Best cloud hosting services in 2022

Get scalable and flexible hosting with the best cloud hosting services

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Cloud technology, and particularly cloud hosting within web hosting, has revolutionized how the internet operates. Instead of having a site rely on one server, cloud hosting allows you to distribute content across an entire network, and as such many of the industry-leading, Best web hosting services offer cloud hosting plans.

Its main benefit is that websites are now scalable: should you want to run a data-intensive project and need more RAM (random access memory) or bandwidth, you can easily add more servers into your network to get the resources your site needs. 

It only takes a couple of clicks to upgrade or downgrade, and you’ll see additional server power in just a few minutes. The best cloud hosting removes one of the biggest headaches of traditional hosting too, in that there’s no downtime to worry about.

While the technology underlying cloud hosting is similar, many hosts couldn’t be more different. There are cloud hosting services to meet just about every need, ranging from managed cloud hosting to email hosting, or replacing your business server. Additionally, small businesses can tap into green cloud hosting to reduce their footprint on the environment.

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company that requires a massive network of resources, or a smaller business looking for a nimble, flexible, and affordable plan that’s highly scalable, there isn’t one single best cloud hosting service. Each of the five we’ve chosen takes a different approach.

If you’re considering making the switch, we’ve highlighted the five best cloud hosting services available. Keep in mind that most offer free trials, so before you commit you can explore the benefits of cloud hosting for your business.

Which are the best cloud hosting services?

Our pick for the best cloud hosting is Cloud ways, which connects you with top providers including Amazon, Google, Digital Ocean, Li node, and Vault. It layers its own management and security framework on top, offering flexible pricing via hourly or monthly charges depending on your project. 

You can also decide where your data center will be, to get the best performance, and its managed hosting platform is set up to meet even the most demanding requests.

For small businesses trying out cloud hosting, we recommend DigitalOcean. This platform is incredibly flexible, allowing you to host something as simple as your business website or as resource intensive as cloud-based apps. Plus, it offers a huge library of tutorials to help businesses get started with cloud hosting.

For larger companies looking to move an entire server, we recommend Microsoft Azure, which takes advantage of being a large, well-established platform by offering you access to the resources you need to keep your business email, internal apps, and site resources all inside a single system. When it comes to scalability, the sky’s the limit—which can’t be said of many other providers.

If you wanted a simple, site-first cloud hosting service, HostGator’s the provider for you. It spreads your site over multiple servers for increased speed, protective redundancy, and adaptability to issues, while server mirroring and customizable levels of CPUs and RAM are great for scalability.

Finally, UK-specific cloud hosting comes from Clook, which has one data center in the UK and offers top-notch, 24/7 customer support from its experienced staff. It also utilizes over 35 monitoring services to detect threats, failures, and other potential issues that may impact your site.


The best cloud hosting services available

(Image credit: Cloudways)

1. Cloudways

Multi-provider cloud hosting

TODAY’S BEST DEALS VISIT SITE

REASONS TO BUY

+Easy to set up+Free trial with no credit card+Selection of platforms

REASONS TO AVOID

-No domain names-Email not included-Unfamiliar control panel

Cloud ways takes a different approach to cloud hosting than most of the other platforms on the market. Instead of offering its own network, Cloud ways connects you with one of five top cloud providers including Amazon, Google, Digital Ocean, Li node, and Vault. 

Cloud ways then layers its own management and security framework on top of this computational infrastructure. This approach works well for a wide variety of businesses, not least because you get flexibility in pricing. Cloudways offers multiple plan options for each infrastructure provider, and you can choose to pay either hourly or monthly depending on the scale of your project.

You can also decide exactly where your data center should be located, to ensure you get the best performance for your business and customers. Between the five providers, there are more than 60 data centers spread across 25 global cities.

On top of that, Cloudways’ managed hosting platform is designed to meet a wide variety of demands. It includes Nginx, MySQL, PHP 7, Apache, Memcached, and Varnish Cache, among other core systems. Git is integrated to promote collaboration among app developers, and you can easily clone, back up, and restore a repository with just a single click.

One major downside to using Cloud ways for your cloud hosting is that support costs extra. Every plan includes 24/7 live chat, but if you want to talk to tech support by phone, you’ll need a Premium support subscription for $500 a month. 

2. Digital Ocean

Scalable cloud hosting for small businesses

TODAY’S BEST DEALS VISIT SITE

REASONS TO BUY

+Specialized Droplets enable scalability

REASONS TO AVOID

-Relatively expensive

Digital Ocean is one of the largest cloud hosting providers in the US, but the company caters equally to small businesses and enterprises. Whether you want to speed up your website, develop a cloud-based app, or crunch through massive amounts of data, Digital Ocean has highly flexible options you can turn to.

