Cloud Hosting

What exactly is cloud hosting? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of it? Is it better than traditional hosting? I understand the whole concept of the cloud when it comes to other things, but I don't really understand why I would need cloud hosting.

FishermansFriend's picture

It's the virtual equivalent

It's the virtual equivalent to physical hosting, think of it as a service instead of a product like a physical server. It can give you more reliability in terms of backups since there is a multitude of servers behind a cloud hosting service, but you only pay for the resources YOU USE.

WisTex's picture

A Networked Set of Servers

Exact definitions vary host by host, but in most cases you are gaining access to a networked set of computers able to operate virtualized instances of servers that can be scaled up and down as needed. The benefit is that if you don't need a whole server, you only pay for what you use, but if you need it, you have access to more resources than a dedicated server alone can provide. Depending on the setup, a virtualized instance of a server can actually use resources on more than one physical computer.

The downside is that in most cases, cloud computer is more expensive than shared hosting, or even reseller hosting, and is not cost effective for small websites. For example, we are running Redmine on Amazon's cloud. It costs me almost as much as a small reseller account at a traditional web host. So that one website costs me almost as much as hosting 25 other websites on my reseller account. But Redmine can't run on my reseller account, so I have no choice but to pay more for hosting it either on the cloud or on a dedicated server.

As you can guess, cloud hosting for my single Redmine instance is more expensive than shared, about the same as a reseller account, yet less expensive than a dedicated server. (Your results may vary.)

So it does have its uses. But in my opinion, unless you have something you can't run on shared or reseller hosting, or you have a website that needs more than a dedicated server, then going with cloud hosting is not really economical, at least right now. That'll probably change quickly since many companies are exploring cloud right now.

Scott M. Stolz
Complete Hosting Guide, Editor-in-Chief
WisTex, Director & CEO