Advertiser Disclosure

1
InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $19.99

  • Ranked #1 for cloud VPS hosting
  • Fault-tolerant SSD storage and up to 8GB of RAM
  • FREE control panel with choice of Linux OS
  • Full root access or managed servers available
  • FREE live-state or scheduled snapshots
  • Get started on InMotion now.

CLOUD
RATING

★★★★★
4.9

InMotion: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 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 unmanaged or fully managed servers to help you scale your site with... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cloud Hosting Plans
90 days 75 GB SSD - 260 GB SSD FREE (1 year) www.inmotion.com/cloud

2
1and1.com

1&1 review

Monthly Starting Price $15.00

  • Managed cloud hosting plans begin with a $100 CREDIT toward your first month
  • FREE personal consultant you can contact directly
  • Customizable stack of web servers, databases, and scripting languages
  • SSD infrastrucutre optimized for your software applications
  • Transparent costs and by-the-minute billing
  • Get started on 1&1 now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.9
★★★★★

1&1: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Ready to be pampered? Well, 1&1 rolls out the red carpet when it comes to its managed cloud hosting platform. Customers are welcomed with a $100 starting credit for the first month, meaning you can get started for FREE. From there, a personal consultant... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cloud Hosting Plans
30 days 80 GB SSD - 240 GB SSD New or Transfer www.1and1.com/cloud

3
HostGator.com

HostGator review

Monthly Starting Price $4.95

  • Twice as fast and four times the computing resources
  • Tons of storage with the scalability of the cloud
  • Low-density servers and multiple caching layers
  • Unlimited domains and MySQL databases
  • Upgrades available for security, backups, productivity, and domain privacy
  • Get started on HostGator now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.8
★★★★★

HostGator: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 7 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): For those ready to expand beyond shared hosting, HostGator offers a fully featured step into the cloud. With scalable, high-powered resources, customers can easily monitor resources and caching from an intuitive dashboard. Rest easy knowing your site is... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cloud Hosting Plans
45 days 120 GB - 240 GB New or Transfer www.hostgator.com/cloud

4
Hostwinds.com

Hostwinds review

Monthly Starting Price $4.99

  • Choose an operating system or optimized application configuration
  • Hourly or monthly billing for convenience
  • Optional upgrades for cPanel, backups, and monitoring
  • Managed services, SSDs, and HDDs available
  • Block and object storage, plus enterprise-grade firewall
  • Get started on Hostwinds now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.7
★★★★★

Hostwinds: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
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. With an emphasis... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cloud Hosting Plans
N/A 30 GB - 750 GB SSD New or Transfer www.hostwinds.com/cloud

5
InterServer.net

InterServer review

Monthly Starting Price $6.00

  • Choose Linux ($6/mo) or Windows ($10/mo) cloud hosting
  • Choice of 1-16 cores and up to 16TB of data transfer
  • Plenty of RAM and redundant cloud storage
  • FREE Webuzo control panel and several OS options
  • Use coupon HOSTINGADV to pay $.01 your first month
  • Get started on InterServer now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.7
★★★★★

InterServer: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
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 »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cloud Hosting Plans
N/A 30 GB SSD - 480 GB SSD New or Transfer www.interserver.net/cloud

6
A2Hosting.com

A2 Hosting review

Monthly Starting Price $5.00

  • High-performance SwiftServer platform with FREE SSDs
  • Quick Start Cloud means servers are configured in minutes
  • Root access and on-demand server controls
  • Optional Cloudflare web application firewall for added speed and security
  • Softaculous and cPanel upgrades available
  • Get started on A2 Hosting now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.6
★★★★★

A2 Hosting: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 7 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Champions of blazing-fast web performance, A2 Hosting pairs its high-powered infrastructure with cloud-based redundancy and scalability. Although computing resources are a bit less than competitors, each component is fine-tuned and optimized to the nth degree.... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cloud Hosting Plans
30 days 20 GB HDD - 250 GB SSD New or Transfer www.a2hosting.com/cloud

7
Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $19.99

  • Premium hardware powered by OpenStack and KVM
  • Instant provisioning and guaranteed resources
  • Options for 2-4 CPU cores and up to 8GB of RAM
  • Quickly manage and scale resources
  • Dedicated IP and domain privacy available
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.5
★★★★★

