Doubtless, you’ve heard of cloud computing and cloud hosting before, but what does it really entail? Despite cloud hosting increasing popularity and utility, many small and medium-sized companies and organizations pass cloud computing and hosting by, often on the assumption that it’s too complicated or too expensive. These beliefs are borne of a simple lack of knowledge about cloud-based web hosting. In the following article, we’ll provide you with a full and thorough understanding of what this slightly misleading term means, and why you might want to consider transferring to the cloud.
The Flaws of Dedicated Server Model
Before diving into cloud hosting, we’ll briefly consider the flaws of its antecedent: dedicated server hosting. The vast majority of businesses, blogs, and small-scale sites continue to rely on single dedicated servers, which is basically akin to leasing one small square of web space and assuming you can trade up as and when it suits. This model is easy to manage, not technically difficult, and often quite cheap. However, this model is subject to certain significant vulnerabilities. In particular, dedicated servers are restrained by their hardware; that is to say, should anything happen to the server physically it can result in significant downtime.
Furthermore, dedicated servers are not nearly as scalable as their cloud cousins. For instance, a regular server customer that experiences a traffic spike will have to pay for extra dedicated resources to handle that spike, for a largely arbitrary period of time or to a limit predetermined by the provider. This can be incredibly wasteful and severely limits the potential for growth for certain types of e-commerce businesses.
What is Cloud Hosting?
Put simply, cloud hosting means that your website isn’t hosted on one single server, but several different servers – the so-called cloud – all of which work together to provide hosting benefits to your website that one single server cannot. Unlike shared or dedicated hosting, which relies on one machine, cloud hosting is reliant on several servers working in tandem as one system. Amongst the many advantages of cloud hosting, perhaps the most important is that websites hosted on clouds are almost guaranteed to never go down. Cloud hosting’s ability to process high traffic or traffic spikes is practically unlimited, because of the nature of the cloud. Even if one server breaks down, the other servers will back up the downed server’s data and there will be no downtime for your site.
Furthermore, cloud hosting is cost-effective because it benefits from economies of scale. Hundreds of servers working together ensure that data is accessible almost anywhere, with no local restrictions. The vast majority of popular online services run on cloud servers. Cloud computing is the backbone of Gmail, Facebook, and a whole host of other popular social media sites and services. The cloud is based on the processing power of virtual servers, based on the extensive networks of physical web servers. With a cloud hosting service, users can use the system according to their requirements, without having to pay extra or order additional capacity.
How Does Cloud Hosting Actually Work?
Cloud hosting involves a network of servers, all of which work together to provide storage, computing power, and other resources for websites and applications. When a person accesses a website or uses an app hosted in the cloud, they are drawing upon the combined resources of this network. This allows for increased flexibility and scalability, as well as potentially lower costs for businesses compared to traditional hosting methods. So next time you use a service hosted in the cloud, remember the complex network of servers working behind the scenes to make it possible.
Cloud Hosting versus Traditional Hosting
You must be already aware of what cloud-based web hosting is and how it works. But is it better than traditional hosting? It really depends on your need. Here’s what you can know about cloud hosting versus traditional hosting.
Traditional hosting involves storing data on a physical server located at a specific location. Cloud hosting, on the other hand, stores data on virtual servers that can be accessed from anywhere via the internet.
Traditional hosting may be more suitable for smaller operations with a limited budget and finite storage space requirements. Cloud hosting, however, offers greater scalability and flexibility for larger projects or those with fluctuating storage needs.
Professional cloud hosting offers increased security and reliability, as data is spread out among multiple servers instead of being concentrated in one physical location.
Consider your individual needs before deciding between traditional and cloud hosting.
Types of Cloud Hosting
Below are the four most common types of cloud hosting:
- Private Cloud: In a private cloud scenario, a company has dedicated servers managed by its own IT personnel or a chosen vendor. This allows for the implementation of specific security measures and the storage of sensitive data. Despite the potential additional cost, many companies opt for the added privacy and control provided by a private cloud solution.
- Public Cloud: When it comes to cloud computing, not all hosting is created equal. One type, known as public cloud hosting, involves sharing resources and space on a provider’s server with other companies or individuals. This can be a cost-effective option for businesses looking to establish their presence online without incurring the expense of purchasing and managing their own server infrastructure. However, it also poses potential security risks as sensitive data may be stored alongside that of other clients.
- Hybrid Cloud: The term “hybrid cloud” refers to a combination of on-premise, private cloud, and public cloud services. This offers businesses the flexibility to choose the best hosting option for each application or system, while also allowing for easy communication and interoperability between platforms. A hybrid cloud setup allows for easy scalability, as additional resources can easily be added from the public cloud when needed. Due to its versatility and cost-effectiveness, many organizations are turning to hybrid cloud hosting solutions.