The key to this versatility is Digital Ocean’s system of Droplets. Instead of signing up for a single plan with a set number of CPUs or RAM, you can purchase as many Droplets—virtual CPUs—as you want from the company. Better yet, you get to decide whether you need general purpose Droplets for tasks like web hosting or memory-optimized Droplets for storing and accessing a massive database.

Every Droplet can be deployed with any of six Linux distributions, as well as apps like Docker, MySQL, and Node.js. Plus, performance monitoring and system-level backups happen at the level of individual Droplets, so that you never have to worry about a single bad server slowing your business down.

DigitalOcean isn’t the cheapest cloud hosting service on the market. A single general purpose Droplet with 1GB of RAM costs $5 a month. But, the scalability means that you’ll only pay for exactly what you need, and the company offers hourly pricing options for short-term development projects. 

Read our DigitalOcean review.(Image credit: Microsoft)

3. Microsoft Azure

Cloud hosting to crunch big data

TODAY’S BEST DEALS VISIT SITE

REASONS TO BUY

+Scalability+Pay-as-you-go

REASONS TO AVOID

-Costly tech support plans-No live chat support

Microsoft Azure is more than just a cloud hosting service. It’s a massive cloud computing platform, built to handle the needs of the world’s largest companies.

Microsoft Azure shouldn’t be the cloud hosting provider you turn to if you just want to build a business website. But, if you want to crunch through a trove of customer data or build a complex internal app, this platform can provide all the resources you need. 

On top of just adding RAM and CPUs (central processing units) to your cloud hosting plan, you can also add machine learning algorithms, bots, and cognitive APIs (application programming interfaces) into your Azure application. Another plus to Microsoft Azure is that it’s one of the most secure cloud hosting solutions on the market. 

The platform is favored by government institutions, including the Pentagon, and it boasts compliance with a number of brand-new cloud security standards. Small businesses might be tempted to shy away from Microsoft Azure, since you’ll need a savvy IT team to get the most out of this cloud hosting service. 

But, if your company collects a lot of data and is willing to pay for third-party help, it can still be a very attractive option. 

Read our Microsoft Azure hosting review.For affordable cloud hosting, HostGator is hard to beat (Image credit: HostGator)

4. HostGator

Affordable cloud hosting for your website

TODAY’S BEST DEALS HostGator Baby Cloud$6.57/mthHostgator Business Cloud$9.95/mthVISIT SITEat HostGator.com

REASONS TO BUY

+Simple cloud hosting+Affordable plans

REASONS TO AVOID

-Only supports websites

Looking for a better way to host your website rather than a solution for processing mountains of data? HostGator’s relatively simple, website-first cloud hosting service fits the bill exactly.

With HostGator, your website is spread over multiple servers to give you redundancy, speed, and adaptability. The provider advertises that its cloud hosting packages can cut your site’s loading time in half compared to its traditional hosting options. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your website being taken offline by a hardware failure since your data is mirrored on multiple servers.

Best of all, though, is the fact that you can adjust the number of CPUs and the amount of RAM devoted to your website in realtime. Is your website overflowing with traffic after a big announcement or a sale? HostGator’s cloud hosting service enables you to quickly and seamlessly adapt to the spike in visitors.

Another plus for small businesses is that HostGator’s plans are very inexpensive. Cloud hosting starts at just $3.13 a month for a single domain and 2GB of RAM. If you need more resources, you can get six CPUs, 6GB of RAM, and a dedicated IP for just $6.28 a month (although the cost jumps to $17.95 a month after renewal).

Read our HostGator review.For those with a need to host in the UK, Clook is a top option (Image credit: Clook)

5. Clook

Cloud hosting with UK-based servers

TODAY’S BEST DEALS VISIT SITE

REASONS TO BUY

+UK-based data center+Ultra-fast internal connections

REASONS TO AVOID

-Expensive plan pricing-No hourly plans

If your company needs to establish a stronger digital presence in the UK, Clook is one of the best options available. This cloud hosting provider operates a single data center in Manchester, England, which makes for fast connections for London-based offices and customers.

Whereas many cloud hosts leave you on your own once you sign up for their service, Clook puts its customers first. Every plan comes with 24/7 phone and email support from experienced technicians, who understand how the company’s servers are set up and how you can leverage them to meet your business’s needs.

Those same technicians are in charge of monitoring Clook’s network, and they do an excellent job of it. The company boasts more than 35 monitoring services that work around the clock to detect security threats, hardware failures, and any other issues that could impact the cloud’s performance. Clook also stands out for using ultra-fast 10Gbps connections for all internal storage nodes and hypervisors.

Of course, a cloud network built and maintained by IT experts doesn’t come cheap. An entry-level cloud hosting plan includes just one CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 500GB of bandwidth and costs $110.95 a month. If you need enough computational power to crunch a lot of data—say, four CPUs, 8GB of RAM, and 2TB of bandwidth—it’ll cost you at least $328 a month. There’s also no option to pay-as-you-go at an hourly rate.


