Over the past decade, cloud hosting has gained more and more popularity. At a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16.3%, the cloud computing industry is projected to reach a market size of $947.3 billion by 2026.
Flexibility and agility are among the reasons why this hosting solution is an attractive choice. However, many are still unaware of the benefits that cloud hosting provides and how it can help online businesses stand out against competitors.
This guide will go through everything you need to know about cloud hosting, including its types, benefits, and how to choose the best cloud hosting provider. Let’s dive right in.
Cloud hosting is a type of web hosting that’s based on a cloud computing architecture – a service offering IT resource delivery, including servers and databases, via a virtual network.
It utilizes cloud computing technology to bring multiple virtual servers to work together. This hosting solution is considered very stable as it optimizes website uptime. If one server is down, others will automatically back it up.
Many cloud service providers also offer dedicated cloud hosting, where users have an entire private cloud infrastructure just for their website.
As it involves extensive cloud computing resources, this hosting solution is excellent for high-traffic websites such as eCommerce, streaming services, and web applications.
Cloud services enable a client to access the cloud environment through a medium, like a browser, a web app, or a server. Three of the most popular cloud computing service categories are:
- Software as a Service. SaaS is a software application delivered through the internet. Some SaaS examples include Slack, Microsoft 365, and Google Workspace.
- Platform as a Service. PaaS provides a cloud environment where developers can create, test, modify, and deploy a web application or a website. Heroku and Windows Azure are among the most popular PaaS on the market.
- Infrastructure as a Service. IaaS offers storage, server, and database services via the internet. Some examples of IaaS are Amazon Web Service, Google Compute Engine, and DigitalOcean.
However, don’t confuse types of cloud services with that of cloud computing. The latter falls into four categories:
- Public cloud. Refers to a cloud computing model providing services to the public. The cloud computing resources are accessible for everyone across organizations. Google and Amazon are great examples of public cloud providers.
- Private cloud. It’s a cloud solution dedicated to a single entity. Users’ data will be completely separated from any other organization. A private cloud is perfect for securing a business’s confidential information.
- Hybrid cloud. This solution provides a mix of public and private cloud features. It’s an ideal cloud computing environment for companies that want to protect sensitive data while allowing users to access shared content.
- Multi-cloud. This cloud computing type enables websites to combine multiple cloud computing services and platforms to host their data or perform various tasks.
Apart from increased uptime, here are some other benefits of using cloud hosting:
- Stellar performance. The virtual infrastructure built on multiple servers can reduce latency. If one cloud server is down, another will take its place to process requests.
- Easy scalability. Cloud hosting is highly scalable. Site owners can start small and easily upgrade resources in their virtual hosting environment as their site grows.
- Greater security. Many cloud hosting providers run regular security checkups of their cloud infrastructure to ensure they’re free from malware.
- Quick deployment. Cloud hosting solutions are mostly on-demand and can provide vast amounts of resources lightning fast.
Overall, cloud hosting is an excellent solution for websites that need resource flexibility and great performance. Having a smooth-running website also helps improve user experience, which can lead to increased traffic and higher conversion rates.
Looking for the right cloud hosting service can be daunting. In this section, we’ll discuss the five criteria that an excellent provider should have.
1. Look for Certifications
These certifications help to guarantee that a cloud hosting company practices solid data risk management to keep your website safe.
Site owners should also conduct a company background check to determine whether a cloud hosting provider has a proven track record. Read up on customer reviews and look out for issues like data or security breaches to avoid choosing a bad host.
Cloud hosting providers often have numerous plans for users to choose from. Therefore, determine the amount of resources your website needs before choosing a cloud hosting solution. Here are some aspects to consider:
- vCPU power. The virtual servers’ central processing unit is a critical element for an excellent cloud hosting environment. For a personal website, a dual-core vCPU should be adequate.
- Bandwidth. This measures how much data can be transferred between a server, your website, and site visitors at any given time. Ideally, opt for a cloud hosting provider that offers unlimited bandwidth.
- SSD storage. A solid-state drive ensures better performance than a hard disk drive. The capacity usually ranges from 200 GB to 350 GB, and the former should be more than enough for a new website.
- RAM. The random access memory helps the vCPU access information faster. For a new website, a 3 GB RAM is sufficient to support smooth website performance.
Each provider prices its cloud hosting plans differently. Some may offer unlimited bandwidth, while others give a specified amount at the same price.
To get the best value for money, compare each cloud hosting solution’s price and review the features that come with each plan. These may include:
- Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates. This certificate uses a security protocol to encrypt the transferred data between users’ browsers and your site’s server.Getting a free SSL can save you up to $11.95/year.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) integration. A content delivery network refers to a group of globally distributed proxy servers and their data centers. It helps to reduce latency and improve loading time. Integrating a CDN may cost $9.95/year.
- Domain registration. It’s impossible to have a website without registering a domain name. Many cloud hosting providers grant a free one-year domain with each plan. This helps save up to $9.99/year.
- Daily backups. Avoid losing all your website data in case of accidents by having regular backups. On average, cloud hosting providers can put a $12.00 price tag for this service.
- Website migration services. If you’re moving from a cloud hosting provider to another, check if the new company offers a free migration service. Apart from convenience, this can help you save a staggering $150.00.
In addition, opt for a cloud hosting provider that offers 24/7 customer support. You’ll find it helpful to have assistance throughout your website development process.
That said, some providers also offer a pay-on-the-go pricing system so website owners won’t have to worry about paying for the resources they don’t use. This is a great option if you have a limited budget or are starting out with a small website.
Aside from resources, site owners should check if a provider’s cloud architecture caters to their business’s compliance standards and technologies.
The former refers to regulations and licensing that apply to the site owners’ business industry, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or SOC 2. For this, you may need to check with a provider regarding the compliance aspects they can help with.
In terms of cloud technologies and compatibility, site owners should consider their organization’s workflow. For example, if it significantly revolves around Google products, opt for a provider that integrates the Google framework into its cloud hosting plans.
Cloud hosting provides a stable environment for a website to grow. With benefits including easy scalability, excellent performance, and improved security, cloud hosting is an excellent solution for most websites.
Here are four things to consider when choosing the perfect cloud hosting provider:
- Certifications. Look for companies with ISO/IEC 27001 certification or a Cyber Essential Scheme accreditation for more secure data protection.
- Resources. Evaluate your website’s requirements before choosing the perfect cloud hosting plan. Consider factors such as vCPU power, RAM, storage capacity, and bandwidth.
- Cost-effectiveness. Research which provider offers the best value for money. For this, see if its hosting plans include a free SSL, CDN integration, one-year domain registration, daily backups, and site migration services.
- Cloud compliance and technologies. Find a provider that can help your site achieve compliance once its data is on the cloud. Also opt for a cloud hosting environment that supports your site’s framework requirements.
We hope this guide has been helpful and good luck with your cloud migration!