Cloud server hosting uses non-physical (cloud) servers, similar to virtual private server hosting. This gives people greater access to scalable hosting and higher performance.
With shared servers, resources are shared amongst many customers; if your server goes down, so does your site and everyone else’s. Also, if other website owners start pushing their resources to the limit, your web site’s performance will suffer.
The best cloud server hosting providers can offer the bee’s knees when it comes to web hosting, and in recent years become very popular. Packages are provided at an affordable cost whilst delivering a product that outshines others.
Cloud hosting offers a seamless balance between affordability, power, and performance. If you’re looking for cheap web hosting that’s scalable and reliable, cloud hosting is something to seriously consider.
What Is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting refers to your website’s data being stored across multiple servers. This means resources are pushed and pulled from a range of locations, offering high scalability and reliability.
Think of cloud server hosting as ‘flexible hosting’; it suits customers who might want to upgrade/downgrade as they go. It’s kind of like a pay-as-you-go mobile phone (I actually still have one). You pay for resources according to your own needs.
I personally think cloud hosting is brilliant. The restrictions are far less, meaning there’s minimal pressure to choose the ‘right’ product there and then.
There are dozens (actually, even more) cloud server hosting providers out there. I’ve taken the time to sign up to some cloud hosting plans to find the absolute BEST in the business.
What are the benefits of Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is known for its flexibility and scalability. Cloud hosting is ideal if you’re starting a website or business but you’re not sure exactly how many resources you’re going to require. Some of the major benefits of cloud hosting include:
- Flexible payment structure
- Easy to scale server resources
- Uptime and availability is high
- Faster speed and server performance
- Quick setup process
1. HostGator (Best Cloud Server Overall)
HostGator have always been a firm favourite of mine as a web host. Whilst they may be better known for their shared and dedicated server hosting, their cloud server hosting packs a punch with a 99.99% uptime guarantee.
All 3 of their cloud hosting plans include a FREE SSL certificate and a domain name. HostGator’s low-cost cloud hosting is available from just $4.95 per month (£3.84) and offers unmetered storage and bandwidth.
HostGator Uptime & Performance
Unlike the other cloud hosting providers in this list, HostGator actually offer a very decent uptime guarantee of 99.99%.
Over a 30 day period, I monitored my cloud server with HostGator. They exceeded my expectations offering a 100% uptime record in the last 24 hours, 7 days, and month.
The response time on my website was really great too. The average response time I received was 437ms which is very reassuring.
There’s certainly no performance or speed issues when it comes to HostGator’s cloud server hosting.
HostGator’s cloud web hosting is scalable, reliable and fast. We’ve already seen that they perform well, but does their affordable price really cut the mustard in terms of features?
Ramp up your cloud resources as your online presence grows. One simple click is all you need—no data migrations, downtime or rebootsHostGator
Let’s take a look at what features are included across all of their cloud hosting plans:
- Local caching
- Free SSL certificate
- Unlimited sub domains
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Unlimited storage
- Free domain included (when signing up to 12, 24 or 36 month plan)
|CPU||2 Cores||4 Cores||6 Cores|
|SSL||Included||Included||Included + Positive SSL|
|PRICE||$4.95/mo (£3.84)||$6.57/mo (£5.09)||$9.95/mo (£7.71)|
I think HostGator’s pricing is very reasonable. Considering HostGator’s Hatchling plan and A2 Hosting’s Entry plan are the same price, there’s quite a few differences.
For example, HostGator offer 2GB RAM whereas A2 Hosting offer only 512MB. A2 Hosting offer 1 core and 20GB storage, and HostGator offer 2 cores and unlimited storage.
Whilst you do have to pay for extras like site backup and restore and domain privacy, I’m not sure this would be enough to put me off purchasing.
It’s frustrating there’s no mention of cPanel, but then again InMotion Hosting (who offer cPanel) are charging £22 per month.
2. A2 Hosting (Best Cheap Cloud Server)
For me, A2 hosting is very much a contender. They somehow managed to balance affordability with performance and features.
If you’re looking to host unlimited websites on a cloud server, A2 Hosting offers this from just £3.86 per month.
A2 Hosting Uptime & Performance
A2 Hosting’s cloud server plans come with a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Whilst that may not match the generous guarantee that shared hosting provider SiteGround offers (99.99%), at least they do have an SLA.
After signing up to A2 Hosting’s cloud server plan, I monitored my uptime and response time. Over the space of 30 days, my test website achieved an uptime of 99.96%. This is well within their SLA of 99.9%.
My site’s response time wasn’t as good as I had hoped. The average response time was 1,328 ms which is just over 1 second.
Research shows that a server response time of more than 998ms would put you in the worst 20% of sites, and more than 1.3 seconds would put you in the worst-performing sites.
A2 Hosting Features
A2 Hosting’s cloud server hosting comes with some pretty nifty features. These may not be as inclusive as other web hosts, but I have to keep reminding you this is ALL included for just £3.86 per month:
- Design your perfect server
- Multiple server location options
- CloudFlare Firewall
- Turbo hosting (20x faster)
- Anytime money-back guarantee
- FutureServe Green hosting
- 1-click software installer
- SSH access
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- 24/7/365 support
A2 Hosting Pricing
|CPANEL + SOFTACULOUS||No||£17.70/mo||£17.70/mo|
A2 Hosting’s cloud server hosting prices are pretty damn cheap. You can get cloud hosting for just £3.86 per month, and the specs aren’t bad either.
