Cloud hosting services provide hosting on virtual servers which pull their computing resource from extensive underlying networks of physical web servers.

Generally, clients can tap into their service as much as they need to, depending on their requirements at any stage. This can result in cost savings as they only have to pay for what they use, and because they can access it at any time, they don’t need to pay for additional capacity.

How it Works

Public Cloud

Most examples of cloud hosting involve the use of public cloud models; hosting on virtual servers that pull resource from a pool of other publicly available virtual servers

The same public networks are used to transmit their data; data which is physically stored on the underlying shared servers which form the cloud resource

These public clouds will include some security measure to ensure that data is kept private, and would suffice for most installations

Private Cloud

Private clouds are more suitable where security and privacy is more of a concern

Private clouds use ring-fenced resources, such as servers and networks, whether located on site or with the cloud provider

Comparison with hosting on single servers

Cloud hosting is an alternative to hosting websites on single servers (either dedicated or shared servers) and can be considered as an extension of the concept of clustered hosting where websites are hosted on multiple servers. With cloud hosting, however, the network of servers that are used is vast and often pulled from different data centres in different locations.

Practical examples of cloud hosting can fall under both the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) classifications.

PaaS:

The client is also provided with the software environment, on which they can go straight to installing and developing their web application

  • Easier to use than the IaaS option
  • Suitable for those who are less technically proficient

IaaS:

The client is simply provided with the virtualised hardware resource on which they can install their own choice of software environment before building their own web application

  • More customisable, therefore appropriate for businesses with complex IT infrastructure
  • Suitable for experienced IT professionals
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Features and Benefits

Reliability

Rather than being hosted on one single instances of a physical server, hosting is delivered on a virtual partition which draws its resource, such as disk space, from an extensive network of underlying physical servers. If one server goes offline it will have no effect on availability, as the virtual servers will continue to pull resource from the remaining network of servers.

Utility Style Costing

The client only pays for what they actually use. The resource is available for spikes in demand but there is no wasted capacity remaining unused when demand is lower.

Physical Security

The underlying physical servers are still housed within data centres and so benefit from the security measures that those facilities implement to prevent people accessing or disrupting them on-site

Responsive Load Balancing

Load balancing is software based and can, therefore, be instantly scalable to respond to changing demands.

Scalability

Resource is available in real time on demand and not limited to the physical constraints/capacity of one server. If a client’s website, for example, demands the extra resource from its hosting platform due to a spike in visitor traffic or the implementation of new functionality, the resource is accessed seamlessly.