A Brief On Cloud Hosting

*Note: Article major update and validation done on July 30th, 2013.

“Cloud Hosting” has been creating quite a buzz around these days. You might be hearing the phrase for the first time but the technology is not something new at this time of writing.

In fact, you’re already part of the cloud hosting/computing users (without being noticed) as Google naturally is a big promoter of this idea.

Google searches (as well as other Google operations) are operating under a massive computer infrastructure (cloud!) that people tap into from their local computers.

What Is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud hosting is one of the many utilizations of cloud computing technology.

Cloud computing refers to any process (ie. hosting), method or activity that involves the cloud. The cloud, on the other hand, is the virtual server or system that is accessible online, where users can store and edit files, and perform a wide variety of IT tasks. This technology uses the real cloud as a metaphor, where one can imagine storing files in it, and being able to access it anytime and anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection.

Generally, a cloud-hosted website is operating on multiple connected servers. Instead of limited to a single server like what we have in traditional hosting services (dedicated/VPS hosting), the website now has the access to multiple servers. Virtually, the processing power is unlimited as you can always add a new server and scale up.

Cloud Hosting In Plain English

Here’s a video released to help people fully understand what cloud computing and cloud hosting is all about and I think it’s a good piece of learning material.

List of Cloud Hosting Providers

Cloudbg Cloud Hosting Services Cloud.bg Cloud.bg was officially launched on Jan 20, 2010. The cloud hosting provider is one of the first that supports cPanel/WHM on the cloud.
VPS Net Cloud Hosting Services VPS Net VPS.NET launched their cloud hosting product in 2009. Scale your server up to 9GB of RAM. Full root access. cPanel compatible. 100 templates to install.
ReliaCloud Cloud Hosting Services Cloud Computing ReliaCloud is part of a well established cloud computing company that delivers highly reliable, secure cloud hosting services.
HPC Cloud Hosting Services HPC Host is a VMware Hosting Provider offering secure and reliable Cloud solutions with operational uptime and the best customer experience as the highest priority.
Atlantic Cloud Hosting Services Cloud Hosting Free trial at Atlantic.Net cloud hosting services. All the benefits of VPS, plus much more! Get servers in seconds and save today with Atlantic.net.
vServerCenter Cloud Hosting Services Cloud Hosting vServer Center is a cloud hosting industry leader offering enterprise class KVM, VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V and Xen Cloud Servers.
TurnKey Cloud Hosting Services TurnKey Internet, Inc. is a leading provider of managed web hosting and IT solutions to businesses and individuals in over 30 countries.
Web Hosting Cloud Hosting Webhosting.uk.com offers top quality unmatched cloud hosting, backed by superior network, support, infrastructure and 100% uptime SLA. Starting @ £30 per month.
UK Web Hosting Cloud Hosting Are you paying for hosting you don’t need? How about pay-as-you-go hosting? eNlight Cloud lets you pay only for resources you actually use. Order Now!

* The above is an advertisement listing, we do not have any usage experience on the listed web hosts. If you are looking for a cloud hosting providers, please check them out.  Thanks to our advertisers, we get to serve you awesome content like this article for free on WHSR.

Characteristics Of The Cloud

To give you a more thorough idea of what it is all about, here are seven characteristics of cloud computing/hosting.

1. Dynamic computing infrastructure

This characteristic allows the cloud to easily cope with changing user demands and needs without the need to rework its architectural framework. As it works through remotely controlled virtual servers, the cloud enjoys the advantages of having standardized, stable, measurable and secure physical infrastructure, thus ensuring a high level of availability and flexibility.

2. IT service-centric approach

As opposed to the traditional service-centric or system-centric models, the cloud gives utmost priority to the specific IT service or services that it provides. This means that the cloud enables users to easily and quickly access its dedicated service or application, since it is powered by a computing environment specifically designed and fine-tuned to deliver the service or app in the best and fastest way possible.

