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Cloud Hosting vs. VPS Hosting: Whats the Difference?

Kent Roberts
by Atlantic.Net (80posts) under VPS Hosting

Cloud server hosting and virtual private server (VPS) hosting are increasingly popular ways to deliver a website. These two options appear similar at first glance because they both represent a complete physical dedicated server while being something different. Cloud server hosting is woven into a network, a structure that divides work between servers. A VPS is much closer to being that physical piece of equipment, but it’s actually a piece of one.

VPS Hosting vs. Cloud Hosting – The Basics

Cloud and VPS each have advantages and disadvantages for hosting.

A virtual private server is a middle ground between a dedicated server and shared hosting. For companies that desire stronger security and delineation from other clients of a hosting company, and that want a greater sense of control over the parameters of their services, VPS is a great option. Using virtualization software on a server, a number of different companies can each experience the basic advantages of a dedicated server without having to undergo the expense of a complete server.

Hosting via cloud computing is on-demand, meaning the amount of storage you have, the bandwidth you need, and CPU you require is all changeable on a moment by moment basis. VPS can be adjusted as well, just like any hosting package, but not immediately. Also, VPS allows bursting – popping up into unused resources when a flood of traffic hits and the apportioned resources max out – but that capability is limited. Cloud is designed in a way that is truly optimized for scale; it’s virtually unhindered.

A primary concern of those choosing a virtual private server over the cloud is security. Though the technology that secures cloud server hosting has advanced incredibly since its inception, there are still those who prefer the reliability of a physical location for the site’s data and files. Knowing precisely where that Virtual Private Server is located and its specific parameters, it becomes possible then to build a fortress of security around a VPS. ** Note, however that the same can be said of private cloud hosting.

Quality cloud servers have undergone thorough evaluation so that it’s clear the structure is sound and all data is secure. Although the cloud does not offer the safety of a specific physical location, it’s highly redundant and reliable because instances are replicated across numerous devices. The cloud is woven into a network in a way that no other hosting solution allows, and that means you are less vulnerable to systemic failure.

VPS Hosting vs. Private Cloud Hosting – Specific Features & Attributes

Along with the general differences described above, cloud and VPS hosting can be understood in terms of parameters such as server configuration, the location of the physical equipment, how easy it is to scale, and the expense. ClubCloudComputing looks specifically at private clouds, which may or may not be applicable to your situation; either way, it gives us a window into those particular infrastructures (which we offer at Atlantic.Net), the opposite end of the spectrum from worldwide services such as Amazon and Google.

1.    Servers – VPS vs. cloud

A VPS is one machine divided into sections for several different hosting customers. A VPS is like shared hosting except for the following characteristics: a.) you have a larger piece of the server; b.) you have much greater freedom to do what you want with your section; and, c.) you are much less vulnerable to security and other issues caused by the server’s other users.

A private cloud, much like a public cloud, uses various devices to together serve as one “cloud server.” Because various servers are involved, reliability and redundancy are a huge benefit. A cloud server is similar to a server cluster, but it is more loosely coupled.

2.    Physical location – VPS vs. cloud

A VPS is typically situated in the data center of a hosting service. That’s the case because if you have a server on-site at your company, you’re probably using the whole thing as a dedicated server, not partitioning it off for various companies. A private cloud is often located at a business’s own data center. However, sophisticated cloud service providers (CSPs) now offer private clouds for their clients, using a cloud framework with equipment dedicated to one company.

3.    Scaling

Whenever you run into a resource limitation in modern cloud computing, you simply go into your administrative interface and request the changes, which occur automatically. Changes to the limits of a VPS require manual intervention by the support staff, which is not always fast enough when traffic suddenly peaks.

4.    Expense

A VPS is significantly less expensive. You are only paying for a part of one server rather than multiple servers as in a private cloud setup. To reduce cost with the cloud, you could use general cloud server hosting instead, which does not designate you your own servers.

And Another Choice: Cloud-VPS Hybrid

Based on the above, it’s up to you whether VPS or cloud is best. Actually, you don’t have to decide. Because we specialize in both services at Atlantic.Net, we eventually decided to combine the best of both worlds and create cloud-based VPS hosting packages. You can also go with Atlantic.Net’s VPS hosting services.

By Kent Roberts

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