If you are new to a free cloud hosting service, it would be advisable to try out some of the offered services before committing yourself to a particular service provider. There are a large number of free cloud server hosting providers. Not all of them are reliable or safe.
In this article, we discuss some of the best service providers when it comes to cloud hosting. They are undoubtedly the leaders in the industry, and it is possible to scale up the service as the need for hosting increases as well.
It is common for people seeking free cloud hosting to scout for services that do not require a credit card for signing up. Most companies that seek a credit card do so to establish the person’s identity using their services, and never is there any intention to bill the client for free services being offered.
Free Cloud Server, what is it?
For the dependable working of a cloud server, it is best to choose the free offering of a paid cloud server provider. This way, the user is given a first-hand experience of what to expect when shifting to a completely paid service when the situation demands it. Migration from a free cloud server plan is also less cumbersome when trying out the free cloud servers of established players in the cloud market.
So, a free cloud server is a trial server offered by companies that offer paid hosting and which, in most cases, is a temporary setup. It is possible to get a trial period ranging from three days to a year with cloud hosting services. Most service providers allow the customer to transfer to a paid service before the end of the trial period.
It has been a feature that once the trial or free period is over, the data stored in the servers is automatically erased. If the user is not keen on converting to a paid plan after the free plan is over, it is advisable to migrate the data to other servers before the trial period is over.
Rather than picking out the most convenient or the simplest looking of free cloud services, it would be advisable to check out the credentials of the service provided beforehand. It would also be worthwhile to check on the operating system’s compatibility wherever possible.
How to access a free cloud server?
When using the free cloud server, it is necessary to sign up with one of the service providers detailed in this article. It is customary to ask for credit card details, and sometimes the service provider might ask for bank account details. The need to do so is to establish the customer’s identity and rest assured that the customer does not get billed during the free trial.
After the sign-up is done, the user might use the facility to the fullest extent permitted in the free user agreement. If the customer feels that the service being provided meets their requirements completely at any time during the free trial, he can use the option to shift to a paid plan.
When signing up for a free cloud hosting server, it is important to understand the extent of the service provider’s service. It is rather a tedious affair to migrate the data to another server if the first one is not up to scratch. The safe thing is to pick out a preferred service provider in the first place.
4 kinds of cloud storage services
Of all the different kinds of cloud storage on offer, they can be split into four major categories. One of the advantages of cloud storage is that a large amount of data are stored for long periods and at an affordable cost. It is also possible to share the data with multiple users as well. Before we get into the different kinds of data storage options available to the user, it would be advisable first to understand what data storage is all about.
Cloud deployment means different things for different users. It sets out the location of the server being used, people that have access to the server, the manner the platform is being deployed, and the relationship between the cloud server and the user. Thus, cloud storage can be classified into four, considering the factors mentioned here.
1. Public Cloud Storage
In a Public Cloud Storage facility, the users rent space on servers from third-party service providers. The services can be classified into two, that is file storage and storage for business applications. Facilities like Dropbox, Google, Apple iStore are examples of file storage, whereas Microsoft, IBM, Google, Amazon offer storage to businesses to function over web browsers.
Common features of public cloud storage are as follows.
- Easy to implement, self-provisioned capacity.
- The management is highly automated.
- Dynamic performance and capacity scaling.
- Flexible storage options include object, file, and block storage.
- Flexible pricing depending on the resources in use.
Advantages of using public cloud storage
- A web portal is all it takes to deploy the storage option. The cloud services provider manages the entire offering, with the user needing just to use the services.
- On offer is scalability, as it often means allocating more server space.
- It can be assessed from anywhere that has an internet connection. Most service providers offer a range of services from file storage to block storage to meet the user’s requirements.
- That most public free cloud server storage options are agile must be noted. Thus, it can be deployed with minimal fuss and effort.
- The flexible performance of servers means that it is possible to have just the right capacity for use. Not too much or not too little.
- Using public cloud storage is one of the most economical options available to most users in the short run.
Disadvantages of using public cloud storage
- Cloud storage options are costly per GB of use as a means of storing data.
- Since the storage is not within the physical premises, it can cause the system to slow down.
- The end-user has little say in where the data is kept or the type of hardware to use.
- Generally, cloud storage service providers guarantee 99.9 % uptime. This assurance could lead to inefficiencies as often it would mean mirroring the data, which tends to add to the cost of hosting.
2. Private Cloud Storage
Private cloud storage is when the servers are located within the intranet or data center of the user, and it is managed with proprietary resources. The features of private cloud servers come from the realization that data is crucial to the functioning of businesses, and its control must lie within the organization.
Common features of Private Cloud Storage
- Limiting access to who can use the facility makes it possible to be highly secure.
- Since the work is in a virtual environment, the user has better reliability.
