If you're building a website for a business or blog, choosing the type of hosting to work with is one of the hardest decisions you'll have to make. With so many options available to you, it can be hard to decide which hosting platform is right for you. In many cases, it's hard to switch hosting platforms after you've already decided on one. It's important to get it right the first time.
In this article, I'll take a look at three of the most popular hosting platforms: VPS vs cloud hosting vs cloud VPS. How do they all stack up against each other?
What is VPS Hosting?
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. A VPS is a hosting platform that allows people to access a portion of a server. If you use a VPS, you will have access to a set amount of the server's features or storage. VPS hosting guarantees that you get the performance you're paying for. While you are technically sharing a server, you have access to individual resources that are not accessible by other server users.
In many ways, a VPS is a blend of shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Features, such as the amount of storage you have access to on your VPS, will depend on your provider and plan. It's essential to keep these components in mind if you do decide to work with a VPS hosting platform.
What is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is a form of hosting that allows users to access a pool of different virtual servers which are based on a network of linked physical servers. The key advantage of cloud hosting is flexibility. Cloud server resources scale much better than with VPS server resources because they are split between multiple physical machines.
Exactly how a cloud server is set up will vary dramatically depending on the web host you pick. Some hosts, like Amazon, operate vast global networks of cloud servers. That means your site will be simultaneously stored at data centers around the world. Meanwhile, other web hosts operate smaller cloud networks where every server node is located in the same country.
What is Cloud VPS?
Before we move on to the various differences between VPS hosting vs cloud hosting, there's a third option we need to consider. Cloud VPS is effectively a hybrid server architecture that sits halfway between cloud and VPS hosting. That means it shares a large number of the same features as both. It's often known as 'private cloud hosting', while regular cloud hosting is referred to as 'public cloud'.
With a cloud VPS architecture, like a regular cloud server, your hosting environment will still be split across multiple physical machines. And, like a VPS server, your access to server resources like CPU time and RAM will be protected from other users. Essentially, cloud VPS offers the best of both worlds.
But here's something you should know: many cloud web hosts actually use a cloud VPS set up, but don't refer to it as such. This can make comparing cloud VPS hosting and cloud hosting a tricky business, as they're often exactly the same thing!
VPS, Cloud and Cloud VPS: Which is the Best?
As you're going to find out, each of these server types has distinct advantages and disadvantages. There's no one easy answer as to which is best, everything will come down to your individual hosting needs.
Cloud and Cloud VPS Servers are Best For Scalability
While most websites start small, it's essential to choose a hosting platform that can grow with your site. Starting over can prove to be a costly and time-consuming experience. When it comes to scalability, VPS hosting setups are significantly more limited than cloud or cloud VPS servers.
The scalability of a VPS server will depend on the particular web host that operates it. If you are assigned a server on a piece of hardware that's not being used at full capacity, then it will be easy to upgrade. However, with certain web hosts, you will have to migrate your entire website to another service if you run out of resources.
For those using cloud hosting, you won't need to worry about scaling problems. Because the servers consist of an extensive network of different components, you can add capabilities without having to migrate your site to a new platform. Scalability is one of the best features associated with cloud hosting.
Cloud VPS servers are just as scalable as regular cloud servers. With both types of server, if you need extra resources, the host can just connect an extra physical machine to the cloud network. Consequently, cloud and cloud VPS servers easily beat regular VPS servers in terms of scalability.
Performance: Cloud VPS Servers are the best Performers
VPS is good when it comes to server performance. Because you're allocated a private portion of your server's resources, your sites load speeds can't be affected by other users. That being said, if your server crashes, your site will be shut down.
That won't happen with cloud hosting though. Because cloud servers consist of a network of different machines, one server cutting out won't impact the performance of your site. What's more cloud servers can instantly add resources to deal with traffic surges, resulting in better performance times.
However, cloud VPS servers are better than both when it comes to performance. With this type of server, you have all the surge resource advantages of cloud hosting combined with the server isolation benefits of VPS hosting. That means that cloud VPS servers are consistently reliable and excellent at dealing with sudden surges in visitor numbers.
Data Security: VPS Wins This One
In general, you should always pick a host with strong data security measures, no matter which server type you go for. That being said, VPS servers are normally great for strong data security. Because your portion of the server is cut off from other users, any malicious attacks that impact them won't be able to reach your valuable information.
With cloud hosting, security is less consistent. Because cloud hosting servers are stored across multiple physical machines, they are more vulnerable to attacks from different sources. What's more, your information will be distributed over multiple nodes with a cloud host so, if you want to remove anything sensitive from your server, you'll have to ensure it's deleted from each one.
Cloud VPS hosting is more secure than cloud hosting but not as safe as regular VPS hosting. That's because it has the same server isolation benefits as VPS hosting, but your data is still replicated and stored across many different machines.
Pricing: Cloud VPS is Crazy Expensive
In most cases, cloud hosting will be more expensive than VPS hosting. The added resources and performance features come at a cost. For the sake of comparison, I'll take a look at the difference between cloud and VPS pricing from Hostinger below. I'll compare these plans with a cloud VPS hosting package from Liquid Web.
|Hostinger 'Starter' VPS||Hostinger 'Starter' Cloud||Liquid Web Base Cloud VPS|
|Price||$3.95 per month||$7.45 per month||$49 per month|
|Processor||1 Core 2.4GHZ||N/A||2x vCPUs|
|HDD or SSD||SSD||SSD||SSD|
|Customer Support||24/7 Live Chat||24/7 Live Chat||24/7 Live Chat and Phone|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30-Day Period||30-Day Period||30-Day Period|
As you can see, while cloud packages are slightly more expensive than VPS plans, cloud VPS services are significantly more expensive than both. Of course, there are more expensive cloud and VPS web hosts than Hostinger and cheaper cloud VPS hosts than Liquid Web. However, in general, cloud VPS will be far more expensive than the other two because of the amount of dedicated hardware cloud VPS servers require.
VPS vs Cloud Verdict: Cloud Hosting Reigns Supreme
In terms of flat out performance, cloud VPS is the best type of server hosting.
However, regular cloud servers are the best overall because they are significantly cheaper. Cloud VPS hosting is so expensive that it won't be an option for most consumers. VPS hosting is still a good alternative to consider though, thanks to its good security, manageable performance, and decent scalability.
Ultimately, however, there's much more on offer from a cloud hosting platform than a VPS server can provide. With a cloud server, you can tap into extra resources more efficiently and will get better overall performance. The ability to scale your site and deal with surges in visitor numbers is also a huge bonus.
But what do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on VPS vs cloud hosting in the comments below!