In conventional web hosting a single “shared” server is used to host several websites. There are some companies that put hundreds of websites on a single machine to cut costs. As a result, the performance of any particular website gets affected if other websites on the server use up too much resources. Cloud or “cluster” hosting is one of the best solutions to this problem. In this type of hosting a cluster of servers is used to host a given number of websites, such that each site gets the benefit of every server in the network. This means that under high traffic a site can utilize bandwidth of multiple servers within the cluster.
Cloud hosting is better than conventional hosting in several different ways. Firstly, you have multiple servers at your disposal. If the resource usage of your websites is high then this can be extremely beneficial. Also, the servers can support a variety of programming languages and interfaces, which would make it possible for a website to access different server platforms – say Windows and Linux – at the same time, thus boosting your web site’s features to a great extent. Secondly, clusters of servers lead to a more stable network than even dedicated servers. This is because if a single server crashes or goes down, the other servers make up for the loss promptly. However, this involves proper tweaking and configuration of the servers themselves.
Lastly, despite of all the great features, cloud hosting comes at a price comparable to VPS hosting. This is because several clients have access to the cluster in question, and the cost is divided, either equally or in a weighted manner – which means the amount of money you pay depends on how much space and bandwidth your site takes up.
The only glitch hosts face with cloud hosting is web security. This is because sites are hosted over multiple servers, and a breach in any one of those servers would affect the entire database. Also certain companies take up cloud hosting on account of its growing popularity without any technical expertise for the job whatsoever. Poorly configured cloud hosts are the worst possible problem a website owner can face, as the glitches (just like the benefits) are multiplied on account of multiple server access.
It is to be noted that cloud hosting works better for certain types of websites. For instance, sites that are prone to sporadic surges in traffic are ideal for cloud hosting because it completely eliminates the possibility of downtime. Also, because of the excellent scalability of cloud servers, they are perfect for sites expecting to undergo rapid growth. Contrarily, small sites with a only a handful of monotonous pages, or contrarily mammoth sites with thousands of pages viewed daily are NOT suitable for cloud hosts; the former being better suited to shared servers, and the latter to dedicated ones. However, exceptions to this rule do exist. A few months back I had to purchase a cloud hosting plan for my wordpress blog because it had expanded to such an extent that typical wordpress web hosting couldn’t support it anymore.