Cloud hosting is heralding a new era of technology, where decentralized server infrastructures replace traditional centralized ones. Businesses of all sizes and industries are migrating to the cloud to achieve better results without breaking the bank.
It presents an excellent way to optimize business operations, improve agility, turbo-speed web performance, and more. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the benefits of using cloud hosting for your business.
What Is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is a type of web hosting where websites and applications are hosted on a distributed network of virtual servers that draw resources from a host of physical servers. It provides easier scalability, superior performance, and security features out-of-the-box for small and large businesses alike. It’s also well suited for handling resource-intensive applications, e.g., blockchain or decentralized applications.
Why Is Cloud Hosting Better Than Traditional Hosting?
Unlike traditional hosting, where your resources are stored in a small cluster of servers, cloud hosting distributes your resources to multiple connected servers, eliminating the possibility of downtime. This provides better scalability, flexibility, and reliability.
Also, cloud hosting provides fantastic ways to help companies grow and satisfy customer needs at every stage.
For example, when there is a simultaneous surge in traffic, businesses on a shared server may experience a decline in web performance due to the workload on the web servers. VPS hosting would have been a suitable alternative, but if any of the connected servers in the VPS fails, other servers follow suit. With cloud hosting, there’s load balancing as the workload is distributed across multiple servers, minimizing the risks of downtime.
Cost Savings of Cloud Hosting
If you are worried about the price tag of switching to cloud computing, you aren’t alone. 20% of organizations are concerned about the initial cost of implementing a cloud-based server. Beyond the rave, is it really a smart move to migrate to cloud hosting? Let’s find out.
No Upfront Infrastructure Costs
You’ll agree that purchasing and managing new hardware isn’t cheap. Businesses that haven’t switched to cloud hosting would have to invest in on-site servers, and maintaining them properly may be beyond your IT budget. This may not be a viable option, especially if you’re a small or medium-sized business owner looking to save costs.
By moving to the cloud, you can save upfront costs on IT infrastructure while enjoying secure and reliable hosting. Cloud hosting offers a cost-effective way for companies to reduce their overall IT costs – purchasing servers, networking equipment, storage devices, etc. Most cloud hosting providers, like HostArmada, offer managed cloud hosting, eliminating the need of hiring skilled professionals for regular maintenance.
Cloud hosting providers operate as an infrastructure-as-a-service, a standardized and automated model, offering virtualized computing resources such as virtual machines (VMs), networking, storage, and other infrastructure components, on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Compared to traditional hosting, you’re not confined to fixed plans or paying for unused resources. Cloud hosting plans are, therefore, cost-efficient and flexible, as they allow you to tailor costs to your business needs.
Reduced Maintenance and IT Staffing Costs
With cloud hosting, you don’t have to worry about the costs of managing and maintaining your web servers. Most hosting providers offer fully managed cloud hosting services, including software updates, security patches, maintenance, etc., so you can diversify your resources to other business operations.
They also have skilled technicians working tirelessly to keep your hosting environment optimized and up to date.
- This eliminates the need to hire an in-house IT team.
- It also helps your current staff to be more productive as they can focus on other demanding aspects of the business.
Scalability Without Overprovisioning
Overprovisioning is common in traditional hosting. Businesses may need to make future speculations of their needs and invest in extra capacity to handle them, just in case the need arises.
For instance, assume you own an e-commerce store. During special events like Black Friday, you’ll need extra resources to accommodate the traffic surges without crashing your website. This means paying extra for resources you’d only use for a specific period.
- With cloud hosting, you don’t need to bother about increasing or decreasing your server resources
- It provides on-demand access to computing resources. If your website receives more or less traffic, the cloud servers scale up or down automatically without impeding business operations.
Lower Energy Consumption
Is cloud computing environmentally friendly? Yes!
- In fact, according to research by Microsoft, cloud computing is capable of improving energy efficiency by 93% and producing 98% fewer greenhouse emissions compared to on-site infrastructure servers.
- Another report points out that organizations can save up to 85% in energy costs using cloud-based services.
Migrating to cloud hosting means you don’t have to host in-house servers. Usually, cloud hosts constantly upgrade their hardware to use the latest technologies that offer high computing power without consuming too much energy. Also, they operate large-scale data centers that are fully optimized and designed for energy efficiency.
