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Cloudy with Little Chance of Downtime: 4 Key Benefits of Using Cloud Hosting

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Back when the cloud was still a relatively new concept in technology, I used to roll my eyes a little whenever some random company talks about harnessing the power of the cloud to power their products and/or services. I am very happy to say however than in 2019, the cloud has long transformed from a buzzword into a dominant force in technology, with products like Google’s upcoming cloud video game streaming service Stadia representing another important step in cloud architecture.

Of all the forms of cloud technology available to the public, we’re most intimately familiar with the concept of cloud storage provided by services such as Google Drive and Dropbox but there are a lot of other ways the cloud can be utilized. One of them is through the practice of cloud hosting which has proven to be quite a useful alternative to the typical practice of shared and dedicated hosting. If you’re still on the lookout for web hosting services to use, this might be a good time to read on why cloud hosting is deserving of at least some consideration.

The revolutionary capabilities of cloud technology

The simplest thing we can say about the cloud is that it’s not tethered to any physical object. There is actually a definitive technical explanation of the cloud but that would require a time and space we don’t have at the moment. In cloud storage for example, your data isn’t actually stored in a single physical server but a collection of servers working in tandem operated by the service provider which in the case of Google Drive is Google. As your data is stored on this ‘cloud’, you can access them through a variety of different devices and/or through anywhere in the world as long as you have a working internet connection.

As someone who writes a lot, cloud storage is incredibly useful as it allows to me to continue writing wherever I am at the moment and to jot down whatever inspirations I found while out and about into the same document. Cloud storage saves me from having to keep multiples copies of my work as that can be incredibly impractical. Cloud hosting doesn’t necessarily confer you with the same benefits but they are still incredibly useful in all sorts of different ways and the following 4 example should help convince you.

Cloud hosting has inherent redundancy

When it comes to plastics waste, redundancy may be the last thing we’re looking for but when it comes to your website, redundancy is an absolute must. When your website is hosted on a physical server, the minute said server is hit by a problem; your website will be out for as long as it takes for to get the server up and running again. You can of course, keep a backup of your website on another server but that would cost you money and this requires you to maintain two separate versions of your website and that requires more work.

On the other hand, as cloud hosting relies on a cluster of servers, a failure in one of the servers would be far from enough to take your website down. Cloud hosting saves you from having to keep a backup of your website as they’re is designed with built-in redundancy. While it is possible for all servers inside a cloud platform got knocked out at the same time, that is incredibly unlikely and right off the bat, cloud hosting gives your website a level of reliability that the typical web hosting aren’t capable of.

Cloud hosting has better security by default

Because problems affecting a single server will have a minimal impact on the cloud platform as a whole, cloud hosting is inherently more secure than shared or dedicated hosting. Data is a very important commodity in the modern world and cloud hosting ensures the security of your data by ensuring that even if a physical malfunction were to occur in one of the servers, your data will be safe. Even if one of the servers were breached, the cloud platform could simply isolates the server in question while ensuring no downtime to the platform as a whole which provides your website with better security and reliability.

Cloud hosting is highly scalable

When choosing a web hosting plan, you’re always given a choice. Do you want to play it safe by going for the highest possible bandwidth? Or do you go for the economical choice by going with a plan that has limited bandwidth? Both options have their own shortcomings as in the former, you’re going to be wasting a lot of resource (and money) when it turns out that your website is only operating at 25% capacity. In the latter, you run the risk of losing business if it turns out that the traffic you’re getting is bigger than your initial estimates.

Cloud hosting solves this by giving you a level of flexibility unseen with typical web hosting. As cloud hosting operates using a cluster of servers grouped together, the total amount of resource available is far larger than even dedicated hosting. If you’re seeing that you’re running out of resources or you’re about to run a promotion that’s likely to bring in more traffic than usual, you could simply pull in more resources from the cloud at a cost. Most cloud hosting platforms allow you to adjust this in real-time without having to wait for approval from the hosting provider which can be incredibly useful in a pinch.

Cloud hosting has a flexible pricing scheme

This is still related to the point above, cloud hosting can also be financially efficient as you’re only going to be billed based on your usage. Typically, you’ll be given a choice of several plans with an increasing level of threshold but you won’t be charged a flat price. Instead, you’ll be charged based on how much resource you’re using with the rate varying from one plan to another. It’s like being given a choice of a diner or a Michelin star restaurant (the different plans) where you’ll be charged only on foods you’ve ordered (your usage). By contrast, the typical hosting plan is like a buffet where you’ll be charged the same no matter how much you eat.

