“Cloud Hosting vs. VPS” Differences — Top Cloud & Virtual Servers
As you begin the adventure of creating your own website, you’re faced with a seemingly never-ending maze of choices. Every one of these decisions makes a difference in the performance and success of your site. Knowing this, it is easy to dwell on each crossroad, obsessing over which route to pursue and why.
Take cloud and virtual private server (VPS) hosting, for example. Each has specific implications for managing your website. As you read this article you will learn the advantages and features of these plans as well as any drawbacks, and you will be able to apply these to your own situation.
What is “Cloud / VPS” Hosting?
VPS hosting is a partition of a dedicated server machine. It acts like an autonomous server, but is actually a self-contained folder on a powerful physical host system that also hosts other virtual servers for other clients. Although you share space on the physical host, your virtual server is independent of the others.
A VPS can be rebooted without affecting the other VPSes on that machine. You have a server operating system (OS) with root access, and you can install software as you would if you had a dedicated hosting plan with your own server. A portion of the physical host’s CPU and memory are dedicated to your VPS, but you also share additional resources with the other virtual servers.
Cloud hosting refers to a potentially unlimited number of machines that are connected in a network and act as one: They comprise a cloud. The virtual machines all use the same data stored on separate networked servers, also connected in a network that acts as one data storage center. You get an entire infrastructure of connected servers and data storage.
Customization with VPS hosting is very similar to that of a dedicated server. You have full root access with complete control over the OS as well as the website and all software. You can customize and configure as desired, as if you had a separate server. Each physical host system can run only one operating system, so your choice of OS may be limited if the hosting company only runs one type of virtual hosting machine. Linux systems are generally more common than Windows systems for this type of hosting.
Customization with cloud hosting expands to include the possibility to tweak network architecture, firewalls, load balancing, and IP addresses. However, the need to distribute functioning across many servers may leave less control over some hosting settings. Both Windows and Linux clouds are readily available, so you will get your choice of OS. Because a cloud environment is more complex, it may require more technical expertise to configure, especially to gain the full advantages of the cloud network.
VPS hosting has a limit to scaling depending on the physical host machine. You have access to some extra memory and CPU power above and beyond the amount dedicated to your virtual machine, but the physical host has a fixed amount that it can deliver. If you need more, you will have to get a new plan and may experience downtime while you migrate to a new solution.
Cloud hosting is much more scalable, with the ability to add capacity in real time. Data storage is essentially unlimited. An entire network of servers and data storage servers is ready to be tapped when your website traffic surges. The seamless availability of almost endless processing power is the biggest advantage of cloud hosting plans.
VPS hosting assures a fixed level of performance because a guaranteed level of system resources is dedicated to your virtual server. However, high demand by your server or another virtual server on the same physical host may impact performance if you both need the extra resources at the same time, or if your server needs more than the physical host can provide.
A VPS is also potentially a single point of failure because if the physical host server fails, all VPSes on that machine fail. VPS hosting can be adapted to a cloud network and some providers offer plans that include failover to alternate servers.
Cloud hosting assures high availability and uptime because of the multiple servers in a redundant system. If a server fails, its files and functional responsibilities are instantly migrated to another server with no downtime. Memory capacity and CPU power also expand on demand to meet your needs or compensate for those of another customer without impacting other users in the network. It is ideal for sites that may experience wide fluctuations in traffic volume.
The security of VPS hosting is almost on par with that of a dedicated physical server. The VPS is independent of any other VPSes on the same physical host, as if it were a separate machine, but poor security measures taken by the owner of one VPS could affect others on the same physical server. However, this possibility is much less likely than with shared hosting. The centralized location of the physical host offers added security to those operations with critical data whose location must be known and restricted to comply with data security regulations.
VPS hosting offers savings over a dedicated physical server and is usually less expensive than a cloud server. The guaranteed server resources and limited scalability result in a predictable monthly cost. The level of cost will depend, in part, on the management and support plans that go with the hosting.
Cloud hosting costs more than a VPS because you are paying for a lot of hardware, complex networking, and the resulting uptime guarantee. With these plans, you pay for what you use, so costs could be unpredictable due to unknown traffic spikes. Think of it as you would your electric bill. Sure, there is plenty of power available for you to use when you need it, but your bill goes up at the end of the month.
"Cloud Hosting vs. VPS" Differences — Top Cloud & Virtual Servers
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