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A Comparison of Dedicated FTP Servers and Cloud FTP Hosting
Brendon Ainsworth

By: Brendon Ainsworth on April 30th, 2020

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A Comparison of Dedicated FTP Servers and Cloud FTP Hosting

FTP Solutions File Sharing Best Practices

When it comes to file sharing, nothing is more important than security. But when there are so many solutions on the market, it can be difficult to determine which option will best meet your needs.

For those who want to move away from -- or avoid building and maintaining -- their own in-house server, two of the more popular file sharing options are using a dedicated FTP server from a secure file sharing software company or using a cloud FTP hosting service. 

Here at FTP Today, we have developed feature rich FTP server applications for our clients for more than 20 years. However, we know they may not be the perfect fit for everyone and want to make sure you make the right decision for your requirements. 

In this article, we will define what FTP servers and unlimited cloud hosting are and dive into the pros and cons of each.

What is a Dedicated FTP Server?

Depending on the level of sensitivity of your data, you may want to use a dedicated FTP server instead of a shared FTP server. You may be asking yourself, “What’s the difference? These are both FTP servers;” however, resources are distributed differently depending on the option you choose.

Dedicated FTP servers are for your use and your use alone; you won’t be sharing CPU, RAM or network resources with anyone. Shared FTP servers allocate resources across many different companies. Think of it like having your own office building vs. sharing an office space with other companies where you might share a printer room, bathrooms, or common spaces. While you may be able to secure your specific space, that doesn't mean the entire facility is protected. 

Although we’ve covered the basics of what a dedicated FTP server is, let’s take a close look at some of the pros and cons of having a dedicated FTP server.

Pros and Cons of Using a Dedicated FTP Server

As with any software adoption, you’ll reap benefits and face a few challenges when adopting a dedicated FTP server. 

Pros of Using a Dedicated FTP Server

  • Security - Because these secure servers are being used by your approved users and those users alone, you can rest easier knowing that your data is protected. Dedicated servers are ideal for industries that are using highly sensitive data on a daily basis. This could be those in the healthcare industry or government contractors. If you’re handling sensitive data, a dedicated server is the best option
  • Network Resources - You’re not sharing compute or network resources with other companies starting at the server level, which means there’s far less likelihood you’ll be impacted by other entities. This minimizes downtime and preserves efficiency. 
  • Increased Performance Levels - When you’re working with a dedicated FTP server, you’re not bound by standardized package limitations that may come with shared or  public cloud-based solutions. Because one size doesn’t fit all when it comes with file sharing solutions, you may want an option that can be scaled vertically more than a shared option. With a dedicated FTP server, you have an inherently more performant option.
  • Minimal Management Overhead - Fortunately with a dedicated FTP server provided by an FTP host, you don’t have to worry about making a large initial investment for hardware. Instead, you can rely on your FTP host to facilitate the server. You don’t even have to increase your data security investment as long as you partner with a top FTP provider. The physical server you’ll be using will be managed and maintained by your FTP host, requiring no effort on your end. 

Cons of Using a Dedicated FTP Server

  • Cost - The biggest and most identifiable con that comes with using a dedicated FTP server is the cost. A dedicated FTP server can cost multiple times more than a shared FTP server
  • Slower Upgrade Path - In order to upgrade a dedicated physical FTP Server, a member of a support team will need to expand RAM, CPU or storage.

What is Cloud FTP Hosting?

First, we should answer the question, “what is cloud?” According to NIST, Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Cloud FTP hosting is similar to using a dedicated FTP server in that a FTP host manages and maintains the system for you from the datacenter and support, all the way through the application, but provisioning and other changes can happen much more quickly. You’re still working with a host to ensure the file sharing solution they are providing is secure and running efficiently. Using a cloud FTP service means that your FTP service is hosted entirely in the cloud (off premise).

Pros and Cons of Using Cloud FTP Hosting

There are numerous pros and cons associated with using a cloud-based FTP service. A better understanding of these benefits and drawbacks will help you decide if this is the right file sharing option for your team. 

Pros of Using Cloud FTP Hosting

  • Security - Even though your data isn't stored at your physical location, you still have a say in where your data ends up (domestically or internationally). You’ll know exactly where the servers with your data on them are housed. Top file sharing hosts invest great effort into ensuring all essential data is protected. 
  • Cost - Cost can be a major factor for companies deciding between a file sharing solution housed on a dedicated cloud FTP server and a shared cloud FTP server solution. Cloud-based FTP servers are a lot more affordable because they are typically an OPEX cost as opposed to a significant upfront CAPEX cost, which can make this a tempting option for many companies. You simply pay a monthly subscription fee for the option and resources that are the best for your needs.
  • Scalability - Scalability is simple with a cloud FTP hosting option. A cloud-based solution is inherently flexible. With the click of a button, you can increase your storage capacities. In an instant, you can have all the storage your company needs.
  • No Overhead and Increased Convenience - With FTP cloud storage, you can enable remote work and your employees can access your FTP solution from any location. A cloud-based FTP server means you’ll use little to no resources in the maintenance and management of the server. 

Cons of Using Cloud FTP Hosting

  • Shared Resources - Even though the FTP host will make every effort to make sure that no one customer’s resource usage adversely affects another customer’s performance, it is still possible that from time to time your performance levels may suffer slightly. There could be a runaway process created by another customer’s poorly written automation scripts. There could be a denial of service attack on one customer’s FTP site that over-exerts the resources that the system has available. In any case, performance levels are much more guaranteed 24/7 if you are on a dedicated FTP server instead of a shared (multi-tenant) server.

Both the dedicated FTP server and cloud-based FTP server are great options for most companies. Be sure to consider your options carefully when selecting a course of action. It may feel difficult to make a decision, but do your research. Find out exactly what you need your file sharing solution to accomplish and see which provider and their solutions best fit your needs.

One way to learn more about your options is to explore our free File Share Solutions Comparison Guide.

About Brendon Ainsworth

Learner, Researcher, Customer-focused, and the Director of Sales & Business Development for FTP Today. Brendon has successfully navigated multiple industries and has infrastructure certifications in GCP and AWS. He started his career in Oil & Gas business development and successfully transitioned to Rackspace as a Mid to Large enterprise technology consultant and then as a leader.

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