While “the cloud” is a little hard to initially wrap your mind around, it’s a great resource for everyone from mobile phone users to website developers. When we talk about the cloud, we’re talking about a virtual system rather than physical hardware.
The cloud is a series of networks that acts as one to pull information from data centers and connect devices. You’ve probably heard of cloud storage – it’s the most popular example, with tools like iCloud, Dropbox, Google Cloud Storage, etc. These tools help illustrate how the cloud works.
But what does cloud hosting mean? Well, the answer might be simpler than you think.
Here’s what I’ll cover:
Cloud hosting vs. traditional hosting
With traditional hosting, you have one physical server that keeps your site up and running and connects to your data center. Both your file system and your database are on the exact same system. Whether you’re on shared or dedicated hosting, it works fairly similarly. All your resources run through the server in order to connect to a data center and provide all the necessary information to your site.
Cloud hosting offers a different solution that uses a network of servers and brings many added benefits.
Don’t get this confused with “the cloud,” though. Cloud hosting doesn’t completely get rid of servers and data centers. It’s actually a certain server configuration that’s built to optimize performance for your web infrastructure. The magic here is, with this configuration, you can pull from a network of servers to keep your site up and running! This makes it a great solution for anyone who’s concerned about their website staying up and running 24/7.
Key benefits of cloud hosting
Like I mentioned, moving your site to cloud hosting is a great option for every site! If it costs the same, there’s no reason not to do it.
Thinking about how your site is set up is also important. For example, if you’re on WordPress (like 52% of all other websites that use a CMS), cloud hosting is an excellent solution. Working with a cloud hosting provider that’s specifically tuned for WordPress is bound to optimize your website.
Let’s take a deeper look at the best benefits of cloud hosting and why it’s a great solution.
Reliability and security
What exactly makes cloud hosting more reliable than traditional hosting? The short answer is the network. Because your site now has access to a number of servers, it’s likely you’ll experience less downtime (especially if you were previously on shared hosting). And did I mention it’s lightning fast?
All these servers work together to make up for each other, should something go wrong. While this might sound like shared hosting between multiple servers, cloud configuration is slightly different in that it has public and private networks.
Both public and private hosting will use resources from a variety of available servers and are great for most everyone’s needs! The main difference is that private will give you better security and privacy. Private cloud hosting requires more time, setup, and money. The added level of security can make a difference, especially if you’re handling very confidential information like a bank or hospital might.
Public cloud hosting offers many of the same benefits with less management from the server-side. But don’t let the word “public” be a concern. Because it’s largely virtual, it’s still much better security than your traditional hosting setup.
Scalability and customization
Because the network of servers can use resources between themselves differently, this means your site is automatically set up to grow with you and your business. Just the opposite is also true. Say you did an audit and want to delete a bunch of content, your site can easily and quickly scale down with you, too.
Adding and decreasing server space only takes seconds without all the complications that can come with traditional hosting. This means your web infrastructure is as flexible as you are!
How to pick the right cloud host for your site
Cloud hosting is becoming more and more popular for all websites because of these awesome features. The key is to pick the best host for your background and site setup.
Whether you have a small personal site and don’t want to deal with hosting or you’re an advanced user who appreciates a hosting partner, you might want to consider something like managed hosting. It provides a great solution for anyone who’s looking to save time and have a team of experts to provide peace of mind. This means you’re able to focus on growing your business or get back precious billable work hours.
Many managed hosts like WP Engine and Flywheel have a cloud hosting solution available. The key is looking for a team with excellent support and an intuitive platform that saves you time. Again, it just depends on what you’re looking for when it comes to features and your own site setup.
Now that you have all the information, are you ready to try cloud hosting?
Here at Flywheel, we’ve created a platform built specifically to optimize your WordPress sites and provide a delightful cloud hosting experience powered by Google Cloud Platform.
This experience allows you to scale your sites as needed and comes with a bunch of great features like a custom caching solution, auto-healing, included staging sites, and more! You can learn more or try it yourself here.
This article was originally published in 2018. It was updated December 20, 2019.