Cloud hosting is a service offered by Cloud Computing service providers like Amazon (AWS), Google (Google Cloud), Microsoft (Azure), Alibaba (Alibaba Cloud) etc.
Cloud hosting is a small part of Cloud Computing.
Cloud hosting is a service delivery model based on Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS) cloud computing. What it means is that you rent hosting services from a vendor and the vendor provides the entire infrastructure needed to run the hosting service including storage, network and required computing services.
Cloud hosting service typically consist of file hosting, app/websites hosting, server hosting and virtual desktop hosting.
Cloud hosting is usually provided through a virtual server which pulls data from the “cloud” to serve the requested resource. The “cloud” consists of other virtual/physical servers, storage and computing services hosted on data centers of the cloud provider.
The virtual server provides an integrated interface to access and work with the files, application and resources hosted on the cloud provider’s platform.
Cloud hosting is part of a larger architecture of online distributed systems used to provide hosting and computing services to individual and businesses on a pay as you go basis.
It is a server and network infrastructure, using a cluster of resources where data is spread across several physical or virtual machines.
When you are hosting you application/ data on The Cloud you are utilizing a interconnected network of machines and software services which can do a lot more than hosting services. It is up to you to choose which services you need, besides simple hosting.
How cloud hosting works
Cloud hosting works similar to traditional hosting on the public facing side. Your public apps and resources are usually available through a website or mobile app, just like when you host in a traditional hosting stack.
It is at the backend that cloud hosting differs from traditonal hosting vastly.
Cloud hosting typically makes use of virtual servers that tap into underlying network of physical servers/ machines.
When you use cloud hosting, your files, data and resources are spread across multiple machines/ servers which operate as a single system to serve your websites and apps.
This distributed architecture prevents a single point of failure. Imagine a visitor to your website. She enters your website adress and tries to access it. In a single server traditional hosting setup this request goes straight to the server. If the server is down or crashes at the time of request, then your whole website goes down! That is scary!
In cloud hosting setup, requests for public apps and resources goes through something called a load balancer. This balancer intercepts calls from visitors and routes them to one of the distributed servers/ services. If that server crashes at any time then no problem, the request is forwarded to another server/ service. Your visitors can always access your site/ app.
public vs private cloud hosting
Cloud hosting can be private or public depending on the type of infrastructure provided (private/public).
A public cloud hosting is shared by multiple clients. All hosting services including computing and storage and other hosting related services, are shared amongst the clients.
A private cloud hosting service is rented by a single client. All cloud hosting related services and servers are available to that client only.
managed vs unmanaged cloud hosting
Managing a cloud hosted business is not easy. It requires technical knowledge of web servers, databases, networking and various computing services.
If you do not have the required technical knowledge then a managed cloud hosting service can relieve you from looking after the technical side.
Unmanaged cloud hosting requires you to handle all the technical stuff starting from server setup, configuration to maintenance.
cloud hosting advantages over traditional hosting
Cloud hosting services are getting widely adopted due to the advantages over traditional hosting.
Let us examine what those advantages are.
A cloud hosting service has tremendous scaling capacity. Its very architecture is designed to let users access more storage or computing services as they need.
Traditional hosting services are not scalable. If your website/app reaches a critical mass, then to upgrade you need to contact hosting support and move it to a higher level package/account.
Well, not really! All hosting services including cloud experience downtimes! But in case of cloud hosting it is much less due to the distributed nature of the system. If one server is down due to technical issues, another server picks up and continues to run your apps.
In traditional hosting once your web/app server is down, your web/apps are down till technical issues are fixed!
Faster website/app and enhanced performance
Traditional hosting services typically offer single location for your website/app. So if you buy hosting service from USA but your visitors are mostly from UK, then they will experience some lag due to server location.
Cloud hosting services use data centers across multiple locations. Visitors to your website/app can be routed to the nearest data center holding your data with proper configuration on the hosting panel. This can result in blazing speed and performance of your website/app.