Best Cloud Server Hosting For Small Business

Cloud hosters ensure that enough server capacity is available – but not too much either. This saves unnecessary hosting costs. But the cloud hosting market is big – we give you an overview so it will be easier for you to decide which provider suits your small business best.

Whether shared hosting, virtual or dedicated server: Conventional web hosting is a predictable thing. At least in terms of costs: The customer chooses a service package that meets his requirements – and pays a fixed price for it. However, it is often very difficult to assess the requirements correctly. How much web space you actually need, what the hosting package has to achieve and what service is necessary – this exact requirement profile usually only emerges in daily practice. And it changes constantly. So classic webhosting is quite unpredictable after all.

For this reason, cautious agencies rent oversized hosting packages for their customers – and usually pay far too much. Price-conscious agencies start with little hosting service, but often have to make improvements. Successful agencies, on the other hand, rely on cloud hosting: “Scalable, virtualized servers that can be used at any time always provide the service that is currently needed,” is how Domainfactory GmbH describes its Jiffybox offer, for example. There is no better explanation for cloud hosting.

What is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud computing covers three areas. The basis is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), i.e. the provision of virtualized hardware resources via the Internet. The Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions are based on this. These are working environments for the development of web applications. In contrast to IaaS offerings, PaaS solutions normally do not allow access to the operating system. The third layer is Software as a Service, i.e. ready-made web applications.

Cloud hosting is a service in the area of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Users gain access to virtualized hardware resources via the Internet and can set up computer clusters suitable for their purposes. In most cases, this involves hosting special web applications and large amounts of data. This allows cloud hosting offerings to be distinguished from developer tools such as Microsoft Azure or Heroku – even if these boundaries are sometimes blurred.

What Is The Difference Between Private And Public Clouds?

A basic distinction is made between private and public clouds. Private clouds – also known as “dedicated private clouds” – are dedicated server environments in which the user can operate his own private cloud. Here, only one customer uses the infrastructure. This increases security, but limits the scalability of the hosting offerings. Private clouds are therefore primarily aimed at companies that prefer a closed hosting environment for security or other reasons.

Public clouds, on the other hand, are much more in line with the basic idea of cloud computing: the hosting provider provides resources that all customers share. Every customer gets the optimal hosting service for himself. Ideally, they can freely select and change all hardware and software options at any time, i.e. scale them live: During operation, every server parameter can be changed, such as the number of CPU cores used, the memory or hard disk size.

In addition, some vendors automatically adjust the resources used as soon as the hardware requirements change – which is called autoscaling. This is true cloud hosting. You can often tell by the fact that they don’t talk about servers, but about instances – but that doesn’t always apply everywhere.

Secure Email

What about secure email systems of cloud-based services for businesses?

Cloud-based email services pose certain risks to the security of corporate data. The right security measures can help.

Cloud-based email services have become very popular. They are convenient and bring with them the potential for cost savings. For example, a young company can set up a stable email environment within minutes. Via the cloud, this works entirely without the purchase of infrastructure and causes only minimal support costs.

However, while some companies are reluctant to move their email systems to the cloud due to security concerns, others are benefiting from the significant email security benefits of migrating to a cloud-based email service. This chapter will therefore examine the key security advantages and disadvantages of cloud-based email services.

Benefit: More Security Through Content Filtering

Perhaps the greatest security benefit for businesses with cloud-based email is the ability to better filter content so that malware, spam, phishing attempts and other malicious email content can be better detected, blocked or eliminated. A cloud email provider can analyze emails that are sent to many organizations in the same way and with the same content. As a result, it can quickly and easily identify suspicious activity. For example, if a spam message is sent to multiple organizations at once, the provider can prevent it from being delivered.

A cloud email provider is also in a good position to use email blacklisting or reputation services. These can be used to identify domains or untrusted hosts from which malicious email has been sent. In short, a company using a cloud email provider can be assured that its emails will be more controlled.

Disadvantage: Confidential Data Is Revealed

Many organizations are not migrating to the cloud because they are concerned about disclosing confidential data. By default, cloud providers can see the header and content of a company’s email. This includes e-mails that employees send to each other even though they do not necessarily leave the company’s radius before being forwarded to the cloud.

A standard encryption could already solve the issue of readability of emails by the hosting company which would at least work between coworkers within the company if encryption is being set as obligatory. Read more here.

Price Per Minute Instead Of Monthly Fee: How Cloud Hosting Is Billed

This on-demand scalability goes hand in hand with billing models that are fundamentally different from traditional hosting offerings. Instead of paying a fixed monthly fee for a server, the instances of cloud hosting are usually paid according to the actual useful life or the amount of data used: pay-as-you-use. Depending on the provider, billing is carried out on a per second to per hour basis.

If instances are not used, they can be “frozen” with some providers and the usage price significantly reduced. If you expect longer idle times for your projects, you should definitely pay attention to a corresponding price option when choosing a cloud hosting provider.

