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What is the Difference Between Normal Web Hosting Services & Amazon Web Services?

08/09/2016

If you are in the process of selecting a web hosting service, you may have stumbled upon Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon are cashing in on emerging technologies by providing a rigorous suite of cloud-computing solutions - around 70 different services as of 2016. AWS has been around in one form or another for a decade now, and in that time they have expanded across 13 different global regions.

There is no doubt that AWS is a comprehensive package, but it may not be for everyone. The service provided by Amazon is a different beast when compared to a normal web hosting service. This post will look at some of these differences in a bid to offer a more well-rounded perspective of AWS, what it is and why it is not always the best option.

Normal Web Hosting

A run of the mill web hosting service can come in a variety of flavours; however it usually falls into one of these three categories:

Shared - A physical server that is shared by many different customers.

Virtual Private - Many virtual servers are stored on one physical server. Each customer has their own private virtual server.

Dedicated - A physical server that is leased to a single customer.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon’s AWS offers up two different categories for their web hosting, instead of three. They are:

Standard - In essence, Standard Amazon is a virtual private server, but with a twist. AWS allows for dedicated root access to the server, which is a feature not available in most virtual private servers.

Dedicated - Dedicated hosting on AWS is, again, similar but different to standard web hosts. Here, Dedicated Amazon will provide a virtual server that is not on a shared server, but its own private cloud. It has the best of both worlds - similar to a dedicated server, but with the flexibility of a virtual private server.

When Does AWS Make Sense?

Generally speaking, you pay anywhere up to four times as much for some of the AWS solutions when compared to a standard service. However, there are reasons to pay the premium, such as some of the things AWS can do that standard web hosting cannot. These include:

On-demand infrastructure to easily grow with your business.

Distributed regional infrastructure, reducing global latency.

Drastically scaling down on hardware being used, saving money in the long term.

In short, AWS is perfect in a few select circumstances. For example, if you depend on near-constant uptime for your website, or it uses a lot of resources globally. Aside from a few key scenarios, though, normal web hosting will usually be less expensive and work just as well.

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