What The Heck Is Cloud Hosting Anyway?

By CertifiedHosting 09/12/2011

What the Heck Is Cloud Hosting Anyway?

Marketing departments sure know how to use fancy new terms to dazzle you into buying their product, be it tooth paste or hosting services. It’s easy to fall for marketing gimmicks when you don’t have a clue about that exotic new term and you can’t make out the difference between an important feature and useless eye candy. That’s how you end up paying way too much money for products and services that you don’t actually need. It happens to all of us.

Web hosting should be the one industry where trendy terms don’t get much traction. After all, when signing up for a hosting plan you know exactly what you get for your money– the amount of bandwidth, disk space, and so on.

Still, there is one new term in the hosting industry that has spread like wildfire lately, and everybody seems to be talking about it: cloud hosting. You hear about cloud hosting services day in and day out. So, one natural question arises. What the heck is cloud hosting?

Use the power of the cloud

No, not the white, fluffy type you see in the sky. In web hosting, the cloud refers to the combined computing power of a cluster of powerful servers. Cloud hosting shifts the workload from a specific web server to the entire server farm, aka “the cloud.” Instead of relying on a single machine that can go down and take your precious website with it, a cloud hosting solution can keep your website online, all the time. With a cloud web hosting solution your data is stored safely on a multitude of cloud servers that work together as one entity.

Perhaps the best way to understand cloud web hosting is to think about how utilities networks work, such as power grids. When you plug your laptop into a wall socket you don’t think for a second about where the electric power comes from – unless you work for the electrical company. You just tap into the system and the electricity starts powering your computer. The electricity may be generated by a power station hundreds of miles away, or most likely, by several stations that work together as a unitary system.

Likewise, in cloud computing, you don’t rely on a single machine. Instead, a complex network of cloud servers work together to provide you the resources that you require – disk space, bandwidth, computing power, and other resources your website needs to stay online – all the time. Resource allocations happen on the fly, meaning that you get the resources you need almost instantly. You connect to the cloud and the resources are there, just waiting to be used.

How does it work?

Cloud hosting services are made possible by virtualization technology. Through virtualization, cloud hosting providers create a virtual machine, which is a perfect simulation of a physical server, down to the components that power a “real” web server. A virtual machine has a virtual processor, a virtual hard disk, virtual RAM memory, and so on.

When you sign up for a cloud web hosting plan, you receive access to a virtual machine, commonly called a virtual private server. Your VPS is stored in the cloud, meaning it uses a portion of the huge resource pool of dozens of powerful servers combined.

Cloud-powered virtual private servers can be created instantly and expanded or downsized as needed. In theory, it’s even possible to create a monster VPS that uses all the combined resources of an entire server farm. With hundreds of gigabytes of RAM and many multi-core processors, you wouldn’t have to worry about reaching your resource quota, ever. That’s the power of cloud hosting.

But how does cloud hosting help me?

Leaving aside all the hip talk about cloud web hosting services, cloud hosting has some real advantages over other forms of hosting, such as shared hosting, VPS, or dedicated servers. Here are the most important benefits that you get by signing up for a cloud web hosting solution:

  • Unmatched performance – with a cloud hosting plan, you get as much power as your website needs and you are no longer restricted to the limits of one web server.
  • Elasticity – cloud servers are extremely flexible, able to scale up during peak activity in order to meet resource demands. You no longer need to set aside expensive resources that sit unused for most of the time.
  • Affordability – because resources are allocated on the fly, cloud service providers use their infrastructure more efficiently. As a result, your cloud hosting charges may be less than you would expect.
  • Reliability – with cloud hosting, you don’t rely on one machine waiting for a disaster to happen. If one server in the cloud fails, the others instantly kick in to take over the work, so you can forget about downtime.

Cloud hosting is the wave of the future and can help you establish greater uptime than any other solution on the market. As cloud computing develops, the cloud will replace traditional hosting solutions, making high-end performance available to everyone. Want to jump in the cloud today? Certified Hosting lets you give it a try at http://certifiedhosting.com/cloud-beta/.