Remember back in the day when website cloud hosting was some crazy, scary, futuristic concept that you couldn’t possibly imagine your website turning to? Yeah, well, those days are long since passed. Today, the cloud is a viable option for a website hosting solution. In fact, in many cases it’s much more than just viable – it’s ideal. Yes, you could go with shared hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting or dedicated hosting, but the cloud has a number of excellent advantages that makes it superior. What are they? So glad you asked.
When your site is up in the cloud it gets its very own server, meaning there is basically zero competition for resources. Compare this to shared hosting, in which your customers often suffer from performance issues that are caused by, well, sharing. Since there are multiple users on the same server, everyone has to fight for resources. This is particularly problematic if someone else sharing your server is a major resource hog. Websites with heavy traffic flow have more requests coming in, which means the system is under heavier strain, and there are fewer resources for everyone to share. The worst part about this is that it is not easily overcome (barring the implementation of sophisticated monitoring tools able to throttle for one customer when the load is heavy).
If you’re on a shared server and you or someone else on the server suddenly gets slammed with an unexpectedly high number of visitors then everyone’s sites could get overloaded and go down. Nobody wants their site to crash because it’s too popular, and you really don’t want your site to crash because somebody else’s site is too popular. This isn’t an issue with the cloud, since no one else is on your server besides you. Plus, your server’s computing abilities can be expanded upon when the need arises, which brings us to our next point.
Are you content with the amount of traffic your website gets right now and hope it stays that way forever? Probably not. More likely, you’re hoping that your site can continue to grow and expand. What happens when it does? You need more server resources or you’re going to run into serious problems, that’s what. If you go with cloud hosting, you’re going to get the ability to instantly ramp your server space up or down as traffic demands. This is called scalability, and the cloud outdoes VPS, dedicated and shared website hosting in this realm.
Cloud storage space means adding, subtracting, swapping or removing resources at the drop of a hat. If your visitor numbers suddenly spike, your server resources can be ramped up with little to no input from you (depending on your service level agreement). If you need more space for a few hours, you can get it and then return to normal when things drop back off. The ability to scale up means you can handle anything that comes your way. The ability to scale down means you only have to pay for what you need.
Paying only for the space you need and being able to get more or less space whenever you need it sounds like a pretty good deal, right? It is. Cloud users get billed just like electric company customers do: they pay only for what they’re using. You’ll save money by not having to put out extra to allow for resources that you might need. Forget about coughing up cash for dedicated resources like unnecessarily high bandwidth and server space “just to be safe.” Go with the cloud instead of dedicated and pay only for those resources you use and traffic you get instead of some arbitrary amount.
In fact, you won’t be doing anything arbitrarily when you pick cloud, which puts an almost embarrassing number of options at your disposal. Want to get meta and pick out every single aspect of your hosting? Not a problem. You can choose CPU, memory, storage size, number of virtual disks, firewall protection, private network and routing settings and even user access controls. Unlike shared hosting, cloud hosting even allows you to choose how you want to be billed: monthly or, as we outlined in the previous section, per CPU cycle.
There are a lot of people out there with malicious intent looking to gain unauthorized access to others’ websites and do all sorts of terrible things once they get it. With cloud web hosting, you can shift your data from one server to another without sacrificing your security. Actually, this element is itself a security measure. If ever it seems that a server has been compromised or is at high risk of being compromised, you can easily and temporarily move the data on it over to another server. In the interim, the original server can be tested and cleaned before the data is moved back to it.
Has your website ever gone offline unexpectedly? It’s not a pleasant experience, and it’s one you’d no doubt prefer to avoid. When a dedicated server crashes, it usually means your website is going down. Not so with the cloud. Cloud providers will give you a ton of redundancies, which means that even if one server goes down there are always others available to step in and pick up the slack when needed. This means that your website is extremely unlikely to go offline.
Did you know that many pieces of computer hardware consume the exact same amount of energy regardless of whether they are sitting partially idle or are fully loaded and running a multitude of tasks? It’s true. So let’s say that you decide to go with shared hosting and run on two shared machines loaded to 50 percent each. You’re going to use much more energy than if you ran one fully loaded cloud machine.
Free of Hardware Dependence
Remember all of that awesome scalability we talked about? Well, it’s all made possible by the fact that you’re no longer tied down to a certain amount of hardware. Nope, instead you have all of the hard drive space, RAM and processing power you could possibly want. If you need more than you currently have, you can get it. Fast.
Dedicated IT Team
Are you thinking about going with dedicated hosting for your website? Have you thought about how you’re going to manage all of that? Keeping a website up and running at optimal speeds is a major undertaking. Are you going to do it? Are you going to have an internal staff that’s ready to fix anything that goes wrong day and night? During holidays and vacations? If you’re not, then you might want to consider cloud hosting, which will get you a team of qualified IT professionals to manage and monitor your servers and be prepared to provide fixes when necessary.
Deploying a cloud hosting system is a piece of cake, and it’s far cheaper than buying or renting your own dedicated servers. You don’t need to sort through hardware options or deal with software licenses. You relay your needs to a cloud web hosting provider, and they give you the solution best for those needs. And since they already have everything you need in their data centers, they can get you up and running in remarkably quick order.
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