Cloud hosting has changed the hosting industry for the better, enabling increased reliability and resilience for customers.
Signing up for a simple web hosting package would typically buy you a defined block of resources on a single server: VPNOnlineFree your domain name, then choose as much web space, as much bandwidth, maybe a defined amount of RAM or processor cores.
Although it works well for many websites, having fixed resources can be a problem for large projects. There is usually no way to temporarily allocate additional RAM or bandwidth if you see an increase in traffic, and even a simple plan upgrade may require your website to go offline for a while. .
Cloud hosting plans look a lot like Virtual Private Server (VPS) web hosting products, where you will initially pay for a defined amount of web space, RAM, CPU time, and bandwidth. But these resources are spread across multiple devices instead of just one, and changing your plan later – adding another gig of RAM, for example – is usually as easy as dragging a slider, with the extra power that goes into online in a few moments.
There are also additional options for web hosting for small businesses, such as eco-friendly web hosting. Additionally, cloud hosting is scalable and can offer a good alternative to the need for a dedicated server with a colocation provider, and there are options for managed web hosting services.
You can use cloud hosting for everything from hosting your emails to replacing your corporate server. However, if you want hands-on experience, expect virtual servers to run Linux, not Windows.
Cloud hosting still won't be for everyone, and small, simple websites will likely fare better with regular packages. But technology has a lot to offer anyone with bigger or more ambitious plans, and many hosts run free trials that make it easy to explore their capabilities on your own.
- Do you want your business or services to be included in this buyer's guide? Please send your request by e-mail to [email protected] with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.
Best cloud hosting – at a glance
- Micrososft Azure
1. Microsoft Azure
Cloud hosting for websites and corporate data
Business data set
Too much for just a website
If you're looking to move your corporate hosting to the cloud, one of the first places to consider is one of the big cloud computing platforms, such as Microsoft Azure.
It's not a solution for small businesses looking to just host a website, but it's a great place to go if you also have additional IT needs and want to put it all in one place. The advantage is that you can move all your business data and applications to the cloud and run them from a single, unified platform.
Plus, by keeping a single provider, you can avoid all the complications of cloud management for hybrid clouds and on-premises data. On top of that, Azure offers more compliance and security certifications than any other cloud provider.
However, moving to a major cloud platform is not for the faint-hearted, but if you have in-house IT skills or if you can use third-party cloud support services, the move might make a lot of sense even for the more small. companies with a lot of data.
And for small and large businesses, up to medium to large businesses, moving from a cloud platform like Azure can be a case of “when” rather than “if”.
Cloud hosting for websites only
Simple to use
Solid plan range
Attractive price with initial discounts
If you only need to host a website rather than additional business data, then HostGator's cloud platform could be a more ideal choice. Unlike normal web hosting, the Hostgator cloud hosting platform spreads your website load across multiple virtual server instances for more reliable and scalable hosting, but it's as easy to use as standard shared hosting and costs just a little more.
For example, the Hatchling Cloud base plan allows you to support unmeasured domain, bandwidth and storage, up to two cores and 2 GB of RAM and distributed varnish caching to speed up loading static content. You can start for as little as $ 3.13 (£ 2.50) per month if you buy three years in advance, although the price drops to $ 8.95 (£ 6.40) when renewed.
If you need something more powerful, the high-end Business Cloud plan supports an unlimited number of domains, offers you up to six cores and 6 GB of RAM, and includes private SSL and dedicated IP. Another big launch reduction means you can pay as little as $ 6.28 (£ 5.10) per month over three years, but after that, you'll pay $ 17.95 (£ 12.80) per month.
The benefits of cloud plans include (up to) twice as fast load times, as well as more site statistics, and because your site is mirrored across multiple devices, the ability to switch your site to another server in case of hardware failure.
But the main advantage of all cloud hosting systems is scalability. If your site can't keep up with demand, you can scale up to eight cores and 8 GB of RAM with one click. There is no waiting for someone to process your order and no downtime while your web space is reallocated – you get additional resources immediately.
