Cloud hosting vs. VPS: The differences you should know about.

Cloud hosting vs. VPS: A Head-to-Head Comparison

If your website has outgrown its shared hosting space, you’re likely caught in the “VPS vs Cloud” dilemma, wrestling with the need for more resources, better performance, and increased reliability. The challenge? Understanding the distinct features and benefits that each option offers to address your specific needs.

In this article, we’ll break down the differences between these two types of hosting to help you make an informed decision.

If you’re ready to choose a provider, consult our expertly curated lists of the Best VPS Providers and the top Cloud Hosting Services.

Key Highlights

  • VPS Hosting divides one physical server into virtual servers, with options like Managed or Unmanaged.
  • Cloud Hosting spreads resources across multiple servers, ensuring minimal downtime and high scalability.
  • Cloud hosting consistently handles high traffic spikes, while VPS is limited by its physical server resources.
  • VPS users handle their own security; Cloud hosting providers often manage security updates and features.
  • VPS offers deep customization with predictable costs, while Cloud has limited customization but offers limitless scalability.

What is VPS Hosting?

VPS is short for Virtual Private Servers. In VPS hosting, one physical server is categorized into various sections, and each section belongs to a different client (like in shared hosting). However, the advantage here is that this section will act as a stand-alone server through virtualization. It will also run its own instance of the operating system.

If you sign up for unmanaged VPS hosting, you will have root access privilege. As a result, complete control of the website will be in your hands.

If you or your team is not technically adept, you can leave all these technical aspects to the hosting provider through Managed VPS Hosting.

Also, there are other types of VPS hosting, like SSD VPS, Windows VPS, Linux VPS, WordPress VPS, etc. So, if you go for VPS hosting, you will find a VPS server that will satisfy your needs.

Recommended VPS Hosting Providers

VPS Basic
VPS
NZ$9.20 / month
VPS Business
VPS
NZ$15.89 / month
VPS Professional
VPS
NZ$27.60 / month
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  • Ultahost – Budget-friendly managed VPS hosting lets you host unlimited sites with unlimited bandwidth.
  • Kamatera – Offers a pay-as-you-go solution on a cloud infrastructure with no maintenance required.
  • Time4VPS – Self-managed KVM Windows VPS with impressive features tailored for Windows professionals.

For a full breakdown, check out our comprehensive review of the Best VPS Hosting Providers

What is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud Hosting is a type of web hosting where a website’s resources are spread across a network of multiple physical servers, interconnected through sophisticated software. Instead of relying on a single physical server, cloud hosting draws its power from several sources.

This ensures high redundancy; if one server encounters an issue, another in the network can seamlessly take over, minimizing downtime.

Such scalability and resilience have made cloud hosting increasingly popular, even though it’s a relatively newer concept compared to traditional hosting methods like shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting.

Recommended Cloud Hosting Providers

  • Kamatera – The go-to cloud hosting provider for cost efficiency. Start small, adjust as needed, only pay for what you use, and cancel anytime.
  • HostArmada – Offers top-tier managed cloud hosting with included cPanel/WHM. This ensures easy navigation with just a few clicks, while their dedicated team handles all technical server tasks.
  • ChemiCloud – Beginner friendly cloud hosting with many cPanel tools just a click away. You can build your site with a simple Website Builder with drag-and-drop, over 350 templates, and responsive designs.

For a full breakdown, check out our expert review of the Best Cloud Hosting Providers

VPS vs. Cloud Hosting Pros and Cons

VPS Pros and Cons

Pros
  • VPS hosting is simple to use and adaptable
  • The majority of plans can be altered to match the user’s needs, and the majority of plans can be expanded
  • Other web apps can be run on the Virtual Private Server and can be resumed separately
  • It is possible to host a massive number of websites efficiently
  • VPS comes with a slew of advanced features
  • The majority of VPS uses the Linux-based operating system, and it has a proven track record of being more stable and secure than the  Windows VPS
Cons
  • Your Virtual Private Server may not be able to use the total amount of RAM or disk space, since the actual web server’s physical resources are shared among the many websites that use it
  • The amount of random access memory (RAM), central processing time, and server disk space available on a virtual private server (VPS) is restricted
  • It may be challenging to set up an unmanaged VPS, and getting your website up and operating will take longer

Cloud Hosting Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Cost-effective
  • Easy to implement
  • Accessible infrastructure
  • Scalable and flexible, and users pay only for the number of used resources
  • Automatic data backups
Cons
  • Users have limited control over the infrastructure
  • Prone to privacy issues
  • Susceptible to cyber attacks
  • Downtime is a prevalent issue with cloud hosting

VPS vs. Cloud Hosting Overview Table

 VPSCloud Hosting
ResourcesUsers have their own resourcesUsers can get resources from multiple servers
PerformanceLimited performance depending on the planConsistent performance and ability to handle high traffic spikes
SecurityUsers are responsible for their securityProviders handle all security features and updates
CustomizationEnables users to have root access with unmanaged plansLimited customization and no root access
CostIt is the cheaper alternative with predictable feesThe price depends on how many resources you use, and fees can be less predictable
ScalabilityLimited scalabilityUnlimited scalability with no downtime

VPS vs. Cloud Hosting: Resources

With VPS hosting, you have your own resources that you can use and customize as you wish.

