Even at the start of the Millenium, technology companies were eager to create computer networks that could be shared across multiple people and organizations.
Google and Amazon have been exploring these options since the early 2000s and almost immediately launched cloud networks to host their online services. Google’s attempt was the App Engine for developers, best known as Google Cloud Platform. Microsoft opened Azure in 2008, signalling a more mainstream approach to the platform we now know as cloud computing.
The idea of splitting a system between multiple users isn’t new. Sharing resources between multiple users is the basis of virtualization. Virtualization is a concept used in cloud computing, which translates into on-demand access to computing resources, like web servers and applications over the internet.
This has become extremely popular and profitable, one of the main reasons many companies are actively involved in this business. A pivotal part of cloud computing is cloud hosting, another way to host a website online.
This blog post will explore cloud hosting in more detail and discuss who needs it and why. We’ll also compare cloud hosting to other types of hosting, like “traditional” shared web hosting and VPS, and explain why cloud hosting could be a good option for companies and organizations.
Lastly, we’ll list some companies that use cloud hosting for their operations.
What Is Cloud Hosting and How Does it Work?
With this type of cloud computing, a single physical server is split into multiple virtual servers to be used on-demand by different users or organizations. This hosting service is becoming increasingly popular because it offers flexibility and reliability over regular, shared web hosting or any other hosting type.
Cloud servers can be scattered across the internet, providing access to every company and individual. The word “cloud” means “everywhere” since a cloud company can have many servers worldwide, serving users with an application, APIs or a full-fledged website.
Cloud hosting is a way to store and access data and applications over the internet. It’s different from traditional, shared hosting because cloud hosting doesn’t require buying or renting your own web server.
Instead, cloud hosting providers use large data centres filled with servers. You can then access these servers and, more specifically, their resources over the internet. This makes cloud hosting a suitable option for businesses and organizations who want extensive features tailored to their demands.
Different Types of Cloud Computing
Before focusing on cloud hosting, let’s review the three main types of cloud computing. These are public, private, and hybrid clouds.
A public cloud is the most commonly used type of cloud hosting. This is where a company or individual shares resources with other cloud users. It’s an affordable and easy way to start with cloud hosting for all your projects.
This cloud hosting is mainly used for sharing resources, online applications and storage for the general public. This model is based on a pay-as-you-go model, and some good examples that offer these services are Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure.
A private cloud is more expensive, but it’s ideal for companies that want more control and privacy over their data and applications. With a private cloud, you have your own cloud server that’s only accessible to you and your employees.
A private cloud is usually hosted on the customer’s data centre premises. However, an independent (third-party) infrastructure provider can also operate a private cloud on rented infrastructure in an offsite data centre. Private clouds typically have more controlled and secured access to the cloud infrastructure, overcoming the biggest disadvantages, security and privacy.
A hybrid cloud is a mix of both public and private clouds. This is perfect for businesses who want the flexibility of public cloud hosting but the security and privacy of private cloud hosting.
Because it incorporates the best of both worlds, it can be operated by the customer or an independent cloud service provider. The former is more common, giving businesses more control over how they want to use the cloud.
All leading cloud computing companies, like Google and Microsoft, offer Hybrid clouds for their customers, intending to scale up and down depending on their needs at any time.
Cloud Hosting vs Shared Web Hosting
One of the two most fundamental advantages cloud hosting services offer is flexibility, which is far better than traditional, shared web hosting. It can easily accommodate your changes if your business needs to scale up or down. For example, if you experience an increase in traffic, your provider can quickly add more server resources to your account. The same applies if you need fewer server resources than when you started your plan.
Because cloud hosting relies only on the internet, it’s also a more reliable option than traditional web hosting because it has less downtime. And this is the second biggest advantage over regular shared web hosting.
This is possible since many virtual servers are employed on the cloud network and in multiple places worldwide. Only a global network downtime would affect access to the cloud hosting services.
Lastly, cloud hosting employs a pay-as-you-go model. This means you only pay for the resources you use, which can save you money in the long run. On shared hosting, for instance, you could opt for a feature-rich plan at the beginning, where you only need basic web hosting.
Cloud Hosting vs VPS Hosting
Cloud hosting and VPS hosting are two popular web hosting types with many similarities.
While the first gives users and companies more flexibility, with VPS (Virtual Private Server), you rent your own server from a hosting provider. This gives you more control over your website than cloud hosting, as you rent a dedicated server instead of sharing it with other users. It’s also considered the next logical upgrade for many web admins who want more control and privacy.
Virtual Private Servers are generally more affordable for small businesses and organizations who want extensive features tailored to their demands. But still, these plans are a reasonable middle-ground between performance and control compared with other cloud hosting solutions.
Typically VPS hosts offer 24/7 support in case you run into any issues, but they’re primarily unmanaged, so you’ll need to get on top of things when required. In that case, you should consider a cloud web hosting solution when managing more significant projects. Managed cloud hosting services are slowly gaining ground, outsourcing web admin-related tasks like the most common Managed WordPress hosting plans.