- There is better control as it is restricted to a single user or company.
- Must be a heterogeneous system capable of supporting a wide range of activities.
- It makes virtualizations possible in every instance.
Advantages of Private Cloud Storage
- Much more secure as the number of people who have access to the facility is limited.
- Better performance as there is little competition for resources and capacity.
- Complete control rests with the user as control does not need to be shared with others.
- The ability to customize as per user requirements is not missed out on.
Disadvantages of Private Cloud Storage
- Relatively more expensive to use and maintain when compared to the public cloud.
- Requires much-focused support from the user.
- Scalability is limited as there is a limit to the capacity of the servers being utilized.
3. Hybrid Cloud Storage
It’s a Hybrid Cloud Storage that is in use when it is a mixture of public cloud storage, private cloud storage, and on-the-premise infrastructure. Examples of hybrid cloud storage are Azure services from Microsoft and AWS. These are primarily used to set up data centers that cater to more than a single location at one time.
Common features of hybrid storage
- Can interoperate between cloud and on-premise components.
- Can react quickly to evolving scenarios.
- Uses strong data management to create an operating environment.
- It is possible to use existing infrastructure by combining it with the cloud architecture.
Advantages of hybrid cloud storage
- Possible to separate the critical components from the non-critical ones.
- More adaptable to changing workloads and functions.
- Possible to keep the sensitive data on a local free cloud server and segregate them.
- Possible to have just the right mix of cloud and local storage.
- Flexible enough to handle future computing and storage needs.
Disadvantages of hybrid cloud storage
- Rather a complex task to tie in the local servers with the cloud servers.
- Needs a critical size to implement most of the time.
4. Community Cloud Storage
With community cloud storage, organizations rely on a common facility to store data and are restricted to members of the same community most of the time. Thus, the access is restricted to just the people within the community who are part of the free cloud hosting service as far as possible with little sharing of infrastructure as possible.
Features of community cloud storage
- Run by the community of users.
- The closed system lets access only to community members.
- Entry and usage of community assets are controlled.
- The groups are usually spread across a wide geographical area compared to the other types of cloud services.
Advantages of community cloud storage
- There is greater privacy and security compared to the number of users accessing the system.
- The system is run as a collaboration between participants, which means greater control is exercised over the content.
- The control could be the most cost-effective solution for the extent of network rollout.
- On offer is a high degree of flexibility as what needs to be taken as shared functions can be decided beforehand and set accordingly.
Disadvantages of community cloud storage
- Different members of the same community can access data and information.
- Requires a minimum size to implement and is not suitable for smaller businesses.
The factors to look for in cloud hosting services
Often it has been noticed that the best uses of the free cloud hosting service are customized to the needs of the situation. Cloud storage is not the cheapest of options, and it takes a certain size to implement it. Discussed below are some of the most desirable characteristics of cloud storage services.
- Reliability: It is important to have a free cloud server hosting service that is reliable. That is, it must be rendered operational for most periods. The companies that can offer blazing speeds, maximum uptimes, redundant servers are considered the most reliable.
- Locations: The ideal cloud storage must be distributed. It would mean that a data source is within easy reach of the place that needs the sort of data required. Most clouds comprise multiple servers located in different parts of the globe, making a server available at a convenient location each time required.
- Resources: Even if a particular service is free to use, it must be sufficiently tested. The best cloud services have sufficient resources to store a wide range of customers possibly.
- Scalability: When a decision to scale up a cloud deployment is made, the user would have moved on to a paid cloud service, so it is important to scale up. Even a free-to-use customer would require more storage space within a short period.
- User friendly: Most cloud hosting services take place across continents and countries. Thus, having a synergy that helps each user get the best out of the service needs to be considered. A user-friendly setup would be easy to work upon and operate.
8 Best Free Cloud Hosting Service Providers
Kamatera is a free-to-use service despite not having a lifetime free plan. The 30-day free trial is sufficient to familiarize with the working of the cloud hosting service, and the customer can have times beyond the free usage can be had at very affordable plans.
Since the package charges by the hour, it is cost-effective for most users after the free period. The costing leads to greater scalability as it is possible to have just the right amount of server space at any time. Even for the free use period on the free cloud hosting service, a dedicated account manager ensures that the user has help at hand whenever he needs it.
The key features of the Kamatera areas are listed below.
- With just a minute to set up an account, the customer can get to using it in no time at all.
- There are 13 data centers spread right across the globe, making it one of the most accessible ones. A high degree of redundancy is built into the system and provides the fastest speeds available.
- Kamatera comes with a static IP that is free to every user. The free static IP lowers acquiring an IP from the service provider.
- For just a small sum of money, it is possible to have a backup server, and the data backed up every day. The backup server is located off-site, which makes it highly secure.
