If you are responsible for the running of a commercial or public sector website, you have probably already heard people talking about cloud hosting, both here in Australia and in many other countries. But are you aware of how cloud hosting works and what it may have to offer your organisation? If not, this brief primer will help to get you up to speed quickly.
Everything you need to know about cloud hosting
There are a number of ways in which cloud hosting differs from other types of hosting services currently available for businesses and public sector bodies in Australia:
- Scalability/Flexibility — Cloud hosting is a hosting model that employs a network, or cloud, of servers to host websites. In other words, each site is hosted in the cloud, which consists of multiple servers, rather than on a single, physical computer. One of the biggest advantages of this type of hosting model is its inherent scalability: as a website attracts more traffic, more cloud resources can be automatically assigned to it. This is in contrast to a dedicated hosting solution, where a new machine would have to be provisioned in the event that traffic outgrew the present one.
- Economical for larger organisations — A well-managed cloud hosting solution can prove to be significantly less expensive than either dedicated hosting or self-hosting for busy corporate websites. If you manage a major website that attracts millions of visitors every month or every year, cloud hosting in Australia could be the perfect solution for your needs. As you only pay for the resources you actually need at any given time, it can be much more economical than the most popular alternatives.
- Availability — As you can imagine, a hosting solution that leverages the power of an entire network of servers, running in a cloud, can guarantee a much higher degree of availability than one that relies on a single physical machine, or a share of the resources provided by a single machine. Large cloud hosting providers normally offer 99.99% uptime guarantees to their customers, which equates to a maximum of just over 4 minutes of downtime permitted during a month. Most months, cloud hosts are able to achieve 100% uptime but it’s nice to know that even in the worst-case scenario, your website will not be out of commission for any more than 4 minutes over the course of a month.
- Improved security — Because cloud hosting employs multiple servers, often in multiple data centres, the websites that it hosts are less susceptible to DDOS attacks. Cloud hosts use load balancing to ensure that large spikes in traffic, whether generated by genuine visitors or by malicious programs, do not cause any availability issues. Reputable cloud hosts also use state-of-the-art security applications to protect the data that resides on their servers and ensure that these applications are always kept up to date with the latest patches.
If you would like to make sure that visitors can always access your website and any online applications you provide, a cloud hosting solution is well worth considering.