VPS vs Cloud Hosting: A Guide on How They Compare and Contrast

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As of 2018, there are over 1.6 billion websites active or parked on the internet. Even if you take out the 75% that aren’t active, that’s still a whopping 40 million.

How do they all coexist without issues? The answer is hosting services.

These are what keeps a website up and running for the users to view any time they want. This means choosing a hosting service is a critical part of building and launching a website.


You’ll likely get hounded by the different options out there, but today, we’ll get into the VPS vs cloud hosting argument. Keep on reading to learn more about the two hosting services and to know which one is for you.

What is VPS Hosting?

A virtual private server (or VPS) is a dedicated hosting environment that’s a part of a powerful host system, parent server, or a cluster of servers. It’s not much different than a physical server. The only difference is that VPS providers use virtualization.

They run a virtual machine on the host/parent server/cluster. These virtual machines are the guest or child instances. The same space can have a lot of virtual machines used by different websites.

In spite of that, a virtual machine allows a dedicated part of the CPU and memory of the physical host to you.

What is Cloud Hosting?

The cloud is an infrastructure of separate yet connected networks that act as one. Cloud hosting then provides unlimited resources.

If a virtual cloud server has maximum traffic, it can reroute the query to another cloud server to complete the user’s request to your website. Your website can be running on different servers at once.

Similarities and Differences Between VPS vs Cloud Hosting

Other than their definitions, what makes the experience different from one to another? What settings and options do you get from VPS that you can’t get from Cloud Hosting?

Let’s break down their similarities and differences below.

1. Function

At the root of the VPS vs cloud hosting argument, their functions are pretty much the same. Both provide file storage, email services, SSH, FTP access, SFTP, and so on.

You can expect the usual hosting service complete with a domain name. They also let you create a domain email account.

Either of the two should be able to support WordPress or whatever it is you’re using. It provides you with the resources you need to keep your website live.

If you have an issue, both sides have support teams to help you solve the issue. The level of support you’re going to get depends on the provider, not the type of hosting service you have.

2. Customization

VPS hosting provides a level of customization similar to that of a dedicated server. You have complete access to the website, root, and software. In other words, you can customize your virtual environment as much as you want.

However, your OS depends on what the physical host is running. It can only run one operating system, limiting you to either Linux or Windows.

Cloud hosting gives you both Linux and Windows as an option for your OS. It also allows you to tweak your IP address, firewall, load balancing, network architecture, and such.

There’s a limit to how much you can configure, though. Besides, customizing it can get too technical. If you don’t have extensive knowledge of the infrastructure, that may limit you, as well.

3. Reliability and Scalability

With dedicated resources, you can expect your website to run at a certain level with VPS hosting. As long as your website doesn’t consume all the resources provided to you, it will run without issue. An unexpected huge load, however, might lead to a decrease in performance.

If your server demands more resources, the physical host might not have more to provide. High demand from another virtual machine might also affect your site’s performance.

The physical host may also encounter issues, which will affect your website. If it fails, for example, your website will be down, as well. Some providers can offer alternate servers, though, in case something like this happens.

Cloud hosting, on the other hand, offers you full access to their infrastructure. The servers can provide as much as you need at any given time, allowing you to expect consistent performance for your website no matter how high the demand is.

4. Security

The security of VPS hosting also has the same standard as that of a dedicated physical server. All your data is private; no other VPS can access it even if it’s located in the same physical host.

However, you must have the technical know-how to implement the security measures properly. It’s only as secure as the depth of your knowledge about security technologies, safety protocols, and proper administration of a website.

There are security concerns over cloud hosting, too, because it means your website can use many different servers at once. The servers can be in different locations, too, which may also make it hard to comply with data security regulations.

The internet-based nature of cloud hosting also makes it vulnerable to attacks.

5. Cost

VPS providers often charge a fixed rate per month, allowing you to budget accordingly. The price varies depending on other features you purchased with the hosting service, including management and support. It can also change if you buy add-on resources like CPU, memory, and backups.

Cloud hosting doesn’t have a fixed price; you only pay for what you use by the minute. They charge you each month, too, but it can vary depending on how much of the resources your website used for that month.

For the same level of resources and services, cloud hosting is often more expensive. It might also leave you with unexpected bills, making it harder to budget for your monthly website costs.

Choose What’s Right for You

There’s no clear winner in the VPS vs cloud hosting debate because it depends on factors only you can determine. It depends on your website’s needs, your budget, and the level of security and reliability you’re looking for.

You can learn more about the matter to further help you choose. Check out our other articles now.