Everything you need to know about cloud-based hosting services
In recent years, no doubt you have heard of ‘the cloud’. Whether it be for data sharing, emails, or hosting. Everything seems to be ‘up in the cloud’, and for good reason. People are quick to assume that being on ‘the cloud’ means that everyone has access to your information, but that is not the case. The cloud is simply a term to represent services that store data across multiple server platforms, across multiple locations. It is a virtual service, meaning that there is no tangible asset, apart from the actual data centres where the physically server hardware is stored.
How does cloud-based website hosting work?
Cloud hosting services work through a virtual server network. Unlike traditional hosting methods where your website is stored on one single server and then the website data is transferred to wherever the user is located, cloud-based servers use a network of data centres to store your website in different capacities across multiple locations across the world.
Breaking down a cloud-based hosting scenario
Picture this – a company is located in Sydney, and they have their website developed and hosted on a cloud-based server. If a customer in London searches for the company and looks up their website on Google, instead of the website having to load from one traditional server in the companies’ location i.e., Sydney – their cloud-based server identifies the customers location as London using their IP address and utilises the cloud network to find a server closest to the customer to retrieve the website files. This means that the response time for the server to load the website for the customer in London is much faster than if they were using a traditional hosting method.
If you picture a world map, and draw a line from Sydney to London, that represents traditional hosting, and the line represents how far the data must travel to reach the customer. If the closest data centre for the cloud-based server is in Amsterdam, and you draw a line between London and Amsterdam, the distance is significantly shorter, representing a much faster website loading capacity. By using cloud-based hosting services for your website, customers locations are identified, and the server files are loaded from the cloud server that is closest to their location.
Benefits of cloud-based hosting services
Cloud technology is complex and can be very expensive to set up, but it comes with significant benefits to the user once established.
As the data files for your website are housed across multiple servers, this means that you have more reliability should something happen to the server. With traditional hosting, if there is a server breach or error, your website files are easily compromised and the potential to lose your website entirely can be high, especially with old servers. With cloud servers, if one server has an error, the data can be transferred elsewhere to a secure server without the loss of files or websites.
Cloud based servers are significantly more advanced than their traditional counterparts. With the ability to identify the customers location and redirect the website server files to a data centre closest to them, your website speed is significantly increased. Research suggests that faster site loading speed positively impacts conversion rates on websites. In essence, if your website loads faster, people are more likely to stay on the site and engage with the services you offer. Compelling designs and interactive features contribute to conversions as well.
As your website works across multiple servers, there is a degree of load balancing that occurs in order to maintain a streamlined hosting service. The individualised servers are not overloaded by user requests and can respond in a timely fashion, making your website perform faster.
Due to their virtual nature and spread location, cloud-based servers are less likely to have significant security faults and physical malfunctions. This in turn makes your website more secure and less likely to have down time. That’s not to say that your CMS is not going to fail but hosting on a cloud server reduces the risk at a server level.
Who can benefit from cloud-based hosting services
Cloud-based hosting is for everyone! From small business to multinational corporations, everyone can benefit from using cloud-based hosting services. Cloud services are the future of the online world and its better to take advantage of it early rather than being left behind when the time comes when traditional methods become obsolete.
Cloud-based hosting is especially prominent for online e-commerce businesses who require larger amounts of processing power to accommodate the number of visitors to the site and the functionalities that they require. There is nothing worse than online shopping and then all of sudden, your cart dies, and you have to start all over again.
How to choose the right cloud hosting provider
There are a few considerations to make when engaging with a cloud-based hosting provider. Most IT companies or hosting providers will provide a cloud-based hosting option with their preferred partner organisations. Be sure to check the following criteria before engaging:
- Check their cloud hosting inclusions. Make sure that the cloud services can support the capacity of your website and provide the right number of resources to maintain functionalities. For most websites, this shouldn’t be any concern but if you have a larger website with loads of functionality, definitely something to consider
- Ensure that your provider and their associations are reputable. There are a lot of non-legit services out there who claim to provide the best cloud-based service, but in fact this is not the case.
- Check their customer support setup – Are they an organisation that can be contacted in the event that something goes wrong? There is nothing worse than your website going down and having no-one to call to help you through the process.
- Compare pricing between providers. Cloud-based services are few and far between and pricing can vary depending on the package that the provider is offering. Check the inclusions on the server, and whether any additional support is being provided.
Talk to the experts in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley about cloud-based website hosting today
For over 20 years, Jezweb has been helping the residents of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley with their hosting services. With the addition of popular cloud-based services, Jezweb now offers comprehensive hosting packages in partnership with Cloudflare. Talk to the team today on 1300 024 766 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your cloud-hosting requirements.