How Is Virtual Private Server Different Than Cloud Hosting?

by admin on June 13, 2013

A virtual private server, or VPS, shares some similarities with a cloud server. In both cases, you get a virtual server that you can use all to yourself. This means that any websites or applications that run on the virtual server will be yours only, unlike with shared hosting where several websites are put together on a server. Also, both cloud hosting and a VPS use a virtualization platform, which means that you don’t actually control an entire physical server, but rather a part of it. The virtualization technology employed is similar to what one might use at home to run several operating systems (such as Windows 7, Windows XP and Linux) at the same time on their PC.

While there are quite a few similarities between VPS and cloud hosting, there are also many differences between them. To better understand them, you should take a look at how each type of hosting works.

How a Virtual Private Server Works

In a VPS environment, a physical server is split among several clients by using a virtualization platform. Think of it as taking a pie and splitting it in several pieces. The resources provided by the server, such as disk space, CPU power and RAM are split between the users. Service providers that offer VPS hosting usually have fixed packages that give a pre-determined amount of resources to their clients.

While this might be suitable for some users that don’t require much power, a VPS has several limitations. It is quite difficult to scale up if you need additional resources, such as more RAM to run additional applications. As your site is based on one physical server, if that server suffers from a hardware failure, such as a hard disk crash or a faulty CPU, you will need to wait until a technician at the data center fixes the issue or moves your data onto a new server. This can result in several hours of downtime for your websites.

Advantages of Cloud Hosting 

A cloud host will also give you a virtual server, but instead of it being a portion of one specific physical server, your virtual server will run on a cluster of several servers and storage units. This gives you several advantages. If one of the servers in the cluster fails, your virtual server will be moved to another piece of equipment almost instantly, usually with requiring any intervention on your part.

Cloud hosts are a lot more flexible. The majority of them give you a wide selection of cloud server types (often called “instances”) that feature different amounts of RAM, storage space and CPU cores. With most providers, you can upgrade or downgrade your server in just a few minutes. Since hourly billing is popular in the cloud hosting industry, it is rare for a provider to require a long-term contract. Rather, users can deploy the amount of cloud servers they need and will only pay for them when they are running.

Danny Ong is an web hosting consultant based in Malaysia. He often writes on topics of web hosting solutions such as virtual private servers and dedicated servers. For a trusted VPS hosting in Malaysia and more, he recommends companies like TheGigaBit.com.

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