What is web hosting, and why do I need it?

Web hosting covers the servers and infrastructure that store site files and deliver them to visitors to a given website. Any site is, at its root, a patchwork of files, including text, code, images, and more. When these are all linked together, they create an attractive, highly-functional website. 

However, these files must be stored somewhere, so that they can be loaded when people visit the site. Hosting providers offer storage for, and access to, these important files on their web-connected servers: meaning that when someone loads your website, all of the files are delivered to their device.

How to choose from the best cloud hosting services

Image

Choosing one of the best cloud hosting services for your business ultimately comes down to what your goals are. The demands you’ll place on your cloud provider when hosting a website are very different from the demands of app development or managing a massive database. 

Carefully consider whether you need the ability to scale your resources up and down at any moment and whether RAM, bandwidth, or built-in storage are most important to you. 

You’ll also need to think about what type of software infrastructure you need. While most cloud hosting services are based on Linux, some offer pre-installed apps like Node.js or Git to help jumpstart app development. 

You may also be able to get access to advanced machine learning algorithms for data analysis depending on your cloud hosting provider. Of course, you should always take the time to check out a prospective service’s performance history. 

If your cloud host isn’t reliable, you lose out on many of the benefits of turning to distributed computing in the first place. Make sure your cloud hosting service is managed by IT professionals who understand the network and monitor it around the clock.

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How does Web Hosting work?

Your website is just a collection of different files. When you create a website you need a place to store all of these files. That place is your hosting company’s server.

On this server, you’ll store your website’s media, files, databases, and anything else required to properly render your website. Exactly how much storage you have will depend on the hosting plan you choose (more on this below).

If you’re just getting started online, then you’ll probably just be renting a portion of a server that you’re sharing with other websites. As your storage and traffic needs increase, then you may need to scale up to renting an entire physical server—or at least using the resources of one, with a cloud or VPS server.

When you sign up for a web hosting package you’ll usually get access to the server via a solution like cPanel. This makes it easy to upload your files to the server. Or, you can install a CMS like WordPress to easily build out your site.

In order to have a fully functioning website, you’ll also need  to register a domain name. Once you purchase this you’ll point it towards your server, which lets the web browser know that this is where your files are located.

Then, when a person types in your domain name or clicks on a link to your site, the web browser gets the files from the server and displays them for the viewer. All of this should happen in a few seconds or less. If this process takes too long, then you either need to speed up your website or consider switching hosts entirely.

Web Hosting and Datacenters

Web hosting and datacenters get confused a lot. They’re kind of the same thing. But, technically, they’re different. The term web hosting refers to the service you pay for that hosts your website’s files, so they can be displayed on the internet.

The most crucial element of a datacenter is the network of servers. A server is actually kind of similar to the desktop computer you might have sitting on your desk, only they’re more powerful.

The term “datacenter” refers to the actual technical infrastructure used by the hosting company to provide the hosting service. Beyond servers, this will typically include things like backup supplies, security measures, connection devices, air-cooling systems, and a lot more.

Why Do I Need Hosting?

You might be thinking: if website hosting is just a collection of servers (which is essentially a computer), couldn’t I just host my own website?

Technically, you could. But, unless you’re an experienced webmaster whose just using their own server for personal projects, it’s more of a headache than it’s worth.

Here are a few reasons you don’t want to self-host your own website:

  • You’re responsible for power outages. If the power goes out in your neighborhood due to weather or a fallen tree, then your website will go down as well.
  • Your internet probably isn’t fast enough. When you pay for internet the speeds are usually measured by the download speed. But, when you’re hosting a website your biggest concern is upload speed. Even if you have super high download speed, your upload speed probably won’t be fast enough.
  • Regular maintenance can be a hassle. Running servers is no joke. Most hosting companies have massive IT teams that tend to server issues, both on a hardware and software level. If you’re running your own server and it breaks, then you’ll have to diagnose the issue, order any parts, and fix it yourself. All the while, your website will be offline.
  • Your IP address isn’t stable. Your home internet connection probably uses a dynamic IP address, which means that it changes over time. You want a static IP address, so the IP address always remains constant. This is usually only something your hosting company can provide.

Here’s how a web hosting company solves all of the above issues:

  • They have power backups. The power supplies at web hosting companies are not only always on, but they have backup generators to ensure your site stays online, even if power is cut to the main datacenter.
  • Incredible speeds. Web hosts are equipped to handle millions of concurrent visitors across their server network.
  • A dedicated maintenance staff. Maintaining a network of servers is no joke. Most web hosts have a dedicated team whose sole job is to keep the servers running with the latest hardware and software components.
  • Finally, you have a static IP address. This means that your IP address will remain the same for the length of time you use the same hosting company.