With cloud hosting, you draw power from a multitude of servers, i.e., the cloud. This means the resources are spread out, and you will have nearly a 100% uptime guarantee. Because you have all these virtual servers connected together, it is perfect for servers who need to increase their resources within a short notice to handle higher levels of traffic.

Verdict

Cloud Hosting is the winner of this category because it enables users to get resources from multiple servers. This is excellent for websites that need to increase their resources at a moment’s notice.

VPS vs. Cloud Hosting: Performance

Both VPS and cloud hosting offer strong performance, but VPS has limitations due to its reliance on a single physical server, restricting your access to a set amount of resources.

VPS typically uses faster SSDs for quicker data access, unlike shared hosting, which often uses slower HDDs.

Cloud hosting, in contrast, maintains a slight advantage, especially during high-traffic events like product launches or sales. Its network of interconnected servers allows it to adapt to unexpected traffic surges, delivering consistent speed and reliability.

So when weighing options like SSD VPS against Cloud Hosting, consider both speed and adaptability to determine the best fit for your needs.

Verdict

I have to give the win to Cloud hosting because of its consistent performance and ability to handle high and unexpected traffic spikes.

VPS vs. Cloud Hosting: Security

Web Hosting Security is a crucial consideration when choosing between VPS and Cloud hosting solutions. Both VPS and Cloud hosting offer better security features compared to shared hosting. However, they differ in the level of management required.

With VPS hosting, you are mainly responsible for your own security settings and ensuring that all software is up-to-date.

Cloud hosting, on the other hand often includes more automated security measures and can dynamically allocate resources to better handle potential security threats.

Verdict

In terms of security, Cloud hosting has a slight advantage because the provider is responsible for keeping your website secure and updated. However, if you prefer to do this on your own, then VPS is the better one for you.

VPS vs. Cloud Hosting: Customization

VPS hosting allows complete customization of the website and related applications. It provides the client with root access in unmanaged VPS hosting; thus, you can tweak the technical configurations as much as you like. Your website will run on its individual operating system instance, but the whole virtual server will run on the same OS. So usually, you can’t choose between Linux and Windows after signing up for the hosting plan.

Cloud hosting also limits the customization area since its operation is distributed among numerous servers. However, its liberty to customization is narrower than VPS as there is no root access privilege. Nevertheless, you can choose any OS you want from the readily available Windows and Linux clouds.

Verdict

The winner for the Customization category is VPS hosting. It is not as limited as Cloud hosting, and unmanaged VPS hosting enables users to have root access to change and modify their websites.

VPS vs. Cloud Hosting: Cost

When deciding between a cloud server vs. VPS, one of your biggest considerations is likely pricing. While both options are more expensive than a shared hosting environment, they are cheaper than a dedicated server, but you’ll still get many of the benefits of dedicated hosting.

VPS will typically be the cheaper option and tends to be more predictable. You’ll have resource caps and a certain level of support that you get for a set fee.

Cloud Hosting is more scalable, but his also means that the price is less predictable. Depending on the resources you used that month, you might have to pay more for one month if you have traffic spikes. It still has an excellent value for money and tends to be more affordable than a dedicated server plan.

Take the services of Upcloud vs. Vultr. Vultr starts as low as $1.00 a month and ranges up to $120, depending on your needs. Upcloud starts at $5 a month. However, Upcloud is unique from Vultr because you can choose to create your own plan, where you can decide how much CPU, memory, storage, and even the location of the servers you would like to use. This means that, because of this extreme flexibility, you are paying for precisely what you need each month.

For more information check out our dedicated pricing pages:

Verdict

I have to crown VPS as the winner because it is the more affordable option with predictable fees. However, both VPS and Cloud hosting are cheaper than dedicated server hosting plans.  

VPS vs. Cloud Hosting: Scalability

VPS hosting has limited scalability. Although the client operates all website functionalities through a virtual server, it is still bound by the fixed amount of resources in the physical container server. To scale up the resources beyond a certain point, you must migrate to another plan which can pose downtime risks.

Cloud hosting allows for theoretically unlimited resources, as servers can be replaced or scaled without downtime. This offers your website virtually limitless storage, bandwidth, and processing power, contributing to a highly reliable uptime.

Verdict

The clear winner of this category is Cloud hosting, as it has virtually no limitations when it comes to scaling.

Conclusion

One of the biggest differences when deciding between VPS vs. cloud hosting will come down to scale and customization.

Cloud hosting plans can be scaled on a moment’s notice and automatically go up and down as you need more resources for your site. From resource usage to pricing, cloud hosting is the more flexible and scalable option.

VPS hosting isn’t as scalable, but it is a good option for people who want root access and have extreme customization needs but don’t want to pay for a dedicated server.

