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1
InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $14.99

  • Ranked #1 for cloud (VPS) hosting
  • FREE SSD included and up to 8GB of RAM
  • FREE control panel and operating system
  • Optional root access and managed servers available
  • Unlimited MySQL databases and FTP accounts
  • Get started on InMotion now.

CLOUD
RATING

★★★★★
4.9

InMotion: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): With leading-edge cloud technology, InMotion offers free site transfer, setup, and SSD drives for the ultimate cloud solution offerings. They include free data backups and offer fully-managed servers to help you scale your site with cloud-based... Go to full review »
Money Back GuaranteeDisk SpaceDomain NameCloud Hosting Plans
90 days60GB - 200GB SSDNew or Transferwww.inmotion.com/cloud

2
Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $14.99

  • Instant provisioning of VPS servers
  • Includes cPanel and VPS management tools
  • Options for 2-4 CPU Cores and up to 8GB of RAM
  • 24/7 premier customer support
  • Site Backup Pro and SiteLock security available
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.6
★★★★★

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 5 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): If you’ve outgrown shared hosting, Bluehost’s VPS hosting is a great option, and they make transitions from their own shared plans seamless. While activation may take up to days with most VPS solutions, Bluehost provisions servers in seconds…Go to full review »
Money Back GuaranteeDisk SpaceDomain NameCloud Hosting Plans
30 days30GB - 240GB SANFREEwww.bluehost.com/cloud

3
iPage.com

iPage review

Monthly Starting Price $19.99

  • Customizable configurations and instant deployment
  • Up to unlimited domains, databases, and FTP accounts
  • Includes cPanel control panel and WebMail
  • Up to 4TB of bandwidth and 120GB of SAN storage
  • Fully-managed support included
  • Get started on iPage now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.6
★★★★★

iPage: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): With instant provisioning of semi-private resources, iPage offers an excellent VPS solution for those looking for a cloud-based hosting solution. They include fully-managed services and support, plus customizable configuration options…Go to full review »
Money Back GuaranteeDisk SpaceDomain NameCloud Hosting Plans
Anytime40GB - 120GBFREE (for 1st year)www.ipage.com/cloud

4
HostGator.com

HostGator review

Monthly Starting Price $19.98

  • Customizable VPS solutions you can upgrade as needed
  • Tons of storage with the scalability of the Cloud
  • Fully- or semi-managed servers with root access available
  • Unlimited domains and MySQL databases
  • FREE website builder with thousands of FREE templates
  • Get started on HostGator now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.5
★★★★★

HostGator: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 7 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): For a custom VPS experience with tons of included features, HostGator is a great host to know. They offer fully managed services with cPanel control, free site-building software, and 52 free scripts to be instantly installed…Go to full review »
Money Back GuaranteeDisk SpaceDomain NameCloud Hosting Plans
45 days25GB - 3TBFREEwww.hostgator.com/cloud

5
MediaTemple.net

Media Temple review

Monthly Starting Price $55.00

  • 99.999% uptime, so your site is almost NEVER DOWN
  • Plesk or cPanel control panels pre-installed
  • Options to pick your choice of operating system
  • Includes up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of bandwidth
  • YUM or APT package management available
  • Get started on MediaTemple now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.5
★★★★★

Media Temple: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): For premium hosting solutions, look no further than MediaTemple — and their cloud-based services are no different. They offer premier options for managed or self-managed VPS hosting, including a 99.999% uptime guarantee and pre-installed software…Go to full review »
Money Back GuaranteeDisk SpaceDomain NameCloud Hosting Plans
30 days30 GB - 600 GB SSDNew or Transferwww.mediatemple/cloud

6
FatCow.com

FatCow review

Monthly Starting Price $19.99

  • Expert-supported cloud (VPS) hosting solutions
  • Customizable configurations and instant deployment
  • Optional root access and cPanel included
  • Performance and scalability with mirrored SAN storage
  • Fully-managed support available
  • Get started on FatCow now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.3
★★★★

FatCow: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): For friendly support and excellent scaling possibilities, FatCow’s VPS hosting is a great option.  With cPanel included, fully-managed services available, and cloud-based flexibility, FatCow offers everything you need to launch a site…Go to full review »
Money Back GuaranteeDisk SpaceDomain NameCloud Hosting Plans
Anytime40GB - 120GBNew or Transferwww.fatcow.com/cloud

7
JustHost.com

JustHost review

Monthly Starting Price $14.99

  • VPS solutions built on scalable cloud resources
  • Up and running instantly with guaranteed server resources
  • Multi-account management and root access available
  • Up to 8 GB of RAM and 240GB of storage, plus 4TB/mo.
  • In-house expert support available 24/7
  • Get started on JustHost now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.1
★★★★

