When it comes to hosting, you have plenty of options to pick from. There are hundreds of web hosts you can use, and they often provide various types of plans. Some of the options are fairly self-explanatory, such as ‘shared’ plans or ‘dedicated’ servers, but that isn’t necessarily the case with cloud hosting.
Cloud computing has been around for a while, but it was only during the back half of the last decade that it started to pick up steam within hosting. It’s a perfect match, however, because cloud computing enables you to increase or decrease the resources you have access to at will. Therefore, it can be a good fit for almost any type of website.
In this article, we’ll talk about what cloud hosting is and how it works. Then we’ll go over the three main benefits of using cloud hosting for your next project. Let’s get to it!
An Introduction to Cloud Hosting
The way hosting usually works is that you lease a server – or part of one – and use that to store your site’s files so visitors can access them. Those servers can vary a lot when it comes to the types of resources they offer, however.
Likewise, servers can be both physical and virtual. What usually doesn’t change is that you only get access to a single server. Cloud plans, on the other hand, use a network of servers to support your hosting load. You also get access to dedicated resources, since cloud hosting uses the same approach to partitioning your site as Virtual Private Servers (VPSs).
This all makes cloud hosting an intriguing option for many website owners and developers. All that remains is to decide if it’s the right choice for your site or project.
3 Benefits of Cloud-Based Web Hosting
Now that you know how cloud computing works in a general sense, it’s time to get a bit more specific. That means understanding the key benefits of cloud hosting over other types of plans, so you can decide if it’s a good fit.
1. It’s Incredibly Scalable
You might hear people talking a lot about scalability when it comes to cloud-based programs such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud. That makes sense, as it’s the chief advantage this kind of technology offers.
The way servers usually work is that you get a set number of resources to use. For example, a basic VPS plan might come with the following configuration:
- 4 GB of RAM
- 75 GB of storage
- Four-core CPU
That’s not bad for a starter hosting plan. However, the resources you get are usually set in stone unless you upgrade to a higher tier. As your site grows, it may end up needing more space and power.
Cloud computing is an answer to that problem. Since you’re accessing a network of computers, the resources you have available can be easily increased. In practice, many cloud computing providers enable you to do this on the fly. You can start with the basic level of resources, and scale up as needed at any time.
All of this means that with cloud hosting, you’ll be better equipped to deal with traffic spikes. Likewise, since your hosting load is distributed among many computers, you should also see better performance. After all, the more resources you add to your network, the better your apps and sites should run.
2. Resource Distribution Makes Your Website Less Vulnerable
Scalability makes cloud hosting an excellent option if you’re concerned about performance. That same approach to resource distribution also comes in handy for data protection and other security reasons.
If you store all of your data on a single device, and that device gets lost or damaged, then you’re out of luck. That’s why most people recommend backing up important data both online and offline and storing the files in multiple locations.
As you know by now, cloud hosting distributes your site’s load throughout a network of computers, and it does the same for your files. In practice, that means there isn’t one single point of failure, and you’re following best security practices by storing your data in multiple places (even if they’re all virtual).
If a part of your cloud network does fail, another computer takes its place. That way, you don’t have to experience any downtime or loss of data. All of those features combined make cloud hosting a great solution if you want the safest approach to web hosting.
3. You Only Pay for the Resources You Use
There are a lot of cheap hosting options available online. You can find quality hosting plans for less than $5 per month, many of which work very well for small to medium sites.
If you compare cloud hosting with that budget range of plans, then you might walk away thinking that the former option is too expensive. To give you an idea, cloud hosting services usually charge by the hour. AWS, for example, charges $0.051 per hour for a dual-core machine with 4 GB of RAM.
This means that if you used the AWS cloud to host your website, it would cost you $36.72 per month. How much you pay will, of course, depend on the number of resources you want to add to your cloud network. However, that figure is a useful baseline for what cloud hosting can cost.
Cloud hosting is more expensive than shared and basic VPS plans. However, as we’ve discussed, it also comes with a lot of advantages those types of plans don’t offer. Plus, the per-hour billing model gives you an unprecedented degree of control over your hosting costs. Especially if you need hosting for multiple web-related projects, the ability to spin up new cloud instances and pay by the hour is a pretty great deal.
Finally, bear in mind that $36.72 per month is more or less in line with what many managed WordPress hosting services cost. Likewise, once you start looking into dedicated servers, that number can look pretty small in comparison. Overall, for all the functionality you get, cloud hosting can be an excellent deal.
Despite the technology’s popularity, there’s a lot of confusion about what the term ‘cloud’ actually means. The easiest way to sum it up is that by using a cloud setup, you can host your sites and files using a broad network of computers, instead of a single machine.
Let’s recap the reasons why that approach is such a great fit for web hosting:
- It offers you unmatched scalability.
- Resource distribution makes your sites less vulnerable.
- You only pay for the resources you use.
Do you have any additional questions about cloud hosting? Ask away in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.
Tom Rankin is a key member of WordCandy, a musician, photographer, vegan, beard owner, and (very) amateur coder. When he’s not doing any of these things, he’s likely sleeping.