Cloud web Hosting
Among the many variations of web hosting, cloud hosting has taken up a significant spot in today’s business. With the enviable rise of cloud hosting giants like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, DigitalOcean and Microsoft Azure, it has now become an essential part of every tech enthusiast’s or entrepreneur's vocabulary. Following are all the critical points of cloud hosting you need to be aware of:
What Is Cloud Hosting?
In simplest terms, the word “cloud” in computer science refers to the internet. More elaborately, the cloud is the cluster of virtual servers available on the internet to store and exchange various files and data. On the other hand, web hosting refers to the way several companies offer space allocation in their physical servers for website data storage.
Cloud hosting combines these two concepts and provides web hosting through multiple virtual servers. These servers run on several physical computing resources connected through an extensive underlying network. The cloud then behaves like a single computer with unlimited processing power and endless storage space, giving people the perfect freedom to work and grow business.
How Does Cloud Hosting Work?
Cloud hosting works much similar to the traditional hosting procedures, except in this case, it utilizes multiple virtualized servers instead of one physical server.
Cloud hosting uses virtual servers, these virtual servers pull their resources from an underlying network of physical servers. The biggest advantage of cloud servers is their scalability. The clients can feed their business as much as they need at any stage of their business, depending on their requirements. This will result in massive cost savings for the clients as they will be paying only for what they need.
Many physical servers are connected through a network. Each server has its virtual version running simultaneously in the cloud. The website then runs on the data and resources pulled from different virtual server environments like this one.
Types Of Cloud Hosting
While cloud hosting itself is a variation of web hosting, it can further be categorized into two major classes according to accessibility:
- Public Cloud
Most cloud hosting companies incorporate public cloud models for the purpose. Here, all the necessary resources are procured from pools of publicly available virtual servers. Such hosting platforms enable enterprises to carry out their functionalities efficiently through natural online collaborations. They are also cheaper than the alternative. The only drawback is that public cloud hosting cannot guarantee safety for sensitive data.
- Private Cloud
Private clouds allow only the specified client to access their pool of servers and services. As a result, they tend to offer much higher levels of security and a more defined infrastructure. They can be hosted either externally or internally. Private cloud depends on a network based on restricted connections from a single organization’s firewall. Communications are carried out via encrypted public network connections or individual leased lines. This makes private cloud hosting more reliable and allows more control for the enterprise.
Besides, cloud hosting can be divided into two categories based on service models as follows:
PaaS stands for Platform as a Service model. Here, the client can install and develop their website with the provided software environment. It is specifically meant for users who are not tech-savvy and is much easier to use.
IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service allows the client to install any software environment he prefers. He is only provided a virtualized hardware resource making room for more customization options. IaaS is suitable for IT professionals working for an enterprise with complex infrastructure.
Advantages Of Cloud Hosting
- Tremendous Stability
A cloud server tends to run on an isolated environment. Additionally, if one server fails to put up with the load, another one can take up its place and continue the service. Both of these factors contribute to the exceptional stability of websites based on cloud hosting.
- Cost Savings
With traditional web hosting, one may need to spend a lot more than they need to. You will only need to pay for the resources your business needs. Due to its efficient scalability, it can eliminate the need for disk management and tape systems cost by simplifying the process if long-term data retention. Besides, you will not have to count the initial expenditure for buying, housing and maintaining the data centers. So both capital cost and operational cost come down to a minimal amount compared to most other forms of hosting.
- Infinite Scalability
Since the number of virtual servers associated with cloud hosting can be infinite, the scalability offered here can also be considered infinite. If your business sees more growth, the hosting capacity can also be elevated by adding a few more servers. The load balancing is maintained through software which can instantly take care of the changing demands.
Alternatively, you can upgrade disk space and memory of the servers already included. In either way, it overcomes the constraints of a single physical server. Thus the infrastructure does not suffer, and the enterprise does not feel the need to find a new provider for handling the excess web traffic.
- Reduced Downtime Risk
The possibility of downtimes can be minimized with cloud hosting due to its dependence on multiple servers. In traditional hosting, the organization is left with no other option than waiting for the service provider to fix the issue. As cloud hosting does not rely on a single point of failure, the website can stay up for a longer time.
- No Bandwidth Issues
While traditional hosting service providers need to restrict its bandwidth to a limited amount, cloud hosting can manipulate the figures according to the seasonal demands. It can expand the broadband without affecting the existing system configurations.
Your website will have visitors from all around the world. If the site depended on one or more physical servers, it could be accessed from only that server’s location. In cloud hosting, multiple virtual servers accessing the website can be closer to those visitor’s area. This will improve the website speed significantly and make the user experience smoother
- Customization Options
The most reliable cloud hosting providers come with several customization options to suit your specific needs. This includes the amount of RAM, storage, CPU cores, operating system and even the processing power of the servers. Such freedom of customization is not available on traditional server systems.
