There are a plethora of questions posted on sites like Quora and Reddit asking about the difference between “cloud hosting” and a “CDN”. These are two completely different products. However, it’s not hard to understand why this confusion exists. When a layperson hears the phrase “cloud hosting”, they get an image of their site being hosted around the world on multiple computers. And a CDN delivers your content to people based on their geographic location. So the two must be related right?
If you have even a passing acquaintance with web hosting terminology, you’ll know that nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s examine some myths about cloud hosting, and why you still need a solid CDN network.
What Cloud Hosting is NOT
There are a lot of misconceptions about cloud hosting. While the term can be sometimes used as a proxy for VPS hosting (non-traditional), there are some things it absolutely isn’t.
Not Geographically Distributed
Your servers are still located in just one data center. Your site’s data is spread out over a computing network, but all the individual components still reside together. From a performance point of view, it doesn’t matter which server actually delivers the content because the distances are all the same.
For example, NameHero recently opened a new data center in the Netherlands. If you choose this data center, all your content will come from that location, even though NameHero also has data centers in the west and the east of the USA.
Is a Geographically Distributed Website Possible?
Strictly speaking, yes it can happen. But it would require a huge amount of technical set up and allocation of resources. There are some guides for those wishing to have distributed sites on Google Cloud Compute or AWS, but these aren’t easy for the average person to follow, and even for those who are experienced, there’s plenty that can go wrong.
I don’t see this changing any time soon. The effort and costs required to make it happen are simply not worth the benefits. There needs to be syncing of changed content, cache purging of end nodes, and a whole lot more. No web hosting provider is going to offer this kind of set up any time soon.
A CDN Fills in the Gaps
NameHero comes with complete Cloudflare integration, along with the “Railgun” feature that aims to speed up even partially dynamic page elements. I’ve personally found Railgun to be a bit iffy and doesn’t produce the touted results. Moreover, if you really want to benefit from Cloudflare, you should switch your DNS servers manually so that you can take advantage of Cloudflare’s extremely fast DNS machines. That way, you reduce your latency even more.
Server Caching and Cloudflare is All you Need
While you can’t have your site spread out on servers around the world, you can have the next best thing – server caching. NameHero’s LiteSpeed cache is superior to other caching technologies and will ensure that your site’s visitors won’t have to wait long even for dynamic content. As long as you have all your other files served via a CDN like Cloudflare, it should give you everything you need!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!