However, there are some disadvantages to VPS hosting. For instance, it’s less flexible than cloud hosting. If your business is downsizing or upsizing, you may need to upgrade to a larger or smaller server plan that fits your needs.
If one of your servers goes down, your entire website will go down with it. This is unlikely to happen with cloud hosting, where more than one server is scattered worldwide.
Just like cloud hosting, VPS hosting employs a pay-as-you-go model where you only pay for the resources you use.
Security Concerns With Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting is a term used to describe the use of cloud servers, resources or virtual machines. Companies usually rent these resources on a short-term basis for a specific project. Still, they offer excellent availability and can sustain extreme traffic loads, which is ideal for more giant corporations.
Although this type of hosting offers many advantages, such as scalability and flexibility, cloud hosting does have its share of security concerns.
One of the leading security concerns with cloud hosting is that the cloud provider can access your data through its servers. Since the cloud servers are part of a more extensive network, your data could be vulnerable at any time. This means there’s an increased risk of data loss or theft from the cloud infrastructure.
Another concern is that cloud providers may not be able to meet your compliance requirements. Cloud compliance ensures that your cloud infrastructure is in sync with industry guidelines and local or international laws.
And finally, cloud services are often outsourced to data centre companies, which can lead to communication issues and delays in resolving problems like downtime, performance or resource-related matters.
Cloud Hosting Performance
Regarding performance, cloud hosting is often faster than traditional shared web hosting and usually a bit faster than VPS hosting.
This is because cloud servers are configured to handle high traffic volumes and traffic surges. They also have access to more bandwidth and storage space than traditional servers owned by web hosting companies.
Cloud hosting provides an excellent user experience for visitors and administrators by giving load-balancing techniques that relieve strain from a specific cloud server, optimizing the server’s speed.
The Cost of Cloud Hosting Compared to Other Options
Cloud hosting is a relatively new technology, but it is growing in popularity because of the many benefits that it can provide for many businesses. While there are concerns regarding security and privacy, cloud hosting pricing can be enticing, but it depends on the provider. Another crucial thing is speed.
A case study shared by IBM showed that application deployment for one specific company was 98% faster when deployed on a cloud hosting environment and with a 20% reduced cost over other in-house hosting solutions.
This is because cloud hosting doesn’t require the purchase of any physical hardware. Instead, you pay for what you use, making it a more cost-effective option for growing or fluctuating businesses. You also don’t have to worry about the cost of maintaining or updating hardware, which can be expensive.
Most cloud servers opt for high-performance storage resources and other dedicated hardware, meaning higher performance for every client operating on their cloud.
Cloud hosting is also more reliable than traditional hosting options. This is because cloud hosts use multiple servers, which means your website will stay online even if one of the servers fails. And if you experience an unexpected increase in traffic, cloud hosts can quickly scale up to meet your needs.
Finally, cloud hosts offer greater flexibility than traditional hosts. This is because cloud hosts allow you to quickly and easily add or remove resources as needed. You can also choose from various cloud hosting providers, which means you can find the perfect provider for your business.
A Few Companies That Use Cloud Hosting in Their Operations
Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are just a few leading cloud hosting providers. All three offer Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud hosting options.
Each company’s cloud hosting services vary, so it’s important to research before selecting a provider. Amazon, for example, offers AWS (Amazon Web Services), which is a comprehensive cloud hosting platform that allows businesses to run applications on Amazon’s infrastructure.
Google Cloud Platform is a suite of cloud services that allow you to build, deploy, and manage applications on Google’s infrastructure. And Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering from Microsoft.
All three providers offer a wide variety of services that can meet the needs of most businesses. So if you’re looking for cloud hosting, research the leading providers and see which meets your needs best.
Another good example is Netflix which employs high-speed cloud servers capable of streaming millions of data per second. The company claims that for this year, its 222 million users resort to this platform for their viewing habits, surpassing other popular video streaming platforms like YouTube, which is hosted on the Google Cloud Platform.
Which Type of Cloud Hosting Is Ideal?
Now that you know the different types of cloud hosting and all the pros and cons of each one – which one should you choose for your business? The answer will depend on your needs and, most importantly, your budget.
Moving up from the standard web hosting plans might seem like an enormous task, although it isn’t. It must be said, though, that cloud hosting is most effective when your business has grown exponentially, and there’s no other hosting plan capable of satisfying its needs.
Public cloud hosting is the most popular type because it’s affordable and easy to use. It’s great for small businesses and organizations that don’t need extensive control over their data and applications but still seek the benefits of high speed and availability.
Private cloud hosting is the best option if you need more control over your data and applications. This type of cloud hosting is more expensive than public cloud hosting, but it’s worth it if you want to keep your data safe and secure.
If you’re unsure whether public or private cloud hosting is ideal for you, then hybrid cloud hosting is a good option. If you still question the need for such a jump, explore all the standard web hosting options before stepping up.