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): If you’ve outgrown shared hosting, Bluehost’s platform is a great option. The company makes the transition from its own shared plans seamless. Enjoy the dynamic resources and streamlined monitoring through the host’s intuitive... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cloud Hosting Plans
30 days 30 GB SSD - 120 GB SSD FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/cloud

8
LiquidWeb.com

Liquid Web review

Monthly Starting Price $19.99

  • 50% off the first month for HostingAdvice users
  • Cloudflare CDN, DDoS protection, and built-in backups
  • Performance-boosting SSDs and cloud-level flexibility
  • Rock-solid reliability with 100% uptime guarantees
  • 24/7 Heroic Support® via phone, chat, and email
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.5
★★★★★

Liquid Web: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 7 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (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... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cloud Hosting Plans
N/A 30 GB SSD - 150 GB SSD New or Transfer www.liquidweb.com/cloud

9
iPage.com

iPage review

Monthly Starting Price $19.99

  • Customizable configurations and instant deployment
  • Unlimited domains, databases, and FTP accounts
  • High-speed mirrored SAN storage and guaranteed memory
  • Up to 4TB of bandwidth and 8GB of RAM
  • Instant provisioning and seamless migration options
  • Get started on iPage now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.4
★★★★

iPage: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): With instant provisioning of semi-private resources, iPage offers an excellent cloud-based VPS solution for those looking for a step up from shared hosting. The company includes fully managed services and support, plus customizable configuration options…Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cloud Hosting Plans
30 days 40 GB - 120 GB FREE (1 year) www.ipage.com/cloud

10
SiteGround.com

SiteGround review

Monthly Starting Price $80.00

  • Scalable, speedy, and fully managed cloud hosting
  • FREE Cloudflare CDN and choice of 3 datacenters
  • Fit for the high-traffic enterprise site
  • cPanel/WHM, SSH access, and private DNS server
  • 24/7 VIP support and a dedicated IP
  • Get started on SiteGround now.

CLOUD
RATING

4.4
★★★★

SiteGround: Our Expert's Review

Setup time: 6 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): SiteGround brings industry-leading performance and security to the cloud hosting space. They offer supreme scalability and a fully managed support system, including an expert technical support staff and three datacenter locations for the enterprise client that... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Cloud Hosting Plans
30 days 40 GB SSD - 120 GB SSD New or Transfer www.siteground.com/cloud

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 2019’s best cloud hosting providers:

Best Cloud Hosting 2019
Rank Web Host Setup Time Storage Expert Rating
1 InMotion 6 minutes 75 GB SSD - 260 GB SSD ★★★★★ 4.9
2 1&1 6 minutes 80 GB SSD - 240 GB SSD ★★★★★ 4.9
3 HostGator 7 minutes 120 GB - 240 GB ★★★★★ 4.8
4 Hostwinds 6 minutes 30 GB - 750 GB SSD ★★★★★ 4.7
5 InterServer 6 minutes 30 GB SSD - 480 GB SSD ★★★★★ 4.7
6 A2 Hosting 7 minutes 20 GB HDD - 250 GB SSD ★★★★★ 4.6
7 Bluehost 6 minutes 30 GB SSD - 120 GB SSD ★★★★★ 4.5
8 Liquid Web 7 minutes 30 GB SSD - 150 GB SSD ★★★★★ 4.5
9 iPage 6 minutes 40 GB - 120 GB ★★★★ 4.4
10 SiteGround 6 minutes 40 GB SSD - 120 GB SSD ★★★★ 4.4

Looking for something other than cloud hosting?

Cheap Web Hosting (22 Reviews)

If pricing is a primary concern for your hosting needs, we've got you covered. Check out our reviews of the cheapest web hosts, complete with pricing and analysis for their current hosting plans. see all reviews »

Dedicated Server Hosting (7 Reviews)

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 (13 Reviews)

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 (14 Reviews)

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 (10 Reviews)

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? — 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 Expert

Updated:

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.

About The Author

Alexandra Leslie Tech Expert Alexandra Leslie
Alexandra Leslie’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 to the table firsthand experience in reviewing web hosts, perfecting website design, optimizing content, and walking site owners through the steps that add up to a successful online presence. Today, she combines her extensive writing experience with 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.
Alexandra Leslie