What Is Cloud Hosting? Explaining Benefits And Drawbacks
2019 June 27th at 2:44
Cloud hosting is one of the several hosting solutions when physical servers are used to create a virtual machine called Cloud. The Cloud combines the resources of physical servers and has characteristics of redundancy, flexibility, and high performance.
Originally, Cloud technology is better known for data storage but now becomes very popular in the hosting industry, too.
And there's no surprise why.
If managed correctly, Cloud hosting can be as powerful as a dedicated server and even show better reliability results. But due to the nature of Cloud technology, it still raises more questions than it answers.
In this post, we'll answer what is Cloud hosting exactly - can you trust it and what are the Cloud hosting pros and cons.
Without any further ado, let's start!
Cloud Hosting Is Not For Everyone
Cloud hosting can be as powerful as VPS and even dedicated server hosting. At the same time, people that are just getting started are choosing Cloud hosting solutions as well. So how do you know if Cloud will be right for you?
But first, we have to look at what a simple shared hosting is capable of. After all, it's the most popular option.
Shared hosting if often enough for a regular user - one physical server resources are used to host multiple websites for different people. It's cheap and offers great value. Imagine this: you don't need a huge truck or a Ferrari to buy a bag of groceries from a shop down the road. A regular car is more than enough for you.
Cloud hosting is a bit different.
With Cloud hosting, you can get as much resources as you need. To launch a new website, even 5GB of storage might be enough. That's a Honda Accord. But, Cloud hosting is not limited to those 5GB - more resources can be joined whenever you need, and your Honda suddenly turns into a Lambo.
But that, of course, comes at a price.
While you can get shared hosting for as little as a couple of dollars per month, reliable Cloud hosting pricing starts at around $10/month. But you might never need to migrate your website to another server.
In the long run, that's a win-win. But yet again, your website might never outgrow its $1/month hosting, so why invest to the expensive solution if you'll never feel the benefits? Talking of which, let's see what are the Cloud hosting benefits.
Cloud Hosting Benefits
Cloud hosting offers a lot of benefits that include high scalability, performance, redundancy, and reliability. Also, it proves to be energy efficient too.
Take a look at the details.
Cloud hosting scalability
There's basically no limit of how much server resources you can put on a Cloud. It can be a few megabytes of one server or terabytes of data shared by multiple servers across the world.
That's why you can start with as little as you need and upgrade any time, which equals to the pretty affordable pricing.
When managed professionally, Cloud technology becomes one of the most resourceful services to power hosting. And yet, when Cloud is managed by someone who does not know what they are doing - Cloud solution can be no better than poorly equipped shared hosting.
Depending on the type of Cloud hosting (one Cloud can be used by multiple users or you can get the whole Cloud to yourself), server performance is optimized.
You can optimize your Cloud account for CPU-heavy tasks, storage, or balance both memory and CPU processes for optimal results.
This way, you can achieve the best performance possible for all kinds of projects - static or dynamic websites, web applications, software testing, etc.
Another thing that ensures high performance is the nature of Cloud hosting itself.
It is based on several different servers. So it doesn't matter how many people visit your website at once, it won't slow down. As the load increases, it gets divided into more and more servers. That results in a faster and more reliable performance for your visitors.
And page loading speed matters to your search engine rankings. Better loading times may result in higher-ranked search results. On the other hand, Google may even push your site down if it has a lot of visitors but a weak server not capable of handling the traffic.
Google itself is saying that now, both mobile and desktop page speeds are relevant in their search rankings. And we all know - higher ranking means more traffic. More traffic - the possible increase in conversions.
But the same condition applies here - Clouds have to be managed professionally to deliver the expected speed.
Server redundancy and uptime
Cloud technology means, that servers can be spread across different data centers worldwide. At the same time, they combine the resources and share the same data of your project.
So in case something happens - maintenance works, server failure, force majeure situation, or anything, servers from other data centers can still keep your website online.
That adds to safety and reliability.
Because Cloud technology allows high redundancy, the downtimes are kept at a minimum. Some of the best Cloud hosting providers even guarantee 100% uptime. Which is rarely the case with other types of hosting that mostly promises 99.9% uptime.
So do the math:
- 99.999% uptime = 5 minutes downtime/year.
- 99.99% uptime = 53 minutes downtime/year.
