Virtual Private Servers vs. Cloud Hosting

Understanding the differences between virtualization technologies can be difficult, as definitions seem to constantly evolve. To help you choose the best product for your needs, Hostway has put together a comparison of our VPS and public cloud offering. If you're still confused, one of our helpful sales experts will be happy to answer any questions.

What Is IT?

VPS Hosting

VPS hosting is a virtualization technology that provides a web-accessible hosted virtual server. Hostway’s VPS utilizes container-based technology, called Parallels Virtuozzo, which uses a single copy of the operating system (Windows or Linux) among all virtual machines on a physical server (host). This approach results in very cost-effective virtualization and the defined allocation of resources (CPU, RAM, and storage) with the ability to burst additional resources when available. You have the ability to install, configure, customize, and administer your own server applications, including several that are bundled with the virtual server. Virtual Private Servers are often used to host non-resource-intensive applications, such as SMB accounting programs, intranets, and other web-based applications, or to host multiple websites or web applications that require administrative control.

What Is It?

Shared Website Hosting

Website hosting is also commonly referred to as shared hosting. In this hosting environment, websites are deployed on a space partition in the main server which is shared with other websites. Hostway’s website hosting, called FlexCloud Sites, is cloud-based, meaning that it has similar resource sharing as other virtualization technologies. However, control over resource allocation is retained by the infrastructure operator, rather than delegated to individual users. Some applications can be installed by users; others require root access and must be installed or enabled by the system administrator. On the other hand, website hosting does not require knowledge or administration of the operating system, and therefore is simpler for those not needing such control. User friendly control panels and scripting of installation and administration tasks further simplify the experience for the end user.

What Is It?

Cloud Hosting

Hostway’s Infrastucture-as-a-Service (IaaS) public cloud, called FlexCloud Servers, utilizes advanced hypervisor-based virtualization technology to create multiple virtual servers across a cluster of physical host machines. Each virtual machine (server) has its own installed instance of the desired operating system, which can be configured and administered by the owner of the virtual server, or “instance.” FlexCloud Servers offer more options for higher security, such as user-configured firewall groups, optional virtual local area networks (VLANs), and virtual private networking (VPN). FlexCloud Servers instances employ live migration technology, which enables any instance to be dynamically relocated across physical hosts, to balance workloads or in the event of a physical hardware failure. FlexCloud Servers are ideal for flexible deployment of corporate applications into the cloud, as well as web applications requiring a high degree of control over configuration and resource allocation.

Cost

Monthly billing Rates

VPS is billed on a monthly basis depending on the resource plan and optional features you purchase. Each plan offers a minimum set of virtual resources, including memory, disk space, bandwidth and other features. Some resources and features are available a la carte to add to your existing plan. If you require more of everything, you can upgrade to a higher level plan with a higher allocation. VPS is generally priced lower than the equivalent virtual resources in an enterprise-class Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) public cloud like FlexCloud Servers.

Cost

Monthly billing rates

FlexCloud Sites are billed on a monthly basis depending on the resource plan and optional features you purchase. Each plan offers a minimum set of virtual resources, including memory, disk space, bandwidth and other features. Some features are available a la carte to add to your existing plan. If you require more space or email accounts, you can upgrade to higher resource plans. Generally, shared hosting is at a lower price point than VPS or cloud hosting. This is because the costs of the server are shared by all users, allowing providers to charge each user less.

Cost

Usage-based Billing

FlexCloud Servers employ a pay-as-you-go billing method that charges only for the resources reserved or utilized during a billing period. Users can deploy as many instances with as many resources as required to meet their compute and redundancy needs, and the resources are calculated at the end of the billing period (typically a month) and charged based on the per-unit price. If resource requirements vary within a billing period, the capacity may be scaled up or scaled back, and this will be reflected in the final invoice.

Control & Customization

Root Access Control

VPS offers more control and administrative access than standard shared hosting, but not as much control as IaaS public cloud hosting. With root access, you have the ability to install and configure your own applications as desired. However, you are limited as to what you can access and customize with VPS. For example, because you are sharing an operating system instance with others on your physical machine, there are limitations to OS level configuration.

Control & Customization

Packaged Control and Scalability

Since shared hosting website accounts provide more structured functionality, you are limited in the features you have control of and how much you can scale them. Some plans may offer unlimited features, but should your requirements exceed Flexcloud Sites’ packaged functionality, it is recommended to move to VPS or public cloud to achieve optimal performance and administration of your website. If you need to increase resources such as traffic or disk space, you will have to upgrade to a higher plan. You can usually choose your operating system – Windows or Linux – and add on services like MySQL or MS SQL databases. In addition, you can code in the scripting language of your choice, upload and manage files remotely through SSH or FTP, and easily add compatible applications and scripts.

Control & Customization

Complete Control and Scalability

IaaS cloud hosting offers highly customizable and controllable environments due to the separation between virtual machines, the networking architecture, and the granular control over resource allocation since resources are distributed across environments. You have administrative control over each OS on each instance you launch, and have additional options for managing access, security, and connections between instances. Resources are continuously available, and can be increased at a moment's notice to reach your needs. Cloud servers may require a greater amount of technical expertise; you are responsible for managing the operating system in addition to your applications. Additionally, for more complex architectures or performance, you may need to understand how instances communicate with one another to execute workloads.

Use Cases

A few use cases well-suited to VPS:

  • Reselling hosting services (virtual hoster)
  • Web design firms that develop and host sites
  • Domain investor developing properties
  • Low-resource websites and applications

Use Cases

A few use cases well-suited to shared hosting:

  • Small-to-medium business websites
  • Basic blog, forum, or other web apps
  • Template-based websites
  • Price-conscious web hosting

Use Cases

A few use cases well-suited to public cloud:

  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers who create custom environments for multiple customers or have unpredictable loads
  • Applications or websites with varying traffic loads
  • Test and development environments
  • Short duration IT products
  • Highly-intensive application hosting
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