The Plain Language Movement: The Importance of Simple Language in Content Marketing

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Please excuse my vanity for a moment but I like to think of myself as a somewhat respectable writer. I’m almost definitely never going to with either a Nobel Prize in Literature or a Pulitzer but when push comes to shove, I can confidently say that I could write better than the average Joe/Jane you find walking on the street. Even with all of my capability as a wordsmith however, I have the absolute confidence that I could never write as well as the kind of people that works in a corporate legal department. I have right now in my hand a by-the-numbers employee contract and I am amazed at how they could make something so simple sounds needlessly complicated.

If you’ve ever read an employee contract or any other similar form of legal documents such as the ubiquitous terms and conditions agreement, I have the absolute faith you know what I’m talking about here. Legal documents are some of the most obtuse writing the human race to the point that there’s an official government website in the United States of America dedicated to making government communique, especially legal documents, more digestible to the average public. This website is part of the larger plain language movement all over the world and it’s this philosophy that I believe is also relevant to content marketing services and other marketers.

Jargon-filled marketing

Have you ever read a press release or a company profile only to find that you have absolutely no idea what they’re trying to say? Join the club then, my friend because that is exactly how I feel about how most car companies handle their marketing in the past few years. I’m not exactly much of a petrolhead but I do like to follow what’s going on in the greater world of automotive and motorsport and as a result, I get to read a lot about what companies are saying about their new cars and all I can say is the words they’re using and how they use them is a lot which might sound like a good thing even though in reality, it’s kinda not.

Earlier this year, the American Automobile Association or the AAA did a study on the various driver assist systems available in the market and group them based on what they actually do. Based on their findings of 34 automakers in America, they found a total of 20 different variations for adaptive cruise control systems, a system that automatically adjust a vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead. The variations include “distance assist”, “high-speed dynamic radar cruise control”, Mercedes-Benz’s “distronic plus”, etc. A turd by any other name is still going to be a turd and having 20 different ways to describe what is essentially the same thing is just going to be confusing for customers.

The beauty in simplicity

There’s this webcomic that I infinitely love called Strange Planet created by Nathan Pyle that examines this issue in an absurdly humorous way. The gist of the comic is that there’s these humanoid beings not unlike ours that participates in the usual human behaviors but describing them in a strangely familiar way. One notable example is a parent tucking in their kid into bed but instead of saying “sweet dreams” like you would expect, the parent instead said “imagine pleasant nonsense”. On a purely technical level, these two phrases carry the exact same meaning but if the former is delivered in perfect English, the latter feels like having English translated into German which was then translated into French then into Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Spanish and back into English again.

I completely understand that as a writer, you’d like to showcase what makes you better than everybody else but the mark of an exceptional writer is not someone who sounds like they memorized the contents of every thesaurus known to man but someone who’s capable of conveying the complexities of life using simple languages. As a prime example, I would like to shine a spotlight on the winner of the 2017’s Nobel Prize for Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro. Among his contemporaries, Ishiguro is known for the simplicity of his prose. There are no obvious theatrics in the language that he uses and yet I’m comfortable in saying that at their best, Ishiguro’s work is an emotional tour de force.

The beauty in brevity

Another point I’d like to make is the beauty of brevity. I’m not saying here that you should make blog posts containing less than 1,000 words every single time but even when you’re doing an in-depth piece revolving around a subject, you want to be as brief and as straight to the point as possible. Purple prose, the act of using extravagantly flowery text characterized by an excessive use of metaphors, is a risky technique to employ in literature and they can be even more damaging in the world of content marketing as they’re wholly unnecessary. Try using less complex sentences and break them down to smaller, simpler sentences whenever possible.

That being said, don’t be afraid to use analogies

When used clumsily, analogies can add unnecessary burden to a text but for me personally, I find them to be an excellent tool when trying to explain a relatively complex subject or when I’m trying to prove a point. The whole philosophy of the plain language movement is to simplify obtuse text into something anyone can easily understand and what better way to do that than to use a common analogy as an illustration? Analogies can also be a useful tool for writers to try and inject some of their personality into the writing without having to add unnecessary complexity to the text.

Using conversational language in marketing

The final and most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to language in content marketing is to simply write how you talk. This is plain, simple common sense and yet I’ve lost count of how many supposed writers I know of that can’t even follow this one simple advice. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about the latest developments on Brexit or your thoughts on this year’s The Bachelor; all you have to do is make sure that your writing sounds equally natural. Try reading what you just wrote and if you feel awkward saying them aloud, that’s a surefire sign that your writing could use a little bit more time in the oven.

