Cloud Hosting vs VPS Hosting: Know The Difference

by Omer Ahmed Hussain
April 1, 2014

The misunderstanding about the technological difference between Cloud hosting and VPS hosting in the IT industry is becoming quite a buzz now.


People generally tend to misread the basic difference between the two. This is due to the lack of awareness about the differentiating factors of these two web hosting technologies.

With the advent of virtualization and remote operations, there is a considerable increase in most of the established organizations and even startups opting for the similar solutions for hosting their websites.

They no more need to own a physical architecture (a CPU with the certain specifications of processor, RAM and storage), an operating system, on top of this hardware, and then the particular web application (like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Drupal, and many more etc.) on which website is to be hosted.

And, that’s not it! Further, this arrangement will require efficient and redundant power supplies and periodic maintenance to ensure the server is up and running in all times.

Firstly, let’s jump to basics for a while about what cloud and virtualization is. In simple words, cloud and virtualization is something that separates the hardware, operating system, and the application running on that hardware from each other.

The basic concept remains the same in both of the technologies. However reliability, flexibility, and availability have been some major separating indicators between the two.

What is VPS hosting in simple words?

VPS (Virtual Private Servers) Hosting, sometimes also known as “Private Cloud”, is based on servers which are crafted using virtualization mechanism.

The architecture is one which has multiple individual dedicated slots on the same virtual machine. Each slot can be assigned as dedicated resources. Nonetheless, the technology generally works on a time-shared or resource-shared phenomenon.

One of the major disadvantages that is stopping the VPS hosting industry to reach to the next level is its vulnerability that can cause a particular slot or resource go down in any crash scenario and the application or website on that particular space will be unavailable with no redundant online availability unless and until the issue is fixed.

However, rest of the applications on different slots will be up and running without any disruption in service.

But, there remains a possibility, although in exceptional cases, where a major trouble hitting a certain slot, such as unexpectedly excessive traffic on a random day or DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, can cause the entire machine and the subsequent applications to go down as all the resources belong to the same machine.

However, VPS hosting does have some useful points as it brings the margin closer between the dedicated and shared hosting solutions.

What is Cloud hosting in simple words?

Cloud hosting is the top-of-the-line website (or application) hosting solution available presently. The technology has already achieved a tremendous level of acceptance in a short period of time.

Websites hosted on the Cloud are highly available. This means that hosting resources for each website are replicated on every Cloud server in the cluster. For example, if one cloud server has maximum traffic already, then it automatically routes the query for the specific site to the idle cloud server in the cluster.

In other words, Cloud runs the web hosting services, like files storage, SSH, FTP, SFTP, and mail services (for e.g. SMTP), etc., on many different servers simultaneously.

This simultaneous allocation of equal resources on the cloud servers in the cluster provides a great deal of reliability. For example, if one of the machines malfunctions, it will not cause a failure or disruption in the entire hosting service.

The real difference between Cloud and VPS

VPS hosting is generally less efficient since it allocates a specified amount of computing resources to each client. Hence, if the requirement increases, the system would not be able to handle the additional inflow. It will simply crash. Same would be the case if the server malfunctions.

Cloud hosting on the other hand tackles the increase differently. Under the cloud environment, the website is hosted on a pool of unified computing resources. This simply means that if one server is reaching its optimum level, then a second server is ready to function. Similarly, if a server fails, the website will still be running as other server will continue to serve the incoming traffic.

If you want reliability and powerful functionality, then Cloud hosting is a great choice. The recent price slashes in Cloud infrastructure from Amazon and the likes shows that the market has immense growth potential. Furthermore, it shows that cloud hosting is getting affordable too.

VPS is made for people who are interested in hosting just a website. While it is powerful, VPS does not guarantee uptime should your website fails due to high traffic or a technical glitch.

The diagram below shows that functioning of both the infrastructure.

Cloud vs VPS

Diagram: Cloud vs. VPS

Why Cloud hosting stands out as the best hosting solution available currently?

The Cloud-based hosting, however, is more stable as there will not be any effect on performance when a part of the component goes down as it is decentralized.

In the Cloud, there is an option to integrate additional resources if needed. RAM, disc space, or bandwidth, etc., can be added with few clicks and dismissed when no longer needed without financial loss. Thus, Cloud hosting can also be defined as a web hosting solution that provides resources on demand. It is dynamically scalable and customizable according to the needs of the customer. No large investments are required. Unnecessary resources can be removed without any cancellation or further fees.

Cloud vs VPS: Community’s perspective

The debate continues over the platform of the choice as the time passes by. In all honesty, it is a matter of preference. Here are some perspectives I found on Quora regarding this issue:
Read Quote of John Rogers’ answer to What is the difference between cloud hosting and VPS hosting? on Quora Read Quote of Andrew Gosbee’s answer to What is the difference between cloud hosting and VPS hosting? on Quora
And, the debate certainly does not stop here. If you want to add more on this topic, feel free to do so.

Click&Go: Cloud hosting reinvented

Currently, cloud hosting is too technical for an average Joe or Jane to comprehend. People want to deploy their websites but they do not want it to be a headache. This is where Cloudways Click&Go comes into play. Our cloud hosting platform provides you the ease to launch websites on any of the six different open-source applications within minutes. Our powerful console allows you to monitor 15+ server and application related metrics.

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About Omer Ahmed Hussain

Omer Ahmed Hussain worked as a Technical Sales and Support Expert at Cloudways. He loves to explore new trends in technology, particularly cloud computing and Linux. In his free time, Omer enjoys watching action movies.

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  • Joe

    Interesting article. Is it possible to integrate CDNs like Cloudflare and MaxCDN with a WordPress site on Cloudways (using Digital Ocean infrastructure)? How would that work?

    • Was wondering the same thing (for web server on Digital Ocean deployed with Cloudways).

      • Saad Durrani

        We are currently working on a CDN solution for our esteemed patrons. So, you’ll hear some good news about this soon.

        • Do you have any details you’re able to share, such as which CDN, and/or approximate availability date? Do you need beta testers?

    • Saad Durrani

      Well, you can use your CDN services on Cloudways. Contact our 24×7 live chat support for assistance.

  • Wendy R. Bean

    This is really a good clarification between these both services.Cloud hosting services are better than vps hosting because it keeps all our database on the cloud servers located on different areas.