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With five different hosting plans to choose from, purchasing is flexible. The starter plan is completely free to use for life. Onboarding takes just a few minutes, and the user is ready to go in no time at all. You don’t have to feed in the credit card details for the free-to-use package, and it just takes an email verification to start.
Root access is not available with free cloud hosting, and users have to depend on the interface to do the configurations. There are several limitations to this approach, but the good thing is that it makes getting the cloud going rather simple to do affair.
The key features of GearHost are listed below.
- The cloud hosting plans are free to use. It is possible to have up to five free-to-use accounts per customer.
- With the easy-to-use interface, it takes very little time to start an account and work on the cloud.
- Each cloud hosting account is provided with active statics on its usage and capacity utilization. The dashboard lets the user see how much of the facility he is using up.
- People signing up for the free services need not be hampered by the lack of features that it has on offer. Once ready, the user is upgraded to the appropriate paid package at the person’s sweet will.
AWS is a premier cloud hosting service from Amazon and is split into three verticals: Elastic Compute (EC2), Elastic Beanstalk, and Lightsail. It is the EC2 that has a free tier that the user can use for a year. The free tier comes with limited features and aims to give the user a taste of the full paid versions.
It can run on Windows and Linus systems; it is the right match for moderate computing needs.
The key features of Amazon Web Services are:
- A general-purpose application with 1GB of RAM and produces some much-needed bursts of speed.
- The user interface on the free tier is rather slow and cumbersome but provides some terrific control to the working. So, if the person is willing to put in the hours, he can produce just the right effect.
- In addition to the base working, it is possible to charge up the AWS to much higher levels by using the premium services on offer.
- Once the user is on the free cloud server system, scaling up to a different location is simple as picking a location and specifying the speeds.
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With the Heroku, this could well be one of the most streamlined free-to-use products in the line-up. There are fewer options to choose from, and each part of the working of the free cloud hosting is compartmentalized. Thus, providing an extra bit of security.
Heroku is easy to deploy and has the starter edition working on the Linux operating system, which is completely free to use. It is a great option for students as it offers a full rollout of services without much fuss or cost.
Features of the Heroku cloud hosting are:
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- The starter package is completely free to use, and there are no hidden costs.
- With the use of dynos, it is possible to give the platform the responsibility of maintaining the infrastructure while rolling out the services online. The simple to use interface is more than just functional for most users.
- It is possible to deploy development packages for different languages which are pre-configured with the necessary settings and codes.
- A range of add-ons make the Heroku package one of the most versatile. It allows for better budgeting as well.
5. Google Cloud
The Google Cloud offers developers a range of options to choose from. It would typically make the user feel lost for choice, and it is thus advisable to start slow and small. There is a free-to-use tier that permits the user just the right bit of freedom while at the same time giving a broader view of the possibilities on the platform.
One of the main drawbacks of Google Cloud is that it is mainly restricted to the continental United States in its rollout. So, it would be hard to get hold of bandwidth if a customer were to be located in China or, indeed, Europe.
Features of the Google Cloud hosting services are:
- On the free cloud server, the user has a range of options that allows more than just the basic hosting services.
- It can be loaded with $300 worth of credit to try out the fully-functioning system for the first-time user.
- All users of Google Cloud are provided with the support of Google services which can be substantial. There is help at hand 24×7, and few people need to step outside of this comfort zone.
- On offer is complete and seamless integration with the rest of the ecosystem provided by Google, and this is no mean feature.
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The product could well be the most powerful cloud host service, and it is free for the first 30 days. The plan is auto-renewed after the first thirty days, and the user must enter details like a credit card to start with the service. Cancellation of the hosting service before the expiry of the trial period would not have the service provider billing the customer.
Due to its speed of implementation, the Red Hat OpenShift remains one of the favorites with students and amateurs for their project work.
The key features of Red Hat OpenShift are as follows.
- On offer is a no-questions-asked 30-day free trial that lets the user try out the full version of the cloud hosting service.
- It is possible to manage the hosting service from the command line or a customized console. The console provides ease of use, seldom seen in other freeware.
- The compartmentalized configuration of the hosting service means that it is easy to get support for any issues that might crop up during use.
- Use of OpenShift’s interface means that it is possible to make changes to the base image. The interface conveniently allows for teamwork and collaboration.
Azure has a free product system that is free to use most, and some features can be used free for 12 months. There is also the provision to provide free credit points redeemed to use the facility without paying upfront.
The significant bandwidth offered to the free users makes Azure a popular option for implementing fast projects. But despite the free use period, it has been noticed that the platform’s full capabilities can only be utilized by a well-trained professional or expert. It would mean spending more than the 12 months permitted to gain good exposure.
