How does web hosting work?
In simplified terms, the files that create your web site are stored on a computer called a server. This server has a section just for your site, or for economical shared hosting, multiple sites. The computer stays on 24/7. Your web site domain name, registered in a separate process, “points” to this server. Because hackers are constantly trying to inject their malicious evilness into every possible computer, targeting servers mostly, it’s best to leave hosting to the professionals.
What is the “cloud”?
It’s just a server in a building hosting your files. It doesn’t float and it is kept in a very controlled environment.
Is my web host really serving me?
The largest hosting company in the world is Endurance International Group, which just may own the company with whom you host. Of course they didn’t get there by being slouches, and they do offer very inexpensive services. But they were affected by Heartbleed. There are some companies I can safely say to avoid: 1&1 has a very difficult user interface for telling your files where to live and very poor customer support. GoDaddy, which is fine for domain registration, has its strength in domain registration services and not necessarily hosting. The WordPress sites I have administered on their server were extremely slow.