Cloud Hosting Explained

In can seem as if everything we do these days online is ‘in the cloud’ but what exactly does this mean and what does it have to do with web hosting? It is understandable that some of us can’t help but imagine that this data is being somehow stored in the air just like water is stored in regular clouds. The problem is most descriptions of cloud hosting are too full of jargon to make much sense to those of us who are not computer geeks.

The Other Type of Cloud

If you are doing stuff on your computer like creating documents, you are going to be able to store these on the machine’s hard drive. This is a type of storage device designed to keep data safe. The hard drive is capable of storing a lot of data, but if you have video and audio files, this space can soon become full-up – so what do you then? Well, you could delete some files, buy additional storage space, or store at least some of this data in the cloud.

The cloud is basically a network of data storage devices that are connected to the internet. It gives you the ability to store an almost unlimited amount of data. The fact that this data is not actually stored on your own computer means it is more secure (it’s still going to be there even if your computer is broken or stolen) and you can also access your documents, photos, applications, music, and eBooks from any device.

So What Does This Have to Do with Web Hosting?

Okay – so if I’ve done my job properly, we’ll be on the same page as to what we are referring to when we talk about the cloud. It is just a network of computers where your data is stored. So how does this have anything to do with web hosting? Well - if you have your own website or blog, you are going to need to decide where your content is store so it can be 'served' to the internet.

A small website can usually get by with just shared web hosting – this is where your website’s data is stored on a server along with the data of other websites. The fact that you are sharing this resource means that problems can occur once your site becomes popular. At this stage you could choose a dedicated server (a server all to yourself), but this can be too expensive. A much better option might be cloud hosting because this means you have all the resources you need (it’s wonderfully scalable), and you only pay for what you are using.

Cloud web hosting is a bit like connecting to the regular electricity grid after you have been depending on your own small generator for power. It means you are no longer limited by the capability of this device, and you now have the freedom to access electricity as and when you want it – you also no longer have to worry about maintaining your own generator.

 

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