It seems like everywhere you turn these days, you hear the word “cloud.” People back up files on the cloud, businesses use cloud-based services, even some software is accessed on the cloud. The amount being spent on cloud computer infrastructure and platforms is predicted to grow 30% between 2013 and 2018.

With more and more businesses leveraging cloud technology, it isn’t too surprising that cloud-based services are also impacting web design in a variety of ways. Not only does the cloud make web design more flexible, but there are numerous benefits to cloud-based hosting solutions.

1. Easy Design Sharing

In the past, you might have created an entire theme for a website and shared the Lorem Ipsum standard plugin text to show clients what their new site might look like. This method required a lot of design hours, back and forth between designer and client and extra work for you. Although it was effective, it was a bulky, time-consuming method of design.

One of the biggest benefits of sharing info on the cloud is you can create a design on a wireframe and share that general concept with a client in much less time. The client, in turn, can add notes and tweaks via the cloud-based wireframe builder. This shows the designer clearly what the client would like changed, instead of the designer trying to guess.

The biggest benefit of creating basic wireframe designs on the cloud is that the designer saves time and effort. The ability to easily collaborate is essential to today’s web designers.

2. Lower Storage and IT Costs

Web developers appreciate the ability to purchase data storage space on a cloud-based system. This reduces costs, as the company no longer must purchase expensive equipment to store and backup data.

The company will no longer need IT staff to install and troubleshoot, which further reduces costs. Some of the reasons cloud storage reduces costs include how cloud storage is workload-specific and much of the redundant storage done in-house is eliminated. Not only do companies save the cost of an IT staff, they save on benefits packages and ongoing training costs.

3. Adding Business Maps

Business maps are an effective way for businesses to share important information with potential customers. The cloud makes it easy for web designers to integrate maps into a website so that clients can gain valuable mapping information.

For example, a service business can see where their technicians are located and who are out in the field. A dentist office can locate customers in a specific area.

Cloud services keep these mapping systems low in price and give business owners the ability to access the information from anywhere. Map data is automatically updated in the middle of the night, so that client functionality is not impacted.

4. More Complete Software Options

In the past, designers used tools such as InDesign and Photoshop to enhance designs. These Adobe software choices were expensive to buy and dated quickly, meaning more expensive updates. However, with Adobe’s current cloud-based options, designers have access to the entire suite of products, as well as to the most up-to-date versions.

Need to access the software for a time-based project? No problem. You can sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99 per month for a single app, $9.99 a month for photography apps, such as Photoshop CC, and $49.99 a month for all apps of more than 20 different types of software and 20 GB of cloud storage.

Adobe even offers an option for you to set up an online portfolio through their cloud-based services. These options offer a great benefit because designers can access the software from anywhere. In the past, beginner designers had to scrape up hundreds of dollars to purchase just one type of software.

With Adobe’s cloud-based software and monthly payment options, a new designer can get started without a big upfront investment. New designers can gain clients and begin making money before having to pay for design software.

5. Backend 24/7 Availability

If one of your clients needs features such as the ability for employees to work remotely, cloud-based systems can allow for that. Cloud-based systems are usually available 24 hours a day and offer an uptime guarantee, which means employees can access the system whenever is needed or to accommodate flexible work hours.

In addition, companies that offer software to customers can update software or release new products. Customers can then access these changes and updates from anywhere — seamlessly.

The benefit of having a system with 24/7 availability from anywhere in the world is that employees can be most productive at times that are convenient to them. Top notch employees who might otherwise have refused an outside job will become available as contracted employees or remote workers. This means you get the top talent in your industry and have an edge over the competition.

6. Flexible Capacity

Another huge advantage of a cloud-based server is that you can adjust the capacity according to different promotions and your needs at different times. For example, if you are planning an online video workshop for the first Saturday in April, you can anticipate you’ll need higher capacity to handle the traffic and streaming. You can request higher capacity for that time from your server.

Flexible capacity also saves companies money because instead of paying for ongoing higher bandwidth, you can ask your server to adapt to the demands of your different promotions. Even better, your site won’t crash during that all-important Black Friday sale or other event.

There is no arguing that the cloud has impacted web design and will continue to effect designers for years to come. As more and more servers perfect their cloud-based services — and more and more software solutions are offered online — designers will surely find that their work is easier in many ways. A cloud-based server offers much more flexibility for both the designer and clients.

Lexie Lu is a freelance web designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest web design news and always has some coffee nearby. She owns Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.