Amazon Cloud Hosting

Amazon Web Services (AWS) (commission link) provides businesses and individuals with a cloud-based platform for diverse infrastructure services. Each component of AWS can be purchased as needed.

The Amazon EC2 service is a purely virtual environment of computer resources from whose pool virtual instances can be obtained and returned after use. For each instance, a memory defined in its size is available. Amazon EC2 has special features, for example the Elastic IP: The booking of this chargeable extra ensures that every server can be reached under a static IP (normally the instances receive a dynamically assigned, public IP in cloud hosting).

Unlike Amazon EC2, Amazon S3 offers scalable storage space. It can be used standalone as cloud storage or in combination with other Amazon web services. Finally, Amazon Machine Images (AMI) provide ready-to-use images for virtual machines pre-configured with different operating systems. However, you can also use your own operating systems. Even preconfigured software systems such as databases or application servers are available as building blocks.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft’s cloud service called Microsoft Azure (commission link) allows the booking of virtual servers that are operated as instances. In addition, as in Amazon Web Services (AWS), there are other cloud services such as cloud storage, databases or solutions for big data. Like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure can be used free of charge for some time. In addition to virtual Windows servers, Microsoft Azure also offers Linux servers and containers.

In addition, third-party manufacturers offer other services, for example for big data, data backup or the analysis of business data. In addition to providing services such as databases, websites and cloud services via Azure (PaaS), Azure also offers virtual servers and virtual networks. Both work together and can be connected to local networks. This means companies can work with servers in the cloud and connect them to local networks, building a hybrid cloud.

Companies can install services and secure email systems on virtual servers and also manage and monitor them like local servers (Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS). At the same time, it is also possible to use Microsoft Azure as a platform as a service (PaaS). With PaaS, organizations use services in the cloud such as SQL or Azure Active Directory. In this case, no separate servers are operated in the cloud, but server services, without access to the underlying operating system. This saves a lot of administration effort, but sometimes requires adjustments to the underlying applications.

The underlying servers are managed by Microsoft and made available in Microsoft data centers. Azure also offers the ability to mix PaaS and IaaS. For example, companies using Microsoft Azure can create virtual machines that already have services installed and configured on them. Examples are SQL, Sharepoint, but also Biztalk or Active Directory.

All services in Microsoft Azure are billed according to the “Pay what you use” principle. Companies therefore only have to pay for what is used in Azure. Individual services and virtual servers can be frozen to save costs.

Google Cloud Platform

Google also offers PaaS and IaaS in the cloud with its Google Cloud Computing platform. The offering corresponds to the capabilities of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Within the platform, there are various services for hosting cloud applications or running virtual servers. The best-known services are Cloud Storage, Cloud Datastore, Cloud SQL, Compute Engine, BigQuery, App Engine and Genomics. But also Cloud Bigtable, Cloud Dataflow, Cloud Dataproc, Container Engine and Container Registry are bookable in the platform. Companies can therefore book additional services at any time if necessary.

1&1 Cloud Server

1&1 cloud servers are available in different versions from 9.99 euros per month. 1&1 offers the option of selecting the data center in which the servers are to be hosted. The servers of German customers are normally positioned in data centers in Germany. The servers, their resources and secure email can be adapted at any time, even during operation.

HostGator

HostGator from Offenbach am Main specialises in the realisation of managed hosting projects. Managed, private and hybrid cloud services are offered. Customers can also make use of services such as monitoring, backup management and a managed firewall. HostGator relies on different data centers in Frankfurt am Main.

DreamHost

The number of CPU cores, CPU priority and memory size can be freely selected and changed for each instance in the DreamHost. Standard and fast Fast Data Store solutions are available as hard disks.

A2 Webhosting

The Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider has its headquarters in Zurich. A2 Webhosting focuses on small businesses, but also on medium-sized businesses. The company particularly wants to score points with fast provision of the cloud infrastructure and offers a practical API for administration. In addition to Europe, there are server locations in the USA and the Asia-Pacific region.

Digital Ocean

A well-known name among cloud hosting providers is Digital Ocean. The American company has data centers distributed worldwide. Digital Ocean’s target group is primarily developers who want to deploy their applications in an uncomplicated way. The clear price list provides transparency with the costs.

Hostwind

Hostwind (Provisions-Link) offers cloud servers that can also be managed by the Hostwind team if desired. The cloud servers can be flexibly adapted, the offers can be individualized. It is therefore a good idea to request a package and thus receive the exact price. The basic fees for cloud servers are between 5.90 euros and 54.90 euros per month. Billing is on a per-minute basis and the data center is located in Düsseldorf.

Cloudways

Cloudways offers various solutions, which are characterized by fast and easy installation. In addition, Cloudways wants to make it possible to quickly network even more complex infrastructures. In addition to developers, the target group includes DevOps, start-ups, agencies and small and medium-sized enterprises. The servers are located in Germany.

