Monday, March 5, 2018 by Alexis KrasinskiYou may have heard by now, or even noticed that the HostGator Customer Portal is changing both its look and its navigation! While this new experience will bring enhanced features, your favorite functionalities will still be accessible. With this update you can expect a simplified navigation, mobile-friendly design, advanced hosting dashboard and a smooth cPanel integration. These exciting improvements will make managing your hosting account easier than ever! In an effort to continue making web hosting accessible to both first-timers and web pros, below we will dive into the features of the Customer Portal and Customer Panel - and the differences between the two.
Features of your Customer PortalThe customer portal gives you complete management of your hosting account. You can:
- Pay your invoices
- Change your contact information
- Add hosting plans
- Manage your billing preferences
Features of your cPanelYour Control Panel (or cPanel) gives you complete management of your website. Within the cPanel you can:
- Upload files to your website
- Check your email
- Add a domain to your hosting account
- Create a FTP account
- View website statistics
- Install plugins and themes
What Is Private Cloud Hosting?More and more businesses are turning to cloud-based solutions for their hosting needs. Two of the main types of cloud hosting include public cloud and private cloud hosting. Public cloud is the most common form of cloud hosting, however, private cloud hosting does have a specific purpose, which you’ll learn about below. Below we explore what private cloud hosting is, along with the advantages and disadvantages of going private, so you can make the best hosting decision for your business.
What is Private Cloud Hosting?At its core, private cloud hosting offers the same level of flexibility, scalability, and performance of the public cloud, but it also offers you greater levels of control and security. The two main methods of private cloud hosting are in-house or hosted at a provider’s data center. Most businesses will end up opting for the second option as it’s more cost-effective and won’t require you to maintain a full-time IT staff just to manage your servers. Typically the server network for private cloud hosting won’t be as vast as the public server network. This is especially true if you’re running your own private cloud network in-house. Often, a private cloud hosting network will instead operate in clusters. You’ll have multiple different servers that are running simultaneous versions of your website, and resources can be drawn from various sources as they are needed.
Advantages of Private Cloud HostingPrivate cloud hosting will offer you most of the benefits of public cloud hosting, but on top of that, it’ll give you much more control and security. Private clouds can be created in a myriad of ways to help support large-scale businesses that require higher levels of security. Going in-house with your private cloud hosting will offer you the highest levels of security. However, if you decide to utilize a hosting provider for your private cloud hosting you’ll still end up with higher levels of control and security than going with the public cloud. Private cloud hosting is essentially an upgraded version of public cloud hosting and offers you benefits like:
- Heightened levels of security. Unlike public shared hosting you won’t be sharing the physical server environments with anyone else. This creates an incredibly secure network on multiple levels.
- Improved customization options. Since you’re the only user on your server setup you’ll be able to completely customize it to your liking, including server hardware, software, operating system, and more.
- Extremely reliable. Cloud hosting networks are already very reliable. With a private cloud hosting network there’s no chance of your site being brought down by other sites on the network.
Disadvantages of Private Cloud HostingPrivate cloud hosting can be a great hosting choice for a variety of business owners, but it’s not perfect for everyone. For starters, it’ll be much more expensive for the initial setup, particularly if you’re going in-house with your private servers. Plus, if you’re outsourcing to a third-party provider then you’ll essentially be paying for the use of multiple dedicated servers to run your cloud network on top of. Beyond the initial setup, you might have higher fees related to server maintenance, upgrades, and management as well. This is especially true if you’re going to be purchasing and managing your own servers, instead of relying on a cloud hosting provider. Finally, with the heightened levels of security that a private cloud host offers, this can create some issues with remote access and mobile users accessing your server environment. But if you require very high security standards, then this is a trade off you’ll have to make.
