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The main differentiating factor between these two options is that cloud hosting incorporates the use of multiple servers, while shared hosting uses only one. Having access to multiple servers can be advantageous, because if one server has an issue, your site can simply be migrated to another one, eliminating downtime.  

Even better, this type of failover technology maintains your site’s functionality while it’s being rebuilt on other servers. In short, cloud hosting ensures a high level of reliability. This makes it a must for high-traffic sites or for businesses for which any downtime would be a major detriment to operations.

The basics of shared hosting

This type of hosting option works just as its name implies: your site is hosted along with other websites on a single server. With a shared hosting plan, you’ll share resources such as bandwidth, storage and disk space with other sites. Shared hosting is one of the most common types of hosting you’ll encounter online. Nearly all providers offer some version of this type of hosting – Bluehost included. 

Shared hosting is particularly well-suited for small to medium-sized websites and beginners who are just starting out. Because the cost of maintaining the server is divided among multiple users, it is the most economical option available, making it an attractive choice for individuals, bloggers, and small businesses. The setup is also managed by the provider, which means users do not have to worry about server management and technical maintenance, which are handled by experienced professionals. 

However, the shared nature of the hosting environment means that spikes in traffic to one website on the server can potentially affect the performance of all sites hosted on the same server. This is due to the finite set of resources that are shared among all users, such as CPU time, memory, and network bandwidth. For websites that anticipate growing traffic volumes or require more control over their hosting environment, a dedicated server or a cloud hosting solution might be a better fit to meet their needs.

What are the benefits of cloud hosting?

There are key advantages to cloud hosting: reliability, performance, and security. Because multiple servers are used simultaneously in a cloud hosting arrangement, your site enjoys optimal functionality at all times. If there’s a hardware issue or other type of glitch, your site is simply switched to another server. This type of virtualization ensures maximum reliability, which is especially important for businesses that rely on consistent uptime for sales, productivity, and reputation. 

Further, in terms of performance, it’s hard to beat cloud hosting. As long as you’re working with a reputable provider, you can expect elite-level performance with consistently fast load times, where dynamic requests are processed with lightning speed. This makes it ideal for websites that receive a high volume of traffic.  

Finally, when it comes to security, you can run your site with confidence on a cloud hosting plan. Most providers have stepped up their security protocols to protect databases and applications against common threats such as malware, denial of service, and cross-scripting.  

With Bluehost Cloud hosting, you benefit from an infrastructure that emphasizes not only flexibility and scalability but also incorporates robust security measures tailored to safeguard your online presence. This service prioritizes reliability, backed by a 100% network uptime SLA, ensuring your website remains operational without interruption.  

Bluehost’s cloud solutions utilize advanced technologies to distribute your data across multiple servers—this not only minimizes downtime but also optimizes performance by balancing the load effectively.   

Security is a key focus, with advanced protocols in place to protect against cyber threats and keep your data safe. Preventative measures such as encryption are used to protect data and prevent attackers from infiltrating a network. Although you’re never completely immune to an attack, you can run your site with peace of mind that it’s safe and secure on a Bluehost cloud hosting plan.

What are the disadvantages of cloud hosting?

The only real drawback of cloud hosting is its cost. Because of its added features, you can expect to pay a bit more than you will for shared hosting. If you’re on a tight budget or don’t need a lot of extra features, cloud hosting probably isn’t your best option. 

That said, the use of cloud services has grown significantly in recent years. Allied Market Research states, “the global cloud services market generated $551.8 billion in 2021, and is estimated to reach $2.5 trillion by 2031.” More and more companies are realizing the potential of cloud hosting and are allocating resources accordingly. 

What are the benefits of shared hosting?

The main appeal of shared hosting is its low cost. Because multiple sites are shared on a single server, costs are distributed. This makes it the most affordable hosting option among and allows individuals or businesses to run a website with minimal expenditure. If you don’t have a lot of money to funnel into hosting, this option makes sense.

An added plus is that there are often several different options available under the umbrella of “shared hosting,” making it possible to find a plan that’s customized to your needs. Bluehost, for example, offers four different shared hosting plans – Basic, Plus, Prime and Pro – which differ in terms of:

  • The number of websites you can have
  • The number of parked domains you can have
  • The number of subdomains you can have
  • Total email storage space

If you’re just starting out and only need the basics – if, for example, you have a low traffic site and don’t need a lot of bells and whistles – one of these shared hosting options is likely to work for you.

What are the disadvantages of shared hosting?

As hinted at earlier, you can’t expect the same level of performance with a shared hosting plan as you can with a cloud hosting plan. Because your site uses the same server as many other websites, you can’t always guarantee there will be adequate resources available.

If another site is overloaded with traffic, it can adversely affect the performance of your site. This can, at times, result in issues such as downtime and slower speeds. If you can anticipate a high volume of traffic, shared hosting may not be your best option.

When to choose cloud hosting

Here’s a theoretical scenario where cloud hosting would make sense: 

You’re a medium- to large-sized business that receives a high volume of traffic. Your visitors expect a high-performance site that loads quickly and operates appropriately. Dealing with downtime just isn’t an option, and you don’t want to worry about the issues that could potentially arise when sharing resources with other sites. 

Any downtime would be a huge setback for your business because it would squander leads, hurt sales, and potentially damage your reputation. You understand the threat a disaster could bring and believe in taking preventative measures. You have a huge need for reliability and want to have access to multiple servers in the event that a disaster occurs. Business continuity is essential to your business. 

