Although the end product of both VPS and Cloud Hosting may seem similar, the functions, practices, and operations of these modes are very different. Sure, both ultimately provide a similar hosted solution; however, the way in which they work radically changes the final product.
VPS, or Virtual Private Server, refers to a web hosting plan in which the virtual server appears to users as a dedicated server, but is installed on a computer that serves numerous websites. As such, the physical server hardware is shared. That being said, VPS does not use a computer as a server. Instead, VPS works as software within a user’s personal computer and functions like a separate computer dedicated to each individual’s specific IT needs. In doing so, VPS acts as a middle ground between shared hosting (which has lower costs) and a dedicated server (which allows for complete control). In utilizing this mode, users are allotted in full configuration, customization, and administration as they would with a dedicated server; however, they do not have to pay for a dedicated server. Instead, the server is divided (virtually) into pieces, which still maintain the same functionality. This means that each user that utilizes VPS Hosting is assigned a specific piece of the system’s resources, which they then tailor to their needs.
Though some may think this assignment of space is limited, that is never the case. In using VPS, users are able to modify their systems based on the resources they purchase—i.e. Memory, speed, space, etc. As such, solutions can be scaled and flexed quickly based on users’ needs. With both dedicated and shared hosting, users pay for the amount of storage and processing power. This allows users to scale their systems much more effectively and efficiently. Despite this, some users may still feel this mode to be limiting; however, all of the available resources are configured within the virtualized hardware’s limits. Additionally, users are also able to tailor and customize their system to specifically fit their own needs. While scalability, flexibility, and customization are great perks, they ultimately work to allow for greater control over one’s system, as well as increased reliability of one’s system.
As control and reliability are byproducts of flexibility, scalability, and customization, VPS Hosting security are a byproduct of control and reliability. Typically, security emulates greater with VPS as the systems security standards those of a dedicated server. Additionally, in doing all of this, VPS Hosting is typically found on one souped up server. As such, data is centralized as it is stored within a specific, defined portion of the given server in one location.
While VPS Hosting is typically stored on one server, it is also able to be delivered via cluster; however, it rarely is. Instead, this is typically how Cloud Hosting is delivered. Cloud services are quickly becoming gaining popularity and Cloud Hosting is no exception. Cloud Hosting works across a network of (interconnected) servers that compose the cloud. As a result, the data is rendered from various servers. That being said, there is typically little to no downtime with Cloud hosting—which means there will always be a server available to handle users’ needs. This is in stark contrast with both traditional hosting modes (i.e. Dedicated and shared hosting).
With this in mind, it’s clear that this difference in availability greatly differentiates the cloud from VPS in terms of flexibility, scalability, customization, and even pricing. As stated above, cloud servers eliminate down time; therefore, servers are always available to users. This is not the case with VPS Hosting—i.e. Users purchase their resources, which dictate their system usage. With this variance in mind, pricing, scalability, flexibility, and customization cannot be as they are with VPS Hosting. Instead, resources are on-demand with the cloud —meaning service is billed based on users’ resource usage (i.e. Bandwidth, CPU usage, Memory Utilization, etc.). So, where billing would typically be monthly with VPS Hosting, Cloud Hosting is able to issue up to the minute billing rates. Separate from pricing, scalability and flexibility are also very different.
While VPS allows users to scale their solution accordingly, Cloud Hosting instantly scales based on resource usage. Additionally, flexibility is almost infinite. As resources are distributed across various devices, resources are continuously available, and therefore easily expandable/flexible. While this can be extremely beneficial for users, this does present the problem of less effective controls and security.
Though Cloud Hosting is able to scale and flex to users’ specific uses, the practices are not controlled by the user. Scalability and flexibility are neither achievable nor maintained by the user; therefore, control and security are greatly limited. As stated above, VPS Hosting stores data within one centralized location. Inversely, Cloud Hosting implores a number of servers at once. As such, data can be spread across numerous cloud devices/machines; therefore, it’s impossible for users to know where data is stored at any given time. On the other hand, however, in working across a network of servers, the cloud is able to provide greater redundancy and failover, which VPS doesn’t typically account for.
VPS and Cloud Hosting both have their intended uses. Typically, small businesses implore VPS Hosting as it provides customized website without the cost of a dedicated server. Additionally, Cloud Hosting is typically preferred by enterprise-level businesses as it allots for greater flexibility, redundancy, etc.; however, this does not always hold true. Regardless, both of these modes have significant advantages and disadvantages; it’s simply a tradeoff. While both have their intended users, it’s ultimately up to users to select the best option for their needs.
The strengths and weaknesses of both these modes are opposite reflections of the other. For example, Cloud Hosting allots greater flexibility and scalability as it works across a network of servers; however, in doing so, it limits control and security. Inversely, VPS augments control and security by working over one location; however, in doing so, scalability and flexibility are less elastic. Although the end results are similar, there are many functional differences between VPS and Cloud Hosting.
by: Michael Ventimiglia, Managing Editor and Tech Enthusiast at CloudHostingHQ & GetVoIP – a leading source for VoIP Provider comparison, and Service Reviews.