Cloud hosting has grown in popularity in recent years. If you’ve been exploring your hosting options for any time at all, then you’ve no doubt come across cloud hosting before, and probably have a lot of questions. The cloud is a concept that has been employed across many areas of technology, and now it’s expended out into the hosting arena as well.
Below we explore what cloud hosting is and how it works, and why you might want to consider utilizing cloud hosting to host your own website.
Understanding the Cloud
When it comes to the cloud there is no physical thing you can point to and label as the cloud. Just like with cloud hosting there isn’t a single physical server you can point to and say, “that’s a cloud host.”
Instead, it’s a way of storing data across multiple computers and accessing that data via a network connection like the Internet. As a whole, the cloud behaves like a single physical computer, with endless processing power and storage space.
Common cloud-based services that employ a similar process are cloud storage providers like Dropbox and Google Docs. The underlying idea of resource scaling, storage, and access remain the same when extended out to cloud hosting as well.
What Is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is more of a way that you configure servers, instead of an actual tangible thing, but with it being called “cloud” hosting that’s probably what you’ve come to expect.
In typical server configurations, you’re limited to the physical constraints of the server your site is hosted on. With cloud hosting, you rely on a unique server configuration that lets you pull from multiple different servers, which results in an affordable hosting solution that’s also scalable and incredibly reliable.
The simplest cloud hosting definition could be a network of virtual servers that tap into an underlying network of physical servers. The extent to which you tap into this network depends upon the actual needs of the website and can be scaled up or down accordingly.
On a technical level, the resources required for your website to function are spread out across multiple remote servers and these resources as tapped as they are needed. Since your website isn’t relying on a single server, but instead a network of servers, this network of servers is referred to as the cloud.
How Does Cloud Hosting Work?
The easiest way to break down cloud hosting is to compare it to a single server model. With traditional hosting, you have a single server that contains all of your website’s files. When a user visits your website these files are then served up from that single physical server.
Compare this to a cloud hosting setup where your site’s resources can be drawn from multiple different virtual server environments.
At the core of a cloud hosting setup is a network of physical servers, with virtualized servers running on top of them. With this setup you can draw from a near-infinite supply of server resources and scale your site as your needs grow.
Benefits of Cloud Hosting
1. Flexible Pricing Structure
In most other styles of hosting you pay a monthly rate regardless of whether to not you utilize all of the server resources. With cloud hosting, you only pay for what you use.
So, if you’re expecting a post to go viral, or your site is receiving an unusually large amount of traffic, you don’t have to completely upgrade your package. All you have to do is scale your resources up during the traffic surge and down once traffic levels return to normal. Instead of having to pay for high hosting fee across the board your pricing matches the total amount of server resources you’re using.
2. Very Easy to Scale Server Resources
With cloud hosting scaling your server resources couldn’t be easier. For most cloud servers you’ll have access to an intuitive site management dashboard that lets you view your site’s performance in real time. You can scale server resources up or down on the spot without having to wait for approval from your hosting provider.
3. Redundant Server Environment
With most types of hosting your site lives on a single server. If something were to happen to that server, then your site would go offline and you wouldn’t be able to get back online until that server is fixed. When your hosting is redundant a site backup will take over your existing site within seconds. However, not all redundancy is created equal. With cloud hosting, you’ll have a concurrent live version of your website that your host can load immediately.
4. High Uptime and Availability
If you’re using any kind of traditional hosting your site’s uptime depends upon the physical server environment. If it goes offline, then so does your site. Unless you’re utilizing a CDN, which can help to reduce your site’s overall downtime.
Cloud hosting has high uptime built into its structure. Since your site will be virtually using the resources of multiple servers, you can simply be transferred to another server if one goes offline or is experiencing technical issues. Plus, with your ability to scale server resources on demand your site won’t go offline from an unexpected traffic surge.
5. Speedy Server Setup Process
You can deploy a cloud hosting server in record time. Unless you’re signing up for a beginner shared hosting package, it might take some time to deploy your web server. This can be a hassle if you need your site online quickly, or you’re doing a host migration and you’re stuck waiting for the server to be ready.
6. Safety From Server Hardware Issues
With cloud hosting your site is isolated from any physical server issues including hacking, hardware failure, or system overload. When a physical server is compromised or experiencing an issue, you can simply utilize the physical resources of another server – all without having any downtime.
7. Faster Website Speed and Performance
Most cloud servers can offer you blazing fast speeds. In addition to being able to effortlessly increase your site’s capacity, cloud hosting also allows for easier load balancing between multiple server environments, which can help to put much less strain on a single server’s resources.
Of course, the server hardware foundation will also influence the speed of your site, so look for a cloud host that has multiple caching layers, premium server hardware, and low-density servers.
8. Works Great for Sites With Scalable Traffic
If your traffic levels are up and down, then it’s going to be hard to find a host that’ll give you the best value for your money. With cloud hosting, you have the ability to easily scale your server resources up and down on an as-needed basis. It’s very difficult to find this level of scalability with any other style of hosting.
9. Simple Server Management Dashboard
In the past cloud servers were a little difficult to manage and it required technical expertise to manage and scale your server effectively. But, with today’s cloud hosting you can easily keep track of your hosting and scale it on demand via an intuitive dashboard. You don’t need to have a technical background just to run your cloud server.
10. Decrease Your Overall Environmental Impact
If you’re a company or individual who’s concerned about their environmental impact, but need a hosting solution that goes beyond traditional shared hosting, then cloud hosting could be exactly what you’re looking for. With cloud hosting, you’re utilizing fewer overall datacenters and are only using the server resources you actually require at the moment. By streamlining your resource and data use you’re creating less of an environmental impact.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of cloud server hosting, the technology behind it, and how it can benefit your own website. Start your website with HostGator’s cloud hosting today!