Cloud Hosting vs Shared Hosting Pros Cons and Which is Best

Cloud Hosting vs Shared Hosting: Pros, Cons, and Which is Best

Cloud hosting and shared hosting are two cheaper hosting solutions. Cloud hosting is the new kid on the block, with the shiny new features and popular name. Shared hosting is the old solution, a great way for upstart websites in the beginning of the internet to get a foot in the door without shelling out thousands for a server.

Both solutions are still in use today, and are great solutions for a number of different websites. There’s certainly no right or wrong to this solution. It will really just depend on what you’re going to need for your website. Shared hosting is a cheap and effective way to run a website, while cloud hosting is a slightly more powerful and expensive solution.

In this post, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of cloud hosting and shared hosting. We’ll start by talking about what they both are and then move to some comparisons so that you can figure out which one is the best solution for your internet needs!

What is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud hosting creates virtual private servers (VPS) by using a number of different physical servers. The physical servers create a single cloud environment which is then partitioned into different virtual private servers.

Cloud hosting therefore ends up costing similar amounts to traditional VPS hosting. Traditional VPS hosting uses a single server split into different server environments, instead of a whole cloud environment.

Note that cloud hosting doesn’t necessarily use more data than typical VPS hosting. You can create a cloud from a single physical server, meaning that cloud hosting, for most practical purposes, is really similar to VPS hosting. There would be a similar amount of space and resources available in both cases.

Cloud hosting, unlike VPS hosting, generally provides a bit more scalability and flexibility. The cloud can constantly shift the amount of resources that each site receives at a time, instead of having more rigid distributions of power.

Cost

Cloud hosting runs from about $5 to $50 a month (you can compare cloud hosting prices here), depending on the kind of resources that you’re trying to secure. This is comparable to VPS hosting a lot cheaper of an option than dedicated server hosting.

Pros

  • Scalability: Cloud hosting can dynamically scale as more traffic hits your site
  • Security: While not offering as much security as a dedicated server, a cloud solution offers more security than shared hosting offers.

Cons

  • Cost: While not expensive, it certainly costs more than shared hosting would.
  • Speeds: Because the cloud environment allows different sites to draw resources, the overload of one site could slow your site down without proper failsafes in place.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Scalability
  • Security

Cons

  • Cost
  • Speeds

What is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting emerged in the earlier days of web hosting as a cheaper solution for websites and companies that didn’t want to spend the resources on dedicated servers of their own. The system splits a single physical server into a number of different resource allocations to run different sites.

Shared hosting is the cheapest way to acquire web hosting. It requires little administration and less power on the end of the host, allowing them to offer it for cheaper than cloud and VPS hosting models. The shared server environment, therefore, is also a lot less powerful, flexible, and secure than the other models.

It’s the cheapest and not the best. Still, overpaying for features you don’t actually need is a terrible business model.

Cost

Shared servers are generally about half the cost of cloud and VPS hosting solutions. You can get shared hosting for $2 a month up to $20 a month, as can be seen here.

Pros

  • Cost: It’s the cheapest way to get your website up and running. If you don’t need a lot of power and security concerns won’t keep you up at night, then go ahead and sign for shared hosting.
  • Hard resource allocations: Cloud hosting can, without proper failsafes in place, cause certain websites to run really slow when other websites are getting a surge in traffic. If someone’s puppy meme generates a ton of traffic, the speeds on your website could suffer. With shared serving, this doesn’t happen. You get a set amount of power and even if a different website is straining to keep with traffic you won’t lose power.

Cons

  • Limited speed, space, and resources: You get what you pay for. And in this case you aren’t really paying a whole lot. It’s called shared hosting because you’re sharing the server with a bunch of other people. And because you’re splitting that cost you’re also splitting those resources. It just makes sense.
  • Security: Shared hosting is the least secure way to host your website. Cloud hosting and VPS hosting both have hard divisions between the different sites so it’s really difficult, actually near impossible, to hack one site and then jump around the virtual environment to other websites. Not so with shared hosting. With shared hosting, a single compromise could let in unwanted visitors to all the different sites on the server.
  • Scalability issues: In order to get a bunch more power than you currently have, you’d basically have to convince the company that you’re working with to turn your server into a dedicated server.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Cost
  • Hard resource allocations

Cons

  • Limited speed, space, and resources
  • Security
  • Scalability issues

Cloud Hosting vs. Shared Hosting

Here’s a few issues to consider when choosing between cloud hosting and shared hosting.

