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Cartoon of a newspaper with heading 'Old Man Yells At Cloud' and photo of an old man with fist raised upward towards clouds in the sky

cloud in short means “other people's servers”, typically used for storage or computing, and for the IndieWeb, there some personal cloud solutions. Such "cloud computing" services are pitched (though rarely in practice) as providing online services that are on-demand, broadly available, elastic, and measured service.

See National Institute of Standards and Technology's definition of cloud computing for a more jargon-heavy definition and expansions.

Cloud things

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Building block vs apps

Sometimes these on-demand/self-service/elastic/measured cloud services are used for computing building blocks such as storage, computation, and server bandwidth.

  • Examples: Amazon S3, EC2. Akamai.

The term "cloud" is also used to refer to such services which are applications themselves such as email, blogging, etc. which are almost always silos as well:

Relation to IndieWeb



just means internet or server

There many intentional and unintentional misuses of the word "cloud" in reference to "cloud computing" which do not meet the definition or criteria above in one or more ways. As such the following phrases can typically be substituted:

"in the cloud"
= on the internet
"personal cloud"
= personal (virtual) server

marketing and branding

As "cloud" is a more recent (and shorter/catchier) term than "server" or "internet" or "virtual host", there are also now commercial services which use "cloud" in the name of their service which do not actually provide cloud computing services.

  • Apple iCloud - neither dynamic nor elastic.[1]
  • ...



in error messages


for "feedly is over capacity".

See Also