January 06, 2021 –

What is Cloud hosting?

Author: Emma Yemm
Emma Yemm
Senior Digital Account Manager
Photo by: Batu Gezer
Cloud hosting makes websites and applications accessible using cloud resources which are a network of connected virtual and physical cloud servers unlike traditional hosting, solutions are not deployed on a single server.  

So how exactly does it work? And what are the key benefits?

How does it work?

With traditional hosting, a website is hosted on a single physical server, with various package options available including: shared (where the resources of a single web server are shared with other websites), VPS (where the shared, physical server is split into several self-contained virtual servers) and dedicated (the most expensive option, where the website is hosted on a private server). It’s also simple and relatively inexpensive to set-up with basic hardware, but for speed and reliability the cost does increase.

In comparison, Cloud hosting is where the website or application is hosted on a network of connected, virtual, cloud servers. Several physical servers are still running in the background, however (unlike traditional hosting) there’s an extra layer added on top in the form of virtual servers (also known as virtual machines, or VMs).

Key features and benefits:

There are several benefits associated with Cloud hosting, primarily:

  • Better uptime and availability
    Resources can be shared between physical and virtual servers, vastly improving the uptime of the website – with many service providers promising uptime rates of 99.9%
  • Better performance
    Cloud hosting involves the use of multiple servers working as one, which allows load balancing to be implemented and resources distributed as and when required. Resources can also be added quickly should a spike in website traffic occur, helping to prevent slow loading speeds and/or downtime.
  • Scalable and flexible
    Virtual servers allow increased resources (such as CPU, memory, and storage) to easily be added, providing a long-term, flexible hosting option for growing businesses
  • Lower costs
    Organizations pay on a per-usage basis, providing an alternative to flat rate packages, as well as the option for high-volume discounts
  • Security
    Viruses and malware can be isolated to one virtual machine, reducing the risk of the site going offline


Potential cons of Cloud hosting include:

  • Pricing
    Some Cloud hosting providers charge overages, which can lead to unexpected, increases in costs
  • Complexity
    As a relatively new form of hosting, Cloud hosting can be complex and time-consuming to set-up

How do I know if Cloud hosting is the right fit for me?

The suitability of cloud hosting will depend on the size and business-critical nature of your website, as well as the volume of traffic it’s likely to receive.

In essence, Cloud hosting provides an advanced way to host large-scale solutions, and offers the capability for applications, storage options, and online services to become bigger, faster, and even more impressive in the future. Cloud hosting can however be time-consuming to set-up, configure and maintain, and prices can vary unpredictability over time.

Cloud hosting is therefore currently most suited to larger organisations or those with more advanced server needs (such as high traffic volumes); with smaller individuals and organizations (primarily with websites advertising a product or service) typically still benefitting from more traditional hosting solutions.