There’s also the possibility that you’ll need to scale up in the future as you continue to build your brand and generate more traffic. As a result, you want the option to instantly scale CPU and RAM resources. 

Security is another one of your concerns. You can’t risk sensitive data winding up in the wrong hands, and a cyber-attack could temporarily cripple your operations. When you choose cloud hosting, you gain enhanced security measures to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.  

Choosing cloud hosting can also lead to cost savings if you host many websites. This makes it easier to manage your IT budget. The hosting provider takes care of maintenance and updates, which reduces the workload for your team.

When to choose shared hosting

Let’s look at another hypothetical situation:

You’re an agency managing multiple clients and projects, and you need web hosting that’s both effective and economical. Perhaps you handle various small to medium-sized websites, from corporate blogs to digital portfolios, which require reliable uptime but not necessarily the high performance reserved for larger, high-traffic sites. Your requirements are significant yet manageable, and you seek a hosting solution that provides solid performance without the complexities of dedicated resources.

In terms of technical expertise, while your team is capable, you prefer not to deal with many backend issues and feel more comfortable with the provider handling them for you. Your primary focus is finding affordable hosting that gets the job done – and shared hosting fits the bill.

The bottom line

Choosing the best type of hosting for you comes down to your situation and priorities. You need to consider not only the technical specifications and cost but also the potential for growth and scalability that your website might need in the future. While shared hosting works for basic sites, cloud hosting suits growing businesses with changing needs, high traffic, and reliability demands.

Ultimately, your hosting choice should match your long-term business goals, technical requirements, and budget, ensuring it enhances your online presence and efficiency.

What do you value most when choosing a hosting plan? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

FAQs on Cloud Hosting vs Shared Hosting

How does shared hosting differ in performance compared to cloud hosting?  

Shared hosting typically hosts multiple websites on a single server where resources are shared among all the sites. This can lead to reduced performance, especially if one or more sites experience a surge in traffic. Cloud hosting, on the other hand, uses multiple servers which not only provides redundancy but also improves performance by balancing the load across a network of servers, thus ensuring better handling of high traffic and minimizing the risk of downtime.  

What types of websites benefit most from cloud hosting?  

Cloud hosting is particularly beneficial for websites that experience high traffic volumes or have stringent uptime requirements, such as eCommerce platforms, large blogs, news websites, and business websites. These sites benefit from cloud hosting due to its scalability, reliability, and the ability to handle sudden spikes in traffic without impacting performance.  

Can cloud hosting scale with my business growth?  

Yes, one of the key advantages of cloud hosting, such as that offered by Bluehost, is its scalability. Resources like CPU power, RAM, and storage can be adjusted dynamically to accommodate the growth of your business. This means you can scale up resources during peak periods or scale down when demand wanes, ensuring cost efficiency and performance optimization.  

What are the environmental impacts of cloud hosting versus shared hosting?  

Cloud hosting can be more energy-efficient compared to traditional shared hosting. It uses virtual resources to make sure physical servers use power more efficiently, which helps decrease carbon footprint.  

What should I consider when transferring my site from shared to cloud hosting?  

When considering a transfer from shared to cloud hosting, evaluate factors such as the necessity for improved site performance, better uptime guarantees, and enhanced scalability. Plan the migration carefully to minimize downtime, and consider using services from providers like Bluehost, who offer support throughout the process. Ensure that your new hosting plan aligns with your site’s traffic expectations and resource requirements.  

How does Bluehost ensure security and reliability in its cloud hosting services?  

Bluehost’s cloud hosting services are designed with security and reliability at the forefront. They utilize a network of multiple servers which ensures that if one server fails, the load can be quickly redistributed with minimal downtime. Security measures include proactive monitoring, automated backups, advanced firewalls, and anti-malware systems, which collectively provide robust protection against a wide array of cyber threats.  

What backup solutions does Bluehost offer with their cloud hosting?  

Bluehost provides automated backup solutions with its cloud hosting plans, ensuring that data is regularly backed up and can be restored quickly in the event of a data loss or server failure. This critical feature helps maintain data integrity and operational continuity for businesses.  

Who should opt for shared hosting and who should choose cloud hosting? 

Shared hosting is ideal for small businesses, personal blogs, and startups with limited traffic, where cost is a primary concern. It offers a simple, budget-friendly solution for websites that do not anticipate high volumes of traffic or require extensive resources.  

Cloud hosting, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for those requiring high availability, superior uptime, and the ability to scale resources quickly in response to user demand—qualities essential for businesses with fluctuating traffic, like agencies and eCommerce platforms. 

Each hosting type serves distinct needs and selecting the right one depends on specific business requirements, expected traffic, and budget constraints. Choosing wisely can greatly influence the efficiency, scalability, and success of your website. 

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    Education
    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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9 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for your details/ page, it was helping me a lot

  2. Emily Brown Reply

    Thanks for sharing this precious information. It was very helpful. Keep sharing like this.

  3. Good sharing, briefly explained about cloud and shared hosting. Both are well advance in their respective field.

  4. I have read your article. it is very informative and helpful for me.I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. Thanks for posting it, again!

  5. Speak School Reply

    I personally stay with the Cloud. The main motives are the own IP and the resources.

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