Whether you've ever looked at hosting a website
or app, there's no denying that the word cloud hosting pops up time and time again. Given the term 's popularity, you might not know exactly what's different about hosting your website on a cloud server.
Cloud hosting differs from traditional shared website hosting
, where a site would be hosted on a single dedicated server, in a data centre
Often, traditional hosting is shared web hosting, which means more than one client, and sometimes upwards of 600 accounts can be on a single dedicated server. The downsides to traditional hosting are that hardware is a single point of failure. Take, for instance, a hard drive failure; this could take upwards of 600 accounts offline for over 6 hours restoring the data.
Cloud hosting runs your website on a virtual private server
. Dedicated servers run Hypervisor services that allow the creation and management of virtual private servers. Hypervisors can be linked together and can span over multiple dedicated servers, and in some cases, multiple data centres
. If a dedicated server's hardware dies, data and websites the server was running can be hot-swapped over to working hardware. Removing this point of failure provides better uptime for websites and also has some further benefits such as auto-scaling, were more servers can be added and removed as needed to handle peak times for website visitors.
Some of the most prominent cloud hosting companies are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), DigitalOcean, Cloud Foundry, Rackspace, VMware, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Still, there are also a host of other players large and small.
The most popular and widely used cloud computing service is AWS, the world's largest provider of cloud hosting services with more than 1.5 billion users. Microsoft Azure comes in second with GCP in forth.