What is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud computing is the practice of storing, managing and processing data on a network of servers hosted on the Internet. Cloud Server Hosting applies this functionality to provide web hosting services.
Cloud Hosting Providers utilize a group of servers linked via a network, which work together to deliver web hosting services. The servers are load-balanced in order to spread the resource usage evenly, reducing risk of malfunction. Cloud Servers are also configured to be redundant, so that a failure in one server will not affect the rest of the system.
A good analogy compares a Cloud Server to an electricity grid. You are delivered energy (bandwidth, storage etc) quickly and reliably, only when you request it – for example by flipping a light switch (a setting on the control panel). When you turn the light switch off, that energy returns to the grid for someone else to use.
Cloud Hosting operates on a pay-as-you-use structure and is therefore preferred by those who use much more one month than they do the next. In particular, if your website has constantly fluctuating levels of traffic and you don’t want to overpay or be caught short – Cloud Hosting is the solution for you.
Pros and Cons of Cloud Hosting
- Flexibility and scalability
- Quick and easy setup
- Pay only for what you use
- Hardware bought and maintained for you, elsewhere
- Use more than one operating system
- Downtime (if it happens) is longer than traditional hosting solutions such as Dedicated Servers, VPS and Cheap Web Hosting
- Potential for unexpectedly high bills (as well as unexpectedly low ones!)
Reliability Through Redundancy
Cloud Server Hosting has a reputation for high reliability and performance, with maximized uptime achieved through retention of redundant server capacity. In cases where one server fails or is damaged, the other servers in its group pick up the slack until it is fixed. Cloud Hosting plans will often guarantee a specific level of performance and adjust customer payments if that level is not achieved.
No host is immune from service outages, but Cloud Hosting providers are at a distinct advantage. Despite the benefits of other hosting solutions such as Cheap Hosting, VPS Hostingor Dedicated Servers, the mechanics of Cloud Web Hosting ensures that even if one server forming part of the Cloud goes offline, your website isn’t usually affected as the other servers are often in different locations, away from the cause of the issue.
Security in The Cloud
Cloud Hosting solutions are no less secure than any other type of web hosting, but the ‘virtual’ nature of the server makes them an appealing target.
Cloud Hosting providers are well aware of this, and fortify their servers thoroughly to mitigate any possible threat of attack from malicious software. Firewalls, anti-virus detection, user authentication and data encryption all contribute to the security of your Cloud Hosting solution. and routine security audits
The Cloud is Growing
Many commonly-used web applications are now based on Cloud computing (Google Apps, iCloud and Dropbox to name just a few), and the trend is not showing any signs of slowing.
Goldman Sachs suggest that Cloud computing will make up to 12% of total IT spend by 2018, with total market worth increasing to over $40 billion USD by 2018. These graphs demonstrate the emergence of Cloud computing as a force to be reckoned with.
Cloud Hosting vs. Virtual Private Server (VPS)
The principles behind both VPS and Cloud Hosting are similar, but the practice is different. Both service are designed for flexibility and scalability, allowing you to accommodate fluctuations in demand by sharing resources with fellow customers.
With Virtual Private Servers (VPS), multiple Virtual Machines (VMs) are housed in one physical server which has been split into smaller sections. Cloud Hosting utilizes the resources of multiple physical servers linked together over the Internet in a network.
VPS hosting is generally cheaper than Cloud Hosting, but if physical server fails all of the VPS accounts on that server go down with it, whereas a Cloud Host would simply get another server to do the job until it is fixed.
Using a Cloud Hosting plan
Cloud Hosting allows you to deploy different technologies that could not work together on other web hosting plans – even enabling you to use different scripting languages and web application frameworks (i.e. PHP or .NET) within the same site.
The value in having the ability to add capacity and functionality as needed in real time cannot be understated. Cloud Hosting companies are equipped to be responsive and flexible – some of our favorite providers have made it as simple as moving a slider to increase or decrease current capacity or bandwidth.
What to look for in a Cloud Hosting plan
Reliability – look for 99.9% uptime
Scalability – how easily can you increase/decrease your usage?
Security – what safeguards do the company put in place to protect your site?
Strong technical support – look for knowledge, availability and attitude
User-friendly control panel – how difficult is it to update your site?
Is Cloud Hosting right for me?
Cloud Hosting is a growing presence in the web hosting industry because it meets customer needs so well. It represents a simple way to retain an industry-grade hosting solution without the associated hardware, staffing and maintenance costs, and will support your website’s growth instead of hindering it.
If you are looking for a reliable, cost-effective and adaptable hosting solution – Cloud Server Hosting deserves plenty of consideration.