What is Cloud Hosting
You probably have heard a lot of buzz around the internet about “the cloud”. But what is the cloud that everyone is so excited about, and what does it have to do with your hosting services? How does cloud hosting differ from traditional hosting services?
Let’s take a look at what cloud hosting is as we look through the chatter and buzzwords. But before getting our heads in the clouds, let’s look at some of the traditional types of hosting services and their use cases.
What are the different types of traditional web hosting?
Traditionally, there have been three main types of web hosting available for web site owners, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. These services all depend on a physical server, sitting in a data center, that is used to store your website data and serve it to anyone that wants to look at it. How much of the physical server you have access to depends on the type of hosting service you have.
The most common options for hosting services are:
Each type has advantages and disadvantages, depending on what resources you need for your website. There is not one type that will be the best solution for all situations. Depending on your site software, disk space requirements, bandwidth, or intended end use, you will need to choose the type that works best for your website.
If your needs increase over time, you will need to upgrade your service to a new service. This is possible, but can take a lot of time and effort. This is also the case if you decide you need to downgrade your service. Moving your services from one type to another is not a trivial thing. If only there was a service that could scale with you.
Spoiler Alert: There is!!
What is shared web hosting?
Shared web hosting is a type of web hosting service where multiple websites are hosted on a single physical server and share its resources, such as disk space, bandwidth, and processing power. Each website is allocated a certain amount of resources, and the cost is typically lower than other hosting options because the server’s resources are shared among multiple users.
Shared web hosting is often a good choice for small websites, blogs, or personal sites that don’t require a lot of resources and have low to moderate traffic. Most small business websites do not need much resources to serve a basic informational website.
However, because server resources are shared, the performance of one website can affect the performance of others on the same server. One account getting high traffic can cause other accounts to slow down, as all of the server resources are shared amongst all of the users.
Finally, what can be either an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your needs, is a shared hosting service is maintained by the host. There may be limitations on the software and configurations that can be used on a shared server, as they have to be compatible with all the websites sharing the server. Security and stability are prioritized over new and cutting edge options.
What is VPS hosting?
VPS hosting, or Virtual Private Server hosting, is a type of web hosting service where a physical server is divided into multiple virtual servers, each with its own operating system, resources, and configurations. Each virtual server is isolated from the others, as if it were a separate physical server, and users have full control over their own virtual environment, including the ability to install their own software and make configuration changes.
VPS hosting offers more control, privacy, and flexibility compared to shared hosting, without the higher cost and maintenance needs of dedicated hosting. It can be a good choice for medium-sized websites or online businesses that require more resources than shared hosting can provide but don’t need the full resources of a dedicated server. With VPS hosting, users can scale their resources as needed, and the performance of their website is not affected by the activities of other websites on the same physical server.
What is dedicated hosting?
Dedicated hosting is where an entire physical server is dedicated to a single user or organization. Unlike shared hosting or VPS hosting, the resources of the server are not shared with other users. This gives the user complete control and flexibility over the server’s configuration and resources, including the ability to install their own operating system, software, and applications.
Dedicated hosting is typically used by large websites, high-traffic e-commerce sites, or organizations with specific security or compliance requirements. It provides maximum performance, reliability, and security, and can handle very high levels of traffic and resource demands. However, it is also the most expensive type of web hosting service, as the user is responsible for the cost of the entire physical server, including maintenance, security, and software updates.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing services, including servers, storage, databases, software, and more, over the internet. Users can access these services on demand from a provider’s shared pool of computing resources, rather than having to maintain their own infrastructure. Cloud computing is often characterized by its scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
Cloud computing has become a bit of a buzzword, used all over the internet in many “new” products and articles, some using the term accurately, some less accurate, some downright wrong. Some people refer to the cloud as just “someone else’s computer”.
But the cloud is not just a server or computer. It is a group of servers, pooled together with software in a manner that allows them to share resources across servers, data centers, countries and continents. The cloud can offer scalability, stability and redundancy that traditional server based services cannot.
What is cloud hosting?
Cloud hosting uses virtual servers (the cloud) to host websites or applications in a cloud computing environment. Instead of your account being hosted on a single physical server, the resources needed to host a website or application are spread across multiple interconnected servers, which are often located in different data centers in different locations.
Cloud hosting allows for greater scalability, flexibility, and reliability, as well as cost savings compared to traditional hosting options. Cloud hosting typically uses a pay-as-you-go model, where users only pay for the resources they use, making it a popular choice for businesses and organizations with variable or unpredictable traffic demands.
How is cloud hosting different than regular shared web hosting?
When it comes to managing your hosting services, the difference between cloud hosting and shared hosting will be minimal. Most management dashboards (cPanel, Plesk) will work fine on either, as well as most website or CMS software (WordPress, Joomla). You can manage your website, emails and other web apps from just as you always have.
Where you will notice a difference is in the reliability of your services. Servers can crash, it is unfortunate, but it happens. But with the cloud, a server crash would not even be noticed. Evan if an entire data center goes down, your web services will still be up and producing for you.
Cloud hosting and regular shared web hosting are different in a few key ways:
Overall, cloud hosting is better suited for websites or applications that require high scalability, reliability, and performance, while shared hosting may be a more cost-effective option for smaller or low-traffic websites with fewer resource needs.
Just be aware, like most new technologies, be careful about pretenders. With the popularity of this emerging technology, there are many sites out there looking to sell you “Cloud” services that are actually regular shared web hosting, trying to cash in on the buzz. Before signing up for any cloud hosting services, be sure to do your research on the host to ensure you will receive all of the benefits that cloud hosting can bring to you and your business.
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