Cloud hosting seems to be a big buzz word when it comes to your eCommerce sites.  So what is it?

In a nutshell, your website is hosted on a virtual server, and not a physical one.  The resources used to create this virtual server are supplied by several physical servers in different locations, instead of just one.  This grouping of servers is called a “cloud,” and that is where the hosting gets its name.

Benefits:

  • Since resources are spread across multiple physical servers, your site is not dependent on a single resource.  In general, you will see better up-time for cloud based sites since there is no single point of failure.
  • In general, cloud hosting gives you the ability to easily scale up and down, based on your needs at any moment.
  • You are going to only be charged for what you use.  Unlike traditional hosting, you don’t buy “x” amount of resources ahead of time, with cloud hosting you are charged as you use it.
  • Since you have multiple machines allocating resources to your site, your users will notice a more consistent browsing experience, regardless of where they are located.  Since your site is not tied to a single machine, in a single data center, there is less “location lag” based on the distance data has to travel to reach the end user.

Drawbacks:

  • Security can be more of a challenge.  Since multiple machines are serving data, there are multiple points that need to be secured.  This is where careful vetting of your host comes into play!
  • Cloud hosting tends to be more complicated than traditional hosting.  But, the great thing is now managed cloud hosting services are starting to pop up, which provide easy user interfaces to interact with your cloud environment.

If you are looking to get into cloud hosting, but are not proficient is SSH, then the best tip would be to check out some of the managed hosting providers out there.  At the time of this writing, ThePluginPros.com is actually hosted on a Linode server, via the Cloudways managed hosting platform.  We have really enjoyed the Cloudways platform, and have had very few issues.  Initial setup was a breeze, and the only hiccup we had was getting our email up and running.  Since Cloudways doesn’t provide a built in email server, it is necessary to use a 3rd party.  They have a direct integration with Rackspace, but we decided to use Mailgun instead.  The main reason for this is cost, and Mailgun being free for low volume emailers (how can you beat that?!?).

In moving to our current hosting setup from a traditional host, we cut our monthly hosting bill almost in half. We also are getting a noticeable bump in site speed.  The migration process is a snap, as Cloudways has a plugin for it, and the longest part of the move is waiting on the DNS to update.  So, if you are thinking of making the jump to cloud hosting, we would highly suggest doing so!  If you are not comfortable with the increase in tech know-how needed to spin up a cloud instance, then we would also highly suggest giving Cloudways a look.  They have been great for us, and you can see how quickly this site loads!

**Disclaimer – The link to Cloudways above is an affiliate link.  While the intent of this article is not to push people to Cloudways, we are having a great experience with them!  It is impossible to write about cloud hosting and not bring them up!  

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