A Brief Guide to Cloud Hosting

If you own a website, you may have come across the term cloud hosting at least a couple of times though you may not have a clear understanding of what it means to host your website on a cloud server.

In olden days, websites were hosted on a single server present in a single data center. This server either hosted a single website (dedicated hosting) or a couple of websites (shared hosting). Whatever may be the mode of hosting, the overall principle remained the same. Cloud hosting, on the other hand, operates differently.

Here, instead of a single server, your website is hosted on multiple servers placed in different data centers. These servers connect with each other to create a virtualized cloud. Because the hosting server exists only in a virtualized environment, it is referred to as the cloud.

Windows cloud hosting makes use of multiple servers to derive its computing power and, therefore, offers more potential than traditional hosting. It can be used to overcome the challenges we face in a traditional hosting model.

In this brief guide, we will dwell on the basics of cloud hosting.

Public vs Private vs Hybrid Cloud

With traditional hosting, you have the choice of using an individual server specifically for your website or sharing the server with multiple websites. Cloud hosting also comes with similar options. In a Windows cloud hosting model, you can either go for a public cloud where the computing infrastructure including hardware, storage and bandwidth is shared among multiple virtualized accounts or a private cloud where your business gets sole access to infrastructure resources.

It is important to remember that a public cloud model does not operate like a shared server. Here, you don’t share processing power, disc space or RAM with other accounts. You simply share racks in data centers. So, you can avail resources within a budget without experiencing the downsides of a shared server.

A public cloud, however, comes with one drawback-security. Because a virtualized public server is formed from multiple physical servers in different locations, they may not be able to comply with some regulatory requirements.

If security is a big concern for you, you can opt for a private server. A private server does not share its infrastructure with other websites. In a private cloud, the virtualized resources sit behind the firewall, so there is no possibility of sharing the hardware. This is understandably a more expensive option but offers higher security and control.

Now, in addition to public and private clouds, there is a third way in which you can host your website/app and that’s a hybrid cloud. A hybrid cloud model is a combination of public and private clouds wherein your data and applications move between public and private environments. So, you can choose to store data on the private cloud while running your app on the public cloud.

The obvious advantage of a hybrid cloud is that you enjoy the benefits of both hosting models; you get a lot of flexibility while working in a multi-cloud environment. It is also cost-effective when compared to a private cloud.

The downside to a hybrid cloud is its complexity. Since a hybrid cloud is a combination of different clouds, data and applications, integration with the hybrid cloud can be a challenge.

Cloud Server vs Traditional Server

As discussed above, a cloud server is a virtualized server created through multiple physical servers. It is understandably more complex to set up and maintain when compared to a traditional hosting framework. Even then, the cloud has gained an edge over conventional hosting models. It is simply because the technology comes with major benefits that are hard to ignore.

Let us have a look at how the cloud scores over traditional hosting.

1) Availability

One of the major benefits of the cloud is its availability. The cloud hosts your website on multiple machines, so even if one of them goes offline for some reason or the other, the others keep your website up and running.

On the contrary, in case of a traditional server, there is only one machine. So, if this machine goes offline, your website remains unavailable for some time. This downtime can have a significant impact on your earnings, especially if you use the website to make money.

2) Scalability and Flexibility

As a result of the underlying infrastructure of the cloud, you get access to far more resources than you actually need. So, if there is a demand for surplus resources e.g. when your website experiences heavy traffic, you can seamlessly scale up the cloud to meet your requirements. And when the demand slackens, you can scale it down instantly. Windows cloud servers offer the flexibility to cater to your varying hosting requirements.

In a shared or dedicated server set up, on the other hand, a sudden spike in web traffic can cause the whole website to crash, leading to a significant loss of revenue. While a shared server may not even have the resources to cater to additional demand, a dedicated server may involve a considerable downtime when scaled.

3) Security

Windows cloud servers store your data in multiple data center facilities, so even if one of the physical servers crashes, others keep your data safe and secure. Besides, these facilities are equipped with robust physical and network security measures. Cloud security providers are required to comply with stringent data security regulations; this assures the security of your mission-critical data.

As far as traditional hosting is concerned, while shared servers offer minimal safety and security, dedicated servers are highly secure.

Wrapping Up

Cloud hosting is burgeoning in popularity. A big leap over traditional servers, cloud servers equip your website with unprecedented availability, scalability and security. No wonder, businesses large and small are ditching the traditional hosting set up and moving to the cloud.

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