Every batch of statistics that gets released about cloud computing shows it’s becoming more prominent in business and personal lives. It has a lot of advantages over the standard computing model. Instead of filling up your office with servers and cooling systems, and performing updates and maintenance, the cloud host takes care of the dirty work. You get to sit back and take advantage of the scalable architecture, the expert help and the knowledge that a disaster taking out your office won’t take out your hosting accounts. Before you take the cloud hosting plunge, familiarize yourself with the basics.

How It Works

Many cloud hosts are popping up, from established companies such as Rackspace to up-and-comers that aren’t known outside of their local market. Some cloud hosts look and feel exactly the same as a standard web host, down to the same control panel adapted for use in the cloud environment. Even if the graphics look the same, what’s under the hood is quite different. You don’t have a single server, or a single shared server for your hosting account. Instead, your data is spread throughout several virtualized servers. The advantage to this is reducing a single point of hardware failure, since the data is spread out among different servers.

Another advantage to this system is that it’s easy to create new operating system instances. If you want to test out an application on a specific FreeBSD distribution, it only takes a few minutes to create the server. This gives you a lot of flexibility in business development.

Content Versus Whole Websites

If you are having an issue serving your content fast enough, but you feel your web server is robust enough to handle the website on its own, you may want to consider a content-delivery network that’s cloud based for site hosting, such as Amazon Cloud Front. However, this doesn’t protect your network framework from disaster and you still have to put up with the data center taking up a lot of valuable office space.

Fully hosting your website in the cloud doesn’t take much more of a learning curve than normal hosting accounts. Once you know enough to create the virtualized server, you can upload files and folders to it like it was a typical hosting account. Some cloud services may even have website-building tools integrated into their control panels. As your server needs increase, such as during seasonal changes, you can scale your plan up to meet with demand.

The lack of an up-front investment really helps to sell cloud computing services, so you can cut down on the amount of overhead your IT equipment requires. You can use that to upgrade your workstation, finally get that adjustable office chair you want, or spend the entire savings on Nerf guns for an all-out office battle.

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