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1. Kamatera.com

Kamatera review

Monthly Starting Price $4.00

  • Ultimate scalability with limitless customizations
  • Create and deploy servers in 60 seconds
  • Easily add load balancers and firewalls
  • Stellar 99.95% uptime guarantee
  • Sign up today for a 30-day FREE trial
  • Get started on Kamatera now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

Kamatera: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Starting with more than 60 operating system images to choose from, Kamatera is a strong option for developers who know exactly what environment works best for their project. Customize your cloud server as needed and deploy in less than a minute. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
5 minutes 20 GB SSD - 4 TB SSD 1 - 32 cores 1 GB - 128 GB

2. IONOS.com

1&1 IONOS review

Monthly Starting Price $4.00

  • Start with $100 in credit for your first month
  • Auto scaling with premium Intel processors
  • Customized operating systems (Linux or Windows)
  • Deploy Linux instances in less than 1 minute
  • Transparent costs and by-the-minute billing
  • Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

1&1 IONOS: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): Boasting 99. 998% platform availability, the popular cloud hosting services from 1&1 IONOS deploy more than 2,500 virtual machines each week. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 10 GB NVMe - 640 GB NVMe 1 - 24 cores 512 MB.- 48 GB

3. Hostinger.com

Hostinger review

Monthly Starting Price $8.99

  • User-friendly hosting powered by Google Cloud
  • Isolated resources and integrated CloudFlare
  • Built on CloudLinux with LVE containers
  • Automated, daily backups and integrated caching
  • Instant setup with intuitive custom control panel
  • Get started on Hostinger now.

4.7 ★★★★★ Our Review

Hostinger: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Hostinger offers something for everyone. From two cloud hosting plans that leverage the company’s global datacenter presence to a premium service powered by Google Cloud Platform, you’re sure to find what you need. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 50 GB NVMe - 400 GB NVMe 2 - 6 cores 3 - 12 GB

4. Cloudways.com

Cloudways review

Monthly Starting Price $8.25

  • Managed cloud hosting with 24/7/365 monitoring
  • Choose from 5 popular cloud providers
  • Auto-healing cloud servers with FREE backups
  • 3-day free trial with no credit card required
  • Host unlimited apps with no contract lock-in
  • Get started on Cloudways now.

4.6 ★★★★★ Our Review

Cloudways: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): If you can’t beat the cloud provider behemoths, offer their infrastructure as a service. Cloudways gives customers their choice of cloud platform: AWS, Google, Linode, Digital Ocean, or Vultr. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
8 minutes 20 GB SSD - 4 TB SSD 1 - 96 cores 1 GB - 384 GB

5. Hostwinds.com

Hostwinds review

Monthly Starting Price $4.99

  • Choose your OS or application configuration
  • Hourly or monthly billing for convenience
  • Optional upgrades for cPanel, backups, and more
  • Managed services, SSDs, and HDDs available
  • Block and object storage, plus enterprise firewall
  • Get started on Hostwinds now.

4.6 ★★★★★ Our Review

Hostwinds: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Hostwinds provides supremely scalable and customizable options for the savvy developer or site owner. Customers can customize their cloud environment or choose pre-built configurations optimized to run apps like WordPress, Drupal, and others. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 30 GB SSD - 750 GB SSD 1 - 16 cores 1 - 96 GB

6. InterServer.net

InterServer review

Monthly Starting Price $6.00

  • Choose Linux or Windows cloud hosting
  • Up to 16 cores and 16TB of data transfer
  • Plenty of RAM and redundant cloud storage
  • FREE control panel and several OS options
  • Pay $.01 the first month with HOSTINGADV coupon code
  • Get started on InterServer now.

4.3 ★★★★ Our Review

InterServer: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): InterServer’s on-site datacenter and hands-on involvement with configuring and provisioning cloud servers give customers a level of flexibility not seen with many other hosting providers. InterServer rations its VPS and cloud resources through slices. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 30 GB SSD - 480 GB SSD 1 - 16 CPUs 2 - 32 GB

7. LiquidWeb.com

Liquid Web review

Monthly Starting Price $16.00

  • HostingAdvice fans get 75% OFF
  • Cloudflare CDN, DDoS protection, and backups
  • Performance-boosting SSDs and cloud flexibility
  • Rock-solid reliability with 100% uptime guarantees
  • 24/7 Heroic Support® via phone, chat, and email
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.

4.1 ★★★★ Our Review

Liquid Web: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): Liquid Web balances managed services and hardware power with cloud flexibility — a brilliant solution in cloud hosting. The company’s packages include instant provisioning, CloudFlare CDN, built-in backups, and, of course, the reliability of the Heroic Support team. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
7 minutes 40 GB SSD - 200 GB SSD 2 - 12 cores 2 GB - 12 GB

8. AccuWebHosting.com

AccuWebHosting review

Monthly Starting Price $4.79

  • High redundancy means 100% uptime guarantee
  • Powered by Intel Dual Xeon E5 and E7 servers
  • Auto-scaling easily handles abrupt traffic increases
  • 24/7/365 support available via email and live chat
  • FREE account transfer, emails, and daily backups
  • Get started on AccuWebHosting now.

4.1 ★★★★ Our Review

AccuWebHosting: Our Expert's Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): AccuWebHosting seamlessly combines the performance and stability of cloud hosting with the affordability of shared servers. Site owners can take their online presence to the next level by auto-scaling…. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
7 days 40 GB - 125 GB New or Transfer 6 minutes

Review Breakdown: Cloud Hosts

The best cloud hosting providers bring scalability, reliability, and a hefty amount of resources to the table — so we compiled our own table that summarizes how the top cloud hosts compare to one another. Tips for finding the best cloud servers: Ask about uptime, weigh storage and bandwidth against cost, and read our cloud hosting reviews.