JustHost: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 4 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): With a range of VPS hosting packages, JustHost offers supreme cloud-based hosting. They guarantee server resources, which are provisioned instantly for you. You can manage multiple cPanel accounts with a single login for simplicity and scalability…Go to full review »
Money Back GuaranteeDisk SpaceDomain NameCloud Hosting Plans
Anytime30GB - 240GBFREEwww.justhost.com/cloud

8
NetworkSolutions.com

Network Solutions review

Monthly Starting Price $40.00

  • Powerful VPS with root access and guaranteed RAM
  • FREE domain and up to 2,000GB of monthly data transfer
  • Parallels Plesk panel and Virtuozzo containers included
  • Up to 100 managed domains
  • 24/7 support from actual humans
  • Get started on Network Solutions now.

CLOUD
RATING

3.8
★★★★

Network Solutions: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): For dedicated-server-like resources, Network Solutions offers a supreme VPS hosting option. With guaranteed RAM and a free domain name, plus Parallels software included, Network Solutions offers reliable, semi-managed VPS for tech-savvy users…Go to full review »
Money Back GuaranteeDisk SpaceDomain NameCloud Hosting Plans
N/A10GB - 50GBFREEwww.networksolutions.com/cloud

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What is the Cloud? What is Cloud Computing? — 7 Cloud Server Questions Answered

Alexandra Leslie

Finally — all cloud-related questions asked and answered. Below we cover everything from perks to price.

By: Alexandra Leslie, Tech Editor

The late Steve Jobs once said, “I don’t need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server faster.” The year was 1997, the Internet itself was only in its infancy, and here was the Apple Co-Founder and longtime web industry leader talking about our future in “the Cloud.”

That term and this idea of storing and hosting data on a connected network of virtual machines rather than hard disks has grown in popularity since, just as Steve predicted: “Carrying around these non-connected computers is byzantine by comparison.” Here we cover all the questions one could possibly have about the concept of cloud server hosting — from the cloud infrastructure to the cost and features to look for and beyond.

1. What is Cloud Hosting?

Alright, so first: What is a cloud server, and how does it differ from your run-of-the-mill physical servers?

Cloud servers are just virtual machines (VMs) that run on what’s called a cloud computing environment. Rather than having a physical hardware server, which is susceptible to hardware fail, cloud-hosted servers communicate over a network of connected servers — they’re all online, but none of your data is stored on your hard drive. Cloud-based servers are software-independent, making them a highly available alternative to on-premise servers, especially if you’re in need of resources on demand.

Your cloud host is just the service provider connecting you to this software-independent server network.

Advantages

The Cloud is known for giving us the ability to send, store, and retrieve data in massive quantities, from anywhere in the world, at any given point in time. As such, there are several benefits of cloud hosting, but like anything else, those perks come at a cost.

  • On-Demand Resources: With cloud servers, you’re free to request resources on the fly and, typically, pay for them by the hour.
  • High Availability: Unlike physical, on-premise servers, VMs will transfer data to another machine without any downtime in the event of a hardware failure. The stability of cloud servers is second to none in the hosting realm.
  • Scale: With more resources and faster access to them, cloud hosts offer incredible scaling potential to customers. This is why these types of servers are used for other cloud-based services, collectively known as cloud computing (discussed more later).

Disadvantages

Now, for the downsides: Most of these disadvantages can be offset by strategic use of public and private cloud environments (more on this further down).

  • Cost: The price point for this level of stability and scale tends to be a little higher than, say, VPS options. However, you get what you pay for in terms of resources and reliability.
  • Security: It’s hard to ever feel like your private data is actually kept private because you’re sharing cloud space with other cloud customers. This concern is mitigated, slightly, if you opt for single-tenant cloud hosting rather than a multi-tenant cloud server.
  • Infrastructure Management: Cloud servers can be technically demanding to maintain; you also have to be on your game to ensure you’re not running up unnecessary costs due to the pay-by-the-hour perk mentioned above.

To quote Steve again, “Managing a network like this is a pain in the butt,” but for those in need of on-demand resources — only when you need them and always where you are — this can be a solution with an awesome cost-to-stability ratio.

2. Are Cloud Services the Same as Cloud Servers?

It’s important to realize that there are several cloud-based services out there apart from web hosting services. Backing up your files online (e.g., Dropbox, Google Cloud, etc.), web applications, and other as-a-Service offerings (SaaS, Paas, IaaS) make up what we call cloud computing. In short, cloud computing just means a bunch of computers are sharing processing power and data with multiple devices.