Communal Living: 4 Reasons Businesses Should Stay Away from Shared Hosting

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that the cheapest option is rarely, if ever, the best option. I would even go as far as saying that the cheapest option is unlikely to even pass the threshold of being merely good. For example, carbonated beverages and junk foods are typically one of the more economical options when it comes to a full meal and while I don’t deny that they can be fulfilling when you’re in a pinch, they’re not exactly what I would call nutritious. I do indulge in junk food from time to time, usually when I’m strapped for cash, but I make it a point to avoid them whenever possible.

You can apply this axiom to life in general and nine times out of then, it’s still going to hold up. I’m not exactly saying that the money you’re spending is always proportional to what you’re going to get but there’s definitely a correlation there and this can also be seen in the world of web development. When trying to determine which web hosting services you should pick for your business’ website, the term shared hosting is definitely going to pop up often. As the most economical option available for web hosting, you’re going to have to properly take shared hosting under consideration but as I’ve pointed out, there are also plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t.

Digital co-living with shared hosting

Those inside the industry tend to think of shared hosting as living in an apartment but that’s too generous of an assessment as in an apartment building, you at least have some personal space reserved for your use only, however limited. No, the more accurate description of shared hosting would be like living in a 4-bed room commonly seen in backpacker hostels. Sure, technically, your bed is your own but pretty much everything else is fair game so if one of your roommates decided to take up the annoying art of manspreading (apologies to men beforehand) and snoring within the vicinity then I’m sorry to say but you’re just going to have to deal with it.

In shared hosting, multiple websites are hosted in a single server and the resource of that server is divided among the websites hosted on that server. The server’s bandwidth, space, computing resource, the maintenance costs, etc are all shared among the tenants. Unlike in VPS (virtual private server) hosting however, where the server is at least digitally partitioned to ensure that each website is isolated from the others, there are no such divisions in a shared hosting plan. This lack of technological complexity is what makes shared hosting cheap but would also lead to several complications you might want to be aware of before committing to a shared hosting plan.

Lack of customization

The very first thing that’s going to come to mind with shared hosting plan is that you have very limited control over the actual server your website is hosted on. In a VPS hosting plan, even if you’re technically sharing server space with other websites/customers, you have complete free rein over the space you’ve been allocated. You’re free to choose your own operating system among other customization options for example, which can be quite useful if you consider yourself to be the more technological-minded. In a shared hosting plan, you’re merely allowed to use the resource provided by the server in lieu of the server itself and that can be quite limiting.

Lack of security

The biggest and most primary concern of course is the lack of security. If your apartment building is the site of a break in, chances are only one of the tenants has to suffer from the fallout but if a 4-bed dorm room gets broken into, every tenant staying in that room suffers equally. In a shared hosting plan, if just one website gets infected by a malware or is the victim of a data breach, there’s a high probability that every website hosted on that server is going to have to suffer from the consequences. In essence, a chain is quite literally only as strong as its weakest link.

It would invariably be inconvenient if you’ve worked hard to make sure your website is as secure as possible only for your lousy neighbor to ruin it with their lack of an SSL certificate. Also keep in mind that since the physical server is still mostly controlled and maintained by the web host, you’re going to be extremely reliant on them to keep your website safe and that’s not a good thing as businesses have to be as self-sufficient as possible. Given how ubiquitous ransomware, malware and data breaches are these days, shared hosting plan’s lack of security is pretty much a dealbreaker.

Lack of compartmentalization

Other than ransomware, malware and data breaches, one other threat modern websites have to watch out for is a denial of service (DoS) attack. Essentially, a DoS attack is a situation in which a website is excessively flooded with superfluous requests in order to overload the system and prevent genuine user requests from being fulfilled. DoS attacks can be quite simple to execute and is capable of taking even the biggest of websites with even Wikipedia playing the victim once. In a shared hosting plan, since you’re sharing a common space with other websites, a DoS attack to even one website would be capable of bringing the entire service down.

Lack of customer support

I’ve been on the other side so trust me when I say that while you’re guaranteed some measure of customer support for your website, you’re just going to be treated as another number compared to if you’re on a VPS or dedicated hosting plan. Because the number of customers on a shared hosting plan is considerably higher than other plans, it’s quite likely that you’re going to have to open a support ticket first and be greeted with generic questions and responses even if your problem is actually pretty unique. Depending on your luck, you might have to wait for several days before getting a respond which can get pretty annoying if your website was rendered suddenly and completely inaccessible.