A cloud server is a shared section of a server. It’s allocated for your use (via a virtual environment) and controlled by the service or cloud provider. On your end, it appears that you are running your own compute and storage space. However—and this is an important point—there are usually a large number of other people using the same compute and storage resources within their own virtualized environment.
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The common pricing model in cloud hosting is to pay as you go without large upfront costs. Be wary of any plan or hosting company that seems to buck this trend. Inquire about the security of the datacenters that house the servers. One study found that one third of data breaches involved some compromise of physical security. The decentralized nature of cloud hosting makes data security more complicated. Be sure that the network you will be using is compliant with regulations such as PCI DSS and HIPAA. Look for third-party audits to confirm this.
Laura Bernheim has spent more than 12 years crafting engaging and award-winning articles that share the passion behind organizations' products, people, and innovations. As a contributor to HostingAdvice, she combines a reputation for producing quality content with rich technical expertise to show experienced developers how to capitalize on emerging technologies and find better ways to work with established platforms. A professional journalist, Laura has contributed to The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, the Sun Sentinel, and the world's top hosting providers. In addition to conducting interviews with industry leaders, Laura drives internal writing and design teams to deliver stellar, timely content that clearly explains even the most difficult concepts.
Cloud hosting is an alternative to hosting websites on single servers (either dedicated or shared servers) and can be considered as an extension of the concept of clustered hosting where websites are hosted on multiple servers. With cloud hosting, however, the network of servers that are used is vast and often pulled from different data centres in different locations.