In the vast landscape of web hosting, there’s a lesser-known option called cluster hosting that holds immense potential for specific websites. Cluster hosting utilises the power of multiple servers collaborating as a unified force to host a single website. This article explores what cluster hosting is, how it operates, its advantages, drawbacks, and helps you determine whether it’s the right fit for your unique website needs.
What is Cluster Hosting?
Cluster hosting differs from traditional hosting, where a single server handles all website traffic. In this innovative approach, several servers form a cluster, working together harmoniously to host a website. If one server running an application encounters issues or experiences downtime, the other servers can swiftly pick up where that cluster left off, ensuring uninterrupted website availability. It’s important to note that while you can expect significant availability gains this isn’t a diamond shield. If your database server fails, your website can still experience downtime unless the server has its own redundancy measures.
Websites with high traffic levels or those requiring scalability, especially during sales or promotions, benefit the most from cluster hosting. Though it’s advantages appeal to those with more stable traffic levels too.
How Cluster Hosting works in practice
Each website within a cluster receives dedicated server resources, so you have your ‘own’ CPU, HDD or SSD, and RAM. When a user sends a request to access a website on the cluster, a load balancer evenly distributes the request across the servers in the cluster.
The load balancer intelligently assigns the request to the server it estimates is best suited to handle it, guaranteeing that every website receives optimal resources without overwhelming any individual server. This dynamic setup optimises website performance and ensures efficient resource utilisation.
A quick note on Cloud Hosting
It’s crucial to distinguish cluster hosting from cloud hosting. While both involve multiple servers, cloud hosting disperses a website across servers located in various physical locations. When a server goes down your website can still run on other servers in the network. In contrast, cluster hosting connects servers within a cluster, meaning they can seamlessly share resources and promote even greater reliability and scalability.
What to Look for in your Cluster Hosting provider
When considering cluster hosting, evaluating the provider’s offerings is essential. Here are some key features to prioritise when deciding on your cluster hosting provider:
- Highly Available: Choose a provider that guarantees high availability, meaning if one server falters, others immediately come online to maintain continuous website access.
- Load Balancing: Look for a provider with sophisticated load-balancing capabilities that distribute traffic efficiently based on server resources. The better the load balancing the better traffic is distributed across your resources.
- Scalability: Opt for a provider that effortlessly scales your website as traffic fluctuates, ensuring it can handle sudden spikes in visitor numbers.
- Security: Prioritise a provider that has an arsenal of security features to safeguard your website from potential cyber threats.
- Reputable cluster hosting providers like Hypernode are well-known for their cluster solutions, emphasising additional features such as the removal of single points of failure, insightful dashboards, self learning firewalls, specialised advice and autohealing.
Pros and Cons of Cluster Hosting
As with any hosting option, cluster hosting has its set of advantages and disadvantages:
- Scalability: Cluster hosting efficiently handles seasonal or promotional traffic spikes, making it a scalable choice.
- Enhanced Reliability: Multiple servers boost reliability, ensuring website continuity even if one server experiences issues.
- Optimised Performance: Distribution of requests across multiple servers ensures each website receives sufficient resources, optimising overall performance.
- Complex Management: Setting up and managing a cluster hosting environment can be more complex, necessitating sufficient resources and expertise. This is where providers like Hypernode come in, offering a managed solution catered to your specific needs and offloading a lot of the work from you and providing intuitive ways to manage your cluster.
- Higher Costs: The benefits of cluster hosting come at a higher price, making it a less budget-friendly option for some businesses.
Is Cluster Hosting Right for You?
Cluster hosting shines for businesses seeking enhanced reliability, scalability, and performance for their websites. However, it’s essential to weigh the higher costs and complexity associated with it.
Before choosing cluster hosting, assess your website’s specific requirements and traffic patterns. If you anticipate consistent high traffic and possess the resources to manage a clustered environment, it could be the ideal solution to maintain a resilient, high-performing website.
Want to have more information about cluster hosting? Get in contact with one of our solution architects.