If you’ve ever thought about setting up your own website, you’ve probably looked around and become quite confused about the myriad of services on offer. The truth is that web hosting technologies have changed as the web has grown up. But if you sit down and do some careful research, you’ll soon realise that while the technologies behind hosting have advanced, the ideas behind them are really quite simple, and even elegant.
You will find three main service offerings when it comes to having your own website hosted:
- Dedicated Hosting: You pay exclusively for one server to host your website and data. This makes it a very fast solution.
- Shared Hosting: You share processing power and space with other clients. It is typically slower, but usually lower in price.
- VPS Hosting: Your website and data are hosted in a Virtualised Private Server. This means that it can use dedicated RAM and CPU resources without the need to share.
What Is the Cloud?
All three of these services can be hosted in what is commonly referred to as the Cloud. When most people think of the Cloud, they likely think of Apple’s iCloud, or some remote server farm in another country that stores data. Both of these examples are certainly Cloud-based services, but when it comes to web hosting specifically, the Cloud is a term that refers to a large network of shared servers that offer a flexible and reliable solution for web hosting. In this scenario, computing power is pooled and can scale almost immediately to meet demand. Cloud servers are growing in popularity thanks to companies like CWCS, and they actually increase price to performance ratios.
The Major Benefits of Cloud Hosting
Cloud hosting is an elegant solution to using shared resources to deliver websites that need to have maximum uptime. But what are the other major benefits of using a cloud hosting service? Consider the following points.
As previously stated, cloud hosting means that resources are shared and instantly scalable. This actually improves the efficiency of the entire server eco-system, including software, hardware and network communications. Technical management is also improved, which means lower costs for the user as well as the company. Cloud hosting is also very easy to deploy, which means minimum setup costs for both the company and the end-user.
Due to the large number of shared resources available in the hosting cloud, users have a lot of customisation options available to them. As a user, you can customise the amount of storage you require, for example.
This type of hosting is massively scalable. What this means in practice is that if there is a huge surge in web traffic, additional resources can be deployed in order to keep the system running optimally, and the website up and running. This added flexibility also translates to greater reliability for websites, so if you’re a business looking for a reliable solution, then cloud hosting is well worth a look.
The Technology Behind Cloud Hosting
Just as technology has changed, so too has the hardware behind cloud-based hosting solutions. This has made it both agile and reliable, making it a perfect solution for businesses and companies of all sizes. Typically, cloud hosting providers use the following types of hardware, software and network technologies:
- Linux and Windows hosting to provide maximum flexibility to end-users
- Solid State Drive (SSD) technology used for data storage which means a huge increase in performance benchmarks over old HDD based systems
- Cisco, VMware and EMC technology
What to Look for in a Cloud Hosting Provider
If you’ve decided on a cloud-based hosting solution for your website, there are still some important things to consider. Whilst all of the offerings might look and sound similar, there are some important things to look for before finally settling on a provider. Consider the following features of a reliable cloud hosting provider.
- Does it offer 24/7 support? If a problem occurs and your website is down, you’ll lose money. Make sure that the cloud hosting provider is seriously committed to providing maximum uptime and helpdesk support for its users.
- Does the provider offer strict SLA based performance for its managed cloud hosting services? Large companies and corporations will be interested in maximum uptime, so strict Service Level Agreements on the service side are important.
- Is the provider using the enterprise-class technologies? This includes SSD storage and Storage Area Networks, multiple backup solutions, and automatic failover and redundancy.
- Is the hardware stored in a 24/7 monitored secure warehouse or data centre? The last thing you want is for your data to be compromised by thieves and hackers, so it’s important that the physical security of the hardware is considered.
- Is the provider ISO 27001 certified? ISO 2701 is an information security standard that was first published in 2013. Companies and businesses that are compliant with it protect both their physical and virtual assets using the latest technologies.
- Is the provider willing to communicate with you without a strong sales pitch? If they can answer your questions in a professional and friendly manner, it’s more likely that they are serious about their offerings and understand that trust is gained through good communication rather than low
- Does the provider have an active social media and web presence where you can check out other customer testimonials or reviews?
- What level of data transfer do they offer? Often, you might have to pay extra if there’s a strong surge in web traffic to your site. You’ll want to know upfront whether the provider charges you extra, or whether they offer an unlimited data transfer plan.
The Power of the Cloud
As technology has advanced, so have our expectations of reliability and performance. Fortunately, scalable power and resources are being offered by cloud hosting companies that understand the importance of ISO certification, speed and performance. This technology means high reliability at a cost that is affordable to just about anyone.