Does it make sense to upgrade to Cloud Hosting?

The answer to this question is not a simple and straightforward yes or no. There are many factors that need to be taken into account.

In this post, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of Cloud Hosting. We’ll also look at the types of sites that will benefit most from this type of web hosting.

Advantages of Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting has a good number of advantages, the most notable of which are as follows:

  • Better uptime, high availability – Many cloud hosting service providers promise uptime rates of up to 99.9%. These uptime rates are not really impossible considering that cloud hosting is designed to be “self-healing.” Cloud hosting employs numerous interconnected servers that automatically compensate for the server or servers that encounter problems.
  • Better performance – Cloud hosting can deliver better performance as it involves the use of multiple servers working as one to provide the resources needed by a site. There’s resource pooling involved to make sure that more resources are directed to where there is more need for them. Cloud hosts also typically implement load balancing across several servers to make sure that enough resources are provided to where and when they are needed.
  • Scalability and flexibility – The main reason people go for the cloud is for enhanced tech flexibility. That is why leading service providers make it within their priority to streamline their cloud server hosting scaling process as much as possible, as to allow clients to respond to varying demand on-the-go.
  • Rapid deployment – Cloud hosting makes it possible to quickly migrate sites. There are cloud companies that enable rapid deployment with their “one-click” setups for installing software.
  • Backup and disaster recovery – With cloud hosting, disaster recovery is unlikely going to be difficult as data backups are automatically generated. The redundant data storage guarantees that the possibility of losing your data is remote.
  • Lower costs – Compared to maintaining your own physical servers, cloud hosting is indeed generally a cheaper option. However, this is not always true when compared to other types of third-party hosting. Cloud hosting can be more expensive than shared hosting and even dedicated servers and virtual private servers.

Disadvantages of Cloud Hosting

There aren’t that many drawbacks in using cloud hosting. Perhaps, one of the few significant things that may make site owners hesitate to switch to the cloud is the price.

Cloud hosting is generally more expensive as compared to most other third-party web hosting solutions. It’s cheaper than obtaining and maintaining your own server equipment but it’s a different story when it is compared to other types of hosting such as shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and VPS.

Cloud hosting is only cheaper if meticulous resource and infrastructure monitoring and management are implemented, and when proper comparisons are made to find the service with the most cost-efficient package.

Also, there are security risks in cloud computing. Unless you have chosen a truly reputable cloud server hosting provider, the threats of hacking, privacy breaches, and cyberattacks cannot be underestimated.

Not all cloud providers can guarantee adequate protection, especially those that will accept all kinds of customers. These customers, who essentially will be sharing the same cloud resources with you as well as other customers, may not have sufficient security measures in place. They can become instrumental to the introduction and penetration of attacks into the cloud servers you are using.

Additionally, for those who are new to cloud hosting, the lack of familiarity with the interface, functions, and technologies may contribute to the failure in implementing the right security measures.

Is Cloud Server Hosting for you?

Cloud hosting is mostly suited for sites that get high volumes of traffic. It is for big, popular sites and blogs that can make the most of the different advantages such as extensive/unlimited storage and high availability. It is an excellent option for those who want to focus more on doing their business or producing content, instead of spending significant amounts of time dealing with the technical aspects of web hosting.

This does not mean that cloud hosting is not recommended for new websites that are yet to attract visitors and subscribers/users. It is a good choice for new sites that are meant to attract huge amounts of traffic. It is for sites that are to be launched with solid marketing and the goal of making it big.

New sites can greatly benefit from the flexibility and scalability of cloud hosting. With cloud hosting, you only have to pay for the resources you use or get a basic plan and just scale up later on when your site needs more resources.

Cloud Hosting and WordPress sites

Cloud hosting’s relationship with WordPress sites is not really that different from that of other sites. There are no significant features, functions, or compatibility concerns in WordPress that distinguish it from other sites in the context of cloud server hosting.

Cloud hosting is not the same as managed WordPress hosting that is specifically intended for WordPress. As such, it can be said that the decision to scale up WordPress sites to cloud server hosting is not that different from scaling up other sites.

The decision should largely be based on what the site needs and the available options for cloud hosting. Of course security, user interface, and flexibility should also be factored in but they are already basic considerations regardless of whether or not the site uses WordPress or other content management systems.

Things to remember as you decide to shift to Cloud Hosting

  • Evaluate your requirements and current infrastructure – It’s important to be clear on what your site needs. You need to be sure if your current host is really incapable of addressing your growing needs. The size and level of traffic your site has may not warrant the scaling up yet unless you are planning a big promotions campaign that is set to bring in a big surge in traffic and subscribers/users.
  • Examine the financial considerations – As mentioned, cloud hosting is not the cheapest hosting option available. It offers a great deal of advantages but with a corresponding cost increase. You need to evaluate if the cost is worth it. Is there really a need to spend for cloud hosting or are there more cost-efficient options? Have a long-term mindset, though. The decision may not appear viable in the short-term but it may be a necessary expense in the long haul.
  • Be properly acquainted with security implications – Good cloud hosting is not inherently prone to security problems but it certainly isn’t close to being immune to such problems. Aside from choosing a reputable cloud provider, it’s also important to make sure that you can properly secure your sites by doing the following:
    • Authenticating identities, making sure that you know who gets to access resources and services
    • Ensuring adequate security for the devices used to access your sites
    • Automating security by having IT compliance controls
    • Preventing data exfiltration
    • Integrating preventing and responsive security strategies
    • Conducting regular website security audits
  • Be sure to take advantage of all cloud features – If you are going for cloud hosting, be sure you make the most of it. Know what features and added benefits cloud can offer so you can take advantage of all of them as much as possible. Be mindful of what the cloud provider advertises and read the terms and conditions. If you get the promise of a 99.9% uptime, make sure that you are getting just that. If root access is included in the ad, you should see to it that you get root access. Complain when there’s something to complain about. Use the customer support channels available to ask questions or request for technical assistance.
  • Choose “no contract” services – There are companies that impose restrictive or onerous terms on the services they offer. Worse, they bind you to contracts that are practically inescapable. That’s why it’s advisable to find cloud hosting packages that are available on a no-contract basis. If you are not satisfied with the service, you should be able to quickly switch to a better one.

Scaling the Cloud

Scaling up your WordPress sites to cloud hosting is a big decision. And it’s definitely not the right move for everyone, but it can be for some.

In summary, it can be said that it makes sense to use cloud hosting if you have the following circumstances:

  • Your sites receive huge volumes of traffic and you want the ability to scale your hosting as your traffic grows without having to migrate to new servers
  • You have a site, an online store or ecommerce site in particular, that requires high availability, fast page loading time, and should be easy to scale up or down

In other words, cloud hosting isn’t a smart choice for smaller sites that just want reliability and high performance. There are plenty of WordPress managed hosts available that may be better suited. But, hosting in the Cloud definitely makes sense for larger sites, particularly ecommerce and media sites.

Posted by Tim Erinwright

Tim Erinwright is a UK-based web developer at his freelance gig WRightDigital, and a self-professed tech geek and writer. When he’s not creating magic on WordPress, he can be found analyzing the “Song of Ice and Fire” books, and of course hiking.