Why We Switched From Cloud Hosting to Dedicated Servers

by | May 5, 2022

Cloud hosting is all the rage these days. Everyone is using this new trendy technology, myself included. I’ve been hosting on the Cloud since 2014, and almost all of the websites WP Harbor manages have been hosted on cloud services, that is, until recently.

My experience with cloud hosting includes the following providers:

  • Digital Ocean
  • Linode
  • Google Cloud
  • Gridpane
  • WP Engine
  • Flywheel

When I first started WP Harbor, I hosted everything on cloud servers. Specifically Digital Ocean and Linode. That approach provided pretty great performance at reasonable costs.

However, as the number of businesses we were serving continued to grow, my cloud hosting costs ballooned. Especially with sites that required more resources.

As such, about a year ago I started looking at my options, researching and testing different solutions. The core question for me was whether to continue with Cloud Hosting or to switch over to Dedicated. Here’s a summary of each solution:

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting has three primary benefits: scalability, low cost, and higher performance.

Scalable Resources

The main benefit of cloud hosting is that it’s “infinitely scalable” which is great if you’re a startup that’s expecting exponential traffic growth at some point in the future.

Low Startup Cost

Cloud hosting also offers a relatively low cost for performance compared to what you get from a low-budget “shared hosting” plan. Cloud hosting typically costs around $12-$50 depending on the performance required.

High Performance

The performance you get out of Cloud Hosting is better than what you get from traditional shared hosting because you’re getting dedicated virtual resources. The thing to understand about the Cloud is that it doesn’t exist. Rest assured, there are no servers in the clouds. There are only physical servers here on Earth. Once you peel back all the layers and techy jargon of “cloud hosting”, you’re left with plain old physical servers.

Cloud hosting is the process of creating “virtual machines” out of a much larger physical server. This means that some of the dedicated processing power on cloud hosting is still shared.

Dedicated Server

With dedicated servers, the focus is often centered on limited resources and high costs. However, when you look closer at these issues they are not as bad as they sound.

Limited Resources

Dedicated servers have limited resources. This sounds a lot worse than it is. Consider that your car or truck also has limited resources. The important thing is that you understand the intended use of your vehicle and size appropriately. When it comes to dedicated servers, it’s important to understand your needs and size resources appropriately because it’s difficult to change them later!

High Startup Cost

A dedicated server is several times more expensive than a little Cloud VPS. However, that’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison. In my case, I’m not worried about hosting one website, I’m worried about hosting hundreds. On that scale, the cost difference between cloud and dedicated is negligible.

Best Performance

A properly configured dedicated server performs better than cloud hosting. This is because dedicated server resources are actually “dedicated” while cloud hosting resources are “virtually” dedicated.

Dedicated Servers for WP Harbor

I’ve always put a focus on providing premium hosting for my customers. Despite all the hype about Cloud Hosting, when it comes to high-performance hosting, dedicated servers are the best solution based on real-life testing of business-focused websites.