I personally am an endorser of quality. I do not settle for less than I’m supposed to receive, even if that means paying extra bucks for the benefit, and I firmly believe this is, naturally, everyone’s desire, including yours.
As such, there’s a not-so-popular hosting solution available on the market that, for a reason or another, seems to be overlooked by other companies and, implicitly, reviewers, and that is cloud hosting. Without further ado, let’s see pore over the detailed facts about Cloud Hosting and how it can help you host your blog/store/whatever.
Table of Content
- Top 5 Cloud Hosting Provider
- What is Cloud Hosting?
- Difference between cloud services and cloud hosting
- Types of Cloud Hosting Services
- VPS vs Cloud – There is a Difference
- Standard Cloud Hosting Features
- Cheap Cloud Hosting
- Should You Go With Cloud Hosting?
||Just 1 Cent|
Steve Jobs once said “I really don’t need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server a lot faster.” This should succinctly give you the definition.
Basically, “Cloud” Hosting (the name itself is very suggestive) represents a group of virtual machines (abbreviated VMs) that run on a so-called cloud computing environment.
Instead of having a physical hardware server host your crucial data, which is always prone to hardware failure by the way, cloud-hosted servers communicate over an entire network of connected servers. All of them are online 24/7/365, but none of your data is actually stored on your hard drive. Should a hardware failure occur, the aforementioned VMs will transfer the data to another machine without experiencing unpleasant downtime periods. This should be very revelatory as to what kind of stability to expect from cloud servers.
Over the course of time, I have managed to outline some key advantages and disadvantages to using cloud server hosting solutions. Let’s delve into them.
Cloud Hosting Advantages
- On-demand resources – cloud servers have virtually no limits with regard to how much storage you can be allotted at a given time. However, this obviously comes at a cost.
- Virtually permanent server availability – As I covered before, in the event of a hardware failure experienced by a server, the VMs will transfer your data to another server, ensuring full website uptime. I say “virtually permanent” because all physical servers could experience hardware failures at any given time, thus bringing your website down with them. However, that is quite unlikely to happen.
- Incredible scalability. You just can’t get enough of cloud hosting – you’ll always be able to ask for as much storage as possible (at a cost). No point in further stressing this amazing perk.
Cloud Hosting Disadvantages
While the disadvantages I’m about to cover are pretty counter-able, they exist, so it’s my duty to mention them. I highly believe they are outweighed by the disadvantages I mentioned above though. You be the judge.
- Cost: Naturally, the inherent features of a cloud hosting environment come at a pretty high cost than, say, VPS Hosting, that not many are able to cover. You do get what you pay for undoubtedly, so it shouldn’t scare you away.
- Security: This particular concern bugs me big-time. If you are accustomed with how Shared and VPS Hosting work, well, you shouldn’t have big difficulties in understanding cloud hosting either. In this kind of multiple-tenant environment, it’s often hard to ever feel like your private data is actually kept private. The concern is slightly mitigated if you opt for single-tenant cloud hosting solutions which I’ll cover later on in this review.
- Maintenance: This disadvantage is also to be found at self-managed dedicated hosting solutions. Most of the times, you’ll be forced by your host to take care of all the burden of maintaining your server without any kind of “divine intervention” from their side, which could prove to be a big mess, especially for newbies. Furthermore, due to the pay-by-the-hour nature of the service, you’ll have to ensure you do not end up paying undue additional costs.
Aside from cloud hosting, there’s also what we usually refer to as “cloud services”. Now, it might be confusing at first to tell the difference between the two, but it’s not that hard.
Cloud service providers are not necessarily the same as cloud hosting providers, meaning the former is usually more focused on providing file backup services (Dropbox, Google Cloud etc.) whereas the latter, as the name itself suggests, provides web hosting solutions on the very same platform. More precisely, you might be interested in storing your data on a cloud server, but not necessarily host a website. I hope this gives you some insight.
