Internet, Networking, & Security Web Development 42 42 people found this article helpful What Cloud Hosting Really Is by Om Thoke Writer Om Thoke is a former Lifewire writer, web content manager, hosting advisor who has written for publications such as BrightHub, eHow, and CNET. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Om Thoke Updated on May 21, 2020 Web Development CSS & HTML Web Design SQL Tweet Share Email Cloud hosting is a type of web hosting, where your website is hosted on a cloud server, also known as a virtual server. With traditional web hosting, your website sits on one server, known as a "dedicated server," in a data center. Cloud hosting is different because your data is spread across multiple servers. Here's a look at what cloud hosting is, how it works, and how to find the right cloud host for your business. Cloud hosting is sometimes referred to as server on-demand hosting, cloud server hosting, or cluster server hosting. MR.Cole_Photographer / Getty Images How Does Cloud Hosting Work? With the traditional web-hosting model, your business website and all its data reside on one server in a physical data center. But when you opt for cloud hosting, your data is spread across multiple different connected web servers. Your data can access a cluster of servers in the virtual environment of the cloud seamlessly. Even if one server fails, others are there to pick up the slack. If your website sees a boost in traffic and needs more resources, it can access more without downtime, slowing, and other hiccups. If your site sees a lull in traffic, it will access fewer resources. Opting for a cloud hosting package from a reliable company may cost as little as $10 a month, keep you up and running, and save you untold hassles. All these factors make cloud hosting reliable, scalable, secure, and affordable. It's a popular choice for many businesses, eliminating the need for onsite servers and other hardware and reducing IT infrastructure costs. Cloud hosting services aren't limited to hosting websites. They also host applications, email, and more, and can be used for data storage. Cloud Hosting vs. Web Hosting Web hosting services also utilize the cloud. They help you register your domain name, store your website's files, offer administrative services, and provide tools such as databases, programming languages, and web programming frameworks. They also provide security-related items, such as SSL certificates, as well as site analytics. A good web hosting plan from a service like Hostgator, GoDaddy, or A2 Hosting, may be all your website or organization needs. But there are some limitations. These services usually offer fixed support, so a growing project that needs extra RAM or bandwidth would have no way to allocate more resources. Even upgrading to a new plan would mean downtime for your website. A cloud hosting service, however, has its resources spread across multiple devices, so adding resources is easy and fast. A larger, growing, or more ambitious project would benefit from a good cloud hosting service, as would any service with spikes and dips in traffic. Many hosting services offer both web hosting and cloud hosting plans. Cloud Hosting vs. VPS A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is another popular hosting service you can choose for your website. With VPS, you're on a server with multiple users, but you have dedicated, private resources. VPS solutions are secure, stable, and inexpensive. The main difference between VPS and cloud hosting is that cloud hosting comes with no downtime, as there's always another server to pick up the slack if things get busy or there's a problem with another server. VPS is a good choice if you're not terribly concerned with reliability. If you are, you may want to consider cloud hosting. VPS and cloud hosting are not mutually exclusive. Many services offer combination plans, using VPS hosting with a cloud infrastructure. Examples of Cloud Hosting Companies big and small use cloud hosting services. For example, Google spreads its resources over hundreds of servers in the cloud, making it incredibly reliable and a near-stranger to downtime. Google now has its own cloud services division, helping telecommunications, media, retail, software, and many more companies modernize their hosting. Movie-streaming giant Netflix has to meet huge spikes in demand as well as times of lower activity. Cloud hosting gives Netflix the scalability it needs. Similarly, social sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram rely on cloud hosting to adjust to varying levels of traffic. Cloud hosting can spur innovation, helping businesses grow to meet changing needs and demands. It isn't just big companies that use cloud hosting. Most cloud-hosting organizations offer packages ideal for the needs of a small and growing business, so they don't have to spend money on servers and other hardware. Cloud Hosting Providers The price of cloud hosting has become much more reasonable for smaller organizations, with a wide variety of hosting plan options. The bigger cloud hosting platforms, such as Microsoft Azure, are a good choice for businesses with a lot of data and additional computing needs beyond simply hosting a website. For smaller organizations, companies such as Hostgator and A2 Hosting offer both web hosting and cloud hosting plans, so you can evaluate what's best for your website hosting needs. Cloudways is a solution somewhere in between the big-name hosting solutions and the smaller alternatives. It offers managed cloud hosting from the big names, but it's simple and easy to use. Making the Move to Cloud Hosting If you're considering a move to cloud hosting, carefully evaluate your needs, particularly the level of scalability and reliability you envision. Investigate the cloud-hosting options of reputable businesses and make the best choice for your organization.