- 99.9% uptime = 8 hours 45 minutes downtime/year.
- 99% uptime = 3.65 days downtime/year.
To prevent downtime, Cloud hosting solution has its own way.
If you use Cloud and one of the Cloud servers are going down, it won’t stop your website from functioning. DDoS attacks, excess of power use, and outages on one server using Cloud technology won't cause any problems. Its data simply gets encrypted and securely sent to another server.
Cloud hosting stores encrypted information in multiple servers or databases in various places. That's why a problem in one server won't shut your website down and cause any downtime. It's just going to be delivered to another server while your website is going to run smoothly no matter what.
Also, Cloud hosting makes these file transitions incredibly seamless - everything is on the Cloud already. That means there is no drop in response or load times.
Theoretically, as hosting companies improve the old and establish the new centers, we may see a complete 100% uptime. There is a chance that Cloud hosting may never really go down! And that is beneficial for businesses as viewers will be able to view a website anytime without any problems.
But not everything is as perfect as it seems. Cloud technology is a relatively new one and managing it has its own challenges. This means that gaps between data transfers and resource sharing happen. Then, users can see micro-downtimes. That also can happen when your Cloud hosting gets updated.
The energy efficiency of Cloud hosting
Another great benefit of using Cloud hosting is its efficiency. Not only it uses less energy than dedicated servers and also uses it more efficiently. Let's take a look at it.
Data centers use from 1 to 2 percent of the world’s electricity. And only around a quarter of our current energy is renewable - meaning that conventional power, such as coal, oil, gas, and nuclear energy is still used to get electricity.
In turn, this means that the more servers there are, the more energy they use. Because most it comes from conventional sources, servers increase our carbon footprint.
In fact, a CLEER model simulation (a tool by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Northwestern University) published in Scientific American reveals an interesting fact. If all US companies would move their spreadsheet, email apps, customer management software and similar programs to the Cloud, that would save a lot of energy. How much exactly? Enough to fully power the city of Los Angeles for a year!
Lavanya Ramakrishnan (University of California, Berkeley) notes that a lot of energy is wasted by servers sitting idle, they’re inefficient and often underused. Unlike dedicated or shared servers, Cloud servers are always busy so no energy is wasted.
The tech giant IBM also points to the great scalability of Cloud hosting. As technology progresses, servers become more efficient, using less energy to handle the same or even larger number of tasks. Many companies still use old and inefficient servers with quite a few problems. For example:
- They often use energy even while not being used.
- Out-dated technology slows down the servers.
- Weak cooling systems cause outages.
These problems could potentially be solved by implementing Cloud technology. However, investment in qualified professionals might seem overwhelming for many companies.
Cloud Hosting Drawbacks
However, even though there are many benefits there are also a few drawbacks. It's an expensive technology requiring professional management. Also, some control over the servers might be lost once they are moved to the Cloud.
Cloud hosting pricing is higher
Even with the pay-as-you-go system, Cloud hosting is more expensive both for users and providers.
To function properly and provide better results than simple shared hosting, it has to be managed by professionals. And because Cloud hosting solution is a relatively new one, finding employees capable of managing the servers is not only difficult but expensive as well.
That is why we see that the starting price of Cloud hosting might be even 10 times bigger than that of the shared hosting.
Less control over the server
Providers set up and optimize the servers to work together and create a Cloud for you. They use their own designed infrastructure - meaning you'll have to trust the hardware and software your provider chooses to implement.
And more often than not, providers choose not to modify servers according to the customers.
Then, depending on your choice - managed or unmanaged Cloud hosting, you may get root access to your hosting. But even with that comes limitations.
Choosing, for example, dedicated hosting, you can configure everything on the physical server - from hardware to software. While with Cloud hosting, you get access only to the Cloud itself.
What Is Cloud Hosting - Final Thoughts
Cloud hosting is a network of servers rather than one server. Because of this, it is better and more efficient than regular shared hosting. If managed correctly, it can even beat dedicated servers.
But despite high redundancy, unbreakable uptime, and high performance, Cloud hosting has some drawbacks.
Even the entry-plans pricing is significantly higher than shared hosting. And if you choose Cloud hosting for larger-scale projects, there'll be less control over your server.
All in all, Cloud hosting is a promising future of all hosting. But first and foremost, it has to be managed professionally to actually be worth it.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section below!