In the information age, every company and a vast percentage of individuals are hosting websites, often two or three at a time for various purposes. From big corporate websites to personal blog sites, there's no limit to the ways in which people can put their data and services on the internet for others across the globe to access, but this process doesn't happen automatically. Websites don't build themselves and the data has to be stored somewhere accessible in order to be reached by the world wide web. At-home Hosting is always an option, but with the undeniable power of the cloud, most people are turning to virtual Hosting for the accessibility, consistency, and the awesome perks offered by Hosting companies. If you have or are considering creating a website, virtual Hosting has an amazing amount to offer.
Hosting a Website
A computer can host a website much in the same way a person can host a dinner party. Your website is a collection of files and images arranged in a format that a web browser, if directed to those files, can present as a webpage with content. The computer that holds all your website data is referred to as the 'server' because it serves the data stored on it. The server can then use a program like Apache or Nginx to make your website data available to browsers, and a DNS manager tells anyone on the internet to look for your server when trying to load your webpage by name. Like the dinner party, the sever becomes a 'host' because 'guests' who want to visit your website need to access the server Hosting the website data.
Virtual Servers and The Cloud
Virtual servers are made by replicating the structure of an entire operating system onto part of a computer. Many virtual servers can be generated and maintained on a single powerful physical computer, and this is the central premise of cloud Hosting. Through standard remote-access methods like SSH, these virtual servers can be made publicly or privately available over the network, and when many of them are stored in a remote location and offered for commercial sale, they become part of what we think of as the 'cloud' of online commercial data storage. Popular Hosting companies like HostGator and DigitalOcean work in this way to offer remote servers that can do anything from play Pong with themselves to virtually Hosting multiple websites. When someone makes use of these services, they are essentially renting a virtual server backed up by the companies' large-scale support services.
Cloud Hosting your website involves a few steps. The first is to have a rented virtual server from a Hosting company. Now that you have the server space, you need your website data and a DNS registry to tell browsers to look for your website on the IP of the virtual server. Once your website is up and running on the virtual server, you are successfully Hosting on the cloud.
Benefits of Cloud Hosting
Running a website, especially a popular one with lots of visitors, can be very taxing on your local system. Many people don't have auxiliary computers they can dedicate just to Hosting a website, and even if you do there are some major benefits to choosing cloud Hosting instead. The least of these benefits is that you don't have to physically clean a virtual server and worry about overheating, and that your website won't go down if your home suffers from a temporary power outage. However, the best things about cloud Hosting are the extra services offered by Hosting companies. While some of these companies offer simple server space, giving you full or partial control of your virtual server and freedom to do with it as you please, others like Azure and AWS try to offer what they consider to be full-service Hosting. These services can range anywhere from automated backups and storage of those backups to high-powered analytics and database management.
Cloud Hosting is a fantastic solution for anyone looking to open a website and keep it open, and it's important to choose the right host for the job. Compare prices and lists of services to see what best suits the needs of your website (or anything else you want stored and run on a cloud server). While you don't want to overpay for services you won't use, you also don't want to be left in the lurch should your website expand or your local backups become compromised. If you know you want to cloud host, but aren't sure which services to look for, our expert team of developers and network engineers can help you find the right Hosting plan for your website needs. Don't have a website yet? We'll make one for you based on your design with our in-house web developers! Contact us today to check out our services and get more great Hosting advice.