What is cloud hosting?

Cloud hosting is simply web hosting whose architecture is based in the cloud. The largest changes to companies making the switch to cloud hosting services and solutions involves resource management and costs. Most small business will see 30% cost drop, while enterprise-level organizations can see 50% decrease in IT costs as their architecture, information process and IT management make use of the cloud.

Cloud Hosting Example Image

The key to why cloud hosting is so impactful on a company’s bottom-line, lays in the fact that you will only ever pay for the resources you actually use. Therefore, if you only use 10GB of storage, you will only be billed 10GB, instead of a block-level pricing like most hosts do.

The is one example of why answering ‘what is cloud hosting?’ is so incredible; it’s the price. I call the above the bread example. When you use pieces of bread for sandwiches, you are still buying bread by the loaf. But what if you could buy your bread by the loaf, but also, be charged per piece if needed. Your costs for web hosting in the cloud is like this. You are only ever truly paying for those resources used, not just for the resources available to your, whether you use them or not.

Another really impactful reason to use cloud hosting is that you have a major level of redundancy in case something catastrophic could happen. Think about “regular” web hosting on one physical server. Without a back-up, if the hard drive fails, or the network connections fail, or there is a fire, you might have lost all of your data. In that scenario, the best outcome your business could see is broken traffic for a few hours.

However, in the cloud, with cloud hosting, because there are virtual layers of computing resources, networking resource and other architectural resources can automatically be taken over, so that your hosting account does not miss a beat. In fact, this redundancy means that a catastrophic incident while you are using cloud hosting means a service report and nothing more. Because your resources, your processing power and your data are distributed and in a virtual realm, your cloud hosting equates to no loss of up-time nor time that any business is lost.

Cloud Hosting Advantages

The advantages of cloud hosting seem to outweigh the negative benefits by a lot. Below, we will look at five specific areas of cloud hosting being, possibly, more of a solid option than normal physical web hosting (dedicated and even VPN) and why.

Reliability

In cloud hosting, as opposed to normal web hosting, the problems of one account on a server will never spill over to another. Each cloud hosting account and cloud hosting server are virtually separated from another, thereby, removing itself from the next. Your up-time for your server is nearly guaranteed based on the way virtual hosts in the cloud are maintained due to redundancy, load balancing and other features.

Security

Server security in web hosting can be maintained via one source. When you set up a new cloud hosting account, your need to setup new applications, new firewalls all fade away as your sources of security go from ‘per server’ to ‘in place’. The virtual atmosphere of cloud hosting also puts security onto cloud hosting customers for their own business rules, data streams and front-end and scripting methods.

Scalability and Flexibility

Cloud hosting is most impactful as your needs grow and contrast. In a normal web server, you might have clearly defined boundaries of resources, storage and bandwidth. However, if one month, your storage goes to 4 terabytes, but a month later, after those files are purged, you only need 30 gigabytes of storage, your hosting plans can automated adjust for that change.

Utility-style Pricing

Utility-style pricing in cloud hosting refers to the saying “you pay for what you use”. This involves the bread example above. If I need 14 pieces of bread, ad 13 come in a loaf, I won’t have to buy two loaves and have wasted resources. Instead, with cloud hosting, if I need that extra 1 or 2 gigabytes of storage, an extra hour of CPU usage and up-time or more bandwidth, I’ll pay as I go, not in bulk. This is a massive cost-savings, and makes cloud hosting an incredibly safe choice for pricing.

Load Balancing

Load balancing in cloud hosting environments automatically distributes incoming stressful requests to other virtual clouds/servers so that one virtual instance is never over-run. Load-balancing is very impactful, as your users and visitors don’t see “lag”; that nasty slowness that brings your site and web application to a halt on most web hosting accounts because of over-user of the CPU, RAM or even HDD read/writes.

Cloud Hosting Pains

A new user to server administration that decides on a cloud hosting solution via Amazon AWS or RackSpace might notice that entry into getting a server and a site up might take some time.

RackSpace Cloud Hosting Server Setup

Amazon AWS Cloud Hosting Server Setup

Windows Azure Cloud Server Setup

These video guides should get you started in some of the most major cloud hosting servers on the internet today. These include Amazon AWS Web Services, RackSpace Hosting and Cloud Services and Windows Azure Cloud Services.

Another cloud hosting pain is media ownership and digital copyright management. A lot of data stored in the cloud is not stored as a single file. Instead, virtual storage can break down files into multiple smaller bits data. A argument has been made that users and owners of the media “own” it, however, the provider and server owners of the cloud hosting servers own, for a short time and temporary time, those parts of the files as they get reconstructed for use.

A final large cloud hosting issue that gets new users in a negative head-space is cloud hosting security. Reputable web hosts that are offering cloud hosting and virtual server cloud hosting create and employ standard and advanced security measures to protect your site, account and virtual cloud hosting account from on-going threats. These threats are as follows, but not only limited to:

  • Web and HTTPS (SSL)
  • SQL Injection
  • Session Hijacking
  • Cross-site Scripting (XSS)
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
  • Zero Day Web Worms
  • Directory Traversal
  • Cross-site Request Forgery
  • Brute Force Login
  • Credit Card Exposure
  • Credit Card and Patient Data Exposure
  • Email Hoarding

These are only a few security issues cloud hosting users and accounts need to deal with. Some are user-specific, others are administrative-specific and some of for the servers and cloud hosting companies to implement. Like every other facet of security, you need layers. Never rely on a single point of security, no matter how trusted and secure something is proven to be.

What is cloud hosting?

Simply put, cloud hosting is a hosting service based in the cloud; either using a virtual server, or shared hosting that is in the cloud. Pricing is lower and easier to handle on contrasting and expanding months, as well as in the form of resource usage and storage. With cloud hosting services, your growth will occur in a cost-effective and smart, very intuitive way.