As you can see, you need a web hosting service if you want your life to be easier, and you want higher performance and safety for your website.

What to Look for in a Web Host

Every web host isn’t created equal. The host you choose will have a dramatic impact on how your site performs, its uptime, and your overall site management experience.

Here are some of the factors you’ll want to look for when choosing a web host.

For starters, you’ll want a host that actually offers the kind of hosting you need, and is within your budget. Sure, you might want to opt for the highest level of WordPress hosting available, but if you’re just building out your first site, then a general shared host will be fine.

Beyond that, here are some specific features to look for:

  • Bandwidth/Traffic – Your bandwidth is the amount of traffic you receive each month, along with the number of pages each person views. You’ll typically want to select a web hosting plan that can support your maximum bandwidth needs.
  • Storage – Website files are generally pretty small, but if you’re storing a lot of user data, videos, or other media, then you’ll need to make sure the provided storage is sufficient.
  • Uptime – Most hosting providers will list their uptime as a percentage. It’s typical to have 99.9% uptime. But, some websites might require 100% uptime.
  • Email accounts – Usually, your web hosting provider will allow you to create a domain associated email address. Some hosts will provide this for free, while others will charge you.
  • FTP – FTP lets you upload files directly from your computer to your server. You might not require this function, but some users will demand it.
  • Support – It’s always good to know that a support team has your back. Look for a quality support staff that goes the extra mile to ensure any issues are solved in a timely manner.

What kind of web hosting plan do I need?

Different Kinds of Web Hosting

Most web hosts will offer various forms of hosting packages. Each type of hosting will cater to different website needs. For example, a site that gets millions of visitors per month will have different requirements than a site that was built a few weeks ago.

 

Here’s a breakdown of the most common forms of web hosting packages out there today:

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is easily the most common form of hosting. It’s also probably the most suitable style of hosting for a lot of website owners. With a shared hosting plan, you’re sharing the physical server environment with dozens to hundreds of other websites. And sometimes even more.

However, the server is partitioned, so your site is secure from other websites using the same server. Since you’re effectively splitting server resources with other users of the same server your costs will be very low.

Websites that have low to moderate traffic levels will be fine using a shared host. Since this is the most beginner-friendly option you’ll be able to manage your hosting environment, install a CMS, setup email, and a lot more, all without any technical skills.

VPS Hosting

Do you know what VPS hosting services are? VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. This style of hosting relies upon something called “virtualization”. This allows you to use the resources of multiple different servers, but it all acts like it’s a single server. So, essentially you can tap an entire network of servers and scale those resources up or down as your needs change.

A VPS server acts like a dedicated server, but you’ll still be using servers that are shared with other users.

VPS hosting can be great for website owners who want the resources of a dedicated server, but don’t have the budget for one. VPS hosting can be cheaper and more flexible.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is a relatively newer form of hosting. However, it’s risen quickly to become one of the premier forms of hosting available today. In case you don’t know what cloud hosting is, it’s when your website is hosted on multiple different servers simultaneously.

The physical servers are partitioned into cloud clusters. This is beneficial because if one of the servers becomes overloaded, then the traffic will be automatically routed to another cloud server within the cluster.

With cloud hosting, you get an extremely reliable form of hosting. Plus, it’s very flexible and can be scaled up or down in real-time, so you only pay for the server resources you’re currently using.

Dedicated Server Hosting

Dedicated hosting is exactly like it sounds.You’ll get access to the resources of an entire physical server. Dedicated hosting is generally the most expensive as you’re not splitting server costs with other websites (as you do with shared hosting).

This style of hosting is usually reserved for websites that either receive a very large volume of traffic or require a unique server configuration. Since you have access to the entire server you’ll be able to run whatever software configuration your website requires.

With dedicated hosting, you’ll get incredible performance and enhanced security. However, you might need the technical skills, or the team behind you, to effectively manage your server environment.

Beyond dedicated hosting, you also have the option of managed hosting. Where you can have the hosting team help to manage and optimize your server for you.

WordPress Hosting

If you run a WordPress site, then you’ve probably come across WordPress hosting. You can easily run your WordPress site on multiple types of hosting environments. But, you also have the option of WordPress managed hosting, which is completely custom-tailored to the WordPress platform.

If you have a pretty small site and you’re not getting much traffic, then you probably won’t notice a difference in performance. But, if your traffic levels are increasing and your site only continues to grow, then you could see a decent improvement in performance.

Even if you are sharing web server space you’ll be sharing that space with other WordPress sites, so the server will be uniquely configured to get the most out of it.

Beyond improved performance and server optimization, this type of web hosting is also important for your overall security. By only running WordPress it’s much easier to protect against attacks that specifically target the WordPress platform. Not only that you’ll have a team of skilled experts behind you who are working to optimize your site, and the servers it runs on.

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