Best cloud computing service of 2024

The best cloud computing services offer the opportunity for businesses to undergo digital transformation in order to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Best cloud computing service: quick menu

Once upon a time, if you wanted to build a website or online application, you had to run your own servers or sign a long-term contract with a co-location data center provider. This situation made it harder to build and maintain online platforms, but cloud computing services saved the day.

Right now, anyone can sign up for a cloud computing service and rent servers immediately. There’s no need to enter a long-term contract; it’s mostly pay-as-you-go. It’s no surprise that the rise of cloud services has coincided with the explosion of the digital world. They have made it as easy as possible for anyone to rent servers and host their website or application.

There are endless cloud computing services out there, and choosing the best one can be an uphill battle. It’s essential to select an ideal one based on your requirements. Otherwise, you might find it strenuous to build and maintain your platform.

There are many things to consider including cost, pricing, security, features, ease of use, etc. We tested various cloud computing vendors and selected the best ones for you. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages but, overall, are some of the best cloud platforms you can find.

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The best cloud computing service of 2024 in full:

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Best for reliability

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. Amazon Web Services

Best for reliability

Reasons to buy

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Secure
+
User-friendly
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Advanced features 

Reasons to avoid

-
Confusing billing system 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s biggest cloud computing provider. It kickstarted the cloud revolution and has occupied the number one spot for a long time. 

AWS has the largest data center network of all cloud providers, so it’s very reliable and offers solid performance. You can host your application in the region where your customers are closest. For instance, if you’re in the U.K. and observe that most of your customers come from the U.S., you can choose a U.S.-based data center to offer faster speed.

AWS is known for being user-friendly. It's built for quick and easy access, and you can monitor or modify your data just when you want. This cloud platform offers a lot of web application services, so you have a broad choice of features to adopt. You can choose the best server operating system depending on which programming languages power your app.

AWS is also known for being very safe and secure. The platform has had few noteworthy security incidents since its founding in 2006. 

However, there are some drawbacks. A common customer complaint is that AWS’s billing system is confusing, leaving users prone to making mistakes that increase their costs. Another complaint is the high costs of dedicated support from AWS experts.

Best for scalability

(Image credit: Microsoft)

2. Microsoft Azure

Best for scalability

Reasons to buy

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Cost-effective
+
Scalable
+
Secure 

Reasons to avoid

-
Complex user interface 

Azure is a cloud computing service offered by Microsoft, the American tech giant best known for its Windows operating system. It allows you to build and run your applications on the cloud with ease.

Azure has a large network of over 200 data centers spread across the globe. This network guarantees high availability and redundancy, with Azure offering a service level agreement (SLA) of 99.95% (roughly 4.38 hours of downtime per year). 

Azure has invested a lot of resources into security. It offers built-in controls for detecting and thwarting cyber threats; it applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to aid this process. The company has a team of over 3,500 cybersecurity experts working to safeguard its cloud network. 

Scalability shouldn't be a worry when using Azure. You can start with small computing resources and increase them as your business grows. The platform uses the pay-as-you-go method, making it cost-effective as you scale.

But a notable drawback of using Azure is its complex user interface. You’ll likely find it more difficult to navigate Azure than AWS and some other rival platforms.

Best for performance

(Image credit: Google)

3. Google Cloud

Best for performance

Reasons to buy

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Easy collaboration
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High performance
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Very secure 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive  

Google Cloud is an eponymous cloud computing service offered by Google, the tech company best known for its search engine. Google got into the cloud game later than most competitors but nonetheless has built a strong customer base.

Google Cloud dedicates a lot of resources to security. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning systems to detect and counter cyber threats. Users have access to a host of cybersecurity features to keep sensitive data secure.

This platform is famous for its high performance. Ask many customers the best thing about choosing Google Cloud, and you’ll likely hear about performance. Google has a lot of hardware and software expertise that it leveraged to design servers and server management software that works as fast as possible.

Another good thing you’ll hear about Google Cloud is that the platform makes it easy for multiple users to collaborate within the same interface and access the same features. This platform also offers comprehensive support resources, including tutorials, how-to articles, an online community, and human support.

The main complaint that you’ll hear about Google Cloud is that it’s expensive, which is true. It costs more to use Google Cloud than rival platforms like AWS and Azure, but many people think the tradeoff for high performance is worth it.

Best for cost-effectiveness

(Image credit: DigitalOcean)

4. DigitalOcean

Best for cost-effectiveness

Reasons to buy

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Affordable 
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Easy to use 

Reasons to avoid

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Limited features 

DigitalOcean is one of the most popular low-cost cloud providers. It doesn’t offer as much sophisticated features as you’d find on rival platforms like Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud. It focuses more on offering simple cloud computing features for an affordable price and does its job well.

DigitalOcean has 15 data centers worldwide, much smaller than the network of the likes of AWS and Azure. Its reliability and performance are good but not as good as what you’d get on these rival platforms. The attraction of DigitalOcean is trading lower costs for fewer features and performance.

