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Comparing Hosting Options for Headless CMS: Cloud vs. Dedicated Servers

Comparing Hosting Options for Headless CMS: Cloud vs. Dedicated Servers

With managed hosting taking care of the server maintenance heavy lifting, it’s easier than ever before to run your website, app, or, in this case, headless content management system (CMS) on just about any infrastructure you want. But that doesn’t mean all infrastructure is equal. When hosting a headless CMS or multiple frontends, having the right infrastructure can mean just the right amount of scalability and performance needed to ensure great user experiences and fewer problems down the line.

Cloud servers and dedicated servers are the most common types of infrastructure used for self-hosted headless CMSs. But how do the differences between the two lend themselves better to one type of headless CMS than another?

Scalability and Flexibility

In a cloud environment, the resources of the physical servers providing the cloud infrastructure are pooled together. Cloud servers are created using these resources. It also means that, should a cloud server need more resources, it can be assigned without ever having to touch the physical server.

But, depending on your cloud service provider, you might find the performance of your public cloud server fluctuating during peak times.

In contrast, a dedicated server is a physical server that, as all servers do, comes with one or more CPUs, a fixed amount of RAM, as well as storage space, among other things. Since these physical resources are dedicated entirely to you, server performance won’t be affected by someone else.

As with a cloud server, computing resources can be upgraded, but it requires opening up the physical server and physically upgrading existing components.

It’s for this reason that cloud servers are also more flexible in terms of geographic distribution, meaning that it’s easier to host a cloud server closer to your audiences than a dedicated server.

What to do: Choose a cloud server if your headless CMS / frontend website or app receives variable traffic. A dedicated server is ideal for scenarios where traffic and server load is consistent, and your audiences are (mostly) located close to your hosting service provider.

Mission-critical sites and apps need high-availability servers

Choose a cloud server

Security and Compliance

The shared environment of a public cloud inherently carries an elevated risk of vulnerabilities given that there’s no control over other tenants’ behaviour or security practices. Cloud hosting service providers therefore tend to implement strong security measures. However, these security measures are not specific to the individual privacy needs of each client.


A dedicated server, in contrast, isn’t shared with other tenants, minimising any potential risks. Given direct access to the operating system, more nuanced security measures and firewall rules can be employed than with a cloud server. Overall, a dedicated server provides enhanced control over the entire server environment. This includes not just the operating system and firewall, but also the physical security of the hardware, the data storage practices, and the network configurations.


What to do: Find a cloud server that offers more than just standardised cloud server security. Storm Internet, for example, includes quarterly PCI DSS external vulnerability scans in addition to 24/7 monitoring by in-house and data centre security teams.


Cost & Maintenance

Hosting a headless CMS should also be considered in the context of cost.


Cloud computing has enjoyed widespread uptake to now be an affordable computing solution with affordable setup costs. Cloud service providers tend to operate on a pay-as-you-go model, which means you only pay for those resources you use. Maintenance is typically done behind the scenes by the cloud service provider.


Dedicated servers, on the other hand, are usually priced at a fixed cost, which can provide predictable pricing. This fixed pricing model can make a dedicated server more cost-effective for steady workloads. Where the service provider owns the dedicated server hardware, maintenance and associated costs are usually carried by the service provider.


Private Cloud Hosting for Headless CMS

Think of a private cloud as a collection of dedicated servers with their resources pooled together. As far as hosting for your headless CMS goes, a private cloud combines the best of both worlds: the privacy and added security of a dedicated server with the flexibility and scalability of the cloud.


It’s particularly advantageous for organisations with fluctuating demands, needing customisation and stringent compliance with data regulations, while still wanting to benefit from cloud-like scalability and flexibility. A private cloud is especially suited to accommodate complex online infrastructure spanning multiple servers, VLANs, as well as the assets needed to reliably host a headless CMS and even applicable front-ends (e.g. websites and apps).


As far as maintenance is concerned, most service providers include SLAs with private clouds that may shift responsibility for the physical infrastructure to the service provider (it is their hardware after all) and care of the virtual infrastructure to the client – unless you’re with us, in which case any server product includes a dedicated six-person support team called a SupportPod. It’s their job to take care of server maintenance along with all other tasks as defined by the SLA.

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