December, 10, 2018
Over the past few years, web server technology – much like everything else related to computers – has made incredible strides. Hosting companies have used all of these advances to create a new type of web server platform, typically called cloud hosting.
“That’s great,” you bemusedly say, “but what is cloud hosting?” A succinct explanation is that cloud hosting is a scalable set of virtualized servers.
To help you unpack what that means, we’re going to focus on two of the terms in that definition: virtualized servers and scalability.
The Benefits of Virtualized Servers
Cloud hosting uses the concept of a “virtualized server.” This essentially means that you have space on a host server shared with other users, but it’s virtualization means that it runs autonomously from the other accounts on it.
The largest benefit of virtualization is that it’s flexible. Unlike a dedicated server whose resources cannot be increased without physically changing its components, a virtualized server can be given access to more and more resources on its host server.
This flexibility lets you start off with a small virtualized instance and gradually increase its power to meet your needs. Incremental growth like this means you’re only paying for what you need. Those with small needs pay only a small amount. Those with substantial needs (and its attendant success) pay more.
The Benefits of Scalability
Cloud hosting is all about incremental growth and scalability. The flexibility of virtualization is one element of that, but the other is being able to add more and more servers easily.
When your network of servers needs to expand, you introduce greater degrees of complexity. Cloud hosting is built to minimize these growing pains by providing tools to handle the most complex tasks of adding more resources to your network, including duplicating existing servers and handling the networking between them.
For proof of how scalable cloud hosting is, look at the size of companies using it. Everyone from sole proprietor app developers to internet behemoths like Netflix® use cloud hosting – so, your business could be a good fit for it as well.
Cloud Hosting Caveats
Cloud hosting is absolutely the most cost efficient way to manage server spaces because you’re paying for only what you need. It lets you take many small steps toward growth instead of gigantic leaps, waiting for your needs to catch up to your capacity.
But as absolutely amazing as cloud hosting is, there are still a few caveats with it:
Cloud hosting still requires a lot of expertise. Platforms like these are typically maintained by seasoned administrators.
Cloud hosting is overkill for most simple websites
Only businesses that have an eye on growth benefit from cloud hosting’s flexibility and scalability