Cloud service providers are not necessarily the same as your cloud hosts, like the folks listed on this page. This can seem convoluted at first because those computing jobs are done on cloud server networks, but think of it this way: You can can sign up for many various Internet-based resources and not have a website hosted on a server in the Cloud. Just because you need cloud-based storage, for example, doesn’t mean you are shopping for cloud hosting. Get it?

3. What Do Cloud Computing Companies Do?

To recap, cloud computing providers might offer any or many of the following:

  • Backup-as-a-Service (online file storage, backup and restore, synchronization)
  • Software-as-a-Service (Microsoft 365, Google Apps, or any webmail service)
  • Platform-as-a-Service (Google App Engine, Heroku, or web servers like Apache)
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, Rackspace, Windows Azure)

There are plenty other specific examples of services, but the ones listed above are some of the more well-known representations of the as-a-Service models of cloud computing. Much like the web hosting end of things, the benefits of cloud computing include fast access to tons of data whenever, wherever.

4. Are There Types of Cloud Hosting Services?

Yes — much like web hosting services can be broken down into shared, vps, and dedicated options, the Cloud is divided: public and private. Here, we’ll also get into what’s called hybrid hosting and how cloud hosting fits in with its commonly confused sidekick, VPS hosting.

Private vs. Public Cloud

The main difference between the public and private cloud sectors is the latter means the hardware, storage, and network are all allotted to a single tenant — one client or company. In contrast, a multi-tenant environment, or the public cloud, means that you can buy a “slice” of a cloud computing environment and share space with other customers.

The Google Cloud platform, Amazon EC2, and Rackspace are all examples of public clouds — and the perks include pay-as-you-go pricing, getting to set up and manage your own servers, and no contracts. Private clouds, on the other hand, offer the advantages of PCI/HIPAA compliance, high-level security, and hardware customization. You can also breed hybrid deployments via the private cloud, which can’t be done in the public cloud.

Hybrid Cloud

Put simply, hybrid hosting is using a mix of public and private hosting environments — i.e., ideal for those who want to harness the security of the private cloud while capitalizing on the economical benefits of public cloud resources.

For more on this, check out our guide to getting started with hybrid hosting.

VPS Cloud

Finally, virtual private server (VPS) hosting versus virtual machine (cloud) hosting — know the difference. While a VPS is a physical server that’s been partitioned into multiple hardware slices each acting as independent server environments, a cloud server is running on a network of connected machines. A VPS is still subject to hardware failure, whereas a cloud web server will just transfer data to another machine without the owner experiencing downtime or data loss.

To be clear: A VPS can be hosted in the Cloud, making it a cloud VPS, but not all cloud servers are VPSs. To see the top VPS hosting plans, including many leading cloud options, check out our VPS reviews.

5. What Should You Look For In A Hosted Cloud Platform?

The best cloud hosting providers are going to help you capitalize on all the advantages of cloud hosting — instant provisioning; scalable, on-demand resources; and flexible hardware options — for a reasonable cost.

Some of the top features we look for in determining the best hosting services for cloud customers:

  • Instant provisioning/deployment
  • A hefty amount of RAM
  • Easy control with cPanel, root access, and SSH logins
  • Performance boosters like SSD speed
  • Managed cloud hosting options

When it comes to premiere customer support, SSD speed boosting, and managed servers, InMotion is particularly great at all of the above.

6. What is the Average Cloud Server Pricing?

You can pay anywhere from $15 to more than $50 a month on a reputable cloud host’s server.

Cheap Cloud Servers

Let’s review: With hosts like InMotion or Bluehost, you’re getting immediate provisioning and deployment of super scalable cloud resources, a bunch of processing power, and industry-leading expert support in the pricing ballpark of $15 a month. This is as cheap (and as highly valued) as cheap cloud hosting gets, folks. You get your money’s worth.

Free Cloud Servers

Yes, free cloud hosting is a thing, but it mostly comes in the form of a free trial. You have to sign up with a credit card, you get a taste of the awesome resources for 60 days or so, and then you have to pay for anything you use thereafter.

7. Backed By the Power of Cloud Technology – Ready to Get Started?

“I can’t communicate to you how awesome this is unless you use it” — final words from Steve, and truer words could not have been said of cloud platforms. For those whose businesses need highly available, on-demand cloud computing power, those who can’t afford hardware failure, and those who like the idea of paying for a service by the hour, the Cloud is awesome. What’s more, the top cloud hosts can have you launched and live in minutes — may the force of the Cloud be with you.

Alexandra Leslie

* HostingAdvice.com makes great efforts to maintain accurate data for our visitors. However, as certain data may change without notice to us, it is presented as is and without warranty. Always check current pricing and other terms on a hosting site before completing signup. You should also be aware that this is a sponsored listing. Thank you for reading this far, and for visiting HostingAdvice.com.