A Complete Guide to Cloud Hosting

This is the era of the Cloud. Everyone is moving towards the cloud due to its flexibility, security, performance, pricing model, and above all the Reliability. In fact, if you are serious about your business, then cloud hosting is the safest bet out there.

However, to understand the benefits of cloud hosting, you need to know about the available hosting options:

  • Shared hosting: Multiple user accounts on a single server. Cheapest and suitable for small sites.
  • Dedicated hosting: You are the only owner of the entire hardware (server). Suitable if you know the server side stuff.
  • VPS hosting: A single large dedicated machine (server) is divided into multiple virtual servers. Suitable if you are worried about hardware (dedicated server) failure.
  • Cloud hosting: A network of connected servers is divided into multiple virtual servers to provide maximum uptime.

Here’s a graphical representation of the different types of web hosting solutions:

Source: webhostingsecretrevealed

In this article, I will focus on cloud hosting and how it compares against other hosting options.

Shared vs Cloud

The actual difference between the two is the performance and security. In shared hosting, all the resources are shared among all user accounts. There is always a possibility that a single user might consume a large chunk of resources, resulting in a dismal performance for other users. Similarly, if a hacker gains access to a single website on a shared server, every single website hosted on that server is vulnerable.

Unlike shared hosting, cloud servers perform much better and offer a much higher level of security. Since the resources are not shared, the users only have to pay for the resources they consume.

Source: Slideshare

Dedicated, VPS & Cloud Hosting

Here is how Dedicated, VPS and Cloud hosting options stack up against each other:

Source: lunacloud

Which Hosting is Right for Me?

This is a tricky question because the answer really depends on your business model. If you have a small site with just a few visitors a month, shared hosting is probable enough for your requirements. In contrast, cloud hosting is ideal for large-scale projects and e-commerce stores.

Source: Quora

Cloud Infrastructure Providers

Cloud infrastructure providers form the backbone of the cloud hosting industry. In effect, the following are the top players in the cloud hosting:

  • Amazon Web Services: AWS is the most recognizable brand with the largest cloud user base. AWS offers sixteen data centers distributed globally.
  • Google Cloud Platform: A reliable infrastructure provider with thirteen data centers.
  • DigitalOcean: DO is considered to be a highly affordable cloud infrastructure provider with twelve data centers.
  • Vultr: A cost-effective web hosting solutions with fifteen data centers across the globe.
  • Linode: An emerging developer-friendly cloud hosting solution offers nine data-centers globally.
  • KYUP: An excellent container-based solution for websites that face traffic spikes regularly. Based on preset thresholds, the hosting provider auto-scales (up/down) server resources on runtime.

User Cloud for Websites

To use a cloud server for websites, you will need to configure the server(s) accordingly. For instance, if you want to run a PHP based application, you first need to install a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack.

In the following example, I will focus on WordPress. However, you can install any CMS by making minor changes in the process.

Most providers offer a pre-installed LAMP stack. If your provider doesn’t have one, you could easily install a LAMP stack and then WordPress by following this guide on installing WordPress on Linux.

To facilitate users, several popular hosting providers have partnered with different cloud providers. A popular name in the industry is Cloudways, that takes care of all server creation and maintenance headaches for its customers.

Cloudways – A Managed Cloud Hosting Platform

Cloudways offers a highly optimized stack layer on top of the cloud server and acts as the middle-man between you and the server. As a result, you don’t have to worry about server management hassles, and could focus on your business instead!

The stack is named ThunderStack and comprises of Apache and NGINX (servers) and Varnish and Memcached (cache). These are supported by MySQL and MongoDB (DBMS) and PHP-FPM (for processing PHP). The result of this powerful combination is breathtaking speed and high performance with maximum uptime.

Because of the ThunderStack and many security-focused features, Cloudways is fast becoming one of the best WordPress hosting choices available to the users.

I will now demonstrate how easy it is to launch a server and a WordPress website on Cloudways.

The process starts with account creation. To help users make up their mind, Cloudways offers a free (no credit card required) 3-day trial.

Once the account has been created, log into the platform and follow this GIF to launch a server of your choice and the WordPress app. Both would be ready within minutes.

Which Provider Should I Choose?

Given that Cloudways offers the choice of industry-leading IaaS vendors, first-time users are often confused in this regard. To make things easier, the choice of the cloud provider should be dependent upon two factors:

  • Data center
    • Data center plays a vital role in the performance of a website. Expert recommends that websites should be hosted on a data center that is closest to the target audience. A CDN that reduces latency is a great additional feature for a global audience.
  • Pricing
    • The ideal pricing model is pay-as-you-go in which you pay only for the resources that you consume. However, prices vary from provider to provider. In effect, the choice of the cloud provider is directly dependent upon your budget.

Cloud server hosting is one of the fastest growing trends in the technology World today with adoption rates going through the roof. In fact, the search term is marked as BREAKOUT by the Google trends.

Don’t be left behind in the pursuit of high performance managed cloud hosting. This way you will be able to grow your business and provide the best experience to your visitors.

This post has been written by a guest author from Cloudways called Mustaasam Saleem who is a WordPress Community Manager at the company.

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