Additionally, although prices increase after the initial discount promotion, they still remain extremely competitive.
A good compromise between power and ease of use
Friendly but powerful
At first glance, cloud hosting products seem to be divided into two clear groups: enterprise-level technology from Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and more, or simpler and more user-friendly products from hosts like Hostgator. .
Cloudways represents an interesting middle way. The company offers managed cloud hosting that is powered by your choice of the best providers – Amazon, Google, DigitalOcean, Kyup, Linode or Vultr are supported – and comes with features, but is configured from a single console Web that is just as easy to use as the most basic competition.
It is an impressive platform. Cloudways' ThunderStack covers all of your basic performance needs: Nginx, Apache, Memcached, MySQL / MariaDB, Varnish Cache, PHP 7, PHP-FM and Redis. There is one-click cloning, backup and restore, built-in Git and team collaboration tools for developers, and no less than 60 strategically placed data centers around the world (over 25 locations).
Despite all these high-end features, Cloudways products are generally simple to use and prices start at $ 10 (£ 7.15) per month for a core, 1 GB of RAM, 25 GB of storage and 1 TB of bandwidth . Everything is extremely configurable and a free trial allows you to verify the product, with no credit card required. In addition, a referral system is available, where you and your friends can receive free hosting credits.
4. Cloud servers managed by Clook
An independent hosting leader in the UK
Reliable and carefree
Clook is one of the UK's leading independent web hosting providers, which offers Cloud servers managed among their various hosting services.
Again, it is intended for more basic web hosting needs, but if you are looking for that in the UK market, Clook is the best.
Unlike many other web hosting providers who are looking for the lowest prices while cutting services, Clook invests in one of the best media in the business. This means you pay more, but it also means that you can enjoy peace of mind, because if something is wrong, you can rest assured that Clook is already working hard to fix it.
Additionally, if you have additional support questions, Clook is quick to respond, and rather than frontline script reading support, you speak directly with people with direct system administration experience from their network. servers. This avoids the frustration of going around in circles and rather means that the job is just finished.
Since this is a company run by system administrators, it also means that the hardware and network are very solid and that their managed cloud servers are no different. It's also a managed service, which means you don't have to worry about anything. While other providers may aim for high availability, Clook ensures that their customers really benefit, which translates into headache-free service.
All in all, there are cheap hosting providers and complicated cloud platforms, but if you just want solid web hosting and are looking at the UK market, Clook is one of the best options you can to choose.
Hosting for the most demanding user
Really well presented
While cloud hosting systems always involve pooling resources from multiple devices, most do their best to keep you away from low-level details. You may be able to scale up your plan by adding processor cores, RAM, or storage, for example, but the console will present it to you as a single system.
DigitalOcean Droplets are based on similar resizable and customizable virtual machines, but this is just the beginning – technology has much more to offer.
For starters, the system supports droplets of different types. If standard plans aren't enough – priced at $ 5 (£ 3.55) per month for a core, 1 GB of RAM and 25 GB of storage – Optimized droplets aim to increase your performance using the best Broadwell processors and Skylake, and providing more RAM and storage space.
Individual droplets have more features than you think, including performance monitoring and alerts, snapshots, and automatic system-level backups.
There are various interesting ways to work with your Droplets as a group, including setting up a cloud firewall and using a load balancer to distribute incoming traffic across your infrastructure.
DigitalOcean's transparent pricing is a strong point. You are billed hourly, with monthly caps, making sure you only pay for the resources you use. Many features are free – monitoring, cloud firewalls – while others follow very simple pricing rules. Snapshots cost $ 0.05 per gigabyte per month, for example, while backups cost 20% of the cost of the virtual machine – it's easy.
If all you want to do is host a scalable WordPress site, it will probably be overkill, but developers, system administrators and other more demanding users will appreciate the power and flexibility that DigitalOcean offers. Browse the long list of tutorials (including numbers 3, 00 + at the time of writing) on the DigitalOcean site to learn more.
You can also check out our other buying web site buying guides: