A classic web hosting consists of several services on an Internet server that waits for requests from a browser and answers them individually. This is usually a single physical computer in a data center. This procedure can become problematic if, for example, the resources of the system are completely occupied due to a cyber attack or the spontaneously increasing demand of a homepage.
In this case, requests are lost and a website is temporarily unavailable to some visitors. In cloud hosting, on the other hand, the data is stored on a server network (cluster) instead of on a single computer. It offers many advantages in terms of performance and flexibility, but has only been in use since around 2010 due to the more complex IT structure.
How does cloud hosting work?
First of all, cloud providers – in addition to numerous IT providers such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google – physically separate their services from each other. This means that no longer is a single server responsible for different services such as databases, PHP interpreters and web space.
Instead, numerous cloud servers form a cluster that serves as a destination address for queries instead of a computer. Intelligent monitoring continuously distributes the computing load internally among the individual elements. Cloud hosting offers a number of practical advantages due to its decentralized approach:
Maximum availability with high performance without downtimes
High data integrity due to distribution across different networks
Specialization of the hardware possible (e.g. fast query of databases)
Optimization of individual cloud servers for a specific service
Flexibility in the event of spontaneously increasing consumption of resources
The key to efficient cloud hosting is to distribute the load across different data centers and network them with each other. The benefits for providers and their customers justify the inevitable additional effort required to administer the more complex IT infrastructure.
What is the difference between a public and a private cloud?
A public cloud is available to all users and is the usual model for small to medium-sized websites and projects. A private cloud, on the other hand, is reserved exclusively for a single customer and is needed for complex and computationally intensive applications or websites with very high demand.
In some cases, private cloud also refers to applications such as network storage (NAS) or web servers if they run on their own IT infrastructure. These include, for example, even a single mini-computer like a Raspberry Pi in a private household – but this is not related to cloud hosting.
Why does cloud hosting increase security and accessibility?
Attacks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS), in which a server is brought to its capacity limits by a flood of requests, run nowhere in cloud hosting. In order to fully exploit the performance of such a network, in practice a perpetrator would have to attack all or very many websites of a provider in parallel. At the same time, the security against physical failures increases significantly.
Companies such as Amazon, Microsoft or Google network data centers with different locations for cloud hosting and use redundant structures in which data can be made available from more than one node at any time. If a single cloud server or even an entire data center fails (for example due to a power outage), other instances take over its work in real time.
What additional services does cloud hosting offer?
Almost all providers enable their customers to combine cloud hosting with other products. These include cloud services such as:
Cloud Server: Virtual private servers (VPS) with scalable performance
Software as a Service (SaaS): Programs that run in a cloud.
Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS): Complex IT systems that are virtualized in a Cloud
Virtual Private Cloud: An additionally shielded private cloud within a public cloud.
What cloud hosting providers are there?
Because of its numerous advantages, almost all large corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon and Google have been offering their customers cloud hosting exclusively for many years. With international and national providers, customers in some cases have the choice between server-based hosting and cloud hosting.
The bottom line is that the latter should be preferred if there are no financial reasons for classic hosting. Cloud hosting is also gaining ground in small IT companies and the economy.
In this context, providers often do without their own IT infrastructure and instead rent a private cloud from corporations such as Amazon or Google, which they use internally for the company or make available to customers as a public cloud.