Traditional VPS vs cloud VPS: which is better?

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Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are one of the hottest trends in web hosting right now. Why wouldn't they be - they provide an autonomous environment with enough resources to handle even high-traffic websites. VPS hosting removes all the risks associated with shared hosting - overselling, resource hogging, poor security. In the meantime, virtual server plans are getting increasingly cheaper, making them more cost-effective than renting an entire dedicated server.

Тhe entry to VPS hosting has never been easier, but once you start looking around - you'll realize there are some important choices to be made. 

For starters - should you go for a traditional server type or would a cloud environment be more beneficial?

What is traditional VPS hosting?

The term "traditional VPS hosting" encompasses the way this type of service was initially designed to work. You have a physical machine, which the host divides into a few virtual instances, each acting as a separate dedicated server

The hosting provider allocates the user a set amount of system resources - CPU, RAM, disk space - serving this particular client alone. 

This kind of setup allows for ultimate control and customization freedom. The client has complete control over the VPS platform, modifying its specifics to the exact needs of their online project. 

Traditional VPS prices often come in a fixed monthly rate, allowing you to add paid extras when needed. This makes such services quite predictable when it comes to budgeting, helping you keep the entire setup very affordable.

Cloud hovering over a laptop

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What is cloud VPS hosting?

Technology has been evolving daily over the last few years, and many industries have seen major transformations in a very short time span. Web hosting makes no difference, and that is largely due to the adoption of cloud computing services.

But what is the cloud exactly?

Cloud technology utilizes a vast network of interconnected servers, all sharing the same pool of resources. The more machines added to the cluster - the more resources you can make use of. When it comes to VPS hosting, this configuration is inherently different from the traditional server setup, where you are bound to the CPU, RAM, and disk space of your physical machine.

Comparing the two types of services, we can see some essential differences...

Traditional VPS vs cloud VPS

When it comes to choosing between a physical server or a cloud environment, there are some things to consider that can easily tip the scales in favor of one or the other.

The most notable aspects to look out for are:

This one might be a bit hard to compare as both services can offer a different amount of resources off the bat. Theoretically, cloud VPS services might be more beneficial for growing projects as you can easily add more CPU and RAM on the go. After all, you have a huge pool of potential resources, practically inexhaustible. 

Still, in a standard setup, there isn't much difference between physical servers and cloud-based virtual servers.

Scalability is one of the inherent advantages of VPS solutions. It illustrates the process of adding (or removing) one or many server resources on a per-need basis. The thing with traditional VPS hosting is you don’t always have that option. Especially when it comes to managed VPS plans, the provider prefers to offer fixed packages that are proven to maintain efficient performance.

Cloud virtual servers rely on scalability a lot more. Users often take advantage of this, especially as adding more resources is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons in your control panel.

This is where cloud technology gives a massive boost to VPS hosting accounts. The network configuration holds copies of your essential website data, so even if your underlying server goes down - there's always another machine to pick up the slack. 

Cloud VPS hosting users enjoy something very neat called load balancing. 

This greatly benefits high-traffic websites and online projects that experience sudden bursts of new visitors. When your physical server experiences too many requests at once - it can just "take" more CPU or RAM from the pool of resources offered by the cloud. 

In short, when it comes to uptime and availability - virtual cloud servers will always take the point.

Regardless of the type of VPS server, hosting providers always do their best to secure any virtual instance off the bat. Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common and VPS platforms often house business or ecommerce projects that exchange very delicate personal and billing details. 

If your host and webmaster have done a good job securing the server - it doesn’t matter if it’s in a traditional or cloud architecture. 

Traditional VPS hosting takes a slight edge here, simply because of the single point of breach. While cloud networks often tout military-level cybersecurity, in theory, hackers still have more options to "get in."

VPS solutions often cost less than renting a dedicated server, but rates between providers can greatly vary. That's why the price factor here has to be determined by aspects like predictability and cost-effectiveness.

Because of their advanced scalability, virtual cloud servers are often preferred for more dynamic projects, websites that often see sudden spikes in usage. This helps site owners keep everything smooth and uninterrupted, sometimes even automatically. 

In comparison, the traditional VPS setup comes with fixed price rates and allows clients to plan their hosting expenses better.

Network servers in data room Domestic Room

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Traditional VPS or cloud VPS - which one should you choose?

When the time comes to draw the line, there is no fit-all solution in VPS hosting. Both the traditional and cloud architectures offer excellent performance and enhanced security for mission-critical projects. This includes online shops, corporate websites, web apps, lead generation pages and many more. 

But if your project is dynamic and traffic fluctuates a lot, a cloud VPS server is definitely the way to go. ScalaHosting is one of our top picks when it comes to managed cloud VPS solutions. 

The cloud industry is in perpetual evolution at the moment, introducing options like public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud... We are yet to see ANY limits to the technology, and hosting providers and clients alike are loving it!

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.