Cloud hosting is a versatile form of web hosting. Although still relatively new, cloud hosting is becoming popular because companies can use it for a whole variety of jobs
Many businesses use cloud hosting to publish their websites online. However, it’s also well-suited to other tasks, most notably running cloud computing services.
The main attraction of cloud hosting is that it’s very flexible. Rather than giving you access to a fixed hosting package each month, cloud hosting scales up and down to fit your requirements.
With many hosting services, your data sits on a single server, owned and managed by a web hosting company. But cloud hosting combines lots of servers into one huge hosting platform, sometimes called a ‘grid’.
This means that as your website grows, or you need more capacity for your applications, the cloud hosting service simply draws on more of the grid’s power. There’s no need to upgrade or to buy extra hardware.
As long as your hosting company maintains enough capacity in its cloud hosting grid to service all its customers’ needs, you’ll have no problems:
In many ways, cloud hosting combines the best aspects of shared hosting – like ease-of-use and affordability, with much more flexibility. It does cost a bit more too - expect to pay a minimum of about £10 a month.
Cloud hosting is easiest to understand if you view it as computing power on tap. It’s not just storage space for a website – it’s processing power to run applications.
That means cloud hosting most definitely isn’t just about websites. You can use it to do almost any job that you could also do with a server on your premises. For instance:
You can remotely access and control your cloud hosting over the internet, putting almost anything you like on it. Many cloud hosting services can work in the same way that a network server in your office would – just you’ll never run out of room, and you don’t have to buy or maintain the hardware.
Some cloud hosting services aren’t really ‘true’ cloud hosting. They may have limited capacity, require you to set the capacity you need manually, or not operate on a true grid system. It’s worth checking these aspects carefully: flexibility is the biggest advantage of cloud hosting, so you’ll be missing out if you choose a service lacking in these areas.
It’s also important to remember that a cloud hosting grid is shared between many different customers. Obviously, that’s part of the reason the service is able to scale up and down so quickly, but it does mean there’s a tiny chance that something another customer does could affect the service for you.
Cloud hosting: what next?