VPS and cloud web hosting are two of the most popular choices for web hosting on the market today; and they're both often confused for each other. Both types run multiple websites from a server, yet each of these websites runs independently of any other – even from other websites that are on that same server. So what is the difference between the two?
The biggest difference between the two is the servers from which they're run. A VPS typically consists of just one physical server – although the hardware and software may appear to be much more capable than that of a regular computer. It's within that physical server that many, many different websites will be stored. However even though they're in the same physical location, these websites are virtually partitioned off from each other using a hypervisor and virtualization software. Each website is allotted a certain amount of resources, and one never interferes with another.
Cloud web hosting is quite different.
Cloud web hosting allows for many different websites to be on the same server as well; and just like VPS, the websites don't interfere with each other. However unlike VPS, cloud web hosting does not usually rely on just one server or one physical machine. Instead, cloud web hosting is made up of a cluster, or clouds, of servers. These clouds overlap and intertwine with each other, so that they can support one another when necessary.
Should one server in the cloud need additional bandwidth or storage space, it can draw on another cloud to get what it needs, and vice versa. Even though each cloud and each website within that cluster of servers is completely separate from any other website, they can still support each other and share resources.
The storage facilities of the two different kinds of hosting are also different. VPS are typically stored somewhere near the web host, if not right on-site then somewhere that's fairly easy to get to in a short amount of time. Cloud hosting on the other hand, usually uses remote servers that can't be accessed physically by the host or the website owner. This could be a large factor for companies or individuals who find that they need access to their server on occasion.
Lastly, there's also a large difference in the level of support offered by VPS and cloud web hosts. VPS hosting will rent you a server and store it for you but that's typically all the support you'll find. While you'll sometimes be able to call the web host for advice and help, they typically don't help you maintain, set up, or manage your server once you've already signed up for it. Cloud hosting on the other hand, comes with many different managed hosting options for those that aren't comfortable working in a server environment. This can be especially handy for individuals that don't have a lot of technical know-how, and businesses that don't have an IT team.
VPS and cloud hosting do sound very similar at first. But a little digging below the surface shows just how different these two types of hosting really are. Luckily, it's those differences that make it easy to compare the needs of your website with that of your web host and find the type of hosting that's right for you!