Cloud hosting is web hosting that uses the resources of several clustered servers. Basically, this means that your website uses the virtual resources of several servers to accommodate all the aspects of hosting your site. Cloud servers have all the software they require to run and can function as independent units.
What is the cloud?
The cloud refer to several servers connected to the internet that can be leased as part of a software or application service. Cloud-based services can include web hosting, data hosting and sharing, and software or application use.
‘The cloud’ can also refer to cloud computing, where several servers link together to share the load. This means that instead of using one single powerful machine, complex processes can be distributed across multiple smaller computers.
The cloud hosting model is a cheaper alternative to the traditional dedicated server model that requires companies to build and manage their own data centers.
What are the benefits of a cloud server?
- A cloud server gives the business user stability and security because any software problems are isolated from your environment. Other cloud servers won’t impact on your cloud server and vice versa.
- Cloud servers are stable, fast and secure. They avoid the hardware issues seen with physical servers, and they are likely to be the most stable option for businesses wanting to keep their IT budget down.
- Cloud servers provide a faster service for your money. You’ll get more resources and a faster service than you would for a similar price of physical server.
- You get scalability with cloud servers. It is very easy and quick to upgrade by adding memory and disk space, as well as being more affordable.
- You can choose the operating system of your choice – i.e. Linux or Windows.
- Complete server configuration controls via an API or web-based interface.
- You can enjoy the benefits of dedicated hosting, but don’t need to bear the heavy cost of dedicated hosting, if you don’t have extensive requirements.
Cloud hosting architecture
The architecture of cloud hosting differs from the setup used in regular web hosting:
Most shared hosts use a centralized approach where one server holds multiple websites. But if that server goes down, so does every account in it.
On the other hand, the distributed approach of cloud hosting solves this problem. Since each website is “distributed” across multiple locations, you’ll get no downtime in case a server in the cluster experiences a problem.
Large websites such as search engines and social networks use the distributed approach, as no single server could handle such the load.
What kind of websites use cloud hosting?
The types of websites that use cloud hosting are as varied as those that use regular hosting, but there are cases where it’s particularly popular.
If a website is mission-critical, meaning that the company can’t function without it, then cloud hosting is a good idea. many e-commerce stores, lead generation sites, corporate websites and high-traffic projects choose it too.
At the same time, cloud hosting makes it easy to scale in case you need more power. This makes it appealing to news agencies and publishing firms who expect traffic surges or huge numbers of clicks on their posts.
Ultimately, it’s a pretty good choice in most situations, which is why it’s able to rival shared hosting and virtual servers.
Types of cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS
Cloud computing consists of three main types, commonly referred to as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
- IaaS is short for “infrastructure as a service” and refers to the new business model for hosting companies. The process involves offering virtual machines and processing power through cloud architecture. Instead of having to hire physical infrastructure, people can purchase only the resources that they need.
- PaaS is short for “platform as a service”. These solutions are usually used to provide a framework for developers to build upon. From a development point of view, PaaS solutions are popular because they decrease time to market and allow for greater flexibility.
- SaaS is short for “software as a service”, which is the term used for when companies use the cloud to deliver a software interface to their users, typically through a web browser or a mobile application. Google Docs is a great example of a SaaS product.
The Future of Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting has come a long way, and several large enterprises have been using it for years together, but for the small business owners to be able to look at it, pricing will have to come down further.
Having said so, the pricing has considerably come down over recent years, and folks have learned the advantages of cloud hosting, which is compelling the mid-size organizations to make a move to the cloud arena.
The main reason why cloud computing isn’t as popular as it could have been being that the cost factor is still a concern.
But, one can definitely expect to see more and more businesses and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say – “one day everybody would be in the clouds!”