Shared Hosting vs. Cloud Computing

Aaron Rohrbacher

Aaron Rohrbacher

CEO/CTO, Nuel Cloud Computing

What’s the difference?

The concept of shared web hosting has been around for a long time. Godaddy, WPEngine, HostGator, etc. all use this concept – one server placing multiple sites on the internet. The concept remains today, and Nuel is no exception. Offering a LAMP stack, which is ideal for WordPress applications, remains a necessity. Shared hosting allows this to happen at a relatively low cost, especially for simple websites that don’t require a lot of computing power.

While that’s great, what happens as your WordPress site starts to grow? Generally speaking, shared hosting relies on some sort of throttling. This means that as your SQL database grows in size and complexity, the server is going to slow your site down individually, making sure that other sites and applications on the server are still able to access necessary resources. As WordPress APIs become more powerful, this can mean awful loading times for your site while things like inventory updates or site crawling are being processed. This is where shared hosting becomes troublesome. Again, if you’re using WordPress as a simple website or blog (isn’t that its original intent?), shared hosting is ideal for you.

So can a WordPress site work differently? Absolutely. Can it be totally serverless? Sort of. A LAMP stack requires everything in its name: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Now, of course, you can run this on a Windows machine (WAMP), or a macOS machine (MAMP). And of course, newer and faster webservers have been introduced. At Nuel, we use LiteSpeed Webserver, as we coveted its awesome server-side caching capabilities. All of that said, each of these required services can be isolated. For example, AWS offers a ‘serverless’ SQL database option known as Aurora. Hands down, SQL is the most demanding resource of a WordPress-based application. Meanwhile, we can serve media, javaScript, and CSS files from an Amazon S3 bucket. At Nuel, we already do this automatically for WordPress installations, even on our shared hosting plans. I won’t lie – you can do this, and MANY other things like this, for pennies on the dollar. At Nuel, we offer these services at a price point that is similar (usually less) than your current hosting company, as we can do so at a profit, and take all of the configuration off your plate.

So, if you were to build your own VPC, just look for serverless options. You’ll need SOMETHING to run PHP, usually an EC2 instance, which is NOT serverless. And frankly, we recommend Amazon LightSail, also not serverless, but infinitely scalable. Again, you just need to connect Linux (or Windows, or macOS), Apache (or LiteSpeed Webserver or NGINX), mySQL (or postgress or Aurora), and PHP.

A note on SEO

WordPress is a PHP application, which is an entirely backend language. Search engines LOVE this. Frankly, I think this is largely why WordPress and PHP continue to be developed. While Google claims to be “good” at analyzing JavaScript-heavy sites, this has not been my experience. The same goes for Bing and DuckDuckGo. Serving individual pages from a backend server clearly states URLs to crawlers, and presents individual HTML for each page. So even the most dynamic applications are crawled properly.

While JavaScript frameworks such as React, Angular, and VueJS are INCREDIBLY important to web applications, it is my belief that they truly shouldn’t be used for static websites. Ideally, a static website should be stored in an AWS S3 bucket, with individual directories and index.html files. Applications like WordPress just take this concept and make it more dynamic, but honestly, your static site should just be straight-up HTML. As you are noticing, I’m not practicing what I preach here – but search engines DO NOT LIKE JavaScript applications.

Thank you for taking time to read. For more information on Nuel Cloud Computing, please feel free to contact us from the “Support” link in the top nav bar. Even if you’re not our customer, we’d love to hear from you.

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