1

Resources

This one is absolutely no contest. Most cloud hosting plans will offer your website far more space and resources than shared hosting plans are ever meant to. Shared hosting isn’t built for large resource loads. Of course, now is an important time to remind you that you shouldn’t pay for resources that you aren’t using. If you need a ton of resources to run a very expensive website, that’s fine. But if you’re running a blog or a personal website that you only expect to gather a small bit of traffic, then resources shouldn’t be that important to you. Cloud hosting gives you a lot more resources than shared hosting can, but the resources are also a bit more dynamic. A poorly managed cloud could create problems for your website if other websites experience certain surges in traffic. Alternatively, most shared hosting plans have rigid divisions in the computing power that is lent to each website on the server.

2

Security

Cloud hosting provides a lot more security than shared hosting does. The shared hosting environment splits a single server into different websites but maintains no hard divisions between those individual environments, meaning that someone could breach your website through the weakness in the website of another user. You may not really need the security. It depends on what your website is for and the kind of things that you are posting behind locked doors. If your website gets hacked, what are the potential damages? For a personal blog it might only embarrassment. For a professional website or company website, the risks might be higher. But then again, you’d have to decide whether or not there is motivation to hack your website. Internet security is a complicated topic because potential for breaches doesn’t equate to motivation for breaches. Additionally, someone that wants to hack your website is going to come at your website directly. It’s unlikely that they’re going to chase down your web host, locate another website sharing your server, and then target your website by going through that website like a complicated croquet shot. While technically possible, it’s so unlikely that I’m not sure you’d want to pay a few extra dollars a month to block it.

3

Scalability

Scaling websites can be a huge issue. Your small site that started out as a place for you to post your thoughts about meditation can quickly grow into a life coaching business, and you need a way to migrate your evergreen content without losing business due to site downtime. In a case where traffic grows steadily, it’s easy to put a plan into place. You can start planning for the day that you outgrow your hosting plan by planning months in advance. An unexpected spike in traffic is something that you can’t plan for, and can be a huge misstep for your growing site if not handled properly. Shared hosting doesn’t scale very well, and it certainly can’t scale on demand. The system has to be reprogrammed in a circumstance where you want to eat up more data from the server. Now, good hosting companies do have scaling plans in place for shared hosting. But it might take more time. Cloud hosting scales differently. Cloud hosting can dynamically scale as more traffic hits your site. Of course, you can also become the victim of someone else’s scaling, slowing your speeds down just enough to drive bounce rates up. On a larger scale, cloud hosting packages can scale month to month fairly easily because the cloud usually has a lot of available resources that you can pay extra for. Scalability is tough to consider because it usually just depends on the hosting company that you’re working with. Despite the raw specs of the situation, some companies will have great scaling procedures in place while other companies will not.

4

Cost

Cloud hosting will be more expensive than shared hosting in most cases. And the truth is, if you want to pay more for more hosting power behind your website, it’s probably better to get cloud hosting than simply pay more for shared hosting. Shared hosting can cost only a couple of bucks a month and shouldn’t really cost you more than $5 a month. If you start paying more than $5 a month, you can probably get similar resource allocations on a better system with cloud hosting. Cloud hosting can cost you $5 to $50 a month. Start paying more than $50 a month, and you might be overpaying for data. If you outgrow a cloud solution you’ll have to look into dedicated hosting or even purchasing a server of your own.

5

Customization

A cloud hosting environment functions like a VPS for a lot of intents and purposes. That means it can handle a lot of software customizations to get the exact website functionality that you’re looking for. Unlike a dedicated server, it won’t be able to handle any hardware customizations. Because of the server environment in a shared server, there isn’t really room for software customizations. If you’re running a simple website and don’t need a lot of different stuff running on the backend, then this isn’t a problem. But the shared server isn’t built for software customizations, much less hardware customizations.

6

Administration

Here’s another one that is a bit complicated. Because of the nature of the different hosting environments, companies selling the environments generally expect different kinds of users and have tailored their experiences to those kinds of customers. Shared hosting environments tailor to customers who need simple administration and will prioritize help with things like email and getting a domain name up and running. The shared hosting environment has a lot of the administration done on the back end. For many basic users, this is great. If you want to run a simple WordPress site that accomplishes a simple task–blogging, posting your resume, selling a service or product–then that administration might be a helpful service. Administration and customization are generally a sliding scale. Some websites will want more customization and will therefore require less administration, while others will want more administration and therefore require less customization.

Final Advice

Finding the hosting plan that’s right for you doesn’t mean just paying a bunch of money for the most amount of resources. Shared hosting has been around for a long time, and it’s still around because it works. It may not work as well as cloud hosting for certain things, but if you’re not doing those things, then you shouldn’t be paying for them.

The bottom line: shared hosting is a cheap and effective way to run a website on the internet. If you need faster speeds, more resources, more customization, and more scalability, then it might be worth investing in cloud hosting.