3. On demand self-service and minimally or self-managed platform

The cloud enables both business agility and administrative control, as it allows users to set up and manage their accounts and how they will manage their accounts. With user-friendly interfaces and amply equipped control systems, it allows software automation and optimization for those who prefer minimal account supervision. This way, both the time needed to monitor and manage the account and the need for manpower to do the job are reduced.

4. Consumption-based billing

Here comes one of the key characteristics that make cloud computing cost efficient: with cloud hosting, users only pay for what they actually consumed or used. It employs a usage-driven, consumption-based model, which utilizes mechanisms to track consumers’ actual service usage and bases the billing on this information. This usage can also be controlled for those aiming to cut down on IT costs since as earlier mentioned, businesses are granted control for optimization.

5. Broad Network Access

Anchored mainly on the Internet, the cloud allows access to this colossal web’s broad network and reach, which is further extended through the continuously growing means and devices through which the web can be accessed. Thanks to continuous technological innovations, the cloud can be accessed not just through computers, but also through other Internet-enabled gadgets such as notebooks, mobile phones and tablets, among others.

6. Resource Pooling

The cloud hosting service provider’s resources, which include memory, processing, network bandwidth, virtual machines, storage and email services, are pooled together such that they can be used or accessed by different users. These resources can be allocated or reallocated to other users depending on clients’ demand.

7. Rapid Elasticity

Since cloud computing is scalable, it is easier to compute or measure modification needs for expansion or enhancement. Users and service providers can easily project new requirements on elements such as processing speed, bandwidth, data storage and license number, along with an estimate of costs. This projection can also be easily adjusted based on a specified period of time (long term, short term, etc.)

Benefits of Cloud Hosting

The Cloud is slowly becoming a popular hosting preference among users worldwide. Although there exists a difference of opinion on which type of hosting trumps the other — whether it is traditional, Virtual Private Server (VPS), or cloud hosting — there are undeniable merits to each kind of service. Considering that it is still in its early years, however, more and more companies are already relying on the hosting capabilities of the Cloud.

What would you benefit from Cloud hosting?

Pay As You Go

With cloud hosting, gone are the days when end users need to pay for a fixed amount of server bandwidth regardless of the amount of traffic one receives. In the past, website owners pay for a dedicated server with a huge capacity. For the instances when there is an increase in the quantity of traffic coming in, this is highly beneficial. But when there is a drop in the load of the site, the bandwidth becomes underutilized. Cloud hosting provides a billing model similar to electric meters, where users only pay for the cost of servers they actually get to use. With a spike in the server load, the cost increases. But with a drop in the server load, the cost also decreases.


Crashing servers are one of the biggest problems hosting clients dread. Cloud hosting virtually eliminates these cases, as they use load balancing technologies and constantly have hardware upgrades. In the event that one server crashes, there will always be another server to continue the work. Downtime and crashing servers are rarely experienced with cloud hosting.


Yes, you read it right, although cloud hosting is sort of a new technology, it is in fact a cheaper choice for many websites with heavy traffics. The problem is, when you are running a huge website with the traditional way, you need to reserve a lot of excessive bandwidth and computing power for sudden traffic surge (I wrote a detail article on how to calculate the safety factor of bandwidth usage but that’s another topic); with cloud hosting, you simply rent the computing power from the cloud provider. Whenever you need more server resources, you simply ask for more (pay-per-use model).


Another advantage of hosting with cloud (though seems unlikely) is environment friendly. Think about it – when you go cloud, you pay as you go – this equals to fewer computer hardware and computing power. It’s not something like green hosting, but still, going cloud in turn reduce the consumption on natural resources (such as rare earth and electricity) and thus, less carbon footprint.

Security – Still A Major Concern With Cloud Web Host?

Things to worry about cloud hosting

Questions like these arise when it comes to cloud hosting:

  • I am sharing the same physical hardware with other users, is my data safe?
  • Where is my data located at? (You no longer control the physical location of your data in cloud hosting)

The security issue is always one of the major questions and arguments raised when it comes to cloud hosting. For those with similar concerns, further reading on this article (article dated Aug 31, 2009) is highly recommended: Cloud Security: Time to Smoke Another One? Also, check out this interview with George Reese (Author of “Cloud Application Architectures”) where he discusses cloud security and the challenges it poses for new adopters.

