So far we have gone over what is shared hosting and what are virtual servers. We’re going to go over a few advanced web hosting configurations (general view) so that you can get a basic idea what other web hosting options are available.
First, here’s what a typical virtual server configuration looks like. All the typical web components are all in one environment. See the illustration below and refer to it as you compare the others.
PROS – It’s simple to set up, less to manage, affordable and very fast as the are all in one place.
CONS – With this set up, the components can affect each other. For example, if email gets hacked, the server is affected and may go offline or crash.
Clustered Shared Hosting Environments
As your server begins to use up resources, your site gains more traffic or you are using more sophisticated applications, you eventually need to improve performance, reliability or security.
PROS – Clustered configurations can handle more work load, traffic, improve security and reliability.
- The work load is directed to appropriate server.
- Each server has it’s own security layer and if on
- Reliability is improved. For example, if the email server become busy due to lots of email, the other servers are unaffected.
CONS – The only drawback for clustered environments is the latency between separate servers. As you can imagine, as more servers and clusters are deployed; major fine turning must be done to minimize the impact of the latency betwee the servers.
Shared server with remote database server
This configuration helps performance, if there are many database request, the requests are sent to the database server, barely affecting the main server’s resources. Also, the data in the database has an added layer of protection because the database server will have it’s own security. The downside? There can be latency issues between the virtual server and the remote database server.
Shared server with remote database server and Email
A step up from a standard virtual server with a remote database, is to a virtual server with a remote database and email server. This type of configuration moves the database and email work load to 2 servers versus 1.
Email is a busy component of web hosting and can seriously eat up resources or put your server at risk, if hacked. As you separate the other server components, it begins to help with performance, security and reliability. Each server has it’s own layer of protection and takes its share of the work.
The latency between the servers can be a downside and as your site gets larger, busier and very active visitors, the latency increase exponentially.
Multiple Web servers with remote database, email and DNS (Cloud Hosting)
Cloud Hosting, the virtual server becomes a lot more sophisticated, complex and requires incredible fine tuning. It’s the ideal configuration when you are a big web hosting company, looking to build connected clusters of servers (like those above) to serve your customers sites or application. A lot of engineering goes into helping minimize the latency between these complex clusters.
Below is an oversimplified illustration of 1 cluster (imagine 20 or more working together), with almost every major virtual server component separated for improved reliability, performance and superior work load balancing. And yet, as more servers are used, the major drawback is the latency. It is reliable and can handle sudden spikes in traffic.