Traditionally, websites have been hosted on servers in known locations – and that is still the case with cloud hosting. There has to be a physical server – more likely a network of physical servers – because data, content and images all have to be stored somewhere. What cloud hosting does is to host websites on what amount to virtual servers; those virtual servers are able to call on a far wider
range of physical servers than was the case before the cloud. The servers on which your site is hosted may, in fact, be in a number of different physical locations.
Cloud hosting can be offered as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), and the difference is very much the same as the difference discussed on another page of this website between self-hosted and hosted websites. For practical purposes, most users (and, as we are a Hosting Service, all of our users) will prefer the PaaS option.
Enterprise customers (by which is generally meant very large customers, or customers who bring all of their requirements within one umbrella) can take this concept one stage further with the Virtual Data Centre (VDC) which uses the same virtual network to host all a company’s IT operations.
The advantages offered by cloud hosting include:
- Reliability. Since the cloud is drawing on an extremely large number of servers in more than one location, failure of one server will not take the website offline
- Flexibility. Using a hosting service with a large network of servers has for some time been a means of guaranteeing the ability to grow and change as business needs required it. This is even more the case with cloud hosting, since quite large surges in demand can be handled with ease by the even larger networks the cloud makes possible
The all-important issue of security is not affected by transfer from physical servers to the cloud.