What Kind of Business Will Benefit From Private Cloud Hosting?Private cloud hosting will be much more time-, money-, and resource-intensive to setup and manage. However, you’ll also be getting very high performance, security, customization and flexibility that is hard to get with other types of hosting. The biggest determining factor in choosing public vs. private cloud hosting is your overall budget and hosting goals. Even sites that receive a high volume of traffic might not need the improved levels of control and security offered by private cloud hosting. If your site deals with sensitive customer and user information, then you could probably benefit from a private cloud hosting setup. Not only will you have higher levels of security, but also you’ll be able to easily manage all your data as you see fit. Overall, if you’ve been thinking about using a dedicated server, but want increased flexibility, then going with a private cloud hosting environment can be the solution you’ve been looking for. Private cloud hosting can be a great solution for high-level businesses that need a scalable and reliable hosting choice, and have the cash flow to support such a high-level network. Hopefully you have a greater understanding of how private and public cloud networks differ, so you can choose the right option for your business.
What is Public Cloud Hosting?If you’ve been deciding which kind of cloud hosting is best for your business, then you’ve probably come across public cloud hosting and private cloud hosting. Public cloud hosting is the most recognizable model of cloud hosting and will probably be the best fit for most website owners. However, private cloud hosting still has its place. Below we dive into what public cloud hosting actually is, along with its advantages and disadvantages, so you can make the best decision for your business.
What is Public Cloud Hosting?Public cloud hosting utilizes the resources of a network of physical servers to provide a virtualized hosting environment that’s fast, flexible, and scalable. The main way that public cloud hosting differs from private cloud hosting is that a public cloud provides hosting to multiple clients within the same shared physical server infrastructure. The only overlap you’ll have with other sites are the physical servers themselves. Each virtual network will still be isolated from one another. Although this seems similar to traditional shared hosting it differs in its approach to utilizing the physical server space. Public cloud hosting draws from so many different physical servers that the space and resources you have access to are theoretically infinite and you won’t suffer any lags in performance from other sites who happen to be using the same physical server resources.
Advantages of Public Cloud HostingUtilizing public cloud hosting offers your website a ton of benefits that are hard to find in other kinds of hosting. Below we look at a few of the biggest reasons you’ll want to consider using public cloud hosting:
- Scalability. Public clouds offer near infinite scalability. Resources can be increased on demand to meet growing site or traffic requirements.
- Flexible pricing. With public cloud hosting you share the cost of the physical server environment. Plus, you generally have a flexible pricing structure that’s only based on the resources you consume. The pricing model is similar to that of paying for your monthly utilities.
- Extremely reliable. Due to the high number of servers and networks involved in creating a cloud hosting environment, when a single server fails or becomes overloaded your site can simply draw resources from another server. This will greatly help to prevent any downtime or lapses in service.
- High performance. Public cloud hosts are naturally high performing, as you’ll have access to a nearly unlimited amount of server resources.
Disadvantages of Public Cloud HostingOf course, as with any style of hosting there will be certain drawbacks. For example, with a public cloud host, your data will be quite secure, but not as secure as a private cloud host. Also, since your data is spread widely across multiple different virtual server environments the chances of this data being compromised also increase. Although scaling with public cloud hosting is quite easy you may want to eventually upgrade to a dedicated or managed server if your traffic levels are high enough. A public cloud can handle large amounts of traffic, but you may get improved performance and control with a dedicated server. Finally, with public cloud hosting, you’ll get less control over the specifications of your server environment. If you require a unique hosting hardware and software configuration, then this may not be able to be supported by public cloud hosting.
Who Should Use Public Cloud Hosting?Overall, a public cloud hosting setup is ideal for business and websites that receive a high volume of unpredictable traffic. By their nature, public clouds aren’t as secure as private clouds, so those who deal with sensitive information and are looking for the highest levels of security might want to opt for private cloud hosting. Still, public cloud hosting is a perfect fit for high traffic sites that want flexibility and performance in the same host. With public cloud hosting you’ll spread out the cost of service (along with flexible pricing) amongst multiple users, so you won’t have an astronomically high hosting bill every single month. If you satisfy the following conditions, then public cloud hosting is something you should consider:
- You have a high-traffic website that experiences unexpected surges in traffic.
- You want a host that has a transparent pricing model.
- Your site doesn’t collect sensitive information like bank account numbers, and social security information.
- You have a fast-growing website and your traffic levels are growing quickly.
- You’ve outgrown your shared hosting plan, but aren’t quite ready for a dedicated server.
- You value security, performance, and flexibility all from a single hosting package.
