If you are thinking about starting a website for yourself or your business, or even if you already have one up and running, it is important to get the right hosting for your specific situation. There are lots of different options, including shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers, self-hosting, and of course, cloud web hosting.
In this article, you will learn about cloud hosting so you can decide if it is the right option for your business website. We’ll answer the following questions:
- What Exactly Is Cloud Hosting?
- What Features are Offered with Cloud Hosting?
- How Much Should Cloud Hosting Cost?
- Is Cloud Hosting a Good Option for Your Site?
What is Cloud Hosting?
When someone says that something is hosted on the cloud, it generally just means that it is operating off-premises and accessed through the Internet. There are many cloud-based systems for storage, processing, and much more. Iconic names like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and many others offer a wide range of different cloud-based services.
When it comes to web hosting, however, it is a little different. Just about all web hosting services are managed at a remote facility rather than by the actual site owner. In this industry, cloud web hosting means that the website is run from multiple separate physical servers, often referred to as clustered servers. These servers may be physically in one data center or spread out across multiple locations.
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From the customer’s point of view, they can interact with their site using a standard web portal, which will allow them to update the site, make changes, and much more, all from one interface. If they didn’t select cloud web hosting from the beginning, they might not even know that they were using this type of technology since it operates just like any other web hosting platform.
Cloud Hosting vs. Shared Hosting
Cloud web hosting will typically be marketed as a step above shared hosting, though that is not entirely accurate. The speed and capacity of cloud hosting can be set to anywhere from well below the average shared hosting service to well above even advanced dedicated servers.
The technology behind cloud web hosting is often quite similar to that of shared hosting since the company will generally put multiple customers onto each server cluster. While the settings can be different for each company, most good hosting providers will offer dedicated cloud hosting resources, which sets it apart from shared solutions.
Cloud Hosting vs VPS Hosting
When looking at most high-quality hosting companies, cloud web hosting and VPS web hosting are very similar. Understanding what VPS web hosting is and comparing it to cloud solutions is an important step. The main difference is that a VPS is (usually) housed on a single physical server and cloud hosting is on a cluster of servers.
Most hosting companies provide cloud hosting customers with full control over their hosting environment as well as dedicated resources, which makes it very similar to a VPS. If you see that the resources on your cloud hosting package are marketed as shared, the hosting will perform more like a shared solution than a VPS.
In general, dedicated resource options will be somewhat more expensive since they are a higher-quality solution. Which is right for you will depend on the type of site you are running, how much traffic you expect to receive, and other factors.
Cloud Hosting vs. Dedicated Servers
A dedicated hosting server is one physical server that is used exclusively for one client. If you are running a very large or busy website, you can use multiple physical servers dedicated entirely to your account. This is the same as cloud hosting technology.
In most cases, however, cloud hosting will have multiple different website customers using the same server cluster. Each customer will have their own virtual environment, which is how cloud hosting and dedicated servers are typically different.
What Features to Look For in Cloud Hosting
Like all types of web hosting, there are various features that you want to look for when shopping for the right service. Many of the features will be the same as you would look for on any other type of web hosting, but there are some unique items to watch for. The following are some of the most important features to consider whenever shopping for cloud web hosting:
- Physical Location of Servers – Since your site is physically on more than one server, you want to know where they are located. Is the cluster of servers in just one physical data center or multiple data centers? Geographically speaking, how close is the server cluster to people who will visit your site?
- Dedicated Resource Specs – Look closely at the system specs that are provided with a cloud hosting package. Specifically, look at CPU cores, RAM, disk space, bandwidth availability, and network uptime. These items are important whether you are shopping for cloud web hosting or any other type of hosting solution.
- Real-Time Resource Management – One benefit of cloud web hosting is that you can often adjust your system resources on the fly with no reset needed. If you start getting a lot more traffic than before, for example, just contact your hosting company and upgrade to a more robust cloud hosting package.
- Improved Reliability – One of the best things about cloud web hosting is that it is extremely reliable. Since your files are on multiple servers, your site can remain up even if one (or more) server goes offline due to hardware failure.
Keep in mind that every cloud hosting package will be unique based on the features and specs that the hosting company wants to provide. This is why it is so important to look closely at what it is they are offering and the price. Taking the time to find the best cloud web hosting company that serves your region will ensure you get the best experience possible, assuming you want this type of hosting.
What are the Prices for Cloud Hosting?
Talking about the prices of cloud web hosting can be difficult because they can range from just a few dollars per month to hundreds of dollars, depending on the level of service you need. Most web hosting companies will offer at least three different service levels, with the prices starting somewhere under $10 per month and going up from there.
One great thing about cloud hosting is that it can be customized to meet the needs of any site. So, if you find a web hosting company that you trust but do not see the specific cloud hosting configuration you need, it is worth it to reach out to them directly. In many cases, they will be happy to give you a quote for a custom cloud hosting system configuration.
Is Cloud Hosting a Good Option for Your Site?
The big question when evaluating cloud web hosting is whether it is the right option for your website. There is no doubt that cloud technologies offer many significant advantages when it comes to running a site. With this in mind, it will primarily come down to whether you need these extra perks and are willing to pay for them.
For example, if you are just looking to publish a simple website for your business that allows you to display your location, contact information, and hours of information, you likely will not benefit from what cloud hosting offers.
If, however, your website is used for marketing, driving sales, building brand recognition, and other key aspects of your business, it is worth the extra money to ensure your site operates properly at all times.
In this situation, simply choosing a high-quality shared hosting solution is a better investment.
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