If you are still looking for a new hosting plan, you can compare two or three hosting plans to decide which one is right for you.

Further Reading and Useful Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Does creating & maintaining a VPS server require any technical knowledge?

You usually have two options: unmanaged VPS service and managed VPS service. For unmanaged VPS service, you will need to have decent technical knowledge, including the initial server setup, application deployment, and system monitoring. It is ideal for tech-savvy users. But for managed VPS, the technical aspect is handled by the hosting provider. So, you don’t need to have much technical knowledge to use it.

Can I install custom software on my VPS?

Yes, you can. It’s one of the essential advantages of using a VPS server. VPS offers you complete administrative/root control. So, you can install almost any software you want. However, you will need to consider the resource limitation of your web hosting plan, including disk space, RAM, and CPU.

What is the best control panel for VPS?

The control panel helps you simplify complex VPS tasks, automate routine procedures, and call your attention when necessary. There are plenty of options to choose from, including Plesk, DirectAdmin, and Virtualmin. However, the most popular control panel for VPS is cPanel. It provides a simplified dashboard, enabling you to easily and quickly perform website management tasks.

However, many users worldwide are very frustrated with the massive cPanel price hike. If you want to save money, you can consider using SPanel, which is built by ScalaHosting. It offers almost the same features as cPanel. But it doesn’t charge you a dime. It is available for free with ScalaHosting’s VPS solutions.

What is the best Linux-based OS for VPS?

While choosing Linux VPS hosting, you will find a wide range of Linux server ‘distros’ or distributions, including Debora, Red Hat, and Fedora, which are great for tech-savvy users and experienced PHP/Python developers. However, Ubuntu and CentOS are the right choices for you if you are a first-time user. They are very easy to use.

If you are upgrading from shared hosting, our advice for you is to get a managed Linux plan with CentOS and cPanel support. You will enjoy the same ease of use in web server settings & domain name administration.

Should I upgrade from shared hosting to VPS hosting?

You should upgrade to VPS service if the shared hosting solution no longer provides enough resources for your website. It will allow you to accommodate the growing desires of your site, like outgrowing resources, increasing traffic inflow, better security, more control, and enhanced performance.

Do I need to learn server administration for using VPS?

If you choose an unmanaged VPS service, you must be familiar with server administration, troubleshooting, and managing software and services. However, if you select the managed VPS service, you don’t need to learn server administration. With the pre-installed control panel, you can control most settings yourself easily.

Can I configure my VPS as a VPN?

Yes, you can use your VPS as a VPN. However, setting it up is a little tricky. It would be best if you were technically savvy to complete the configuration process successfully. Using the VPN service with your VPS account can make your website more secure through encryption.

Please also be aware that it’s not a good solution for privacy as your IP will be static, unlike a trustworthy VPN that can have a dynamic IP.

Can hosting on VPS protect my site against traffic spikes?

Yes, it can. However, you will need to examine your hosting plan’s details carefully. When traffic spikes occur, some VPS providers increase resources to protect websites. However, they will charge you for the overage.

Can VPS hosting improve my website's SEO?

Yes, it can. From an SEO perspective, a website experiencing frequent downtime will see a fall in the SERP rankings. VPS hosting ensures a higher uptime than the other hosting types. Also, it offers improved website speed, which can positively impact search rankings.

Saying that – you will want to have a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQpRU8aqSZk

Should I use CDN with my VPS?

Yes, it’s a great idea to use CDN with VPS. It will improve website speed. Also, it will reduce disk space and bandwidth usage. Moreover, using CDN with VPS will ensure that the content is distributed quickly to your website visitors worldwide regardless of their location to your website host.

Should I get the cheapest VPS hosting solution?

If you want to keep the budget low as you are still trying to grow your business, a cheap VPS hosting solution can be an excellent choice for you. With the most affordable VPS servers, you will not get the features and tools that the pricier plans provide. But with the right hosting provider, you can get all the essential features to make it work perfectly for your website.

Most of the time, you will be looking to upgrade it to a “CPU optimized,” aka “Dedicated CPU,” as your application may require that.

We would suggest you pick a hosting that is either managed, and then they’re able to tell you if you’ll need an upgrade or one that lets you identify the resource usage (unfortunately, some require additional payment, but there are free ones out there).

What is cloud hosting?

If you’re curious about what is cloud web hosting, it essentially stores data across multiple computers or, in this case, servers. This data is served through networks. It offers on-demand availability of computer system resources, such as data storage and computing power.

When should I switch to cloud hosting?

If you are already on a shared hosting plan and are not receiving over 100.000 total page views per month, the chances are slim that you really need to make this move. The only reason you would need to upgrade to cloud services hosting is if you have many more visitors that are consistently pushing your server resources to their maximum and want an option that can quickly scale or just want a higher level of security alongside data risk management and recovery. A cloud hosting server will take you far if you go beyond that threshold.

What are the benefits of cloud hosting?

Some benefits of cloud hosting include security, support, performance, flexibility, and reliability.

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