The online hosting industry has undergone significant changes in recent years. Increasing numbers of business owners are opting away from traditional Internet hosting in favor of cloud service. This article will give comprehensive introduction of cloud hosting including its definition, pros & cons, how it works, we will also compare cloud hosting to VPS and dedicated hosting and figure out whether cloud hosting is suitable for all business owners.
To be brief, the cloud is a hosting platform using clusters of servers to work together as one for delivering astonishing benefits. Starting with the concept of “virtualization”, cloud hosting grants you the ability of scaling up or down resources on demand. Cloud hosting also takes this concept further that it allows you to have an in-built redundancy.
Pros and Cons
As with all types of hosting, there is an increased awareness of the pros and cons of the cloud hosting service along with its increased popularity. First let’s look at the benefits.
First and foremost, cloud based web hosting plans always enjoy good flexibility. These plans are designed to expand or decrease services and space as your website requires it. Especially when your sites are experiencing rapid changes in growth, you can get huge benefit from it. Additionally, due to its better equipment, cloud hosting can handle a sudden burst in traffic that may bring down a site hosted on a traditional and restricted hosting platform.
Another benefit to cloud hosting is the instant access. As the setup process associated with traditional hosting services is nonexistent in the cloud, the cloud server is there whenever you need it. This is especially beneficiary when you have backup hosting needed to be put into place.
Besides the technical benefits you can get from cloud hosting, there are financial benefits to consider as well. As long as you have a proper cloud hosting plan, you can save quite a bit of money. Since cloud hosting does not need as many staff to manage as traditional types of hosting, you don’t need to pay any extra charge for IT staffing used to attach to the software.
Now onto the cons.
Hosting you site across multiple servers means, on one hand, that the risk of website downtime would be minimized; however, on the other hand, that your website really goes down once a cloud hosting provider goes down. Similar to other hardware, there are a thousand reasons that cloud platform can fail for. As cloud hosting makes your business dependent on the reliability of your Internet connection, when it’s offline, you’re offline.
Another drawback of cloud hosting is the potential for unexpected charges. If you go with a standard hosting service, you know clearly the amount of money you pay each month. But with most cloud hosting providers, you pay for what you use. As a result, if your site ends up consuming lots of resources beyond expectation, you may be facing a much larger bill than with a traditional hosting service.
How Cloud Hosting Works
Cloud hosting environment is composed of two main parts. In theory, the virtual servers that websites and apps hosted on, and the physical hosts managing the virtual servers. This also explains why cloud hosting providers are able to provide great flexibility and scalability which are not available via other hosting methods.
What makes virtual servers closely link with physical hosts is the hypervisor: a physical host allocates resources to a virtual server by using a hypervisor. There are some hypervisor software in the marketplace available for cloud hosts today, including KVM, Xen, ESXi, and Hyper-V.
- KVM is a virtualization infrastructure short for Kernel-based Virtual Machine. KVM is specially designed for Linux hardware including Intel VT, AMD-V or other virtualization extensions. It is composed of two kernel modules: kvm.ko and kvm.intel.ko. The former is loadable and comes with the core virtualization infrastructure, while the latter is a processor specific module. What makes KVM unique is the hypervisor can work without creating or emulating kernel components as other hypervisors do.
- ESXi, as an enterprise-level hypervisor offered by VMware, does not need the cloud host to have an underlying OS. Due to its lack of a middleman between the virtual servers and the hardware, ESXi is referred as a type1 hypervisor and is extremely efficient.
- Xen is one of the most commonly used hypervisors today. Different from KVM that modifies the host’s kernel, Xen makes use of a microkernel offering necessary tools itself to support virtual servers.
- Hyper-V, honestly speaking, is the most popular hypervisor used for Windows servers. For developers working within a Windows software environment, Hyper-V is often the first choice. It is now available for Windows Server 2012/2008.
Compare to other Hosting Methods
Cloud Hosting vs. VPS
In general, cloud hosting is a little more expensive than VPS, but owns higher availability and scalability. Furthermore, customers with cloud hosting won’t need to worry about lagging CPU or RAM power, even in the event of the load of another customer grows; while with VPS, the RAM, bandwidth and CPU performance can be affected if another VPS on the shared server is demanding a higher load. In this sense, the cloud hosting is a little slight on the con side.
Cloud Hosting vs. Dedicated Server
When it comes to hosting, biggest difference between cloud and dedicated server lies in the security and accessibility. Compared to dedicated server, cloud hosting is less safe and performs not as well as the former. Nevertheless, cloud hosting ensures that your data will be accessible around the clock and from anywhere in the world, so you can keep your business running like clockwork. Additionally, the cost of dedicated server is also often much higher than a cloud one.
When to Consider Cloud Hosting
Just based on what we’ve mentioned above, it is an inevitable trend that more and more small to large businesses are switching to cloud hosting due to its multiple outstanding features. However, at the same time, there are also some problems of cloud hosting needed to be resolved.
So, do you really need a cloud hosting? We think the answer should depend on your practical needs. If you have a small business and want to be beneficiary for many innovative cloud computing technologies, you can choose to host your site on the cloud platform. Before that, choosing a best cloud hosting provider seems crucial for you. Alternatively, if you require a reliable and high performance VPS or dedicated server, our Best VPS Hosting and Best Dedicated Server Hosting will give you some suggestion.