Cloud Server vs Dedicated Server: Comparing the Differences

cloud server vs dedicated server
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Every company needs a fast server to host their website on. Neil Patel has pointed out that even a one-second difference in page response time could cost a company 7% of its customers.

Selecting a web server has many implications for a far-reaching business, starting with website page loading time. Since Google has updated its algorithm to include page speed as a ranking factor, website load time can also affect your rankings.

Load-time is just one of many examples of the importance of picking the right web hosting type.

Whether you’re a small business or a booming enterprise, the question remains: what is the difference between cloud servers and dedicated servers, and which one is the better option?

To find the answer, let’s go over the basics of cloud and dedicated servers and compare them side to side!

What Is a Cloud Server?

choosing cloud server vs dedicated server

A cloud server is a virtual server operating in a cloud computing environment. It is hosted in the cloud and can be accessed remotely via a cloud computing platform using a network connection.

Cloud hosting is the most modern form of hosting and is the current big thing in the hosting market. Cloud servers have all of the hardware and software required to function and operate as independent servers.

Cloud servers run on a network made up of numerous different servers and they are exceptionally resilient. So even if one component fails, services will continue processing on the other servers.

Soon, the cloud has the huge potential of becoming the sole solution to data storage and hosting.

How Do Cloud Servers Work?

In simple terms, cloud server hosting is a virtualized hosting platform.

A public cloud platform is usually made up of many bare metal servers.

The bare metal servers are kept in a secure data hosting facility. Each of these physical servers operates as a host to various virtual servers. Clients pay to use virtual space hosted on these servers.

Cloud servers do not require any upfront investment and are more cost-effective to maintain. A new virtual server instance can be created in a matter of seconds and can also be dismissed as quickly when it is no longer needed.

Cloud hosting services are billed like a utility, so you only pay for the amount of computing resources you use. But this also means that cloud hosting can rapidly turn into a large expense if you draw lots of computing power.

What Is a Dedicated Server?

dedicated server

Dedicated servers are physical servers with hardware solely dedicated to your hosted web services.

A dedicated hosting provider will give complete administration over a server and full management rights to one customer only.

Dedicated servers maintained by the hosting provider are housed in climate-controlled data centers with 24/7 monitoring and solid backups. Hosting companies also provide technical support and server management services to their clients.

Dedicated servers perform better than cloud servers and they are a very secure hosting solution. You can even use dedicated servers as cloud servers by building a private cloud which will allow you to take advantage of the flexible scaling that cloud servers offer.

How Do Dedicated Servers Work?

Dedicated servers are used for hosting web applications or websites of only one client. Unlike shared servers, clients can fully use the dedicated server hardware listed on the spec sheet.

Resources are customized to the needs of the client, including storage, RAM, bandwidth load, and type of processor.

There are clear operational advantages to dedicated servers: they are stable, well-built, powerful, and offer predictable billing based on a contract, rather than usage-based pricing structures that can confound budgets.

A single client may also request a cluster of dedicated servers. This cluster is known as a “private cloud.” The cluster is built on virtual technology, with all the dedicated servers contributing to a single virtual server. The resources that are in the virtual space are still only available to one client.

Cloud Server vs Dedicated Server Comparison

Cloud Servers Dedicated Servers
Advantages
  • Elastic scaling that can quickly accommodate traffic surges
  • Advanced automated redundancy management
  • Unlimited instance scaling
  • No need to buy, house, and maintain your own hardware
  • Flexible utility billing
  • Best performing hosting solution
  • Fully customizable
  • Supports custom software and a choice of OS
  • Upgradable hardware
  • Easy to scale up or down
  • Excellent reliability
  • Single tenancy
  • High security
  • Abundant and inexpensive disk space
  • Cheap bandwidth and SQL storage
Disadvantages
  • Runs on a multi-tenant platform
  • Compromises on security
  • Costly for enterprises with high resource usage
  • Hardware and software cannot be modified
  • Paying for unused resources
  • Takes longer to scale up hardware resources

