical CPU's through a cloud platform. Again you need to study the architecture properly and the offer to decide what's best for you. Some testing using the Linux command "sysbench" might also be helpful to measure CPU performance.
- Dedicated Servers: Some cloud providers also offer dedicated servers, basically you get your own full physical server for a very low monthly fee. This is the best choice if you need a lot of power on a single server or a small number of servers. It is especially useful if you do a lot of hard math or video processing etc. The monthly fees are much higher but depending on your needs it might be the cheapest solution in some cases, when the software running on the server is optimized for this kind of model.
No matter how you look at it, cloud servers are probably the best option overall and only in very specific situations the opposite is valid. We encourage all our readers to switch to a cloud server if they haven't already done it, and benefit from all the advantages presented above in this article.