VPS and cloud hosting are equally popular but they are not synonymous with each other. Read this article to get to know the main differences between them and their respective pros and cons!

The most affordable type of hosting is shared and the most expensive is using a dedicated server. VPS and cloud hosting are medium-priced options that have a lot in common but differ in certain key aspects. They will provide you with enough resources at a reasonable price. From this article, you’ll get to know the characteristic features of both VPS and cloud hosting. You’ll discover their respective pros and cons and will be able to make an informed decision on which type suits you best.

What Is VPS?

This acronym stands for “virtual private server”. Your provider has a large physical server and uses virtualization software to fragment it into multiple smaller ones. You might also come across the term “cloud VPS“. Each of the segments operates as an independent server and you can rent one for your site. You’ll be sharing the large physical server with many other sites, but your resources won’t overlap. Each client will get a fair share of the pie. You’ll be able to customize your virtual server by installing the optimal operating system, software and tools. You might want to opt for this type of hosting if your site deals with consistent traffic without occasional spikes.

Such an approach can be compared to installing multiple users accounts on a computer. All users get access to the limited amount of resources of the device. Each person can customize their own desktop and add their own tools.

VPS hosting can be either managed or unmanaged. The former means that your provider will take care of all the technical aspects related to hosting. You won’t need to maintain the server yourself, set up the required tools and services and guarantee your site’s security. Managed plans cost more than their unmanaged counterparts. Unmanaged plans are cheaper but you’ll need to hire or outsource IT specialists to cope with all the technical tasks.

The biggest drawback of this type of hosting consists in the risk of failures. If something goes wrong on the large physical server, all the sites that rent some parts of it might go down. When choosing a provider, it would be wise to opt for a company that considers server security to be its top priority.

Here are the primary advantages and shortcomings of VPS hosting:

Affordable pricingIf the physical server your site is hosted on crashes one day, your site will go down
You’ll get much more resources than with shared hostingSince you’ll be sharing a large physical server with other sites, you’ll get access only to a limited pool of resources
The provider will give you root access to the server so that you’ll be able to flexibly configure the settingsTo manage and/or configure your server, you need to have certain technical expertise
When you need more resources, you might be able to upgrade to a pricier plan without migrating your site to a new serverThe room on the server is limited — so when you run out of it, you’ll need to migrate the site

What Is Cloud Hosting?

With this type of hosting, data is spread across a number of different physical servers. These servers might be scattered all around the world. They are connected together in a virtual environment. Your site will be distributed over a cluster of servers: if one of them goes out of order, your site won’t go down. Virtual machines will be hosting both your site and all the tools and software that it requires. Each user has their own virtual machine at their disposal and their resources don’t overlap. Hosting your site on a cloud can be compared to using a virtual dedicated server.

With VPS, you get access to only one physical server while with cloud hosting, you can rely on several ones.

The most important characteristic feature of cloud hosting is scalability. As soon as your site needs more resources, you can easily get them from the cluster. That’s vital for businesses that are scaling or might face sudden spikes in traffic (for instance, because of posting viral content).

Just as VPS, cloud hosting can be available in either managed or unmanaged plans.

Cloud hosting is equally suitable for larger WordPress sites and websites of tech giants, such as Airbnb or Netflix. It’s a great option for networks that need to scale. By the way, you can scale not only up but also down. If your site loses some part of its audience or experiences a seasonal decrease in traffic, you won’t need to pay for the resources that you don’t use.

Here are the main benefits and drawbacks of cloud hosting:

You pay only for the resources that you consume, so the sum in your bill might vary from one month to anotherVirtual environments might be prone to hacking attacks
Easy scalabilitySteep learning curve: if you want to manage your cloud yourself, you’ll need to have technical skills and knowledge
Redundancy and rapid deployment: you can clone your website on other environments to minimize downtimeYour provider might fail to grant you root access which might limit your customization capabilities
Your site will load very quickly and will be highly unlikely to go down 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you found this article informative and now you better understand the difference between VPS and cloud hosting. With the former, you’ll be renting a virtualized part of a large physical server. With the latter, your site’s resources will be distributed across various virtual servers. Cloud hosting is excellent for scaling because you get access to a potentially unlimited pool of resources. On the flip side, clouds are not as easily customizable as VPS. A VPS can be flexibly configured — but if there is a problem with the large physical server, all the sites that are hosted on it might temporarily go down. Both types of hosting can come in handy for you if can’t afford a dedicated server but your site has already outgrown shared hosting.

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Vineet Maheshwari is a passionate blogger and relationship oriented digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience in SEO, PPC management, web analytics, domain investing, affiliate marketing and digital strategy. He has helped high tech brands connect with customers in an engaging manner, thereby ensuring that high quality leads are generated over time.