Wait, there’s More!

Ron Woodall, author of Compendium of HTML Elements, recently wrote a guest post on WHSR to talk about the shortcoming of cloud computing and cloud hosting. It’s a great piece of article and I highly recommend it: 15 Reasons to Fear Cloud Computing. And, just in case you are facing dilemma between VPS and cloud hosting, check out my latest article on Choosing Between Cloud And VPS Hosting.

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  • http://www.rivopartners.com Nick Jenni

    I have a question – one of the big things about conventional hosting is connectivity. In many cases there is a single point of failure as there is only one access point to the host server.

    Connectivity is probably as big a reason for websites not being available as problems on the servers themselves.

    What effect does cloud hosting have on this risk?

  • http://www.webhostingsecretrevealed.com Jerry


    From my understanding, yes, the connectivity risk does remained unsolved with Cloud hosting. Cloud hosting will still suffer certain level of down time due to network latencies or connectivity problems.

    The benefit of having cloud hosting is the power to back your website with a highly scalable computer power (which in turn minimize the probability of crashing your server). The problem with network connectivity is not solved in this situation.

    As I’m relative new to the technology, I tried search around to verify my understanding but couldn’t get any good explanation. I would appreciate the experienced folks lay their thoughts on the issue.

  • http://www.creative-web-designer.com Scott @sydneydesign

    Hi, interesting article, i am looking for a cloud hosting solution for my site

  • http://tech2view.com Inderjeet Singh

    http://www.Unstoppablehost.com is also a good provider for Cloud Hosting and Services based on Clouds. I think they are the best when is comes to support and scalability.

  • http://manmitsingh.com Manmit

    I just got the cloud hosting from unstoppablehost.com at it was quick start . I like them . thank you for you suggestions inderjeet singh. and jerry for the blog.

  • http://kidlatz.com best developers philippines

    Then there are companies providing services on top of cloud hardware, esp. Amazon: RightScale, Engine Yard Solo/Flex and also including Heroku.

  • http://www.askgetanswer.com jara read

    well cloud computing is not cheap nor its is easy i stick will old school way

  • http://www.cruxtone.com Nathan Garrett

    I reall enjoyed the video. It was educational and light hearted and simple to understand. A lot of work went into it. Thanks!

  • http:///www.thinkovi.com Ovidiu

    You might want to add also Rackspace Cloud on the providers list

    Nice article by the way

  • http://www.check4d.com 4d

    If they cloud is under DDOS attack, does that means all the websites in that cloud will get affected?

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  • http://www.cloud.bg/en Ivan Pachaliev

    Hello guys,

    http://www.cloud.bg/en is good one :) i`m from Bulgaria and I use this service…PERFECT price for unlimited resources.

    And i thing cloud computing is the future – save a lot money and increase productivity


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  • http://www.reliacloud.com Cloud Hosting

    One additional to add to your list is ReliaCloud (www.reliacloud.com). There similiar to other public cloud offerings but with a few extra features geared at the SMB market.

  • http://www.freegplthemes.com/ George Barn

    I just plain cpanel user, moving to cloud hosting (VPS) is bits upgrade for me. Thanks for this post, help me a lot.

  • http://www.mobileyp.tel useful

    is it usually refer to as Software as a service?

  • http://www.azati.com Andrew Babkin

    Cloud hosting can be IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service and they can also be PaaS – Platform as a Service.

    Software as a Service is not directly related to cloud (but can be), since its just a way to present software to end users.

  • http://www.machsol.com Hosting Control Panel

    SaaS and Cloud is indeed the future of HSP and Telco’s. Cloud automation and virtualization solution surely need to be escalated to facilitate technology adoption and maximizing ROI.

  • http://www.hoststadium.com Matt

    I have noticed a lot of company’s offering cloud hosting. By cloud hosting they mean that they are taking one server with 16GB of Ram and allowing the client to scale up to 8 server with 2GB Ram each.

    If you don’t do your research you may get stuck with a enterprise level server setup like a cloud located at 1 datacentre. Are the listed cloud providers above legitimate cloud providers?

