If you are shopping for web hosting, or have done so in the past, the terms cloud and cloud hosting are terms you would have come to your attention a few times. Cloud hosting is considered the next big thing in web hosting industry, which is why it is not surprising to find a lot of hosting companies using the term to advertise their services. What is cloud exactly? What about cloud hosting? We are going to answer these questions in this article.
So, what is cloud?
When you hear the word “cloud” used in relation to hosting and other computing services, they usually refer to cloud computing. Cloud computing, to put it in simple words, is the process of sharing computing resources instead of using just one physical machine. An application is run by multiple servers or machines – usually set up in a cluster of several physical servers – using the combined computing resources available.
There are a few reasons why cloud computing is considered the way forward:
– Cloud computing allows applications, even the heaviest ones, to run smoothly thanks to the combined computing resources available. Instead of being limited by the hardware capabilities of the server, applications can now tap into vast computing resources from multiple physical servers.
– Cloud computing is also considered to be more economical, especially when it comes to storing and running large applications, such as a web hosting server and various web scripts.
These advantages quickly made cloud computing very popular. Today, over 50% of web hosting services available are actually cloud-based, even though not all of them are advertised as such.
What about cloud hosting?
Now that we know what cloud or cloud computing is, it is easy to understand what cloud hosting means. Cloud hosting is a web hosting service based on cloud computing. Instead of using just one server, the web hosting service is run on top of a cluster (or clusters) of servers. As a result, web hosting companies can now offer better overall performance, more storage space and support for larger web applications at much lower prices.
We’ve mentioned a couple of basic benefits offered by cloud computing. Cloud hosting takes these benefits to a whole new level. Choosing a cloud hosting service means you can enjoy some of these features and benefits:
– Improved reliability. Since your site is hosted on a cluster of servers, uptime can be even higher than what conventional hosting services can offer.
– Better general performance. You may still share the cluster of servers with hundreds of other users (for instance, when you use shared cloud hosting) but the overall performance of your site should be better since there are more server resources to share.
– Immense scalability. You can add as many hosting space, bandwidth, database accounts and other features to your hosting account. As your site grows, you can also scale the hosting service you use gradually.
– Load balancing. This particular feature is especially handy if you are running a website with a lot of traffic. Multiple servers can work together in handling the incoming traffic and spikes, allowing the performance of your site to be maintained at an acceptable level.
How to Choose a Cloud Hosting Service
Similar to choosing a conventional hosting service, there are several things to keep in mind when choosing the right cloud hosting plan to use. First of all, you need to select the right type of cloud hosting account to use. There are several types of service to choose from, from the more affordable shared cloud hosting to dedicated cloud servers. Understand your needs and select the most suitable option available.
Just because a hosting service is advertised as ‘cloud hosting’, doesn’t mean you will get good quality cloud hosting. Don’t hesitate to ask for a trial period and try the services directly. You can also check the guarantees that come with the service. Uptime guarantee and the general terms and conditions can tell the difference between a good cloud hosting service and unreliable ones.
Cloud hosting services offer better price-to-performance ratio, so check the features you get and compare prices before making a purchase decision. You can get a much higher web hosting space, unlimited bandwidth and a lot of other features with the account. The key is to find the most valuable web hosting service your money can buy. Take all the time you need and compare each option thoroughly.
Setting Up Your Site
Once you have your cloud hosting account activated, the rest is exactly the same as setting up a website on a conventional hosting plan. You still have access to an admin panel (usually cPanel) and you will have the same set of features and tools to work with. This means you can have your site up and running in a matter of minutes with the best cloud hosting plan in hand.