With the normalisation of remote and hybrid working models, the continual growth of the internet and the role technology plays in our lives have placed increasing demands on business tech. Many people - especially those new to servers and hosting, have found it difficult to distinguish between VPS and cloud-based hosting, and which would be best for their project.

It’s an easy mistake to make, and there are certainly some similarities - but virtual private servers and cloud servers operate very differently, and are managed differently too. Each has its own benefits and limitations, making them especially suited to a range of projects. So, what's the difference between VPS and cloud hosting? If you're torn between the two, keep reading to find out which would work best for your venture.

What is VPS hosting?

Just what is a VPS? A VPS (virtual private server) is a type of hosting service that effectively spreads resources over several virtual machines contained inside a single physical server. This gives you many of the same advantages as a dedicated server, but at a more affordable price.

With a VPS, your sites won’t be affected by another user and what they do, essentially providing a happy medium between shared and dedicated hosting.

How does VPS hosting work?

Simply put, a VPS uses advanced virtualisation technology to break up one physical server into multiple virtual ones, which can then be used individually in a similar way to a dedicated server. While the physical server you’re using is technically shared - your virtual portion of it is secure, with your own dedicated resources.

So what does this mean? With a VPS, you’re allocated CPU, RAM, and storage for exclusive use. These resources are reserved for your virtual server alone and aren’t shared with others. This guarantees that your website or application maintains a dependable and steady performance. Because as we know, shared hosting can wreak havoc if there was an unexpected demand, causing your sites to experience downtime!

Benefits of VPS hosting

Interested in VPS hosting? It's important to understand the advantages and what to expect. Here are several benefits of VPS hosting you should know:

1. Cost-effectiveness

In terms of cost, VPS hosting is pricier than shared hosting but far more affordable than a dedicated or cloud server. For the additional security and resources, it’s well worth it. Some of these security and resource features include:

  • Full root access
  • Fast provisions
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • ISO 27001-certified security
  • The ability to get add-ons as and when required.

2. Control and customisation

With an unmanaged VPS hosting package, you’ll have root access, giving you total autonomy over the server. That means any installations, applications and even the operating system are at your discretion.

3. Speed

With shared hosting, your project’s performance can be directly impacted by the activity of other users on the server, whereas a VPS needn’t share bandwidth - particularly since it's unlimited too!

4. Scalability

When you opt for a VPS, you’ll have the option to upgrade your server to one with more resources as your project grows. This can include adding more CPU or SSD space to your VPS, depending on what you need for your project.

Plus, you can host many sites with VPS (within your resource limit), which is great if you plan on having various websites for different functions.

5. Security

The virtualisation tech used in a VPS isolates your data from other users, so while you’re on a shared physical server, your information is protected. At Fasthosts, you can purchase an add-on known as Cyber Protect, which gives your VPS additional redundancy and security. Plus, our data centres are ISO 27001-certified and housed locally in the UK.

Plus, it’s possible to configure your VPS with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for added security and peace of mind.

6. Dedicated resources

VPS hosting gives you access to a pool of dedicated resources, so your project won’t need to share RAM, storage, CPU or bandwidth with any other users.

The disadvantage of using a VPS

Every hosting option has its pros and cons. Here are the disadvantages of a VPS to be aware of.

1. Not as flexible

Although upgrading your VPS' resources is quick and straightforward, it still doesn't have the capability to flex in an instant like a cloud server. If you know demand may fluctuate frequently, you may be better off choosing cloud.

2. Cost concerns

Pricing can be an issue for some too, especially for those less versed in how a VPS works, or are unsure what resources they actually need to function a server, business or the like. Plus, if not enough resources are anticipated for website traffic, then your existing package may not be enough to accommodate this.

3. Technical knowledge

If you want to manage your own VPS, it can require a fair bit of technical knowledge. This is especially true if you opt for an unmanaged VPS. While it has its advantages, you’ll have to configure everything yourself, including patches and updates.

4. Scalability limits

To contradict our advantage of scalability previously, there are some limitations involved with scaling your VPS. If you completely max out a VPS, despite upgrading it, you’ll need to consider migrating to something more powerful like a cloud or dedicated server. This can cost money, time and can be a hassle if you don’t have the expertise.

What is cloud hosting?

Now that we have a well-rounded idea of what a VPS is, let’s discover what Cloud Hosting is.

Cloud Hosting is a premium hosting solution that lets websites and applications get accessed over the internet through a network of virtual and physical server infrastructure. There are several types of cloud computing, but the main crux of it is – instead of being hosted on a solitary physical server, cloud hosting solutions are typically provided by cloud providers who handle the configuration, security, and upkeep of the servers. Generally, computing and storage resources are distributed across a vast network of virtual machines (VMs), which are then leased out to users who require Cloud Hosting.

