Cloud hosting relies on a concept called REST. It stands for Representational State Transfer. Most people who are familiar with World Wide Web history have heard of Tim Berners-Lee. But fewer people are familiar with a man named Roy Fielding, who invented REST and was one of the principle developers of HTTP.

Without HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), there’d be no WWW (World Wide Web). Likewise, without REST there’d be no World Wide Web.

It is important to note that HTTP is built upon the REST architecture. Think of it like this: HTTP is a protocol and REST is an architecture. A corresponding analogy could be a warehouse loading dock. Your protocol is the process you use to transfer inventory from the loading dock to the truck that will transport the inventory to its final location. The architecture upon which that process is based is the loading dock.

Without the loading dock there’d be no place to store the inventory. It would just exist in empty space somewhere. Or, there’d be something in place of the loading dock that would serve as the architecture – a concrete slab, for instance.

Why is this important? Because the World Wide Web – a huge cloud of computers around the world connected to each other and which communicate to each other through various protocols – functions due to certain technological developments that interact with each other. Without those developments, the Web could not be possible. Web browsers, for instance, call up Web pages and allow you to view them, but there must be a way for your browser to communicate with the server where that Web page is located.

When your browser sends a request to the server to view a web page, the server sends the data back to your browser so that it can be viewed. This is done with a simple GET command. That’s a product of HTTP, the transfer protocol. However, in order for the server to understand the command, the information requested must be in some kind of format. That format is provided by REST.

The Web, the largest public cloud in existence, relies on the simple architecture of REST. Some experts say it is much simpler, though provides less capability, than SOAP. Nevertheless, your cloud hosting provider probably uses both and if it doesn’t, it should.