Are you looking to host your eLearning platform but are unsure of your options? The terms of cloud or on-premise hosting may have been something you repeatedly see during your research. Cloud hosting services place your platform in a shared “virtualized” environment which is managed by your provider, while a dedicated server is a physical technology purchased by you which resides in your building and is managed by your company.
So what are the benefits of using either of these technologies? With eLearning platforms like Moodle™ notoriously tricky to host, this article can be used to assist you in deciding the right technology for your needs.
Your hosting provider will typically provide annual or month to month payment options. This package will include a base number of support hours and usually a set-up cost. Once set-up, your cloud system is managed by your provider, who will look after everything from security to performance. If you have a specific request, you can contact your provider, and a professional in technical services will assist you.
A dedicated server requires purchase and installation of physical technology, and with that comes a fairly significant start-up cost. Included in this price will be the purchase of security programs, which are essential in keeping your information safe. After this, however, you’ll need someone on your team capable of maintaining the server and managing security and updates. If you do not have someone, you’ll have to hire a technician, which adds to the costs.
In years past cloud servers were believed to be less secure than on-premise due to large numbers of users within the one system. Luckily, thanks to the work of companies like Amazon Web Services, cloud-based systems can now be as secure as local servers. Cloud hosting is also scalable, meaning that your technology can increase in size as your user-base grows.
The performance of your server depends on a variety of factors. For on-premise hosting, it depends on the technology you’ve purchased, with the higher-end producing faster load times. Cloud hosting depends on the provider, and where the provider is based. If your site is in Australia and your cloud ’provider’s datacentre is in America, you are going to see reduced performance on your system. Larger hosting providers are tackling this problem by decentralizing and placing infrastructure around the world. Having local datacentres means better performance for everyone close to these regions.
Overall, local hosting can be faster than the cloud due to its location and the fact that it generally only hosts the one server. However, cloud hosting can perform just as well or even better with the right provider.
The quality of your server management relies entirely on which provider you choose. If your hosting partner has limited hours of availability, or only offer email communication, this may hinder your access to support. Finding a hosting partner that is local and has 24/7 support is your best bet for getting quick and practical support for any issues.
The great thing about local dedicated hosting is control over the availability of support and server management. However, this is if you have a dedicated person or team to focus almost solely on your servers. Often IT is stretched out too thin, managing too many platforms, and this hinders the availability of support. As long as you have set up your system, with a dedicated employee or team to run and maintain it – you’ll quickly be able to solve your issues. It would help if you also had a plan in place for any fire, flood or other property damage that may affect your servers. Cloud hosting providers have off-site storage of backups and significant physical security measures to deal with this.
With all of this said, the right hosting solution depends on your needs. If you’ve already spent the money on the infrastructure and the team to manage it, then local hosting may be for you. When it comes to eLearning, however, if you are going to host locally, having a team that is fluent in learning platforms such as Moodle™ is extremely important.
The best thing about cloud hosting is that it can be made to fit any need, from a small business looking for a cost-friendly solution with great support, to a large scale company which requires the best security on the market. The technology is continuously being innovated as well, meaning further features and higher functionality is around the corner.
eCreators provide cloud hosting for eLearning platforms for countries all around the world. Centred in Melbourne, Australia we provide 24/7 support, hosting and security from some of the most significant players, meaning your technology will perform to the highest standard. Our services are scalable and billed on a per-user basis, meaning your solution can match your needs perfectly.