We’ve all heard the adage that NASA needed a room full of computers to put a person on the moon, but that power can’t compare to the computing resources on a modern smartphone. Technology’s progression is relentless, significantly impacting how we live and conduct business.
The advent of cloud computing – delivering computing services over the internet – has changed data storage, processing and collaboration for small businesses. In particular, cloud hosting has changed how businesses operate and manage their websites. We’ll explore how cloud hosting works and how cloud hosting solutions can benefit your business.
Cloud hosting allows organizations to outsource their website’s computing and storage resources to a third-party provider. In cloud hosting, a network of virtual and physical cloud services supports a business website’s computing and data storage needs.
While traditional computing uses on-site servers, cloud hosting handles computer system resources and storage, freeing users from reliance on physical equipment. Additionally, cloud hosting doesn’t require active management, freeing a business’s resources to focus on growth and operations.
Cloud hosting is a reliable and effective resource that’s accessible, cost-effective and scalable.
Cloud and data center solutions are similar but have distinct differences. A cloud-hosted system has potentially unlimited capacity, while you’d have to purchase and install more equipment to increase a data center’s capacity.
Cloud hosting technology splits a physical server into multiple virtual machines. Management software – called a hypervisor – is installed on physical servers to connect them and create virtual servers, also called cloud servers. These virtual resources can be automated and delivered over the cloud for shared use in a single organization or across multiple organizations.
Each server in a cloud setting carries out specific tasks. For example, if a cloud service hosts your business website, if one server fails, another server will step in as a backup to ensure its ongoing availability. The cloud host distributes your website’s information through numerous redundancies to ensure it’s always available online for both you and your website visitors.
There are four primary cloud host categories:
Cloud hosting typically includes all necessary elements of website management, including cloud storage and database management tools. Many services are designed with nontechnical users in mind, offering control panels and dashboards with numerous features that make creating and managing a website seamless. Through cloud hosting, you can manage your domains, set up FTP accounts for remote file transfers, edit databases directly and perform various other functions.
For example, say you want to build a business website as an online portfolio of your accomplishments. You’ll have many tasks, including the following:
Costs could run into the thousands. However, if you opt for cloud hosting, you’ll pay a monthly fee of less than $10 to ensure your website’s ongoing availability to the public. You’d just have to upload your website files to your host’s servers, and it will be ready for public use.
Pay close attention to your website’s landing page. A landing page persuades users to engage with a business by purchasing a product or service, registering for an event, downloading information, or joining an email list.
Cloud hosting, dedicated servers and virtual private servers have distinct advantages and disadvantages:
Virtualization and cloud computing are often used interchangeably. However, virtualization is the fundamental technology that powers cloud computing, while cloud computing enables users to access shared resources.
Cloud hosting offers a wide range of benefits, including the following:
There are many cloud hosting providers, each with its own range of features and functionalities for both nontechnical and technical users. The best web hosting services offer flexibility, accessibility, security, optimal data storage and excellent site speed. Determine your business’s needs and priorities, and find a web host to best serve you.
Some established names in the web hosting industry include Just Host, GoDaddy and iPage. Each offers competitive monthly prices and a wide range of features to increase the value of their service.
More web host options to consider include the following:
Cloud hosting will continue to be a dynamic industry. Big-name companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon have gotten involved in the industry, and various smaller businesses are competing. Thankfully, your small business can avail itself of quality web hosting services regardless of size or needs.
Ryan Goodrich contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.