Cloud hosting or cloud web hosting is a popular type of hosting website by provisioning them in virtual web servers. Those virtual servers pull their computing power from a set of designated underlying cloud clusters or other multiple virtual servers to power up your website.
It is an excellent alternative to shared hosting or dedicated or VPS hosting.
Development of the concept of cloud hosting for enterprise customers is the Virtual Data Centre (VDC). Cloud hosting employs a virtualised network of servers in the cloud which can be used to host all of a business’s IT operations, including its websites.
What is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is a popular way of hosting, which is essential for every e-commerce startup or high traffic demanding websites as sites performance can directly benefit their sales.
Websites having downtime 2-3% downtime may affect your sales by 10-15%.
Cloud hosting is the hosting where there is enough scope of scalability and extended performance and can achieve quickly 100% uptime.
Whom is cloud hosting for?
Suppose if writing a blog, you target audiences over a vast geographic location(US, UK, Australia, Germany, India).
If we chose other hosting like shared hosting for this case, we need to select our server location. It is advisable to choose the site nearest to your audience but in this case, what will you choose?
If you choose Singapore or Mumbai as a server, Asian countries experience would be incredible. Still, the case would not be the same for your US, UK, EUROPE AUSTRALIA audiences.
If you choose your server in the US, then Indian or other Asian countries may face slowness in loading your website.
Here Cloud hosting would be the best option to provide seamless experience worldwide as there would be copies of your hosted website at different geographic locations so that when a particular person from India wants to read your blog or want to buy a product from your website, it would be served from the nearest server location say Mumbai.
Suppose you are running a shopping website and you are selling your product.
Would you like to sell it within your country?
Would you like to expand your business worldwide?
Would your traffic be small or huge or even high spike can occur if you promote Flash sale or deals?
For all these only solutions would be cloud hosting.
For e-commerce websites, high traffic blogs can very much be benefitted by using cloud hosting.
“If someone asks me what cloud computing is, I try not to get bogged down with definitions. I tell them that, simply put, cloud computing is a better way to run your business.”
~ Marc Benioff, Founder, CEO and Chairman of Salesforce
Top e-commerce websites are hosted using cloud hosting or dedicated hosting. Even managed WordPress hosting of WordPress.com hosts using cloud hosting.
To know more about the cloud read our article on Understanding the Cloud.
Cloud Hosting model Types based on the cloud:
The more obvious examples of cloud hosting involve the use of public cloud models – that is hosting websites on virtual servers which pull resources from the same pool as other publicly available virtual servers and use the same public networks to transmit the data; data which is physically stored on the underlying shared servers which form the cloud resource.
These public clouds will include some security measures to ensure that data is kept private and would suffice for most website installations. However, where security and privacy are more of a concern, businesses can turn towards cloud hosting in private clouds as an alternative – that is clouds which use ring-fenced resources (servers, networks), whether located on-site or with the cloud provider.
The private cloud is defined as computing services offered either over the Internet or a private internal network and only to select users instead of the general public.
Cloud hosting architecture
The architecture of cloud hosting differs from the setup used in regular web hosting:
Most shared hosts use a centralised 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 pain.
Large websites such as search engines and social networks use the distributed approach, as no single server could handle such a load. Big projects like these either build their cloud hosting architecture or they hire resources from a cloud hosting provider.
How IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS relate to cloud hosting?
IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are all related to cloud hosting because they use cloud infrastructure to deliver their service:
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 an excellent example of a SaaS product.
Cloud hosting providers:
- AWS mainly dominates enterprise cloud hosting.
- Microsoft Azure,
- Google Cloud Platform,
- Alibaba Cloud, IBM cloud.
Other cloud providers:
- GoDaddy and
- A2 hosting,
- Siteground and others.
Cloud Hosting Pros and Cons :
- Faster Speed at all Geographic locations: Rather than being hosted on one single instance of a physical server, the website is hosted on a virtual partition which draws its resources, such as disk space, from an extensive network of underlying physical servers. If one server goes offline, it dilutes the level of resources available to the cloud a little. Still, it will not affect the availability of the website whose virtual server will continue to pull resources from the remaining network of servers. Some cloud platforms could even survive an entire data centre going offline as the pooled cloud resource is drawn from multiple data centres in different locations to spread the risk.
- High resilience and fault tolerance
- High Scalability : The resource is available in real-time on-demand and not limited to the physical constraints/capacity of one server. If a client’s site demands extra resources from its hosting platform due to a spike in visitor traffic or the implementation of new functionality, the resource is accessed seamlessly. Even when using a private cloud model, the service can often be allowed to ‘burst’ to access resources from the public cloud for non-sensitive processing if there are surges inactivity on the site.
- Max uptime
- Can reduce or upscale ram, storage(SSD or HDD) or processor as required.
- Pay as you use the facility: the client only pays for what they use. The resource is available for spikes in demand, but there is no wasted capacity remaining unused when demand is lower.
- Physical security: the underlying physical servers are still housed within data centres and so benefit from the security measures that those facilities implement to prevent people from accessing or disrupting them on-site.
- Load Balancing: Load balancing is software-based and therefore, can be instantly scalable to respond to changing demands.
- Virtualisation: Cloud hosting provides a proper abstraction on the hardware and any other OS or Kernel Layer. Hence, it makes it easy as the hosting company manages the bottom layer.
- A dedicated IP address is provided.
- Zero Maintenance
- High Cost
- Needs coding skill to set up all the features like load balancing.
- Useful for new bloggers who are having significantly less traffic. For them, ROI would be considerably less.
Cloud hosting WordPress solutions:
- Linux Or Windows VM: We can take either a Linux os VM or a windows VM where we can install all the required software like we do in-home and can configure SSL.
- Image hosting on Docker, Kubernetes: We can run WordPress image on docker and can smoothly run it without any issues. Image hosting provides easier installation than others. It also guarantees that your software would run every time whatever the environment you take it to.
The future of cloud hosting
Cloud computing, in general, is becoming more and more critical for our modern society. The technology can bring many industries and businesses to the cutting edge in the online world. Web hosting is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s also the cornerstone that makes cloud possible.
Don’t be surprised when you see cloud hosting forming the backbone of everything from digital health records to property databases, legal agreements in the upcoming future!
But drawbacks exist. Security issues with the cloud have gained more attention as the cloud adoption rate has grown. With data leaving the company data centre, organisations run the risk of intellectual property theft and loss, compliance violations, lack of oversight over rogue employees’ actions, and data breaches.
Whether it is any hosting, we need to choose the best that is suitable for our needs.
So we need to evaluate our target traffic then decide the hosting we need.
We would not require a chainsaw to cut paper; scissors would be the best.
Whereas the same if we want to cut a big wooden log, can we use scissors? A high-quality chainsaw is required depending on the need.
Moreover, cloud hosting is probably one of the best and most efficient ways to use your resources fully and minimise close to any unused resources.
Cloud hosting is the future of web hosting.