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What works best? A cloud server or an on-site server?

We get asked all the time, what server would best work for our business. In this article we will explain the pros and cons of a cloud and on-site server.

More and more businesses are looking to move away from server infrastructure, replacing it with cloud computing. Why? Well theres lots of reasons and we’ll be covering only some within this article explaining the advantages and dissadvantages of each.


Cloud server:

Having a cloud server costs a lot less, it doesn’t demand a special room with air conditioning. All it requires is an internet connection, whether they is standard broadband or 4G/5G.

All you’ll pay for is what you need and the storage grows as you grow. No more continuous running costs, only a monthly flat fee based on what your business needs.

Cloud servers are essentially a VPS stored in a compliant data centre. A typical situation is an IT provider (in this instance ourselves) will own some servers which we would segment up for individual clients. This way we know that the servers are protected 24/7 in a UK data centre which is constantly managed.

We take where we get our servers from very seriously and that is why we have partnered with a UK based company running servers from 100% renewable energy.

A typical cost for a cloud server can range between £50 – £200 pcm depending on your storage size.

On-site server:

Naturally one of the main reasons going against on-site servers is cost, businesses want to receive a good product for the cheapest price. Sinking money into an old on-site server is not the way to do that.

On-site servers have an extremely high running cost. 

They take up space, usually a separate locked room something that some small businesses might not have access to.

Servers also get hot, they require air conditioning and to be kept at a stable temperature. Running air-conditioning units costs a lot of money and they don’t stop running even when the office closes.

Servers consume a lot of power just by themselves without the addition of air-con. Something that can’t be turned off which constantly drains power while upping your bill.

Also if that server is in your building it becomes your problem if something goes wrong. Maintenance bills can be pricy especially if you haven’t been taking care of your server with regular checks and upgrades. If your server goes down your team might not be able to work until its fixed.

So how much do servers cost? On average you are looking at a minimum of £1000 for a basic server going upwards to £25,000 for a high end server.


Cloud server:

With cloud servers you are more than likely protected by the IT provider you are getting the cloud server from. There is also a lot less responsibility in general with cloud servers due to their set up.

On-site server:

With your on-site server ultimately everything is your responsibility unless you pay an IT provider. Uptime, maintenance, security and backups, each of these components holds a cost, if that cost isn’t met then it carries a risk, if the server goes down then how are your employees going to work? If your server gets hacked, how detrimental will that be to your company?

Often overlooked security is one of the most important subjects, if an invader gains access they can wreak all sorts of mayhem. If your company stores customer information then theres a good chance that you’re going to receive a massive fine from the government.

If your server is managed by someone else then ultimately everything above is their responsibility, and ultimately they are experts in their field when it comes to this. These people know what they are doing so your server is in safe hands.

Enterprise features

Cloud server:

The bulk of this is handled for you in the cloud, and for the typical small or medium business, the redundancy, resilience, and reliability are considerably higher than they would be with an on-premises solution.

Take email as an illustration. One or two servers might support an on-premises email service used by a typical small or medium-sized business. These will be backed up, and in more sophisticated circumstances, they might have copies elsewhere that might be brought online in the event of a breakdown.

On-site server:

Large businesses spend a significant portion of their IT spending removing single points of failure as a follow-up to shared responsibility. Redundancy is first introduced by adding more servers, firewalls, switches, and internet connectivity, but in many circumstances, this leads to one or more completely duplicate infrastructure sets.

Smaller firms are just as dependent on working IT as any large corporation, but they rarely have the resources or room to provide that type of resilience.


This is only a small sample of what cloud solutions might be able to do for your company. The main takeaway is that in order to realise the benefits, it’s crucial to look beyond the up-front or continuing charges and analyse your present solution’s total cost of ownership before comparing it to the new benefits and risk reductions. You’ll probably discover that taking the risk will benefit you more in the long run.