Cluster hosting is not very popular compared to other types of hosting. You may already know how shared and dedicated hosting work, but most providers don’t offer “cluster” services. That’s a shame, because cluster hosting offers many benefits that other types of plans don’t.
With cluster hosting plans, your website doesn’t just reside on one server, but on many. This can provide serious benefits when it comes to scaling your site (handling more traffic) and avoiding crashes.
However, the main disadvantage is that cluster hosting is a more advanced hosting setup, which makes it much more expensive than your average web hosting.
What is cluster hosting?
“Traditional” web hosting uses a single server for one or more customer accounts and websites. There are several types of hosting plans that use this model. What they all have in common is that each site is assigned to a specific server.
With cluster plans, the main difference is that your website will be hosted on multiple servers, usually in the same physical location. Each server is usually called a node.
👉 For example, your hosting can be hosted on five different servers (nodes) in the same location, which means there is no single point of failure.
A web host can have different server clusters in multiple regions, each with its own set of clients.
How is cluster hosting different?
The main advantages of cluster hosting 💪 are a high degree of scalability and reliability.
Depending on the cluster’s resources, its servers should be able to handle spikes in traffic without any problems.
Many cluster hosting approaches can also create new nodes in the cluster at will, allowing the host to create more servers in high-traffic situations. This is called “Horizontal Scaling“.
In contrast, “vertical scaling” works by adding more resources to a single server rather than adding more servers.
Furthermore, downtime should not be a problem, as it is almost impossible for all servers in a cluster to go down at the same time. Basically, having a cluster means there is no single point of failure.
A host typically uses a load balancer to direct traffic between these different servers. A load balancer does what its name suggests: it leftovers that workload your website traffic by directing traffic to different servers in the cluster.
ℹ️ It is important to understand that cluster hosting no budget option. Most cluster plans start in the hundreds of dollars per month. You usually pay for clusters with lots of resources and hands-on management. Therefore, unlike cloud hosting plans, it is very rare to find cheap cluster hosting providers.
What to look for in a cluster hosting provider?
If you’re new to cluster hosting plans, you might not know what to look for in a 🔍 provider. Let’s go over the features you should consider when comparing cluster servers and providers.
- ScaleWhen comparing cluster web hosts, you’ll notice that most of them have separate plans per node. The more nodes in the cluster, the more resources you get. In turn, this means you’ll be able to scale your site even further.
- Auto Scaling (Auto Scaling)If your site is experiencing an increase in traffic (eg going viral), you may have a provider that will allow you to set auto-scaling rules. Again, this allows you to scale your site horizontally by spinning up more nodes during periods of high traffic (and then shutting down the added nodes when they’re no longer needed to reduce costs).
- Load balancingAny cluster setup worth its salt will have a dedicated load balancing setup. This makes it easy to distribute your website hosting work across the entire cluster. It should also avoid performance drops when the site is under stress.
- Personal switches. With private switches, the virtual machines that host your website are completely isolated from other clients in the cluster.
- Managed setupIf you don’t have a server administration background, it might be worth paying for a managed cluster setup.
📌 The best cluster web hosts usually offer managed services. This is because customers who use this type of plan usually want the best performance and features. However, if you are launching your first website, this type of plan may be too much.
Pros and cons of cluster hosting
There are many advantages to using clustered servers.
The main advantage of a cluster setup is that you get a lot of scalability. The more nodes you pay, the more resources you get, which means your account can handle more traffic or websites.
Compared to cloud hosting, clustered servers tend to offer better performance and are often managed. That means you get a team to make sure your cluster delivers the best possible performance and security.
Furthermore, your site will have rock-solid reliability as there is no single point of failure. If one node goes down, the load balancer can seamlessly switch traffic to other nodes that are still running.
All of those positives come at a cost, though. In this case, that cost is a high price. Most cluster plans start in the $500-$1,000 per month range, and it’s not uncommon to see options costing thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, cluster hosting is only viable if you have a well-established website (or multiple websites) and need the best performance, scalability, and reliability.
If you are starting a new website and have little experience with hosting, we recommend trying other types of software, such as a virtual private server (VPS) or shared setup.
Best cluster hosting providers in 2022
There aren’t many web hosts that offer clustered server setups. This is a somewhat niche hosting plan aimed at demanding customers. With that in mind, we’ve put together a shortlist of the best cluster server providers for you to choose from.
- Scala hosting
- Fluid web
1. Scala hosting
Scala Hosting offers several types of custom cluster solutions, including options hosted in a single data center and others spread across multiple locations. These multi-site setups are ideal if you want a high degree of redundancy for your websites.
All Scala Hosting clusters come with managed services, intelligent load balancing, staging functionality and Spanel settings. However, this company does not offer pre-built plans, so you should contact an agent to discuss your needs. Its cluster plans start at around $1,400 per month.
2. Fluid web
Liquid Web is one of our recommended VPS web hosts. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for server clusters with pre-defined plans. Liquid Web offers four tiers of cluster hosting, from $743 to $2,149 per month.
Plans start with two-node clusters and go up to six. Most of Liquid Web’s packages offer load balancing and managed hosting functionality. You can also request a custom plan if you need a specific type of cluster setup.
As its name suggests, euroVPS is an option aimed at European customers. That doesn’t mean you can’t use this hosting provider if you’re not in Europe. However, its data centers are located in the Netherlands.
euroVPS offers fully customized solutions for its cluster servers. Its settings include load balancers, private switches, and backup servers. It also offers free migration services to all customers. This makes euroVPS a fantastic option if you already have a website and want to improve its performance by switching to a cluster setup.
In terms of pricing, euroVPS is at the higher end of the scale. Plans start at €7,500 per month, so it’s primarily an option for businesses and e-commerce sites.
Cluster hosting is a fantastic option that most people don’t consider, especially since most web hosts don’t offer this plan. However, companies that to do tend to go all out with their resources, added features, and server management.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember that cluster hosting no budget option. However, it might be the way to go if you want the best reliability, scalability, and performance, and you’re willing to pay for it all.
⌛ Of the web hosts we mentioned before, Scala Hosting is our recommended choice. It offers customer clusters with Spanel and plans start at approximately $1,400 per month. You can get a custom quote by contacting and discussing your needs with one of Scala Hosting’s agents.
Have questions about cluster hosting? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below.