Understanding Cloud Hosting SecurityCloud hosting is just as secure as any other style of hosting. However, it’s gotten a bad rap due to the criticism of virtualized technologies in the past. When things started moving towards the cloud there was a lot of fear related to this new technology, as businesses couldn’t part with the idea of not having their data and storage in-house. However, now that the cloud has gone mainstream those critiques have become nothing but a thing of the past. Today we rely on several different technologies that live in the cloud, and our hosting is no different. Below we explore the main issues surrounding cloud hosting security and highlight the security advantages of hosting your website in the cloud. So you can finally answer the question: is cloud hosting safe and secure?
Understanding Cloud Hosting SecurityMuch of the concern related to the security of cloud hosting and other cloud platforms had to do with the initial skepticism over changing technology and not the technology itself. Time has shown us that the cloud has matured and with that technology, maturation has come improved levels of security. When looking at a traditional server environment your website’s files are stored in a specified physical server location. With cloud hosting your site’s files are distributed and take up multiple virtual server locations that are associated with physical servers. In terms of overall security, cloud hosting actually has an additional layer of security. You have your physical security measures to protect the physical datacenter from being hacked, or harmed. Next, you have a layer of security on the physical server itself. Finally, with cloud hosting you have an additional layer of security that protects the virtual network and isolates your cloud hosting environment. However, not all cloud hosts are created equal in their security measures. The overall security of any cloud platform has to do with how certain security protocols are implemented. For example, you can have a very insecure cloud server in the same way you could have an insecure dedicated server. It’s not the underlying technology, but how it’s implemented.
Is Cloud Hosting Secure?There are a few different objections to the overall security of cloud hosting. We examine those below and illustrate how cloud hosting actually overcomes these security hurdles.
1. The Bad Neighbor EffectOne common security issue revolves around the issue of multi-tenant cloud hosting. This is when multiple different virtual machines are using the same dedicated physical server space. These virtual machine networks are what make up your cloud hosting environment. The idea is that a single insecure or overloaded site on the network, could compromise the other sites. However, there are numerous enhanced security protocols in place like VM isolation, which completely isolates your virtual network from others on the same machine. This means that your data is safe, protected, and can’t be accessed by anyone except you.
2. Overall Loss of Data ControlThe seeming loss of control over the location of your data seems to be a big objection to cloud hosting. The outsourcing of your information storage to a third-party cloud system can seem a little scary. However, most of today’s cloud hosting providers operate with this understanding and have built their system around providing transparency and security around the user data. This allows you to maintain responsibility over your data, while not having to manage everything yourself.
3. Main Cloud Hosting Security VulnerabilitiesJust like other forms of hosting there are certain vulnerabilities you’ll need to be aware of. Security is never going to be perfect. When compared to traditional hosting the cloud offers a universal access point, which means that security protocols need to be even stricter. Still, vulnerabilities do exist. Below you’ll find the main types of security issues that threaten cloud hosting environments. You’ll notice they’re very similar to traditional hosting environments as well:
- DDoS attacks. It’s difficult to stop DDoS attacks, but you can do your best to protect your site with a solution like SiteLock, or other security add-ons.
- Data breaches. Data breaches can occur due to the lack of two-factor authentication. By improving passwords and improving your user authentication process, this can be avoided.
- Malware. Malware scripts can be injected into your cloud hosting and can be quite destructive in regards to sensitive data. However, using software like SiteLock will help protect you against this as well.
- Data loss. Since data is stored across long distances you can run into the risk of a datacenter being taken out, or going offline, due to natural causes. Typically, this risk can be mitigated through regular backups stored in different locations.
Security Benefits of Cloud ServersUsing cloud hosting can actually end up offering you flexibility, security, and other cloud hosting benefits. By taking your website’s hosting up into the cloud you may be protecting your website even more than using a standard host.
- Hardware problems are a non-issue. With cloud hosting, if there’s an issue with the physical server, or you need to add more memory or make improvements, you can do this without any downtime by running your site from a different virtual server.
- An infected server won’t bring down your site. On the same line of thinking if a physical server becomes compromised this won’t bring down your site. Your site will simply be loaded from a different source and isolated from the issue.
- Instant website data mirroring. Website mirroring will have simultaneous versions of your site present on different servers. This helps to improve the overall safety of your site and its redundancy.