“The Cloud” seems to be the buzz word of the moment: if you’re not offering Cloud Services then you’re not operating in the 21st century.
The weird thing is, the cloud isn’t a newly invented technology, it’s been around for ages – almost since the start of the web. In fact one of the very first companies I worked for in 1999 offered what we’d now call “Cloud Hosting”, back then it was called something along the lines of “Multiple Redundancy Severs with automatic failover backup systems”. Not quite so catchy huh?
What is Cloud Hosting?
Simply put, all of your web services (hosting, ftp, email etc.) are spread across many different servers meaning that if one server goes down, your services are still available to use. These servers could be based in the same data centre, or situated in a different county or even country.
Additionally, resources are allocated as they are needed rather than being set at a particular level. So, if you have a blog post that gets featured on the front page of Reddit, additional servers can kick in to manage the extra traffic and bandwidth usage for the 24 hours that your article becomes super popular.
Below is a very basic graphic (click for a larger version) showing how cloud hosting works. The user’s request hits the hosting server, this request is then passed on to the appropriate server (and if required data centre):
What should I consider when buying Cloud Hosting?
When running websites in “The Cloud”, you’re essentially being allocated space on a server that could be hosting multiple websites. This makes a cloud hosting solution relatively cheap but limits what you are allowed to run on your server, and what access you have to it. If you need to run bespoke programs, or have command level access to the sever then you should be considering Dedicated Servers or a Virtual Private Server
Also, if you’re in the United Kingdom, server location can be a very important factor. According to UK Data protection rules, you are not allowed to transport personal data outside the European Economic Area. Just because a hosting provider is based in the UK, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their servers are based here.
At KWWD, all of our servers are based in the UK so you can be safe in the knowledge you won’t have any issues with the data protection act in terms of transmitting customer data outside the EEA.
Another important factor in whether cloud hosting is suitable for you is if you are required to run a PCI compliant website. If so, it may not be feasible to run your website or applicate on a shared server and you would need to look at a dedicated server instead.
How do I know what server is right for me?
If you’re running a simple website or blog, then our Cloud Hosting solution should be perfectly adequate for your needs. If you’re looking at running something a bit more complicated, please contact me for a no obligation chat and we’ll discuss your web hosting needs.
You can find out more information on the topics in this post using the links below:
- Information Commissioner – Transferring Data Outside the EEA
- KWWD Cloud Hosting
KWWD Dedicated Servers
- KWWD Hybrid Servers
KWWD Virtual Private Servers
- PCI Compliance
Off- topic : Like my rubbishly drawn graphic above? You should check out my Badly Drawn Cartoons Website – they get worse!