Cloud Hosting is used for a variety of applications such as:

  • Websites
  • File sharing
  • Software testing
  • Streaming
  • Data analysis and collection
  • …and much more!

Plus, there are four types of cloud hosting solutions. They can be Public Clouds, Private Clouds, Hybrid Clouds or Multi-clouds.

Learn more: Private vs Public Cloud

How does cloud hosting work?

A cloud hosting service uses a network made up of many interconnected virtual servers, which work together as a single server would. In simple terms, it makes the use of apps and websites possible on the internet via the cloud.

Ultimately, this means that any hosting resources for your project are replicated across every server in the network – so if one server goes down, there’s no disruption to your service.

The type of cloud hosting solution you choose will depend on how it can be used. For example, if you choose an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), you can build your own infrastructure. A platform-as-a-service (PaaS) allows you to develop and deploy cloud-based applications. And finally, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) simply acts as a software solution for the day-to-day running of all or part of your business operations.

Benefits of cloud hosting

Cloud hosting solutions allow businesses of all sizes to work faster from anywhere at any time. Let’s dive into more benefits of cloud hosting and why you may want to consider it.

1. Reliability

Cloud hosting should guarantee a high level of uptime. If one server in the network goes down, another will take over automatically, minimising any impact on performance.

2. Flexibility

While traditional hosting is quite rigid, cloud hosting is very flexible, and your resources can be easily scaled up or down in line with the development of your project.

3. No geographical ties

As cloud hosting is completely virtual, there’s no obligation for you to be based near the location of a specific physical server, giving you complete geographical freedom.

4. Economical

With cloud hosting, you only pay for what you use, which means you’ll never get tied into a contract where you’re paying for more than your project needs.

5. Collaboration

International or remote organisations with staff located in different countries can also benefit from cloud hosting, as the same files can be accessed and worked on simultaneously, from anywhere in the world.

6. Backups

The multi-server setup that cloud hosting uses means that data is automatically backed up in multiple places, so recovery and restorations are quick and easy.

The disadvantages of cloud hosting

1. It can be costly

When comparing the two, Cloud Hosting tends to be slightly more expensive than VPS hosting. For some businesses, the expenses of Cloud Hosting may outweigh its many benefits, especially at the beginnings. This is because upgrading can cost overtime. While the same is true for VPS hosting, it can often be a cheaper solution for smaller businesses or those with small-scale projects.

2. Connection problems

No internet connection? Unfortunately, you won’t be able to access your cloud! This can be troublesome if you’re experiencing site issues or need to access information quickly.

3. Less control

With Cloud Hosting, you have less control over the hardware and software settings because it's a shared system. This means you may not have as many options for customising the hosting environment to fit your needs.

VPS hosting vs. cloud hosting - which should I choose?

Ultimately, choosing between VPS and cloud hosting will come down to preference, budget, and the nature of your project’s needs. For example, a VPS allocates a specific amount of resources, and if your project exceeds this before you have the chance to upgrade, you’ll run into performance issues. By contrast, cloud hosting can easily handle a sudden increase in resource requirements - another server in the network would simply take over to spread the load. This makes cloud hosting the perfect choice for projects where a lot of resources are anticipated from the off, with a little extra budget to spare.

Which is better cloud hosting or VPS hosting?

Again – this comes down to preference. If you want reassurance of the highest level of uptime and availability, then Cloud Hosting is a good solution compared to VPS. Plus, it doesn’t require the utmost specialist knowledge (depending on the type of cloud solution you go for). This is especially true if you opt for a Public Cloud service where the server provider manages all updates. Plus, clouds consist of multiple servers, so if one goes down, it an switch to another server running alongside the hypervisor.

Despite the many benefits Cloud Hosting provides, a VPS still has its place. It can work out cheaper if you’re not planning on scaling it much in the future (depending on the project or site you’re running), and you typically have full root access, giving you far greater control over its security.

Is VPS cheaper than Cloud Hosting?

Typically, yes. Some providers may create packages with similar pricing, but you’ll have to weigh up the benefits against the costs associated with these two types of hosting. The additional security that comes with a VPS is often what sways many to opt for one, but the ease of a Cloud Hosting solution can also be a factor.

Once you’ve figured out the difference between vps and cloud hosting and which type of service is best suited to your project, take a look at our range of affordable VPS Hosting and Cloud Hosting packages, or get in touch with our sales team.