Much like traditional web hosting services are divided into Shared, VPS and Dedicated plans, the Cloud is also broken down into two main plans, with an additional less common third one: public, private and hybrid.
Public vs. Private
Honestly, there’s not much difference between the two except from the number of server tenants on each. With the public plan, we’re usually talking about 10-15 tenants at a time (this number highly varies depending on the performance of the actual server), whereas with the private one, there’s only one tenant: you.
Google Cloud, Amazon EC2 and Rackspace are the most popular public cloud environments on the market, and the bonuses found within all three include but are not limited to pay-as-you-go pricing, self-management and no contractual obligations.
On the other hand, private clouds offer another very distinct set of advantages such as PCI/HIPAA compliance, enhanced security and hardware customization tailored around your specific needs. However, given the fact you’re the only server tenant, you’ll most likely have to pay anything between $100 and $500 per month depending on the configuration you choose and commit to a long-term contract as well. IMHO, these are minimal inconveniences and should not scare you away; you’ll gain valuable server management knowledge if you’re a newbie, trust me.
Hybrid Cloud Hosting
Simply put, hybrid hosting is an interesting mix between public and private hosting environments. More specifically, it allows you to harness the security of private cloud hosting all the while capitalizing on the economic benefits of public cloud resources. In other words, if you don’t have enough money for private cloud hosting but can afford the hybrid alternative, you should go for the latter undoubtedly; you won’t be disappointed.
I’ve seen many people over the course of time mistaking VPS for Cloud Hosting and vice-versa. There is a big difference between the two, so you can’t use them interchangeably.
A VPS (Virtual Private Server) refers to a physical server that’s been partitioned into multiple slices that are shared among different customers. It’s a very similar system to Shared Hosting, only that there are less tenants here. If the server experiences a hardware failure, it brings all the websites hosted within the server down with it, so that’s the most significant disadvantage of opting for VPS hosting.
Cloud servers, on the other hand, consist of an entire network of physical servers that create multiple virtual machines. If one such virtual machine fails due to whatever reason, your data will be easily transferred to another one in the next few seconds. Therefore, you won’t experience any kind of downtime or data loss.
Most cloud hosting companies will provide you with most, if not all, of the following features:
- Instant provisioning/deployment;
- On-demand resources;
- Flexible hardware options;
- Consistent RAM;
- CPanel or DirectAdmin panels;
- SSD-based architecture for enhanced speed;
- Managed cloud hosting options.
I would personally recommend opting for InMotion’s cloud hosting offer which encompasses most of the aforementioned features.
Cloud Hosting Pricing
Now that you’ve been lectured a little bit on what cloud hosting means, you should also know how much it’ll cost you to have your website hosted on such servers.
Depending on the type of cloud hosting you choose, namely public, private or hybrid, you should expect to pay anything between $15 and $500 per month. I won’t focus on the latter category as it’s obvious you’ll get top-notch features for the price; instead, I’ll focus on cheap and free cloud hosting.
Hosting providers such as InMotion or BlueHost provide immediate provisioning and deployment of ultra scalable resources, such as reliable processing power and leading customer support in the $15 price range, which is really, really affordable. It’s actually a few dollars more expensive than shared hosting.
Free Cloud Hosting
Prior to writing this review, I had personally thought free cloud services were only available for data storage and backup, but apparently there are free cloud hosting offers, too. These mostly come in the form of a free trial period though, where you’re required to enter valid credit card details. If you don’t cancel the trial subscription within the allotted trial time, you’ll be recurrently charged.
There are significant drawbacks to using cloud hosting, but I generally endorse it. The lack of privacy is what bugs me big-time, but it can easily be countered if you opt for private cloud hosting in the detriment of public cloud hosting. Regardless of what you end up choosing, cloud hosting is a safe, reliable and sometimes secure way of hosting your website for significantly lower prices compared to dedicated hosting, for example.