Liquid Web

Host Europe also offers cloud hosting with Rootserver Cloud (commission link). The provider differentiates between real server instances in the cloud and dedicated cloud servers, which are also operated in the cloud. Host Europe also offers “Dedicated Virtual Cloud Root Servers”. The servers are connected to the cloud and allow the installation of virtual servers within the “Virtual Cloud Root Server”.

Hostnet

Hostnet is involved in the cloud hosting market. The provider allows extensive configuration and highly scalable managed servers, including cloud technology. The so-called Hosting Scenes are intended to particularly simplify the entry into the market. The resources are freely configurable and the corresponding software configurations can then be transferred to the servers with the sceneries.

IBM Softlayer

When it comes to a flexible, scalable and powerful cloud environment, larger companies in particular can hardly avoid IBM. It is worthwhile to include soft layers in the comparison. Under the name of the company acquired by IBM in 2013, companies can set up their cloud infrastructure; in addition to international data centers, there is now also one in Frankfurt am Main. In addition to standardized virtual and private cloud servers, so-called bare-metal servers are also available, where the performance is freely configurable.

Jiffybox

Jiffybox (commission link) is the name of Domainfactory’s cloud hosting offer. The scalability is limited to different hardware configurations. The billing is done on an hourly basis. An instance of the entry-level offer with a CPU core, two gigabytes of RAM and 50 gigabytes of SSD, for example, costs three cents per hour, but a maximum of 14.99 euros per month with continuous use.

Myloc

Myloc (Provisions-Link) from Düsseldorf has specialized primarily in managed hosting. Currently, only PaaS services are available in the cloud business. On the website, however, there is already an announcement for IaaS offers with which customers can configure their own virtualized hosting environments in the future. Myloc also relies on Germany as its server location.

Netclusive

Netclusive focuses on private users and SMEs. Netclusive enables for all dedicated and virtual servers the option to the administration by the provider and has specialized above all in Linux.

TMD Hosting

TMD Hosting does not offer a large selection, but has very favorable offers. TMD Hosting offers root servers (dedicated servers) as well as cloud servers (vServers). If desired TMD Hosting takes care of maintenance and administration of the servers.

Plusserver

Plusserver has established itself especially for individual hosting requirements. The company belongs to the private equity company BC Partners and is a former Host Europe subsidiary. If you are looking for tailor-made cloud hosting, Plusserver can advise you.

Especially in the e-commerce sector, for which scaling is important, for example in the Christmas business, Plusserver has many well-known customers such as Zalando, Rewe and Douglas. But also traditional brands like Deutsche Bahn, Bayer or Pelikan are customers. The cloud portfolio includes Public, Private, Hybrid and Multi-Cloud. This is intended to cover many scenarios, and Plusserver also offers support for Microsoft Azure. Server location is Cologne.

Bricks Of Profit

The Berlin-based provider Profitbricks also provides Infrastructure as a Service. The company’s data centers are located in Germany and comply with German data protection law. For its cloud hosting offer, the company relies on a virtualization solution developed in-house and, like many others, also offers an API for simpler administration.

Rackspace

The American company Rackspacae, based in Texas, is one of the largest hosting providers in the world. In addition to dedicated servers, the provider also provides cloud solutions. The offering includes different cloud scenarios, and the provider wants to meet individual requirements in particular. Rackspace hosts well-known names such as Github, Vodafone and Mazda. In addition to servers in the USA and UK, there is also a location in Frankfurt.

Root360

Root360 from Leipzig works closely with Amazon Web Services, advises customers on infrastructure issues and supports their AWS hosting. The multi-server and cloud clusters thus rely on the scalability and security of Amazon. Companies looking for managed AWS hosting should take a look at Root360’s offer. The company specializes in applications based on PHP and Node.js such as TYPO3, Magento or Shopware. Customers include big Hotels, Sixt and the DHDL startup Sugar Shape.

Server Cloud

With the server cloud, Strato offers a public cloud solution. The consumed resources CPU, RAM and hard disk memory are billed on an hourly basis. One euro cent corresponds to 100 gigabytes of hard disk space per hour, one virtual CPU per hour or one gigabyte of RAM per hour.

Finding The Right Cloud Hosting Provider For Your Small Business

Cloud hosting offerings vary widely, so direct comparison is difficult. Since the decision for a provider not only depends on secure email but also very much on the requirements of the hosted web projects, you should check before every contract and every adaptation of a hosting instance whether provider and offer are optimal for your own needs. Most cloud hosts offer test periods during which the cloud services can be tested free of charge.

Special attention should also be paid to the service and support services when selecting the providers. These are usually precisely regulated in service level agreements (SLAs) of the companies. As with all hosting services, it is also important with cloud hosting that the hoster can help around the clock. Personal contact persons are usually helpful if there are problems with the configuration of cloud hosting.