What’s this cloud-hosting thing that everyone’s talking about?
Clouds are nice. Clouds are fluffy.
They come in a variety of types; from your towering cumulonimbus to the wispy cirrus way up high. And, in this ‘oh so digital world’ of ours, clouds are now the home, not just to cream cheese eating angels, but to our websites, apps, and all the data and content that keep them ticking along.
Yet, while the concept of cloud-technology has quickly become a normal part of how we function, with almost everyone who has access to a computer or digital device using it in one form or another, there still seems to be a sense of mystery surrounding what, exactly, it entails.
In particular, a line of questioning that we are often asked here at UpriseVSI. Namely:
“What exactly is cloud-hosting, and why should I be considering it for my website?”
Websites need servers
Let’s begin by going back to basics.
If you have a website, then it needs to be hosted by a service provider. Traditionally, this would be via a set amount of purchased storage space, located on one single server. This might be dedicated – so the client has an entire server to themselves, or shared, where they will be paying for a certain amount of space alongside other clients on a larger server.
With cloud-hosting, it’s slightly different – but not quite as mystical as you might envisage.
Cloud-Hosting still needs physical servers
Cloud-hosting does not ‘literally’ mean that your website or app is being hosted in some kind of spectral void, hovering around in the atmosphere like digital vapour until someone calls it back to earth through the push of a keyboard, or press of the thumb.
It still has to reside somewhere.
In the case of cloud-hosting, however, rather than being stored entirely upon one server, the data that’s needed to run and keep your website live is spread across a network of different servers.
The ‘cloud’, in this sense, is the cluster of different servers, all working in conjunction to support the hosting of your website.
If you choose to have your website hosted in the cloud by a professional, fully-supported provider, you should expect to find a range of value-adding benefits. Such as:
Helping with Performance Issues
The traditional, single server model for web-hosting will, for the most part, work fine – if you’re using a reputable provider. However, nothing is infallible, and malfunctions will invariably occur.
On a single server model, a malfunction means downtime – and downtime is expensive. New visitors don’t need too much encouragement to never return to a website, so if they’re greeted with an error page, or blank screen, then chances are they won’t be back. And prolonged, or frequent bouts of downtime does little to help the reputation of your brand among existing clients and returning visitors.
Cloud-hosting is not immune to malfunction. However, as your resources are spread across a huge network of physical servers, any failure on one server can be overcome as other servers will act as a backup.
Coping with ‘rush hour’ traffic
Similarly, cloud-hosting offers greater scope for your site to be able to cope with ‘peak traffic loads’ – otherwise known as those occasions when everyone suddenly wants to access your site at the same time.
Single servers can run into difficulty coping with traffic spikes due to limitations of bandwidth. However, working with reputable cloud-hosting, this can be seamlessly overcome through releasing more resources at peak times from additional servers.
An important consideration for user experience and alleviating the irritation caused by the spinning circle of inactivity as a busy page tries to load.
You should be able to expect robust and highly secure hosting from your provider, both virtual and physical. This might include high-level online security measures such encryption when data is being transferred across the internet. Plus, the added peace of mind that can come from having your site hosted on servers at high-security locations; offering the greatest protection against physical disruption.
Support when you need it
Your website is a high-value item within your business; and hugely important for your brand, your growth opportunities, and your day to day operations. Which is why it needs to be working at optimal efficiency, with hosting that enables it to work with the functionality, reliability, and speed that you need.
All of which can be effectively provided by a professionally supported cloud-hosting provider.