- Disaster Recovery
Websites are prone to hardware failures and thus require an adequate backup plan for quick disaster recovery. In case your website faces a crash - be it through the file system, database or network - cloud hosting can get the site up and running instantly with the backup. Besides, it monitors the files both physically and virtually preventing the need to depend on backup. It averts any incoming potential threat and takes measures for the safety of the information.
- Easy To Use
Cloud hosting relies on centralized administration which benefits both the providers and the users. Both the parties will be able to define, deliver and track the associated service-level agreements on the web automatically. A user-friendly web-based interface or API will be used to handle the software, hardware and service requests of the host client.
- Latest Technologies
Majority of the cloud hosting companies target a niche category of expertise. These companies focuses on special fields. For example, one of the biggest cloud hosting company focuses on hosting applications and programs only. As a result, they usually can access the latest technologies of that specific industry. It is possible to upgrade between packages, but changing web hosting can be difficult and frustrating. Thus, it is better to choose the perfect cloud hosting from the beginning.
- Automated Updates
To make the experience more convenient, the software and hardware updates can be programmed to take place automatically. Thus, the system will not have to wait for your permission for installing. Even though it is not unique to cloud hosting, but new updates require a lot of storage and power. The scalability of cloud hosting makes it hassle-free.
Disadvantages Of Cloud Hosting
- Restricted Control
The providers may impose restrictions on the function and execution of the hosting infrastructure. Through end use license policies (EULAs) and management policies, they can limit the control of client organizations on the backend framework. Although it does not usually happen, keeping it in mind while selecting your hosting type is a plus.
- Limited Support
It is essential to determine if the cloud hosting company can provide you with 24x7 support. Lack of around-the-clock support is ignored by a fair share of cloud hosting service providers, but some cloud hosting services offer only limited support so verify that the services you're considering offer the support you need.
- Data security Risks
By adopting cloud hosting, the risks of a security breach can increase as instead of one specific location, anybody from anywhere can access the server. In dedicated or shared hosting, the servers are situated at a particular location allowing more control over data security. Since cloud hosting depends on a network of interconnected servers, the security level deteriorates. So business enterprises find it risky to let cloud hosting companies handle their sensitive corporate data. The organization can end up being a victim of intellectual property theft, compliance violations, rogue employees and more. One possible but unsustainable solution is to put only non-sensitive information on cloud hosts whose leak will not cause any significant security risk.
Comparison With Other Hosting Alternatives
- Dedicated Servers
Dedicated servers offer some of the flexibility of cloud hosting servers. For instance, you are given full freedom over the server controls and can, therefore, customize the configurations to obtain the desired performance level. Also, you have to pay extra for leasing a bigger dedicated server to meet increased business demands. Both of these issues are taken care of in cloud hosting with the pay-as-you-go pricing model and infinite scalability.
- Shared Servers
Shared hosting accommodates multiple websites on one server, and thus all its resources are shared. Such a server costs a lot less but the resources are limited to those allocated to the shared account on one shared server. Cloud hosting can add resources as needed resulting in better performance.
- Virtual Private Servers
Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting allows a dedicated server to be partitioned into several smaller servers. It offers reduced costing and decent customization options similar to cloud hosting. However, scalability of VPS systems is often limited compared to cloud hosting.
Do I Need Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting can be for you if you are an entrepreneur planning on a start-up or an owner running a small business. Gemalto and Stormshield, who recently joined forces together in protection in data exchange services in mobile devices admits that most of the cloud providers cannot guarantee the security of sensitive data and breach can be imminent. If you are dealing with sensitive client data, we would suggest that you stay away from Cloud Hosting until the era of data perfection reaches Cloud Hosting. However, if the data that you are storing is not very sensitive, you can take advantage of the significantly reduced cost while enjoying high scalability, stability, and flexibility.
What Should You Look For In A Cloud Hosting Service?
- Offered Services
Remember to ask them about the details of their services to know precisely what you are signing up for. It must easier terms to upgrade, better scalability and security options.
If you need to store critical data in the cloud, make sure the provider’s security is top-notch. The mandatory components of its security should include firewalls, data encryption, multilayered user authentication and disaster recovery. Before binding into a contract with a cloud hosting company, please keep some of the security controls to look for.
- Pricing Structure
The pricing model should be based on the pay-as-you-go model in hourly, monthly, semi-annually or annually charges. It can vary a lot depending on your vendor - from just a dollar per month to a hundred of them per month. Besides, be careful of any substantial upfront costs.
- Customer Support
They should be able to provide technical support 24x7 through online or phone. It is safe to also ask about their average response time and resolution time.
Before investing in cloud hosting, measure how it can affect your business and what you can gain from it. Weigh out other hosting alternatives as well to make a sound judgment.