Computers and Technology

A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Hosting

Have you made a transition to the cloud platform yet? If no, you are probably unaware of the pace at which the cloud is being adopted by businesses worldwide. The rising popularity of cloud computing solutions can be assessed from the whopping 23.1% increase in public cloud-related expenditure in merely a year-from $270 billion in 2020 to $332.3 billion in 2021!

As the buzz created around the cloud gains momentum, organisations are moving from traditional hosting services to cloud-based ones. They have woken up to the advantages of the platform and are ditching their legacy systems to adopt the cloud.

If you have trouble understanding the concept of cloud hosting, keep reading.

What is cloud hosting?

As you might already know, in a traditional hosting solution, your website is hosted on a single server in a single data centre. And depending on how complex your website is and how technology savvy you are, you can choose anything from shared hosting to VPS or dedicated hosting.

Cloud hosting does not host your website on a single server. Instead, a range of servers in different locations connect through the internet to create a ‘virtual’ cloud that powers your website.

Though relatively new, cloud hosting in India has gained acceptance among businesses on account of the myriad benefits it offers over traditional hosting. These include:

Reliability: As your website and its data remain spread across different servers, there are always surplus resources to keep your website up and running. If one of the servers goes offline for some reason, other servers keep you online.

Scalability: If your website experiences traffic fluctuations, you are likely to find resources overused in a shared hosting setup and underused in a dedicated hosting one. But the cloud can seamlessly scale up or down to accommodate the needs of your website. The resources present on the virtual cloud can be easily tapped into as required.

Flexibility: The cloud operates on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ pricing model which means you pay only for the resources you consume. So, as your traffic goes up, your service provider instantly ramps up resources and you end up paying extra. And, on the other hand, if the traffic goes down, your provider scales down and you pay less.

As with every other kind of hosting model, the cloud has its downsides too. Some of the key ones include:

Pricing: Many cloud hosting providers may charge overages on their plan, so you may end up paying a lot more than what you might have estimated.

Complexity: Cloud hosting is not as beginner-friendly as some other forms such as shared hosting. The complexity of your plan, of course, depends a lot on the service you have chosen.

How to Choose a Cloud Hosting Solution for your business?

When choosing a cloud hosting provider in India, you have to evaluate the various options they offer and how they meet the unique needs and objectives of your business. The key elements you need to consider are as follows:

  • Security

It’s essential that you understand the security measures offered by your prospective provider, and the protocols and mechanisms they have in place to safeguard your data and applications.

Identify which security features are offered for free and which ones require you to shell out extra money. Find if there are any areas where you would need the services of a third party.

Security is a primary concern for any business entity, so ask the hard questions, clarify doubts on your unique needs, industry, and regulatory requirements.

  • Compliance

Every business is required to comply with the regulations that apply to their area of operation. Make sure you understand what you need to achieve compliance once your data and applications are housed on a public cloud. It is important to be aware of your responsibilities in this regard, and how your cloud service provider can help you fulfil them.

  • Architecture

Make sure you understand how the cloud architecture will be integrated into your existing workflows. So, if your company has invested primarily in Microsoft-based products, it would make sense to choose Azure for your cloud computing needs. If, on the other hand, you are using Google services, Google Cloud should be chosen for easy integration.

  • Service Levels

If response time, availability, and support are a necessity for your business, service level agreements become a vital consideration. An SLA establishes a legally enforceable relationship between you and your service provider, so it is imperative that you read it in detail. This way, you will have something to back you up if anything goes wrong.

  • Pricing

While price should never be the sole factor for deciding your hosting provider, it plays a big role nevertheless. Make sure you consider both the upfront expenses and the associated costs. The three major players in the cloud domain-AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure-have different pricing structures. Let us have a look at these:

AWS: In the AWS model, the price is decided by the number of hours used. Here, you can buy instances in any of the three ways:

  • Pay-as-you-go: No upfront costs involved; you pay only for what you use.
  • Reserved: Instances can be reserved for one or three years; there is an upfront cost depending on usage.
  • Volume Instances: Here, you can acquire more services as your business grows, and receive discounts on specific services.

Google Cloud Platform: This platform charges for instances used per second. Special pricing models for compute services are also available.

Azure: This platform bills on the basis of hour, gigabyte, or millions of executions depending on the product you are using. The option to reserve instances is also available.

So, when choosing a service provider, make sure you take into account your usage patterns and then go for the platform that best fits your budget and business model.

The Final Word

While it offers a wide range of benefits, cloud hosting is not meant for every kind of business.

In many cases, traditional hosting works just fine. You may need to consider cloud hosting only when you have to upgrade to a more powerful hosting solution. If your business is growing and you want to scale your website to accommodate the incoming traffic or you have an online portal that sees seasonal fluctuations, cloud hosting in India will most likely be a good fit.

Want to know more about cloud hosting? Post your queries in the comment section below.

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