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  • http://www.bestcloudserver.com cloudhostingguy

    Do you think with all the innovations in cloud hosting that security issues will begin to go away?

    Cloud hosting security is a huge issue that has been a major concern to many people. I know hosting companies are doing everything they can to eliminate this problem.

  • http://www.hostingdeal.net micheal odeos

    This is the best article on cloud hosting I’ve ever read. Thanks for putting this together.

  • http://bn.rm2334.com Tawhidul Islam

    Thank you for your needed post. I also follow it

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  • http://www.jeffsimonsdesign.com Jsdesign

    nice post. now i know what cloud computing is. very imformative

  • http://hostmy1stweb.com Technut

    Thanks for the light hearted way you did you cloud hosting video! Maybe you’ll do a sequel to cover the other 2 areas you described in your video.


  • http://www.hyderabadrealestate.com la returns

    These looks pretty interesting ..very nice post

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  • http://www.rahulgladwin.com Rahul

    Is anyone’s website hosted on a cloud? Can be have a look at it?

  • http://www.kingairelines.com king

    great idea. i haven’t ever heard anout this cloud hosting thing. this way every site will pay according to its usage. good.

  • http://www.atlantic.net Cloud Servers

    Interesting Site, Will email to add our Cloud Servers to the mix also.
    Thanks again!

  • http://www.aristosit.org Sandeep Thomas

    Hi Friends,
    I’m not familiar with these technologies. But I’ve I doubt. I heard before that, heavy hit websites like gmail or yahoo has servers all around the world. So their customers can access the resource easily. But one of my friend told me its, mirroring the servers in different locations. Then what is the difference between these cloud hosting and mirrored servers. I’m developing a website which will going to face highest rate of hit and data transfer. So I need a clear reply. So please reply… Thanks in advance..

  • http://bn.ria8.me.uk/ Blogger Ria

    Normal websites will never require cloud hosting; wordpress.com and blogspot.com users are already on the cloud since long. Only some websites in the Alexa top 1000 rank might need cloud hosting.

  • http://www.pattayafling.com steve

    Well done. Great article, we will look into this option in the near future.

  • John

    Really big sites, pretty much any site producing revenues of 10 million or more a year, will have their own dedicated environment hosted either inhouse or at a local data center near tehir office (or multiple data centers in multiple cities depending on just how big they are).

    The system will usually based on VMware or similar technologies. They will have staff to deal with the data center staff directly, so they would never use such a service as above, which are targeted at smaller businesses. Whether or not a site uses a cloud, depends on your definition of a cloud, there are purist clouds, provisioning-only non-geographically diverse based clouds, and there are some purported clouds that should not even be referred to as a cloud, but like WEB 2.0 is thrown around as a buzz word. The word “cloud” is the new “web 2.0″.

    In a purist definition of a cloud, a cloud is supposed to be provisioned geographically with route optimizations, that was supposed to be the original point of a cloud as well as auto-provisioning of CPU and storage resources. Amazon, Google, and some other companies meet this purist definition of a cloud, but most companies do not.

    In its most simple and purist form, you’d expect at least 3 separate data centers on 3 separate networks as well as the ability to auto-provision across multiple servers on these geographically disparte networks especially in event of a major TIER 1 backbone failure. The topic discussed earlier about the connectivity issues not being solved is simply because these providers have altered the meaning of what a cloud really is because it is overly complex and expensive to have real-time geographial replicated data available at the closest data center route to your location. Google and some other companies are big enough to do this, and yes they do pretty much have servers in data centers all over the world, because they mise well since they have to run so many servers anyways.

    Some hosting providers (not critizing the ones above or anyone specific) have started calling just about anything virtualized a cloud, some even do it when the “cloud” does not even have automatic provisioning. Most virtualization (Vmware, Xen, HyperV) have relatively simple implementations of automated provisioning (or is available in third party solutions). Some of these other companies (Google, Amazon, and others) actually had to do a significant amount of design work and probably some coding to get their cloud to be a purist cloud (for sure Google did). Many solutions are often just utilization of third-party software to build an auto-provisioning system from one network, with a backup network in another data center in case anything goes haywire. A true cloud is not a single network cluster of virtual servers in one data center, it must be located in multiple data centers, generally at least (3).