In-Depth Comparison of Cloud Servers and Dedicated Servers

Cloud Servers Dedicated Servers
Performance Virtual cloud servers can deliver high performance whenever your hosted services require it. They run on powerful bare metal servers. Dedicated servers are the most powerful hosting solution you can get because their hardware is fully at disposal to your hosted services.
Customization Cloud server plans are predefined and do not allow for customizing hardware. Dedicated servers are fully customizable, and you can modify their hardware at any point during your hosting contract.
Security Multiple virtual instances of cloud servers run on the same hardware, which slightly compromises on security as you are sharing the hosting space with unknown users. Dedicated hosting is highly secure, from physical security measures implemented at the data center, to enhanced security software installed on the server.
Scalability Cloud servers offer elastic and automatic scalability. They can accommodate traffic peaks without any action required from the user. Scaling a dedicated server up or down requires installing new hardware, but it is possible.
Reliability There is no downtime when cloud servers scale up which makes them more reliable for uninterrupted hosting. The reliability and uptime of dedicated servers depend on the hosting provider. The industry standard is 99.9% uptime guaranteed.
Pricing Cloud servers are billed by the hour, and you only pay for the hardware resources you are actively using. Dedicated servers prices start from $100/mo, and any upgrades like unmetered bandwidth or managed services will cost additionally.
Management Cloud servers are managed and maintained by the hosting provider. You can self-manage your dedicated server or opt for fully managed services from your hosting provider.

Cloud Servers vs Dedicated Servers FAQ

#1. What is the difference between a dedicated server and a cloud server?

There are a few key differences between dedicated and cloud servers. The differences can be found when comparing the hardware, software, and the number of users on the server.

Dedicated servers give full access to physical hardware to one user, while cloud servers are virtual servers operating on a network of bare metal servers. The performance of dedicated servers is limited by the power of their hardware components, but cloud servers can scale up instantly to provide higher performance on demand.

The software on a dedicated server is fully modifiable, allowing you to change the operating system and install any applications while having root access to the dedicated server. In the meantime, the software you install on a cloud server might be limited by the hosting provider. You cannot change the OS on a cloud server.

Finally, dedicated servers have a single tenant, while the cloud server infrastructure provides hosting for multiple tenants using separate cloud server instances.

#2. Is cloud a dedicated server?

Cloud servers offer similar performance, flexibility, and hosting features to dedicated servers. The key difference is that cloud servers run in a virtual environment, while dedicated servers provide physical hardware for each host.

Virtual cloud server instances still operate on bare metal servers that offer better performance than shared servers. They cannot be compared to shared servers. Multiple bare metal servers power hundreds of cloud server instances, while with shared hosting all users share a single server.

#3. Are dedicated servers better than cloud servers?

Dedicated servers have fixed hardware resources that can be upgraded to offer better performance than cloud servers. On the other hand, cloud servers are highly scalable and can provide peak performance when necessary.

Cloud servers are not a sustainable hosting solution for businesses requiring high performance at all times. Dedicated servers are fully customizable and have constant high performance. They are typically billed at a fixed monthly cost. But when you use cloud servers at peak performance, your monthly bill can easily amount to thousands of dollars.

#4. Should you get a cloud or dedicated server?

Cloud servers are an excellent choice for:

  • Websites that require high computing performance seasonally
  • SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS hosting
  • Startups that are scaling their business
  • Hosting personal projects

Dedicated servers are ideal for any business that needs a secure and reliable hosting solution, including:

  • Large websites with high incoming traffic and a large user base
  • E-commerce websites that process payments and orders
  • IPTV streaming services
  • Online education platforms
  • Media and news outlets
  • Online banking platforms
  • Storage and backup hosting

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Cloud Server vs Dedicated Server: Comparing the Differences

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