Cloud vs VPS Hosting – How to Choose the Right One for You

Published on October 5, 2022 by Simon Wright

Before looking at the key differences between cloud vs VPS hosting, it is important to understand the fundamental commonality between the two that sometimes cause confusion.

Both cloud and VPS hosting have shared resources (i.e., hardware, operating system, applications, etc.) that use advanced technology to keep users ‘virtually’ separated from one another. However, that is where the similarities end, and matters such as scalability, performance, and reliability are what set the two options apart.

What is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud hosting is quite a new form of web hosting that has recently gained popularity.

With cloud hosting, applications and websites use cloud resources accessed via the internet. While those resources may be deployed on a single server, it is more common to distribute them over a network ‘cluster.’ Each cluster comprises physical and/or virtual cloud servers working together as a single unified system. However, thousands of websites will likely share the same cloud resources.

As every server in a cluster contains copies of all the resources necessary to host the websites, cloud-hosted sites are accessible anytime from anywhere. That means all services required to host a website (e.g., file storage, FTP, SSH, email, etc.) run simultaneously on servers spread across multiple geographic locations. While that isn’t a particularly efficient method of utilizing resources, the upside is alternative servers are available should one fail.

Overall, cloud hosting is a scalable, reliable, and cost-effective way to host websites and applications. So, if you need a web hosting solution that can grow with your business, cloud hosting may be worth considering.

Cloud Hosting Pros

Performance and reliability

As already mentioned, each website resides on a virtual partition of a physical network comprising many servers. Therefore, should an individual server fail for any reason or becomes swamped, it is possible to divert traffic automatically to alternative servers elsewhere in the network.

As such, resources are theoretically always available, and the likelihood of your site ever going offline is minimal.

Security

As resources are spread over many servers in different physical locations, it is harder for external attackers to take out the entire network. However, it is still possible for parts of it to be attacked in isolation.

Scalability

As cloud hosting resources are spread over a network of servers rather than just one, you can easily scale them (up or down) to meet your changing needs. The resources can be easily adjusted and made available in real-time according to your requirements.

Cloud Hosting Cons

Cost

Cloud hosting relies on a large network of servers located in global data centers, making it inherently costly. Moreover, as already mentioned, each server will run the same services simultaneously, which is inefficient.

Increased likelihood of external attacks

Given the sheer number of websites hosted on the cloud servers, the probability of malware and other attacks is greater. However, in mitigation, the sites are isolated from one another virtually. That means if one website gets attacked, it won’t necessarily impact neighboring ones. Moreover, it is possible to divert requests to other servers in the network if needed to keep things running.

What is VPS Hosting?

Like cloud hosting, VPS (“virtual private server”) hosting also utilizes shared servers. Again, physical servers are split into multiple virtual servers, each running its own operating system and can be rebooted independently.

However, unlike cloud hosting, VPSs house fewer users than upwards of thousands. Users are separated from one another using advanced technology, with each effectively having its own dedicated server space inaccessible by others.

VPS hosting offers several advantages over traditional shared web hosting, such as improved performance, flexibility, and scalability. Therefore, VPS hosting is a good choice for businesses outgrowing shared web hosting or those requiring custom server configurations.

VPS Hosting Pros

Flexibility

With VPS hosting, you enjoy complete control over how you manage your server. That means you have full access to everything and are free to install whatever software you need whenever you like.

Performance and reliability

With VPS hosting, the servers host as many or as few websites as you want to place on there. That means your website and resources are entirely isolated from neighboring sites and other servers. Therefore, VPS hosting is very efficient and less susceptible to performance issues caused by other sites gobbling up all the server resources. Moreover, if a ‘neighboring’ website suffers a malware attack, it won’t necessarily impact others.

Security

VPS hosting is highly secure as all data is kept separate from and inaccessible to the other users sharing the server. Therefore, a malware attack or data breach on another user is unlikely to impact your site.

Scalability

You retain full control over your website as resources are pre-allocated to you. Therefore, when the time comes to scale, it is simply a matter of adjusting the resource allocation.

Cost

The server network with VPS hosting is generally smaller and less widespread geographically than with cloud hosting, so it tends to be cheaper. However, VPS hosting is typically more expensive than shared hosting, which is at the budget end of hosting.

VPS Hosting Cons

Availability

VPS hosting is offered by relatively few companies with Amazon Web Services, DigitalOcean, Vultr, UpCloud and Linode being among the most popular. As a result of there being less competition,  the choice is somewhat restricted. Fortunately, there are companies such as VPS hosting specialists like WP Bolt who provide high-quality, reliable VPS hosting at sensible prices.

Possibility for increased downtime

As VPS hosting uses servers located in relatively few physical locations, any catastrophic server failure could potentially impact all websites hosted on that server with no alternatives to fall back on.

That said, all the sites are kept virtually independent from each other. Therefore, an attack on one website does not automatically mean all others hosted on the same server will be affected. In fact, the probability of attacks is lower than with cloud hosting due to the lower number of sites hosted.

Moreover, good VPS hosting providers have backup servers on standby to minimize the impact of any significant problems.

Cloud vs. VPS Hosting – Which is Right For You?

When contemplating cloud vs. VPS hosting, remember that both use similar technology to keep users virtually separated.

However, while cloud hosting uses an extensive network of servers to host thousands of websites, VPS hosting houses fewer websites on a closer-knit network of servers.

So, while cloud hosting uses advanced technology to create virtual separation between users, it also has thousands more websites accessing the same hardware resources. That makes it statistically more prone to malware and other attacks than VPS hosting. Sure, if one server fails, it is possible to divert resources elsewhere. However, that does not undermine the fact that the servers must accommodate many more users than VPS hosting.

Then there is the question of cost. Cloud hosting relies on an extensive network of servers, often housed in data centers spread across several countries. Conversely, the smaller network of VPS hosting costs less to establish and maintain, making it inherently cheaper than its cloud counterpart.

Overall, while both cloud and VPS hosting give most of the benefits of private hosting – namely privacy, security, and flexibility – VPS does it more cost-effectively.

WP Bolt are VPS hosting specialists. We offer a range of quality hosting solutions catering to every budget and need. Moreover, simple, transparent pricing makes it easy to understand what each package includes.

To read more about other hosting types, please check out ‘Shared Hosting vs. WordPress Hosting: Which Should You Choose?

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