Cloud hosting is essentially the same as VPS hosting in that you also have your site on a virtual machine.
However, instead of one physical server, your site is part of a whole network of computers from which it can pull all the power it needs dynamically.
This type of setup is becoming more commonplace. Some companies don’t even call their service VPS anymore, the say Cloud or Cloud VPS.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud hosting is scalability. A traditional VPS can be scaled, but only to a certain point. It’s limited by the capacity of the hardware it is on. On a server with 32GB of RAM, your site will never be able to access 64GB if needed.
This is not the case for a cloud-based system. Instead of partitioning one computer into several virtual machines, it combines several computers into a powerful virtual server that can then provide it’s resources on a need basis. However much your site requires, that’s how much it can get.
In addition to that, you are also only billed for the resources you actually end up using. This can be a better solution than paying a fixed price for a dedicated server of which you never use the whole capacity.
This type of setup is also good for security reasons, particularly DDoS attacks. In those types of hacks, the server is overwhelmed by a myriad of parallel requests until it crashes. In a cloud network, you can spread those requests among many different computer and mitigate their effect much better than on any single-server system.
The main downside of cloud hosting is that costs are not always fully predictable. Many cloud hosting providers work with a mix of fixed pricing and pay-as-you-go fees. In case you experience traffic spikes this can increase your cost considerably. While that usually also means you are earning better and can therefore take the costs, it is something to keep in mind.
Who is It For?
Cloud systems are great if you want to be able to scale your website a lot further than traditional systems. In the future, it will likely replace shared and dedicated options as technology becomes more advanced.
That said, at this point it doesn’t make a huge difference whether you look for VPS or cloud hosting. Many companies are replacing their regular system with cloud based VPS anyway simply because of the benefits it offers to them as well. So, even if you go for simple VPS, you might be using cloud hosting without knowing.
Some well known hosts that provide cloud hosting are Dreamhost, Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services and Linode.
Which of the Different Types of Web Hosting is for You?
Choosing a hosting package can be pretty difficult and takes a lot of consideration. However, the first step is understanding the different types of hosting available to you. Hopefully this article has given you the background to do that.
If you’re just starting out (such as when building your first blog/site), it’s totally fine to go with shared hosting. It’s always possible to transfer to a more powerful setup later. Only if you already know that your site has needs that shared hosting can not fulfill should you look into other options from the get-go.
Once you have made a decision, it makes sense to look at a bunch of companies. I recommend checking our top rated hosts to find the best ones. Look at what’s on offer and compare the RAM, disk space, CDN usage, bandwidth and other quantifyable resources. Then take a look at any additional features you need.
At the end of the process you should have 2-3 favorites at which point it will boil down to personal preference. Perhaps a short talk with support – to gauge their helpfulness – will go a long way.
Need further reading on web hosting? Read this handy What is Web Hosting. Also, you might want to look into things like where to register domain name and options for website builder to create your site.
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