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You’ve harbored the idea of creating a website for your business, or maybe a personal blog, for a long time. You feel as if now is the time to turn your idea into reality. You have a great domain name which you’ve already registered.
You even visualize how your website will look when fully created and operational. However, before you can actualize this dream, you need to take care of something first. It is called hosting.
Here, you are likely to face a dilemma because of the many hosting options. There’s shared hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, and dedicated servers, with hundreds of hosting firms on the market.
This post is all about enlightening you and primarily focuses on two types of hosting: cloud and VPS. The question is, should you select VPS or cloud hosting for your website in 2019? Simply put, the ideal hosting option should guarantee your website has better performance, flexibility, high uptime, and great features.
In this Cloud hosting vs VPS review, I dive into the open waters to explore the core differences of these two hosting options and help you pick the ideal option for your site or blog.
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What exactly is VPS hosting?
VPS (short for Virtual Private Server) is a method of hosting where only one server is used. However, this server is subdivided into smaller units, referred to as virtual servers. Every virtual server acts as an independent and dedicated server environment.
When you purchase a VPS plan from a hosting provider, such as HostGator, it implies that you have your own set of resources (such as bandwidth and storage) and can configure as you desire. In addition, there is no file or data exchange between accounts using VPS servers. To put it differently, your dedicated server area is completely independent.
Despite the independence of VPS servers, it is important to point out that they are still interdependent with others in some ways. This is obvious because, if a different part of the server fails, the VPS will also be affected!
This can also happen if one of the hosted websites on the server is taking a lot of resources. For example, if another website is using a lot of bandwidth, your website’s rendering speed is likely to go down.
Pros and cons of using VPS hosting
1. Virtual private servers are customizable
VPS allows users to have root access (the username or account that by default is allowed access to commands and files in the operating system) and full control over the server software and operating system (OS). However, some limits are imposed by the VPS provider to ensure that you can only access and control resources of the allocated segment.
2. VPS hosting offers high performance
Because your website is guaranteed of specific server resources, you can expect exemplary performance such as faster loading rates. However, it is important to appreciate that the performance can still be affected by other websites using the same server.
3. Virtual private servers are secure
In view of the fact that your website has a specific server environment dedicated to it, it is more secure compared to shared hosting plans. If other websites hosted on the same server are affected by malware, they cannot easily cross over to your site.
The main demerit associated with VPS hosting is poor scalability. Though your website is guaranteed of specific resources such as bandwidth and storage, rapid scaling is difficult. This implies that your site might be unable to handle issues, such as traffic surges that suddenly require a lot of resources.
What is cloud hosting?
As I explored the difference between cloud server and VPS hosting, I found the most outstanding one is the nature of their server environment. While VPS hosting uses a single server with specific resources (such as bandwidth and storage) dedicated to your site, the resources in cloud hosting are spread across different servers.
If you opt for cloud hosting, this resource spreading implies you will be using a network of unlimited virtual machines that rely on multiple physical servers. This means that you are simply creating a network of ‘one’ massive VPS.
With cloud hosting, you get the advantages of multiple servers. This implies that the resources available for your website are increased compared to VPS hosting. Therefore, you can also increase the resources when the need arises.
Note that, though you have access to more resources and flexibility, the level of customization you can achieve is limited. This is caused by the fact that resources come from different machines which might require varied settings.
Pros and cons of cloud hosting
Cloud hosting is a good option if your main aim is getting high performance and scalability. Here is a closer look at the main pros and cons of cloud hosting:
1. Easy and prompt scalability
2. High uptime rates
If you are using conventional servers such as VPS, the uptime is dependent on the physical server environment. Indeed, the downtime can be very high if the servers get damaged, unless you are using a content data network (CDN) that distributes your site content to different servers.
Cloud hosting guarantees high uptime of close to 100% because of full-time availability of servers. If one server fails, your website will immediately switch to others on the network to avoid going offline.
3. Better site performance
Most cloud servers offer blazing fast website speeds. In addition to allowing you to effortlessly increase the website capacity, you also get better load balancing between different server environments. Load balancing helps to reduce strain on a specific server’s resources, and guarantees you faster download speeds and rendering.
It is important to note that the nature of servers used for cloud hosting will also determine the speed and overall performance of your website. Therefore, make sure to go for a cloud hosting provider with low-density servers, premium layers, and multiple-caching layers.
4. Redundant server system
With VPS hosting, an issue that damages the servers can make your site go offline until the problem is fixed. If you select cloud hosting, your website will not get offline if one of the servers on the network is damaged. Cloud hosting stores the latest versions of your website, and loads them immediately if a problem is noted with the rendering servers.
The main con of using cloud hosting is that you have limited control. Because cloud hosting infrastructure and operations are managed by providers, you will only be given very limited control to things like applications, data, and services, as opposed to the back-end infrastructure.
Key tasks like shell access (remote command line access to server) and firmware management (functionality that allows a server admin to view firmware details and add firmware images to the database) are not passed to you in cloud hosting. However, this trend is expected to change in the future as more cloud hosting services enter the market and intensify competition. Some of the top providers today include Linode, Amazon Web Services (AWS), A2 Hosting, and DreamHost.
Cloud hosting vs VPS: cloud hosting is way ahead!
During this cloud web hosting vs VPS review, I established that the main differences between the two services are scaling capability and controllability. Therefore, the ideal option for you between cloud web hosting and VPS could depend on what you are looking for and the level of your site.
If your website is small and the aim is fast launch, as opposed to scalability, a VPS server will be a good option. However, if your website is established, and you are interested in flexibility, high-level performance, and scaling, the ideal option is cloud hosting.
With cloud hosting, you are assured of a near unlimited supply of server resources, making it ideal for websites that experience variable traffic or regularly require urgent scalability. I also found that cloud hosting provides better flexibility (from hosting resources to price offers) and more server power.
Overall, I found cloud hosting as the winning option, because you do not have to worry that your website will go down at any moment, and your targeted audience is assured of a better user experience. Although I recommend using VPS for startups, it is advisable to shift to cloud hosting as needed for more hosting resources and better performance.
If you want the best, go for the best; go for cloud hosting!