Key features of Microsoft Azure are:
- This is more or less like a stimulation program running on the Azure hosting platform that allows people to test out their initial ideas.
- On offer is a 12-month restricted free cloud hosting period, and it is possible to have a $200 credit extended to help the user experience the true potential of the program.
- It is possible to operate the system in Windows and Linux operating environments.
- The company offers extremely high uptime guarantees with assurances of 99.99% uptime.
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If the user is looking at a very modest budget to work with, they could use UpCloud hosting service. But the three-day trial would not allow a novice to get anywhere near operational preparedness. But it is simple to use with little by way of frills.
The UpCloud could be said to be rather sturdily built with redundancies being offered to every customer. Typical speeds faster than SSD-based free cloud server systems are certainly not for those who take hosting lightly.
Key features of the UpCloud hosting are:
- Get twice the benefit for the user compared to other free-to-use hosting packages.
- It is possible to scale up the operations in no time.
- The 24×7 support offered by the company cannot be matched by its competitors.
- With deployment times as low as 45 seconds, any changes are acted upon quickly.
7 Critical Factors That Gets to Decide the Cloud Hosting Service Provider
There are no doubts about whether cloud hosting services are here to stay. But with the increasing competition in the market, more and more operators are bringing in new features to match the competition. It would be critical to swift through the noise and home in on what could turn out to be a terrific cloud hosting package.
1. The services on offer
Gone are the days when a cloud hosting provider just provided the hard storage space. The present-day hosts are providing a range of services, and it would be worthwhile to understand the make of these. Even with the free cloud hosts, varying services are offered to the user.
2. How secure is the cloud?
Cloud security is a critical factor among cloud hosting companies, vying for better security at each instance. It would be worthwhile to understand the standards of security that each operates under and conclude as to the most suited one from the crowd.
3. Where is the data being stored?
It makes perfect sense to know where the cloud hosting company has its physical infrastructure. Firstly, there is the fear of physical harm. Secondly, most regions worldwide have policies that govern data security and privacy, and getting to know where the server farms are located helps better deal with issues.
4. Access to the cloud
One of the notable points about cloud hosting is that the customer can access it ere can access it. At the same time, the product must be scalable when the need arises. It would be worth the effort to find out how these are done and the future policies governing access to the cloud.
5. Pricing structure
Getting to understand the cost of using a cloud hosting service is important. Often, the price of service calculations involves a large number of variables. It is worth taking the time to understand what the customer is getting in terms of return on investment after the free service is over.
6. Regulatory compliance
Compliance with regulations is often a complex issue with cloud storage companies. Often there is no clear jurisdiction as to whom to approach in case of a dispute and so on. In this instance, the customer would be advised to know his rights and the means to redress his grievances.
7. Customer support
Even while using free-to-use cloud hosting services, the user might need some assistance in its working. Thus finding the scope of support that the hosting company provides does give the user peace of mind quite unlike another.
Q1. How does cloud hosting work?
With cloud storage, the data is stored in server farms located far away from the user. The customer gets to access the information through the internet.
Q2. What are the types of hosting available?
The primary function of the cloud storage service is to provide scalable solutions to businesses. Storage is one of the common uses of cloud hosting. Then there are services like software provided from a cloud, like an email, Microsoft office, etc. Lastly, some platforms get to offer cloud services, like Azure or Amazon Web Services.
Q3. How do you switch from physical servers to cloud servers?
Switching from physical servers to cloud servers is the work of trained professionals. More important is to train the employees at a business to access the cloud and perform day-to-day tasks. One of the features of cloud storage is that it is highly customizable. This, too, is its greatest drawback as it requires experts to come and set up the working system.
Q4. What would be the right cloud service for me?
The cloud is a very serious business indeed. It would be worthwhile to engage the experts in the field to decide what is best suited to a customer. Most cloud hosting companies would provide a no-obligation quote for migration and layout changes if needed.
Q5. Is the cloud backed up?
The cloud, just like any other storage device, does need backing up. The extent and frequency of backup depend on the threat perceptions and the importance of the data. Most hosting companies have written codes for creating a backup and restoring lost data.
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Q6. What does it cost to have data on cloud storage?
Firstly, cloud storage is not the cheapest option to have. But at the same time, it helps to have data handled by trained professionals in the field. Most cloud farms are staffed by people that have been trained to do their functions. So, storing data on the cloud would not be cheaper than storing it on your computer, but it would be the more secure option.
Ultimately What Gets to Decide Whether to Store Data on The Cloud or Not
There is no distinct line to decide if the data has to be stored on a cloud service or at the premises. Cost is a major concern, but technical factors often override the cost of implementing a cloud solution.
One of the most convincing reasons to move data onto the cloud is to get the enhanced security that it provides. And with world corporations working from multiple locations, helps to localize data by using cloud servers.