After surpassing the physical limits of shared servers, the next step up for a growing business used to be getting a dedicated server for handling all their traffic and storage needs.
However, the costs of setting one up are quite prohibitive for most startups. Even those with decent traffic coming their way. That’s when cloud servers changed everything.
Their decentralized infrastructure allowed various physical servers to create huge resource pools shared among many customers, and would give to each according to their needs.
However, cloud server hosting has become an extremely competitive field. Millions of startups and users have outgrown their shared servers and are craving for extra power to handle their ever-growing traffic, or just want to have more flexibility to scale up.
This naturally has pushed technology forward, which is a good thing. But we also see a ton of providers trying to widen their profit margins by offering subpar hosting capabilities. For example, most cheap cloud server providers boast plans that offer multiple CPUs. However, a 2nd generation CPU is not the same as a 5th generation CPU. This renders their promises kind of meaningless for calculation purposes.
Newer processors are much more expensive. They admittedly make cloud server prices jump significantly, making it important to take a look at what you´re getting for your money.
There are other factors that you should take into account when deciding which cloud server is best for you. RAM, capacity, operating system, interface, and even server location. These all affect performance and pricing, so make sure you get the right combination of them for your project.
A piece of advice here: Never go with what you can afford, only go with what you actually need. Having a ton of headroom just because your budget allows it is frankly stupid. The real advantage of cloud servers is that they allow you to only pay for what you use. It is the best way to keep costs under control at all times.
So, which cloud server provider should you choose in 2021?
As always: it depends. There are many great providers out there and they all serve a purpose.
If you want to play it safe, you can go with Google servers. However, they mostly work with old CPU technology. We´re talking about old Haswell architecture, which still offers great stability, but I would not recommend it for processor-intensive tasks.
Google is also very stiff on security. For example, running SMTP servers is a pain as they exert very tight control and block a lot of mail traffic.
These small things make Google very limiting, and I haven´t had a good experience with their support either.
For those who are serious about using cloud servers, I recommend the more flexible options out there.
We have thousands of websites hosted on cloud servers around the world. So we have had the chance to try quite a few of them.
First, let’s get something out of the way: cheap hostings are not worth it in the long run.
Providers such as FatCow, A2Hosting, Scalahosting, NameHero, and the likes are tempting to use if you only manage small websites and don´t need a lot of tweaking.
Their response and load times are nothing to write home about, and their uptime % is decent. Of that group, Scalahosting is the cheapest managed option and offers fairly granular control for server configuration.
On the next tier, we have LiquidWeb, HostGator, BlueHost and InMotion.They offer a bit more options in terms of flexibility and raw power, but they also start getting expensive.
LiquidWeb is the most generous in terms of storage, and their response time was steady at 470ms. However, their use of Interworx was a deal-breaker for us. They do offer C-Panel but you have to pay extra for it.
BlueHost is a very popular option, but they’re kind of opaque when talking about their server locations or processing power. Their plans are locked to three categories which are quite good, I must say. However, many of our websites require higher levels of customization.
One thing we noticed is that most of these cloud servers work under 2nd-3rd generation, sometimes 5th generation architecture. As I said before, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but speed and processing power are severely limited by this.
As I said before, all these options are OK, and they can handle a lot of stuff. This means they’re great if you are looking for some extra juice or you have outgrown your shared servers.
Now, if you want the best cloud server in 2021, you´re going to need a lot more power and a lot more flexibility.
Our Choice: The All-Round Solution
Fortunately, Kamatera cloud servers offer just that. We´ve been working with them for over a year and haven’t had the need to switch providers no matter how different our needs get.
They offer top of the line CPUs that range from Intel Xeon Platinum processors, to 2019 Cascade Lake units. Moreover, their customization options allow for infinite combinations of resources and configurations.
For instance, they are not locked to the traditional one-four CPU range. Kamatera goes as high as 72 vCPUs and 524GB of RAM if you really need it for development or even hosting gaming servers. They also let you install a wider range of operating system environments, and have data centers located in North America, Europe, Asia, and the burgeoning Middle East.
In terms of accessibility, they have managed services that make everything a breeze. However, we really enjoy the freedom that comes with choosing every element of our virtual server.
I believe Kamatera is not only the best cloud server in 2021. They are real trailblazers in this growing industry as they understand what developers of all fields will need moving forward.