You’ve probably heard that cloud hosting is better than shared because it offers better disaster recovery, more security, server monitoring, automatic software updates, and flexibility. All of that is true. Cloud hosting occupies a paradigm above shared hosting.
Right Scale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Report found 95% of respondents are now using cloud technology as their preferred enterprise strategy. It’s popular because it scales up resources on demand, so many firms have found it makes sense to host their e-commerce website in the cloud.
Shared hosting cannot scale up your resources as needed (bandwidth is a particularly critical item), and with the cloud, you only pay for what you use. The availability of on-demand resources makes cloud hosting essential if you plan to scale your e-commerce business.
Cloud hosting supports all other efforts to scale your business
Scaling your e-commerce business requires strategy and planning to ensure your growth is supported by available resources. For example, many e-commerce businesses achieve growth by outsourcing a good portion of the development.
According to Entrepreneur.com, plenty of well-known, large startups owe their success to outsourced development, including Slack, Skype, Klout, Github, Basecamp, and Opera. Outsourcing tasks to teams in other countries empowered these firms to build their infrastructure at a fraction of what an in-house team would have cost.
The money saved by outsourcing allows for faster development and expansion, and more funds are available for non-negotiable expenses. When you expand rapidly on a shared hosting account, you’re one traffic spike away from a crashed website and lost sales, unfortunately.
Shared hosting means a provider places multiple users on one server with finite resources. Shared servers can be powerful machines with 16 cores and several hundred gigs of RAM. That’s a powerhouse with plenty of resources, but providers often assign too many users to one server, and that limits the number of resources available to each website.
Scaling an e-commerce business requires available server resources
Availability of server resources to support the demands of a growing website is imperative. Your website exists as files on a server, and when someone accesses your website, that server’s resources are called up for use.
Traditionally, servers have had finite resources. Servers are computers, after all. On a shared hosting account, you’ll have access to only one server with finite resources.
When you get a surge in traffic — the way you might experience during a Black Friday sale — if that traffic demands more resources than your provider wants you to use, your site will crash.
Cloud hosting avoids this risk by connecting multiple web servers so your website can draw on the resources of a cluster, not just one. This prevents any single server from crashing and can keep your website up during periods of unexpected heavy traffic.
In other words, cloud hosting providers want you to have access to more resources when you need them. Your e-commerce website needs to be available 24/7 to customers, especially during special sales and seasonal jumps. Cloud hosting is the solution to make that work.
Moving away from shared hosting will save your business
Shared hosting plans are cheap. Some cost as little as $3.95/month, provided you’re willing to pay for three years up front.
If you’re running a small site and don’t have to process payments, shared hosting might be all right. When you’re running a professional e-commerce store and have plans to expand and maybe even dominate your industry, shared hosting could hurt you.
How shared hosting hurts your e-commerce business
- Shared hosting isn’t really “unlimited.” Shared hosting plans have appeal. They’re sold as “unlimited” because the provider knows most websites won’t use a fraction of the available resources. But there is a limit to the number of resources one account can use, if demand spikes. These limits can usually be found in the hosting provider’s Terms of Service agreement. When you exceed your limits, you won’t get a friendly email reminder; your host will shut you down and your customers will wander elsewhere.
- Watchdog scripts meant to preserve resources actually kill your business. Many shared hosts have a watchdog script installed to monitor the resources used by each account. They run additional scripts to kill user processes when they’re using too many resources. This sounds like a good way to preserve resources, but if you’re running a business, it translates to lost sales. For example, if your website is using too much RAM, the script will terminate your processes and serve 400 “Bad Request” or 500 “Internal Server” browser errors to your visitors. Some scripts terminate processes even when the account isn’t using anywhere near its fair share of the server’s resources. It can be an arbitrary call made by the hosting provider’s automated algorithm.The bottom line is, you can’t scale an e-commerce business on a server that could make your website unavailable when you increase your traffic and are poised for success.
How Skylands cloud hosting supports your e-commerce business
- Access to more resources on-demand. Instead of monitoring resource usage and cutting you off, cloud hosting monitors your resource usage and allocates more resources as you need them. For example, say your traffic spikes after you’ve sent out an email promotion. A cloud hosting account will recognize that spike in traffic and call up extra resources to prevent your site from going offline, and it happens automatically. With Skylands cloud hosting, you can promote deals any time without worrying that a successful promotion might crash your site.
- Pay for what you use. With traditional hosting plans, you pay for all the resources to which you have access, whether you use them or not. For instance, if you want to have additional resources available in case you need to cover holiday traffic, you have to pay for them year round. With cloud hosting, you pay for additional resources only as you use them.
- Disaster recovery. If anything happens to your website, offsite backups are waiting to take over and preserve your online presence.
How cloud hosting helps you scale your business with load balancing
Load balancing is a process that uses an algorithm to distribute incoming traffic across various nodes to minimize the impact on any one resource. Load balancers also monitor the health of resources to ensure they’re sending traffic only to healthy instances. If any instance is overburdened, traffic gets directed elsewhere.
The more your business grows, the more traffic you’ll receive. Your web server needs to be able to keep up with those demands. Cloud hosting won’t let you down.
Ready to move to the cloud?
You’ve got a business to run. You need a reliable host that won’t shut you down when you start to expand. Contact Skylands today and we’ll answer all your questions about cloud hosting and why you should make the move.