What Is Cloud Hosting? (And Why Multi-Cloud Hosting Is the Future)
In July 2018, Amazon lost an estimated US$100 million after just an hour of downtime during its Prime Day Sales. In August 2020, server outages stirred Google, not only affecting the company itself, but decreasing productivity for the many businesses dependent on its ubiquitous tools. And in May 2021, another global outage temporarily brought down 10% of the internet— impacting eCommerce giants like Amazon and eBay.
In the years since, cloud hosting has evolved to address potentially damaging problems such as these. We live in an interconnected world where businesses of all sizes rely on a global web infrastructure that delivers reliability and advanced website security, as well as business continuity. And while 100% uptime is never guaranteed, multi-cloud hosting delivers something very close.
Not sure what that tech-forward sentence means to you? In this article, we'll explore multi-cloud hosting and why it fits the hosting needs of all businesses—from enterprises to small businesses.
Understanding your web hosting needs
When it comes to choosing a web host, you'll need to distinguish between the different types available. Each hosting type has features and benefits which may or may not fit your needs.
In the past, many first-time website creators opted for shared hosting, or when several sites are hosted on one server. This hosting option is cheap and works well for small sites, including personal websites, without large traffic numbers.
Then, once the site and business start to grow, many medium-sized businesses consider a different option, like VPS hosting, or a private, dedicated space and resources on a shared server. This option is less sensitive to traffic surges on the server, but it's often more expensive than shared hosting. VPS hosting doesn't work for enterprises or busy eCommerce sites, though, and it's still not as reliable as having your own dedicated server.
Cloud hosting, on the other hand, has evolved to meet website demand of all sizes. This type of hosting can manage sudden traffic surges, deliver 99.9% uptime (the most reliable hosting can get), has no single point of failure and scales with your website. And with some website creators—Wix included—it costs nothing.
What is cloud hosting?
Web hosting is the housing of your site on a physical server, plus the delivery of that site to a user's browser. Cloud hosting works the same way, except your site is hosted on a network of virtual servers, rather than a physical one. It is part of a wider concept of cloud computing. Even if you don’t know cloud computing by name, it’s likely you integrate its content storage and delivery capabilities into your everyday life—from browsing on our smartphones and storing work files, to accessing our favorite apps.
Examples of public cloud based services and hosting providers include Microsoft Azure, IBM’s Blue Cloud, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2. You can choose to host your site on any one of these public cloud platforms—although the reliability and costs can vary widely.
Cloud hosting has an edge over non-cloud web hosting. For example, it’s usually considered to be more flexible. Storage and bandwidth for a site can be added, either in response to short term needs (an eCommerce website expecting sudden and increased traffic surges during Black Friday, for example) or in response to the long-term growth of a business.
What is multi-cloud hosting?
Multi-cloud hosting improves upon cloud hosting to give enterprise-grade performance and reliability to everyone—no matter location or business size. With multi-cloud hosting, your hosting provider connects public cloud services, like Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS), with private and in-house servers to host a website. Plus, the provider will work to pre-empt outages and balance traffic loads between networks and servers.
The main reason for using multi-cloud hosting? Reliability. You can have the peace of mind that your site is always running without having to do anything on your end. Let’s use Wix’s multi-cloud hosting as an example here, a solution which uses Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Wix’s in-house servers:
Imagine the unthinkable happens and AWS is temporarily offline. All websites hosted on AWS would drop offline, too. But when using a multi-cloud service like Wix, another network like Google Cloud can step into the breach. In the unlikely (but not impossible) scenario that both AWS and Google Cloud are down, Wix's in-house servers would take on hosting duties for your website, so you carry on with your business.
Key features of multi-cloud hosting
Multiple servers: public, private and internal
Multiple globally-located content delivery networks (CDN)
24/7 management and maintenance from the service provider
Unlimited bandwidth including storage that scales with the users needs
Up to 99.9% uptime
Automated services via remote management
Free or on an ‘as used’ basis
Advantages of multi-cloud hosting
If you’re starting to create your website, you'll want to consider the benefits of multi-cloud hosting. Here, the advantages of multi-cloud hosting for websites of all sizes.
1. Reliability plus scalability
2. Hands-off management
3. Improved website performance
01. Reliability plus scalability
Cloud hosting is reliable. While 100% uptime can never be a given, cloud hosting providers like Wix can deliver 99.99% uptime, giving you confidence in your business’s continuity.
Cloud hosting also includes automatic site backup. Even in a highly unlikely network outage, your site will automatically restore. Reliable web hosting not only keeps your site continually online, but it also helps maintain your brand reputation through traffic upsurges and server outages.
This also delivers scalability. Multi-cloud hosting relies on a network of internal, public and private clouds to manage and deliver data to websites. As your site's traffic and sales grow and your business needs change, multi-cloud hosting adapts to handle sudden traffic surges through load balancing.
'If your website can go down for a day or two from time to time, your hosting is terrible. Even mediocre hosting doesn't (or shouldn't) do that. (Also, downtime from hosters makes me appreciate well-run platforms like @Wix & co. even more)' John Mueller, Google
02. Hands-off management
Multi-cloud hosting is a complicated solution that requires expert management. Connecting the multiple public and private clouds is incredibly expensive, too. Thankfully, using a multi-cloud hosting service gives you all the benefits of this technology without having to invest your own time or money. In the event of an online outage, or disaster, most multi-cloud hosting providers ensure automatic website backup and recovery. This limits the downtime your site experiences, and will get your business back online faster.
Tip: Hosting with Wix is a fully-managed multi-cloud service that demands nothing from you. At Wix, the aptly-named War Room works 24/7 to pre-empt potential server and network outages. This also includes additional support from Google and AWS cloud services.
03. Improved website performance
Users and search engines alike demand that your site works fast. A positive user experience depends content delivered in seconds—whether that is watching a video or buying a product. Cloud hosting uses geo-clustering, or servers placed as geographically close to the user as possible through a network of CDNs. The result? Higher page load speed and improved customer engagement.
By Rebecca Tomasis
Organic Growth Expert