    Even the non-purists type clouds are not necessarily a bad thing, excpet they are often far too expensive for what you get. In many cases, I would even say most cases, if your site does end up needing a bunch of extra resources instantaneously for any decent amount of time, then it would have been cheaper to use (2) load balanced high-end dedicated servers in the first place, because of the way some of these cloud providers implement their billing mechanisms (which can really bite you sometimes).

    The problem with multiple data center provisioning is it can get extremely complicated and expensive with database latency replications occuring at the virtualized hardware level over geo-replicated connections.

    This means with shared cloud hosting, at least one piece like the databases, generally needs to stay in a single data center (or else your looking at some even higher increasing costs) with only a backup standby that is truely in another data center.

    This does not dimenish the fact that your site still has access to X resources and can use multiple servers at any given time with a cloud.

    However, most sites do not need this yet, but some sites do. Eventually cloud hosting will mature and just about every major offering will be across multiple data centers and automatic geographical provisioning systems, and probably the costs will likely all changed back to fixed costs with just regular overages like shared hosting originally was designed. This in contrast to the CPU type cycle billing used now, which is often not a consumer-friendly billing method.

    There are protection mechanisms in place at cloud providers that do not actually allow you to use unlimited resources (hence if your site got DOS attacked, you could owe 10 million dollars in CPU cycles), so instead they usually allow you to set your own limit or they have a limit set themselves, but usually it is a combination of both.

    Regardless of what people call something, a cloud can be just about anything, you have to really look under the hood to make sure of what it is.

    I do not recommend cloud hosting at this time for most people until the billing methods are more user-friendly and easier to understand.

    It is hard enouhg for most people to keep track of how many minutes they used on a cell phone, imagine trying to keep track of how many CPU Cycles you used across multiple data centers and trying to re-code your site to be more efficient in worries you’re going to go over some CPU cycle limit. Even though their systems will tell you the # of CPU cycles, it doesn’t resolve random occurences that will happen to most sites of using excessive CPU at times, which is going to cost an arm and leg at some of these cloud providers. Hence it could be enough to ruin a small business man’s D&B rating or even a personal credit score.

    Be cautious.

  • http://computeriamo.com Realizzazione Siti Varese

    As a small web design company with a growing number of clients demanding quality hosting we recently moved all of our websites to a cloud hosting platform and we are very happy with the choice we made. Now, all of a sudden, our websites started to have fast response from the servers, which is good both for visitors and search engines.
    We currently host at tsohost from uk, which I see you left out in your list.

  • http://www.webvisions.com.au/index.php Walter Scott

    This is very informative article. I would recommend this to those who does not understand what cloud Hosting is.

  • http://www.elastichosts.com mike@elastichosts

    Cool round up. I just wanted to mention a company I’m currently working for – http://www.elastichosts.com their cloud hosting is pretty much based on the cloud server/VPS approach. Really flexible and cost effective especially for people who need to have multiple sites or testing environments…

  • http://www.hotelandresortthailand.com Hotel And Resort Thailand

    I beleve Cloud Hosting can help admin about downtime.

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  • http://www.zoobeedu.com zoobeedu

    I’d tend to agree with John on the topic. This is a technology for those who really understand the underlying concept, mechanism and most importantly the costing. One can easily tell you that this is by far an efficient solution to a web application with variable costing dependent on the level of usage, but to actually assess the resources required and consumed is something to be researched upon before going for cloud hosting.

  • http://www.zoobeedu.com zoobeedu

    For our web hosting needs (www.zoobeedu.com), we have adopted to make a gradual move from dedicated to cloud. As this is how we can analyze and understand our requirement trend first. I would like to suggest to people who are looking for an option for the first time to follow the approach.

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  • khalil Homaam

    Everything has pros and cons; same is the case for cloud hosting. But through this type of hosting we can be immune of bigger damages like total crash where a poor guy will lose everything he/she owns. Still it is new and we need to think about it.

