When creating and launching a new site, you have to deal with a lot of issues and solve them before you even start and before they become a bigger problem. One of these issues is hosting. A lot of individuals who start a site or startups that wand to launch a service or web application have the same problem: which hosting package to choose?
Admittedly, up until now it was pretty hard to choose the best hosting offer for any kind of site, and that’s because there were basically 3 types of hosting, all of which have their drawbacks: shared hosting, VPS and dedicated servers and server clusters.
Shared hosting is cheap, but the scalability, flexibility, freedom of administration and most of the times performance are severely limited. Virtual Private Servers seem better, but they, too, suffer from the same drawbacks as shared hosting.
Dedicated servers seem to be the best of the bunch, with enough power to last quite a while (you can serve a couple of million users with a powerful and properly configured server), but in the end, you will have to switch (either because newer, better servers become available at cheaper prices than before or you just need more processing power) and that will be a big pain to do. Clusters are perfect, but they’re too damn expensive and very hard to configure and upgrade in the future.
But that’s all in the past thanks to the new big player on the hosting technologies market, and the solution which is touted to be the future: cloud hosting. A cloud server is basically a couple of hundred or thousand physical machines connected together to form one big virtual machine, which hosts all of the clients of a data center.
This means that now, you can have access to a practically unlimited number of resources because the pool is very dynamic, having enough resources to maintain any amount of sites by quickly balancing the load on all hardware parts (plus, new machines and hardware can be added on the fly, without interrupting anything) and spend less money overall per month thanks to the new ingenious billing system where you pay ONLY for the resources you use and only WHEN you use them.
Cloud hosting is the perfect choice for, well, any kind of application. Whether you launch and informational web site, an online application, a Software as a Service, a tool for small businesses, anything – a single cloud server can handle it all. And it’s also very easy to manage or backup, as you can back it up on NAS storage that is part of the same data center or even cloud, which makes it faster and cheaper.
You can start by getting a basic package, and increase the amount of resources you need incrementally when you need them. You can, for example, increase the amount of processor core and RAM whenever you’re hit by a lot of traffic from Digg, Facebook or other social networks, and then decrease it if you no longer need the resources. Or you can just increase the amount of resources every month, depending on how many new users (and therefore, income) you get.
In the near future, you’ll be able to set the cloud software to regulate the resources automatically and charge you only for what you, which will further simplify things. You should definitely at the very least consider cloud hosting if you plan on launching any online application, service or web site.