In our article on how to use WordPress with a cloud hosting company, we gave you tips on what to do if your site is not working properly. I want to talk about Cloud Hosting and give you an overview of it as well as show the process. If you’re thinking of going into this, go ahead.
What is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud Hosting has been around for over twenty years now. The main thing that differentiates it from regular web hosting is that instead of providing a physical server, it provides a virtual server (or ‘cloud server’) which allows the application to be hosted and accessed within the data center network.
Some people may also refer to those who run their websites under Windows like they do in-house but in reality, there are two types of cloud hosting: shared and dedicated. Shared hosting is similar to traditional web hostings and uses one computer with more than one user. On the other hand, we have dedicated hosting which is very similar, except there is only one server. So when you think about sharing, that means, all your website files are in one place.
There are many reasons why you should do that. But, here’s an example where you share hosting is used: You’re building a small business and you only need 1 or 2 computers. Then, you decide to outsource the job to another vendor or just build on your own. Because no one will work on the same servers, so no extra costs, they’ll pay you per hour but for that project, when the site takes off and starts making money, you’ll have to pay them upfront or through the delivery period. For instance, let’s say you want someone else to host the backend code while you develop the frontend.
The code can live inside another server, but a lot more time, energy, and resources can be spent developing the new version in your local machine. You can even buy a $10,000 server for that. As a result, you could be paying for a month or longer upfront. That is exactly why most companies choose cloud hosting services over web hosting.
How does cloud hosting work and why would I do that?
Cloud Hosting comes in three primary forms: Infrastructure as Code (IaaC), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Disaster Recovery (DR).
IaaC: This form is extremely similar to traditional web hosting where a physical server runs the application and listens to requests on the internet. When it receives a request, it then sends the response back. To understand how exactly it works, I want to show you an image — I made one up. Once there, you’ll see that I’ve left it open in a browser tab and on my Android phone. Now, it’s sending commands to its servers to perform actions.
The command is something like this: http://localhost:8888/index.html
SaaS: We have software services, apps, and applications that can run online and listen to requests. We call these backend services because this is what makes the entire system up and running when clients use it to access their website. These can run on the same physical server that already hosts their server or on any server that already hosts their site.
As always, our application is stored on a hard drive in the data center we are currently on and the server is simply sending a command back to a server somewhere on the globe. We don’t even know what’s there on the other side being asked:
When the client runs this on their computer, it receives the command “http://localhost:8888/index.html”. The next time it gets sent to another server, it gets the message “http://localhost:8888/index.html”.
DR: At last, sometimes, you have to deal with the disaster recovery process of your application. Many times, when the sites crash at random, you have to try to restore their data manually. You don’t want anyone going to lose their content (and you don’t want to make yourself do that too often). However, sometimes, a human cannot handle things like that. When that happens, a backup mechanism comes in, like backups or cloning.
A simple way to do the latter is using Google Drive and keeping a copy of your website on there — that’s exactly my idea. I also have set up an internal link where you can easily log in to your website to check what’s going on or even start a restoration flow.
How do I get started with Cloud Hosting?
Setting Up Your Website
For beginners, starting a new website is easy. All you need to do is choose the type of hosting you want and click next. You can also choose among several pre-installed hosting options (and that depends on the size of the site you are creating, I’ll assume yours is smaller than 250 MB because we’re talking about IaaC. Check out HostGator before signing up for an account).
After you choose your choice, fill out some basic details like email address, username, password, etc. After that, you can select the type of hosting you want — I assume you choose shared hosting because that’s what we’re looking at right now (except we can add more later.)
Next, fill out an installation question so Hostgator handles technical questions. Finally, after you accept & complete the configuration, reboot your server for safety purposes, and you’re done! Go Ahead and test your site with your friends and family and let us know what’s going on. 🙂 Do keep in mind that, unlike static pages, when the website goes down, it will take quite a bit of time to revert everything back to normal. So, make sure each time you restart your browser and check your server status manually. And, as always, leave us comments below!