Similar, but not the same. Strictly using the “Cloud” is one of the newer methods in web hosting and has many benefits over a shared hosting environment and even a purely VPS one. When trying to decide what direction to take it can seem as if you're getting the same thing when comparing a VPS server to one in the cloud but there are some differences that need to be pointed out.

Adaptability and Scale

A pure VPS environment involves the separation of resources on one server using virtual machines for each individual client. Since it is a virtualization of a server the amount of space is flexible to a degree depending on the site's needs. Having this virtualization also makes it easier to move hosting between physical servers if better hardware is needed. This process can cause downtime though because most of the time the host environment has to be offline during the move process.

Cloud hosting doesn't rely on physical hardware as much as a VPS does. Multiple physical servers are constantly used, even for just one website. If a server fails a cloud hosted environment adjusts to put more load on other servers instantly while the problem is corrected, resulting in no downtime. During an upgrade process a site can remain up and running since the servers are clustered holding the same information.

Security and Control

On a VPS you are usually given root access to your virtual space with the ability to make changes as you see fit. Most services even allow command line tools to modify your environment at the lowest level. Basically, the server can be maintained the way that you want in terms of operating system used, maintenance, and customized tools. Since root level access is allowed along with customized tools it can be a very secure environment if maintained correctly by an admin.

A pure cloud hosting environment is usually not as open. Your information is being replicated across multiple servers and the provider handles maintenance and patching. There is also no central location for all your information. If data security is the top concern then cloud hosting may not be the way to go as the provider determines how they want to balance the server workload and the user really has no idea where their information could be hosted at any point.


This has become less and less of an issue in terms of being lopsided. Cloud hosting allows for a very flexible price format that only charges for the actual resources you use. Since it's much easier for the provider to control bandwidth and storage space in a cloud environment you're going to get charged for what you actually use with no upfront fee. VPS pricing is a little more rigid. Because you're allocated a specific amount on a specific server some providers will charge upfront for the hardware that you're using or the bandwidth allocated even if you don't use it all.


It depends on the business. A business that relies on data security and privacy may opt for a strictly VPS approach. If rapid expansion is expected then cloud hosting may give the best adaptability. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to either solution. With the hundreds of hosting companies available there is an option for any personal or business endeavor.

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