Disaster Recovery and Data Backup
Data backup is essential for any company. But just backing up your data may not be enough. What if something happens to your company’s data center? This is where cloud backup comes in. It is used by most cloud hosting providers, e.g., Hostinger, to protect business data from human-induced or natural disasters. Here’s how.
Usually, the data is mirrored across several clusters of virtual servers. The application collects the data, compresses and encrypts it, and then transfers it to the cloud servers every 24 hours. By leveraging the provider’s in-built backup and recovery systems, businesses can save costs on acquiring, configuring, and maintaining redundant systems. Other perks include:
- Full access to updated infrastructure and technology in data management
- Mitigates the stress that comes from manual backups, hence improving the productivity of your IT team
- Minimizes the risks and costs associated with downtime
- Quick data reinstatement even after cyber attacks
- Strengthens disaster recovery strategy
Scalability of Cloud Hosting
The significance of scalability cannot be ignored. As more businesses are shifting online, they must develop systems that cater to consumer needs as it arises. As I mentioned earlier, one of the attractive advantages of cloud-based hosting is its powerful scalability capabilities. In this section, we’ll uncover the different types of scalability offered by cloud hosting providers:
Vertical scalability, or scaling up, means adding or removing more resources – processing power, memory, storage space, or other technical capabilities – to existing cloud servers to enhance their operational bandwidth.
It’s often done by replacing one or all the entire server racks with better qualities to meet the growing demands of your application. For instance, adding or removing the CPU or memory capacity of the existing virtual machine (VM).
Instead of spending thousands of dollars on acquiring a new server, scaling vertically on the cloud allows businesses to empower their website and application to handle resource-intensive tasks with little to no downtime. This is ideal for systems that experience daily surges in web traffic.
Other ways in which vertical scaling can benefit your business are:
- Helps to address underlying performance issues
- Eliminates the loss of revenue that may be incurred due to technical difficulties
- Solves all concerns around business continuity
- Reduce efforts required to manage a single web server
Horizontal scalability, or scaling out, means adding extra servers, computer nodes, or virtual machines to the server rack to enhance the cloud bandwidth. It involves removing or adding VMs by distributing the workload between servers to reduce the number of requests on an individual server.
Businesses can add more efficient or advanced servers to scale cloud infrastructure. During this process, there is no need to shut down servers, which means your business will experience no moment of downtime. Intriguing, isn’t it? But that’s not all. Here are several other ways that horizontal scaling can benefit your business:
- Allows businesses to handle increased traffic more efficiently (even than vertical scaling)
- Allows businesses to leverage infrastructure in different locations, expanding business offerings to this region
- There’s no single point of failure, i.e. whenever one server crashes, other servers work simultaneously to complete the task
- Ensures your applications scale seamlessly as your business grows, improving performance and response times
Autoscaling automatically adjusts cloud servers and VM capacities to maintain a steady and predictable performance based on user requirements. This can either be scaled up or down as the system requires.
For example, it can mean adding more servers to the server rack as users increase on the site of your web application. The primary purpose of auto-scaling is to enable applications and websites to deliver optimal performance under predefined conditions.
Whenever a traffic spike occurs due to a viral campaign, the set resources may not be sufficient to power the system to accommodate the workload. With auto-scaling in place, businesses can ensure that resources are utilized ad hoc to maintain optimal application performance while meeting customer demands.
Elasticity and scalability in cloud computing are closely related. But they are two different terminologies.
Elasticity is the capacity of a system to adjust resources accordingly to meet changing demands. This can be done by adding or removing the resources necessary to give optimal performance while satisfying user demands. As demand grows, more resources, such as computing power or servers, are added to ensure the system performs as required.
Most cloud hosting providers provide elastic resources that allow your systems to handle surges in traffic without slowing down or crashing. Elasticity is inherently short-term and mainly occurs when the system experiences uncommon changes in user demands, for instance, an increase in sales during festive periods.
Global scalability is scaling a server to run in different locations. Achieving global reach with traditional hosting on your own is complex and expensive. But with cloud hosting, businesses can deploy their applications globally by leveraging data centers worldwide.
AWS, for instance, has data centers located on six continents. Google Cloud data centers are located on five. This is a huge advantage for businesses that serve a global audience.
- When a data center is located close to the users, latency is significantly minimized.
