Shared Hosting or Cloud Hosting: Which is Better for the Professional Photographer?

Shared vs Cloud for Photography Hosting

No trend has excited the web hosting world, and the computing world in general, like cloud computing. The very concept can be hard to conceptualize for those who are just ramping up to the technology, however we shall take a quick look to summarize cloud computing as a whole.

Cloud computing, in general, is an architecture in which your data, and the software and hardware accessing it, do not reside on one machine or even in one network, but are spread among many. The advantages are obvious, as when one server is down this no longer means that your entire site is down. In fact, if the servers are spread amongst different networks, even area-wide outages might not affect you, and downtime can thus be reduced to near-zero.

Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, all dreams have their alarm clocks. Cloud hosting has great potential. It also has some drawbacks, which need to be considered before you shell out all that extra money.

Cloud Hosting – The web hosting infant

Money, in fact, is one of the major drawbacks to cloud hosting. Costs should eventually come down, but right now it’s not cheap. This is a also another element of concern, as the fact that the technology driving it is still young, and like all babies, it has some developmental issues. Since some of the main advantages of cloud hosting, such as uptime, are elements that most shared hosting also is able to provide at a fairly high ratio, often 99.8% of higher, you’re going to need to ask if yourself if the cost-benefit ratio is really on your side.

Security is a big question mark

An even bigger concern about shared hosting is that of security. In the cloud hosting model data is routinely backed up from server to server. This potentially means that if one server is compromised, the entire cloud could be as well. While there hasn’t been much in the way of publicized incidents in this regard yet, the younger a new technology is the more vulnerable to attack it tends to be.

Forget customization

There is one area in which cloud hosting is actually the worst choice, and that is for the user who might want an occasional bit of customization for their site that only the web host can add. This is normally a benefit which is restricted to dedicated or virtual private servers anyway, but occasionally a web host can be talked into installing a particular software package on your shared hosting machine: this might be something they are considering offering, and your server can be a good test tube experiment. But the same web host will not likely take this initial leap if it means having to install it on a dozen separate machines in multiple locations.

The web site of the professional photographer isn’t often the most demanding one. As enticing as technology cloud hosting is, many photographers might find this to be a bit of overkill. That said, this is still a fascinating development in the world of hosting, and if you are one of these users who wants the highest quality hosting regardless of price, cloud hosting may be for you.

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