Whilst the Elite package offers the best hardware and performance, if you’re satisfied with 20GB storage and 512MB RAM, the Entry plan is well within reach.
However, I am disappointed that none of the plans include cPanel for free. This often comes as standard with most shared hosting providers.
3. InMotion Hosting (Best Cloud Server for Performance)
InMotion Hosting have made a solid name for themselves in the hosting world. They are known for offering great shared hosting plans as well as high-grade cloud servers.
All of their cloud hosting plans include a FREE SSL certificate, unlimited email accounts and a free cPanel licence.
InMotion Hosting Uptime & Performance
According to their website, InMotion Hosting offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Again, I’m surprised that such a big hosting company in the industry doesn’t commit to more.
I signed up to InMotion’s cloud server hosting and recorded an uptime of 99.95%. This feels quite an average uptime to me so I wasn’t disheartened or ecstatic to be honest.
However, their response times were much better than expected. My test website’s response time averaged out at 852ms which is just about acceptable in terms of what’s required of website’s.
InMotion Hosting Features
InMotion have 3 cloud hosting plans. They have their differences, but they all have one thing in common (well, several) and that’s these features:
- Free SSD (20x faster)
- Free SSL
- CPU cores
- Unlimited email accounts
- Free cPanel licence
- Unlimited domains/websites
- Dedicated IP addresses
InMotion Hosting Pricing
|FREE DOMAIN||Included with all 6 and 12 month plans||Included with all 6 and 12 month plans||Included with all 6 and 12 month plans|
|PRICE||$29.19/mo (£22.58)||$47.39/mo (£36.65)||$69.34/mo (£53.63)|
I won’t lie, I do feel InMotion Hosting’s cloud server plans are a little on the expensive side. Starting from £22.58 per month, this is a lot more than A2 Hosting’s £3.86 per month.
However, InMotion Hosting do offer a lot more in the way of cloud hosting. Their RAM is over quadruple what A2 Hosting is offering, double the monthly transfer rate, and cPanel is included.
You’ll also get a free SSL certificate and a free domain when you sign up to their 6 or 12 month plans.
For me, DreamHost kind of feel like the ‘average’ cloud hosting provider. They offer lots of features at average prices, but it can get a little complicated. If you’re a beginner to cloud hosting, I’d recommend choosing another hosting company to start off with.
However, that’s not to say DreamHost isn’t any good. Because they are, they’re very good, but do you get enough value for money? DreamHost offer 2 cloud hosting services;. Cloud Computing and Cloud Object Storage.
DreamHost Uptime & Performance
DreamHost are one of the few hosting providers that offer a 100% uptime guarantee. Obviously this is the best we can hope for, but can they live up to their bold claims.
Thankfully, DreamHost did offer us exactly what we wanted. Over the space of 30 days, our test website on their cloud computing server achieved a 100% uptime result.
DreamHost’s response time was pretty average. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t the worst either. This came in at 719ms which is leaning too much towards the worst response times expected by websites.
As I touched on earlier, DreamHost have 2 main cloud hosting services they offer. For the purpose of this review, we’re looking at their Cloud Computing hosting (as opposed to Cloud Object Storage).
Each DreamHost cloud server can be run for as long as you need. One of the great benefits is that you will only get charged up to 600 hours (25 days) in each given month. Let’s look at some of the features included:
- 100GB block storage
- Free bandwidth
- 80GB SSD disk
- OpenStack-compatible API
- Full root access
- Full control
- U.S. based data center
|Flavor Name||Memory||vCPU||Hourly Price||Max Monthly Price|
|512MB RAM SERVER||2GB RAM SERVER||8GB RAM SERVER|
|CPU||1 vCPU||1 vCPU||4 vCPU|
|SSD||80 GB||80 GB||80 GB|
|BLOCK STORAGE||100 GB||100 GB||100 GB|
|PRICE||Max $4.50/month ($0.0075/hour) £3.49||Max $12/month ($0.02/hour) £9.31||Max $48/month ($0.08/hour) £37.23|
DreamHost’s pricing can be a little confusing at first. This is why I only recommend them for more advanced users.
In terms of pricing, DreamHost is reasonably competitive. They aren’t the cheapest of the cloud hosts we’ve looked at, but they’re not the most expensive either.
This brings me back to the point where I said they’re kind of ‘middle of the road’ in terms of their pricing, features, and performance.
Cloud Hosting FAQs
What Applications Can Be Run On A Cloud Server?
Cloud servers are basically the virtual equivalent of a dedicated server, so any software that runs on a physical server can be run on a cloud hosting server, e.g. you can install a self-hosted version of WordPress.
Are Cloud Servers Secure?
Cloud server hosting is incredibly secure, with increased levels of security compared to traditional hosting.
Do I Need Cloud Hosting?
I guess it really depends on what you are trying to achieve. Small websites and personal blogs usually only require a more affordable shared hosting plan as they don’t require as many resources and often don’t get large influxes of site traffic.
But if you want to host a high-traffic website or you want to be able to scale your resources quickly if you get a spike in traffic, cloud hosting may be of benefit to you.
Will My Website Be Hosted In The Cloud?
The Cloud, as it’s known, doesn’t really exist, it’s just a name for a way that something is done. Infrastructure companies run “clouds”, and you can even set up your own cloud if you really wanted to.