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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" and within the context of the indieweb can also refer to "cloud computing", services which supposedly (though rarely in practice) provide 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

There are a number of indieweb community members who are putting specific effort into moving away from cloud silos and rebuilding their applications on top of cloud (or even just web hosting) building blocks, from providers they can swap in and out and switching between at their desire.



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