- Community Cloud: In the community cloud hosting model, multiple organizations share resources within a secure, private cloud environment. This allows for the cost-effectiveness of a public cloud solution with the added control and customization of a private cloud. Community clouds also offer increased levels of compliance and security for industries with strict regulations, such as government agencies or healthcare providers.
What Types of Websites Use Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is a great option for websites with high levels of traffic and dynamic content. E-commerce sites often rely on cloud hosting to handle spikes in visitors during sales events without crashing the server. Social media platforms also use cloud hosting to manage the constant stream of user-generated content. SaaS companies, or those offering software as a service, also utilize the scalability and reliability of cloud hosting to provide a seamless experience for their users. Basically, if your website needs flexibility and increased capacity to handle fluctuating levels of traffic and data, then cloud hosting is worth considering. You should first be aware of what cloud hosting and the cloud server is. Then make the most of their benefits for your website.
Ways to Migrate
Migrating to the cloud – moving data, applications, and other elements from an onsite server to a remote group of servers – can often be a complicated process and one that can be gone about in several different ways. As with any major form of data transition or application migration, migrating to or between cloud environments is a difficult technical process, but one that is compounded by the nature of the cloud.
First, however, we’ll discuss the processes and considerations involved in cloud migration. Marshalling data that is managed or stored remotely in multiple locations across multiple servers can present a logistical headache. Furthermore, owing to the nature of the cloud, there are certain extra considerations to take into account when migrating to the cloud, such as privacy, data integrity, and portability.
As we mentioned earlier, there are a number of ways of migrating a web application to the cloud. Generally speaking, they involve separating and redefining the application or website layers as distinct parts of a whole that can then be scaled independently. Migration often entails the use of a middleware tool to accommodate gaps between the cloud hosting provider’s technologies and the clients. Cloud middleware, such as Adeptia and Jitterbit for instance, function as API integration platforms that work employ a user interface to share data across diverse applications and databases, from ETL to SOA.
Specialized database containers are an excellent way of migrating to the cloud, providing the requisite flexibility, performance, and ease of administration. Large or multiple databases can be broken down into multiple containers, depending on their function and how frequently they’re used. Another important consideration is the architecture of an application or site. If an application has read replicas, it might make sense to allow read-only access on the public-facing servers of the cloud. This means that you can enable quick synchronization of data through read replicas and spread an application across multiple data centers. For more information, check out this handy guide on different ways to migrate.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Hosting
When it comes to storing and managing data, cloud hosting offers a range of benefits.
- Cloud hosting allows for much greater scalability and flexibility.
- As a business grows, the amount of storage space and computing power required can rapidly increase.
- With cloud hosting, the resources can be quickly and easily accessed as needed.
- Cloud hosting is often more cost effective than traditional options, as businesses only pay for the resources they use.
On the other hand, there are also potential drawbacks of cloud hosting to consider.
- Since data is stored remotely on servers owned by a third-party provider, cybersecurity concerns can arise.
- If there are any technical issues with the server or loss of internet connectivity, access to important information may be temporarily disrupted.
Overall, whether or not cloud hosting is the right choice will depend on a business’s specific needs and priorities.
The Future of Cloud Hosting Services
The popularity of cloud hosting shows no signs of slowing down, and experts predict the market will continue to grow in the coming years. Many businesses are making the switch to cloud hosting due to its cost-effectiveness and scalability. As more companies transition their operations online, the demand for cloud storage and computing capabilities will also increase. This growth presents exciting opportunities for innovation in the industry. With developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud hosting providers will be able to offer increasingly personalized and efficient services. The future of cloud hosting is sure to bring new advancements and opportunities for both businesses and consumers.
What to Look For in a Cloud Hosting Provider?
Besides cost, security is a key concern for any webmaster looking for a hosting provider, especially cloud providers. Always ask about how the provider secures their cloud network, they should be transparent and their answers should satisfy you. Any doubts or evasion may be a sign of bigger problems ahead. In 2013, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and British Standards Institution (BSI) launched the STAR certification program. Whilst it’s difficult to compare providers, STAR certification is a good starting point.
You should also always make sure that the provider is committed to understanding the nature of your organization and the specific objectives you want to achieve with the cloud. If a provider seeks only to sell their service on the basis of its technical capabilities, you might want to reconsider. Find someone who understands your specific needs; some providers offer managed hosting services, for example, which can be a great option for less technically-minded website owners.
The difference between server and cloud hosting is physical versus virtual server setup. Cloud hosting is based on the virtual machine that executes in a cloud computing system; however, in server-based hosting AKA traditional server, all databases and networking are stored physically.
Cloud hosting is better than server hosting because it can be enhanced to provide better performance with less expense.