- This results in faster performance and improved user experience.
For example, suppose a business has customers in Africa, America, Europe, and Asia. By deploying their application in data centers in these regions, they can minimize the distance between the users and the servers, reducing latency and improving performance.
Security and Reliability of Cloud Hosting
Security and reliability are other major concerns to businesses looking to migrate fully into cloud hosting. Luckily, they are one of the many advantages of cloud computing:
Cloud hosting providers offer unlimited and cutting-edge resources designed to improve your business data security, including data at rest in the servers and when in transit.
You’ll often see features like enterprise-grade firewalls, top-level automated data backup solutions, malware scanners, data encryption, multi-factor authentication, intrusion detection and prevention systems, etc.
In addition, these cloud providers have a team of technicians and software engineers working around the clock to monitor the data points in the data centers. They’re consistently updating security protocols by adopting technologies against data intrusion or other forms of data loss. Cloud hosts like Google Cloud use artificial intelligence and machine learning-based security solutions to identify and prevent security vulnerabilities at a very early stage.
Cloud hosting providers adopt industry-standard security measures to protect user data from unauthorized physical access, vandalism or natural disasters. This includes using security surveillance cameras, setting access control systems and policies, backup systems, and other physical security measures that guarantee data safety and security. By hosting your data in any of these environments, you benefit from the provider’s robust security protocols and measures.
Azure data center, for example, has over 60 regions worldwide and is available in over 140 countries. Microsoft engineering teams tackle security threats by taking predictive and reactive measures to protect data and mitigate the risks of cyber attacks before they arise.
Redundancy and High Availability
Redundancy is integrated into data centers to prevent downtime. It is a key component in every data center infrastructure. Your cloud provider mirrors your valuable data in multiple data centers to ensure business continuity during an outage or when a component fails. This way, you can operate high-quality, large-scale data applications with minimal deployment and maintenance effort.
Redundancy doesn’t only prevent server downtime but also ensures data availability when needed. Usually, cloud hosting providers have multiple data centers dispersed strategically around the world. This is to avoid the risks of a single point of failure. When a power outage or when one of the components fails, the workload will automatically be transferred to the functioning data centers. This way, your business data can be available whenever retrieved.
Disaster Recovery (DR)
Cloud disaster recovery is the method and strategies cloud providers employ to back up applications, data, and other IT resources in the cloud. It helps to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster. Compared to the traditional DR, which can be time-consuming and monotonous, DR in cloud computing is a better option for SMBs because of its cost-effectiveness, scalability, and reliability.
Cloud providers usually have multiple data centers dispersed across multiple geopolitical zones. These data centers are strategically positioned to allay the risks of a single point of failure. This protects your data against server outages, system failures, and other catastrophes.
This brings us to the next…
Cloud backup is essential for all businesses that intend to store their data and applications on the cloud. Cloud providers like Hostinger perform automatic backups to protect your data against cyber-attacks, accidental deletes, or other forms of data loss. Also, the data backed up into the cloud can be quickly restored, enabling you to gain access to your desired files at any time.
Compliance and Certifications
In some scenarios, access and storage of sensitive data may have to comply with specific regulations/compliance according to local, national, and international laws. For instance, access to patient records is limited by the HIPAA Act. In addition to this, geographical locations may also be of concern, due to export violation issues, according to this publication. Here are other compliance aspects you need to know:
- Federal information security Management Act (FISMA)
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- Security standards, like ISO 27001 or NIST SP 800-53
So before you choose any cloud hosting providers, check out the compliance certification(s). This means they have passed through all the rigorous audits from an independent third party that ensure they meet all the requirements. By choosing a compliant cloud hosting provider, you can be confident that your business data will be well secured, as these providers are committed to meeting high quality and security standards.
Cloud computing has truly emerged as a game changer in the hosting industry, revolutionizing how businesses operate and meet market demands. Although I believe there are greater benefits yet untapped.
As technology advances, cloud hosting will play a critical role in helping businesses adapt to the ever-evolving digital landscape, accommodate customer needs on demand, and, most importantly, unlock incredible possibilities for success.
Next Steps: What Now?
- Learn more about cloud hosting and when to switch your hosting plans
- Best cloud providers(recommended by hosting experts)
- Check out the best web hosting for small business
- Build your website with the best website builder
- Secure your website