Today’s technology is evolving at such an explosive rate that it can be hard jus t to keep up. It can be especially confusing when tech companies use broad and vague vocabulary like “the cloud” to describe their services and products. But don’t worry, this article is here to demystify the ambiguous “cloud” and explain how it works as a hosting platform for your website.
What is the Cloud?
Unlike with the servers of the early internet, there is no physical entity that can be pointed to and labeled “the cloud.” The cloud is more like a collection of servers and objects which work together to store data and then serve said data to consumers via the internet. What this means, in the simplest terms, is that instead of storing information on your hard drive (a local network), data is stored digitally on the internet. There are numerous pros and cons to this type of storage and use, but to unpack them all would require a whole article on its own (and a lengthy one at that). For our purposes, let’s just say that the cloud operates as a network of storage units over the internet for your data.
What is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting has become a staple over the past few years, and it’s not going anywhere. The main idea behind cloud hosting is a sort of “divide and conquer” principle. All of the bits and pieces of your website are scattered throughout the internet and its multitude of servers. This detachment of information from a local server reduces the problem of downtimes that occur from local server malfunctions.
Another great feature of cloud hosting is that bandwidth issues are rarely (if ever) a problem. Since your website exists across multiple servers rather than a single local server, there is plenty of bandwidth to spare. So how does it work?.
How does Cloud Hosting Work?
Because of the reliance on multiple servers via the internet, cloud hosting works to solve a particular set of challenges that arise from that. In essence, because of the previously mentioned dividing and conquering, cloud hosting allows for your website to be accessed easily and quickly regardless of your visitor’s location or the number of visitors on your site. On top of this, cloud hosting promotes remarkably fast transferals of data because your data is continuously moving throughout all of the cloud’s servers.
Also, should a server fail, others are ready and waiting to jump in and act as backups so that your site stays up and running. With the old-school server configuration (i.e., local servers), you are limited by the physical constraints of said server; however, with cloud hosting these constraints are lifted.
[Pro-tip: Not all cloud hosts are created equally. Using low-quality hardware and cloud services can significantly decrease your website’s performance. Make sure you are investing in the best cloud hosting services so that your website accomplishes all that you ask of it.]
This freedom from constraint comes with several powerful benefits.
Benefits of Cloud Hosting
- Dependability: When your website is running on a local server, the chance of your site going down (especially with high traffic) goes up. Worse than that, if the machine were to crash completely, your website and all of its data might disappear. However, if you are running on the cloud, your site is backed up by dozens of other servers so that, should one crash, the others can pick up the slack.
If you don’t understand the importance of keeping your website operational at all times, consider this anecdote. When Amazon’s local server crashed for just thirteen minutes on Prime Day in 2018, the company is estimated to have lost nearly $100,000,000 in sales. That’s roughly $120,000 a minute for those of you doing the math.
- Scalability: Because of the sheer quantity of servers running the cloud, there are more resources than you could ever realistically use. However, the benefit of cloud hosting is that you only have to pay for what you need. Once you set up your domain on the cloud, you gain access to a massive amount of processing power. Once again, you definitely won’t be using all of it, but you can scale accordingly. All you have to do is contact your hosting company and inform them of possible surges or buy a package that scales automatically based on real-time data. Either way, you only pay for what you use, and this saves you a ton of money in the long run.
Unlike with a dedicated local server where sudden surges in visitors can result in your website crashing, cloud hosting your website ensures that this is never an issue.
- Versatility: Cloud hosting is growing, and with that growth comes a plethora of features and packages so that you, the customer, can personalize your experience. No longer do you have to pick from a list of cloud packages, none of which quite match what you need. Now, because of all of the new features, you can build your cloud package around your needs.
Maybe you need room for a ton of downloadable files, but the rest of your website is simple. Perhaps your website itself is remarkably interactive and requires a ton of processing power for a smooth experience. Regardless of what you want, cloud hosting is now so versatile that you can customize it to fit your specific needs.
Cloud hosting is revolutionizing the way that websites and companies operate. No longer are sites bound to servers and doomed to crash in their most traffic-heavy moments. Now, your website can run as fast as you want and you can stay worry-free. On top of that, Cloud hosting gives you a space to host all of your files, transfer data quickly, and keep your website running smoothly.