23 Jul 2013

What is Cloud Hosting?

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Cloud hosting diagram

Cloud hosting, sometimes called cloud computing, is a newer type of web hosting most commonly used for hosting resource intensive web applications. Its most notable benefits are performance & reliability. Websites and web applications hosted on the cloud have virtually no downtime and load very quickly. Its most notable downside is expense. While you pay for only what you use, cloud hosting is typically more expensive.

How does cloud hosting work? Cloud hosting refers to a network of servers that work together to provide a service. Unlike traditional web hosting (websites or web applications hosted on a single web server), cloud hosting utilizes a cluster of servers (termed as the cloud). Using the “cloud” has many advantages over a single server:

  • Cloud hosting has redundant data storage. With a traditional web hosting plan, data is stored on a single server. If the server crashes, your data is inaccessible. Cloud hosting stores data upon multiple servers, which means if one server fails, the others can still access your data. Put another way, cloud hosting has no single point of failure.
  • Cloud hosting operates more efficiently. Unlike traditional web hosting, if your website or web application is consuming too much of the server’s resources, the cloud can scale its computing power to give you more. RAM and CPU resources are spread across different servers and if one server is struggling to keep up with your web application, another web server can kick in to help manage peak loads.

Who should use cloud hosting? Originally used only by large enterprises, cloud hosting has gone down in price over the years, but is still too expensive for the average small business owner. Cloud hosting is used primarily by medium to large businesses with vast amounts of data.

Who are the top cloud hosting providers? Amazon Web Services (AWS), Rackspace, and Softlayer, are well known cloud hosting providers.