    My website is under development and is an online market space, how should I host it? It is the fate of 1000s of people!!!

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  • http://unseenrevolution.com Portland Web Hosting

    I have been using Rackspace’s Could Sites for several years now. It is reliable and has saved by butt a bunch of times. I have watched as other peoples sites have failed when the traffic spike happens. There is really nothing to do when the server is gone. It is all about preparation. Done correctly, it doesn’t have to cost a bunch. My clients, mostly small businesses and non profits pay the same price they would from a discount hosting provider (about 10 bucks a month), but know that when the spike happens, their website will be online and no one will notice a thing. That is truly peace of mind.

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  • Harvy

    The article explained well about cloud hosting. Thank you. very useful.

  • http://www.webhosting.uk.com/ Rachael

    There are new players in the market who offer the best of cloud hosting services. In order to get complete efficiency from the cloud hosting platform, it is essential to locate a good cloud host who will provide with the best of hosting features for ensuring the smooth functioning of the website.

  • http://blog.whitesites.com WhiteSites

    Developers need to spend more time optimizing their code to run faster and cleaner, rather than just increasing the resources to their applications.

  • http://pro-webdeveloper.com Hamiduzzaman

    Great and informative article.Also the video is nice.

  • http://www.miglioriideeregalo.it Carl

    great article, I am looking for a cloud hosting solution for my websites.


  • http://www.eukhost.com eUKhost Ltd.

    The cloud security is the biggest concern in industry. Most of the people think that in cloud, others have access to their data. It is completely wrong. As a fact, when using the cloud services, you are in isolated environment, so no one has access to your data but you. Your server is totally independent from any other clients. None other than you are able to access the information. Actually, a cloud hosting service offers more secure environment and complete transparency. Those who are not sure whether to go for a public or private cloud, they must consult with a sales executive of a cloud hosting provider.

  • http://www.imagine.com.au Imagine

    Great article and video. Cloud hosting has saved us countless hours of work because we never have to worry about server issues.

  • http://www.healthmindful.com James

    Glad I found this article, been looking for some info on how cloud hosting really works and this enlightened my mind. Just one question, will it be okay to use cloud servers for some of my downloadable products? Will it be secure?

  • http://www.dashidashi.com/ Emily

    Is there any downsides moving to cloud hosting except the cost and security concerns?

  • http://www.webhostingsecretrevealed.com Jerry Low

    @Emily: Yes there is – which is why we have this article by Ron: 15 Reasons to Fear Cloud Computing (http://www.webhostingsecretrevealed.com/featured-articles/15-reasons-to-fear-cloud-computing/). For example, if you are switching, the conversion costs might be an issue; so is the software maintenance on the Cloud.

  • http://sussexdesigns.co.uk/our_products.php latest web design news

    Genuinely straight forward to read article.

  • http://www.sitelite.in sitelite.in

    Thanks… Clear cut information. I am just adding some points from you article to my students for my next session… Cloud hosting provider list is also very fine.

  • http://www.devon-designs.com Web Design Plymouth

    I’m a great believer in the cloud, but there are still a few things to be ironed out. Take, for example, amazon’s AWS servers going into a full backup loop, until most of their locations started to fall over.

    Or more recently, Microsoft’s cloud service fell over because of a time/date bug, and became confused by the leap year.

    There are still a few things to be ironed out as far as I’m concerned, but can definitely see the potential.

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  • http://www.atlantic.net/ Cloud Servers

    I just came across this article again and wanted to say thanks again for adding our Cloud Severs to the mix! And great article!

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  • Bob Williamson

    It is very useful article, well done!
    Most likely my question is not related to your post, but I want to get your advice.
    I have been searching for a long time the good and reliable cloud server. I stopped at swisshosters (google it). It is a good choose?

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  • http://www.4dwins.com Damacai

    Cloud hosting is gaining acceptance nowsaday. In the past, people has the mis-conception that being in cloud means you loses control, thus, loses security. In fact, it is much safer in cloud than having your data in a physic drive.

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