Here are 2024’s best cloud hosting providers:

Best Cloud Hosting 2024
Rank Web Host Setup Time Storage Expert Rating
1 Kamatera 5 minutes 20 GB SSD - 4 TB SSD ★★★★★ 4.9
2 1&1 IONOS 6 minutes 10 GB NVMe - 640 GB NVMe ★★★★★ 4.8
3 Hostinger 6 minutes 50 GB NVMe - 400 GB NVMe ★★★★★ 4.7
4 Cloudways 8 minutes 20 GB SSD - 4 TB SSD ★★★★★ 4.6
5 Hostwinds 6 minutes 30 GB SSD - 750 GB SSD ★★★★★ 4.6
6 InterServer 6 minutes 30 GB SSD - 480 GB SSD ★★★★ 4.3
7 Liquid Web 7 minutes 40 GB SSD - 200 GB SSD ★★★★ 4.1
8 AccuWebHosting 6 minutes 40 GB - 125 GB ★★★★ 4.1

Looking for something other than cloud hosting?

Cheap Web Hosting

Cheap Web Hosting

If price is your top deciding factor when choosing a web host, check out our recommendations for cheap web hosting plans. Our reviews cover the cheapest hosts with the most budget-friendly features. See all reviews »

Dedicated Server Hosting

Dedicated Server Hosting

Looking for a dedicated server to host your website? Choosing the right host can make all the difference. See what our team discovered when comparing the various dedicated hosting options. See all reviews »

VPS Hosting

VPS Hosting

While not a good solution for beginners, virtual private servers offer ideal computing resources and scalability for those who are comfortable managing advanced settings. Check out our reviews of the top VPS options. See all reviews »

WordPress Hosting

WordPress Hosting

If WordPress is your platform of choice, you'll want to read about our experiences installing and maintaining WP with various hosts before deciding on a hosting plan. See which one has our highest recommendation. See all reviews »

Website Builder

Website Builder

Want your own website but don't know where to start? These services enable you to build your own site, without any coding or programming knowledge required. Be on the web in no time — and at a super-low price! See all reviews »

What is the Cloud? What is Cloud Computing? — 8 Cloud Server Questions Answered

Alexandra Anderson
Alexandra Anderson,
Contributing Expert

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 still in its infancy, and there was the Apple Co-Founder and longtime visionary talking about our future in something called 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 he 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?

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 that run on what’s called a cloud computing environment. Rather than having a lone physical server, which is susceptible to hardware failure, cloud-hosted servers communicate over a network of connected servers — they’re all online, but none of your data is stored on a single hard drive.

Instead, your data is replicated and distributed across the network. In the event that a server or other piece of equipment fails, other devices are ready to fill in the gap and shoulder the workload. 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.

Advantages of Cloud Hosting

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, virtualized cloud environments 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.

Disadvantages of Cloud Hosting

Now, for the downsides: Most of these disadvantages, to be fair, can be offset by the strategic use of public and private cloud environments, or by choosing a top-notch host that alleviates these concerns.

  • 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.

Management can be a pain, but for those in need of on-demand resources — only when you need them and always where you are — cloud hosting 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 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?

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 into 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 — 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

Comparing a virtual private server, or VPS, to the cloud can get a little tricky. Both platforms involve virtualized computing resources and a great degree of scalability and customization. However, a VPS resides on a single physical server, while the cloud has the backing of an entire network.

That said, however, many hosts choose to add extra redundancy and computing power to its VPS plans by introducing user-friendly elements of the cloud. A VPS can be in the cloud, but not all cloud servers are naturally a VPS. To see the top VPS hosting plans, including many leading cloud VPS 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 — all 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 Hosting is particularly great at all of the above.

6. What Is Managed Cloud Hosting?

Speaking of managed cloud hosting, a managed web hosting service is when your web hosting provider takes care of the server’s configuration, security, updates, and any other maintenance-related tasks. This means the website owner (you) can spend less time tinkering with your cloud hosting plan and more time running your actual project.

Liquid Web, A2 Hosting, Cloudways, and InMotion Hosting are just some of the cloud service providers that offer managed services. Of course, managed hosting doesn’t only pertain to a cloud hosting service. You can also purchase managed WordPress hosting, managed dedicated servers, and managed VPS hosting — you get the gist.

7. What is the Average Cloud Server Pricing?

Depending on the computing resources and configurations, cloud hosting can resemble a shared hosting plan or practically even a dedicated server. As such, you can pay anywhere from $5 to more than $50 a month on a reputable cloud hosting environment.

Cheap Cloud Servers

Let’s review: With hosts like HostGator or Hostwinds, 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 $5 a month. This is as cheap (and as good of a value) as cheap cloud hosting gets. You definitely 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. Word to the wise: Anything that seems to be too good to be true probably is. Don’t trust free hosting of any kind.

8. 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.”

Our final words from Steve Jobs, 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.

About The Author

Alexandra Anderson’s interest in website administration was sparked in her teens, priming her for a fast-paced career in managing, building, and contributing to online brands, including HostingAdvice, Forbes, and the blogs of prominent hosting providers. She brings firsthand experience reviewing web hosts, perfecting website design, optimizing content, and walking site owners through the steps that add up to a successful online presence. With a master's degree in information technology from Virginia Tech, she combines her extensive writing experience and technical understanding to unpack some of the most complex topics that daunt novice website owners, as well as the subjects that excite veteran technologists within the HostingAdvice readership.
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Alexandra Anderson