It's pretty easy to spin up cloud servers on DigitalOcean to host your application. The platform is easy to navigate, so you shouldn’t face difficulties navigating it. You can choose different types of managed databases, clusters, and APIs. You can also access complementary features such as security firewalls, load balances, and a DNS management system.

Best for Europe

(Image credit: OVHCloud)

5. OVHCloud

Best for Europe

Reasons to buy

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Cost-effective 
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Secure

Reasons to avoid

-
Customer support needs improvement 

OVHcloud is a French cloud computing provider focused on European customers. It is the largest cloud hosting provider in Europe and the third-largest globally based on physical servers.

OVHcloud gives you access to virtual private servers or dedicated servers. You can choose the type you want and the region you want it to be in. Your choice depends on the type of online platform you're hosting, as some servers are faster than others.

OVHcloud is affordable compared to most rival platforms. You can rent dedicated servers for as low as $11 per month or shared virtual private servers for as low as $4 a month.

This platform has the largest data center network in Europe, so it’s an ideal choice if most of your customers are based in this region.

When testing OVHcloud, we observed that its customer support wasn’t as good as what you’d get on rival platforms. You need to pay a significant sum for dedicated human support, which puts it at a disadvantage.


Cloud computing FAQs

How to choose a cloud computing provider 

Cost

Cost is the number one consideration in selecting a provider. It’s essential to pick something that you can afford to avoid running into trouble in the future. Cloud services are unique such that they don’t usually have a straightforward pricing structure. What you’ll pay depends on the features that you select. The good thing is that cloud services offer their pricing details beforehand so that you can have a good estimate of what you’ll pay.

Security

You’ll be storing a lot of sensitive data on your cloud provider. Thus, it must have advanced security features to prevent data leaks or theft. Losing customer data can hamper your reputation and even bring about legal lawsuits. Similarly, losing sensitive business data can harm your competitive advantage, so your cloud platform must be secure.

Features

What features do the platform offer? Can you choose the type of servers you want? Can you spin up GPUs? Does it offer complementary services such as domain names and DNS management? Etc. 

Ease of use

You need a platform that’s easy to understand and navigate. Otherwise, you can get frustrated or make costly mistakes by choosing features you didn’t intend to choose.

What are the essential features of a cloud provider? 

On-demand self-service

You should be able to spin up cloud instances and use them without external help. You should be able to monitor the servers you've rented and their allotted storage capacities. External help can always be a complementary feature, but the important thing is that every good cloud provider must offer a self-serve option.

Solid uptime

A cloud provider should have their servers up and running as faultlessly as possible. Of course, no platform is perfect, so you may experience occasional downtimes. However, every cloud provider should offer at least 99.9% uptime. Otherwise, you may lose money because of unnecessary server issues preventing your online platform from working.

Analytics

An ideal cloud computing platform should let users analyze what features they’ve used and give them a breakdown of how it affects their costs. This way, a user can easily identify which features are generating high costs and which ones aren’t, and use this information to optimize their spending.

Pay-As-You-Go

Pay-as-you-go is the best pricing structure because you only pay for the computing features you use. This way, you avoid paying for unnecessary things that you may not use, and you save significant sums in the long run.

An introduction to cloud computing services

Cloud services have revolutionized computing, not least through IaaS, PaaS, and especially SaaS, which have allowed businesses to develop virtualized IT infrastructure and deliver software through the cloud, independent of a user's operating system.

Even better still, businesses can also mix and match cloud services from different providers through cloud brokers in order to ensure these services work to maximum efficiency and cost effectiveness, but also to reduce the chances of vendor lock-in while also improving redundancy. This may require additional cloud management software, but for larger businesses the economic benefits can be significant.

Because cloud services are run through software platforms and virtualized networks, it means that it's easy to access and analyze data for the purposes of analytics as well as for business intelligence purposes. It also makes it easier to simplify all aspects of monitoring through cloud orchestration and the easy processing of log files through cloud logging services. The result is IT infrastructure that allows for better maintenance and patching, while providing for insights that would have previously been much more difficult to access.

Cloud computing services also offer the advantage of being scalable, which means not only can you access additional resources exactly as you need them, but you are also charged only for the services you use so there's no need to buy in extra hardware for additional redundancy.

This especially applies to when storing data, as online cloud storage can be treated as effectively limitless. Even though you might be using cloud databases for your structured data, you can also archive everything else into massive data lakes for additional processing using AI and machine learning for greater insights.

Altogether, cloud services offer unparalleled potential for improving business performance and increasing profits.

Stefan Ionescu

Stefan has always been a lover of tech. He graduated with an MSc in geological engineering but soon discovered he had a knack for writing instead. So he decided to combine his newfound and life-long passions to become a technology writer. As a freelance content writer, Stefan can break down complex technological topics, making them easily digestible for the lay audience.