I will speak about how much easier it is today to get a website running as compared to 10 years ago. Today, I cleaned out my old webspace where I have been hosting most of my old PHP projects on. I found an alpha-version of temboapp.de which I called "cards" back then. It was even written in PHP. I recall it to be very sophisticated, requesting most of the front-end parts via AJAX. I remember being very proud of at that time about my genius idea.
Back then, getting a PHP script to run took a lot of time. Most of the times, I used a webhoster, because I could not afford to get a whole computer just for my websites and my internet speed was unbelievably slow. With a webhoster, you first would have to check your environment first for what kind of PHP interpreter it is running. Then, you would need to create the database, note down the login details and hope for it not to crash when you insert a fuzzy SQL statement, because you did not check what SQL engine you were actually running. Nowadays, most of these tasks are automated as most of us do not need all and everything to be customisable to start out or run a small website.
We have traded customisation for simplicity which gives new and small projects a competitive edge. We do not have to buy, set up and maintain a server. Microsoft, Amazon and Rackspace will do this for you. Additionally, if you have a peak in visitors you do need to worry about scaling. For the beginning, most scaling can be done by increasing the number of processes you run in the cloud. Instead of buying another server, setting it up and worrying about it, you can focus on your product where you can create your true value.
Now, that most businesses are migrating to some kind of cloud service, I wonder what the next big change in online hosting will be.