In recent years, tech companies have invested heavily in the development of cloud computing. And the demand for cloud-based services is at an all-time high. One of the most popular services is cloud hosting. Cloud servers deliver this form of website hosting.
But many find the cloud confusing. So, in this easy-to-follow article, we’ve set out to demystify it! We’ll answer the big question we began with: What is a cloud server and how does it work? But, before we get there, let’s look at the cloud more generally.
What Exactly is the Cloud?
There are two main features of cloud computing:
1. Remote Delivery
Cloud services are remotely delivered by powerful, internet-connected computers. These computers are cloud servers.
Web apps are a good example of a cloud service. Instead of downloading and installing a program on your own device, you can access these apps remotely, via the internet. This is sometimes known as Software as a Service (or SaaS, for short).
Google Docs is a popular example. You might use it if you don’t want to install a word processor on your own computer. The app runs on Google’s servers. You can access it from anywhere in the world using a web browser, just as you’d access a regular website. And, sure enough, cloud servers can also host websites too.
At this point, you might be thinking that the cloud is just another word for the internet. But cloud servers have another feature that sets them apart…
2. Shared Resources
Regular servers work alone. Each server is a single, separate computer that internet users access online. This can create problems if there’s a sharp spike in demand, or if the server breaks down.
One way to get around this problem is by setting up groups of servers (known as clusters) to work together. These server clusters can pool their resources. If one breaks down – or becomes overloaded – another simply steps in.
So, What is a Cloud Server?
A cloud server is a virtual server that can access a set amount of resources from a cluster of physical servers. These servers work together, so the cloud server behaves like a single server – only better. Cloud servers are more reliable and more flexible than regular servers. This makes cloud hosting popular with website owners who want the best possible performance.
Learn More: We’re dedicated to keeping things simple here on our blog. If you want to explore the technical side of the cloud in more detail, we recommend Wikipedia’s article on cloud computing. Otherwise, let’s continue…
Types of Cloud Server
There are two main types of cloud server: Public cloud servers and private cloud servers. Let’s look at each in turn:
Public Cloud Servers
Public cloud servers work in a similar way to shared website hosting. Each public cloud server may host many websites, or provide resources for many users.
We looked at Google Docs earlier as an example of a web app that runs in the cloud. When you save files in Google Docs, they’re saved in your Google Drive – a cloud storage solution. But your Google Drive storage doesn’t have a whole server to itself. Instead, many users share the storage space on a cloud server.
The same idea applies if you use public cloud hosting for your website. Your website will live on a cloud server alongside many other sites.
Private Cloud Servers
Some website owners prefer to have a dedicated cloud server all to themselves. When it comes to cloud computing, this is actually a type of virtual private server that works across a cluster of physical servers.
This delivers the same key benefits – reliability and flexibility. But the benefits of private cloud servers don’t end there. A well-maintained private server may also be more secure than a public server.
Choosing private cloud hosting can involve more work. That’s because you’ll be responsible for maintaining your server’s software environment. You’ll need to apply updates and keep it secure. One way to avoid this is to choose managed cloud hosting. This way, experts looking after cloud servers to ensure high levels of maintenance.
When choosing between the different types of cloud server, you’ll need to weigh up the benefits of going private vs the higher private cloud cost. If you do choose a private server, you’ll also need to think about whether you can maintain it correctly yourself.
What is the Best Cloud Hosting Platform?
3 tech giants operate the most popular cloud hosting platforms. You’ve probably already heard of them:
Amazon – AWS
Amazon isn’t just an e-commerce giant. The corporation’s digital arm – AWS (Amazon Web Services) is the world’s biggest cloud hosting platform.
Microsoft – Azure
Microsoft has come a long way from simply developing PC operating systems. The software giant also runs Azure, the world’s second-largest cloud hosting platform.
Google – Google Cloud
There are also some slightly smaller players in the cloud marketplace worth mentioning. Although not as famous as the companies listed above, Digital Ocean is another popular choice.
If you prefer the convenience of managed cloud hosting, then some tech agencies and website hosts offer this service. Most use the robust platforms of the big cloud companies we’ve already looked at. They then provide server management on top of the hosting.
How Much is a Private Cloud Host?
Many people ask us ‘how much does private cloud cost?’ Just like regular website hosting, the answer depends on how powerful a plan you need.
Compare Cloud Hosting Plans
Here at Tasjeel, we provide managed cloud hosting with a choice of international server locations. We offer a selection of all 4 cloud hosting platforms listed above: AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and Digital Ocean.
With a range of plans available for each platform, you can easily select whichever option best suits your needs and budget.
Compare plans for managed cloud hosting.
Compare plans for managed UAE cloud hosting.
Learn More About Hosting
If you’re launching a website for the first time, all of the web hosting choices out there can feel overwhelming. Cloud hosting is actually just one of the options open to you. For a wider look at the topic, why not explore our easy-to-read guide to the types of web hosting?