Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 4 years or so, you’ll have no doubt heard of the cloud. Everything seems to be going cloud based these days but very few give a clear explanation as to what it actually is. People are just assumed to understand the architecture of “The Cloud” and trust “it” with their precious data. During this article, I’m going to discuss what the cloud is in its basic terms and how that applies to the hosting of your website.
If you’ve taken out a new hosting plan at any point in the past few years or have even researched the various web hosting companies out there you’ll have no doubt seen a range of cloud services on offer. Sure, the regular packages are still ever present such as shared hosting and reseller hosting but it seems every host and his dog has now jumped on the cloud bandwagon and rightly so. If used correctly, cloud storage and hosting can be a godsend in terms of performance and resources but you shouldn’t go into it blindly. Like with most things in life, it’s better to have an understanding of how it works.
For starters, you need to think about local and remote storage. Local storage is where your files and folders are stored on your local computer, your local hard drive. Remote storage is where your files are stored in a different place entirely, remotely, online on a computer connected to the internet somewhere. Now you know we’re not dealing with local storage we can address the ins and outs of the cloud itself.
The cloud itself is not a physical object. It’s not a computer somewhere, nor is it a data center. Nor is it a specific collection of computers. It’s a collection of computers (servers) connected to the Internet that share resources. If you understand the difference between local and remote storage you’re half way there to understanding the cloud. When you take a picture on your phone, it saves to your phone hard drive. When you upload it somewhere such as Facebook or Instagram, it’s stored remotely, via the cloud.
Why It’s Sometimes Cheaper
The very nature of the cloud allows you to only use resources that you require. Computing power and resources are shared which means you can have a virtually limitless environment at your disposal with no real restrictions at all. This is the reason many businesses are opting to send their data to the cloud rather than invest a significant amount of money in local hardware. Running local servers, huge hard drive arrays, backup software etc is expensive. You could get the same resources via the cloud for a fraction of the price and with the advent of super fast Internet access these days you can retrieve files from anywhere at any time as quickly and as easily as you could by retrieving them locally.
Why Cloud Hosting is Better Than A VPS
I’ve done quite a bit of research on the cloud solutions offered by the various web hosting firms out there. These guys provide a good run down as to what you can expect. As we’ve discussed above, in terms of web hosting it’s always going to be better to go with a cloud solution as you’re not going to be limited to the resources of a single piece of hardware.
Using the cloud, you can harness the power of several computers at once, all that processing power, disk space, memory and bandwidth is at your disposal with a cloud solution.