In many ways shared hosting and cloud hosting are similar. Some even go so far to say that cloud hosting is really just a modern type of shared hosting, and those people wouldn’t be that wrong. However, there is at least one major difference between these two: customization. A cloud hosting environment can be easily customized and scaled up or down while a shared hosting one is usually static and harder to change or scale. This article goes through the main differences of each to give a good idea of what hosting type is best for your website.
What is Shared and Cloud Hosting?
Shared hosting and cloud hosting are similar in many respects. Both use a physical server to partition resources for the many websites hosted on it. They are also both virtualized to some extent, with cloud hosts perhaps embodying the definition of virtualized. Still, there are many differences.
Shared hosting is hosted on a single physical server, though many websites are hosted on that one server. The entire server’s resources are equally shared by all the websites and there is very little to customize or make unique between different accounts. While it is possible for each website owner to customize his or her website without any problem, it is impossible for that user to customize his or her server space.
Cloud hosting also hosts many websites on one server, but it uses virtualized hardware. The server is not partitioned equally between all the websites; it is partitioned based on how much virtual RAM, memory and bandwidth the user wants. For example, the user is capable of upgrading from 256MB of virtual RAM to 1GB. Not only that, but cloud hosting is virtually unlimited.
Unlike shared hosting, which can only take place on one server, cloud hosting can be interconnected between many different servers. For example, your website may need a lot of resources. To accommodate this, the hosting company can put your cloud hosting account on two different servers at once and you will not know the difference.
Shared Hosting vs Cloud Hosting Performance Comparison
Performance in a shared hosting environment is proportionate to the resources used by all the websites on the server. If one website uses 1GB of bandwidth, then that 1GB is entirely taken up and not available for the other websites. Due to this, performance can be affected by the number of websites on the server, the server’s overall resources and how much resources individual people are using. In short, performance is hit or miss.
Cloud hosting lets you directly influence your website’s performance. You are given a certain amount of resources that you can upgrade or downgrade per your budget and needs. The performance can be terrible if you are using a very low amount of resources or it can be great if you purchase a large amount of virtual hardware.
Shared Hosting vs Cloud Hosting Security Comparison
While this is debated, the security of both shared and cloud hosting is about the same. Even though a number of websites can be hosted on one server, there is no way a singular user can access the other websites on the server without hacking through security.
Cloud hosting is somewhat more secure because of its customization, but the difference is usually not really significant, provided that you use a good shared host. If both environments are being properly managed, then they should both be secure.
Shared Hosting vs Cloud Hosting Outage Protection
If a server goes down then a website goes down, regardless of the type of hosting you are using. While hosts do their best to avoid this by using temperature-controlled rooms and managing the servers, sometimes an outage just happens.
While an outage can affect both, shared and cloud hosting react differently to this event. Shared hosting is a little harder to start back up since the files can only be allocated to a singular server. However, since cloud hosts are virtualized and easy to move from server to server, websites hosted on a cloud plan can often be brought back online much faster.
Shared Hosting vs Cloud Hosting Price Comparison
The price for both shard and cloud hosts differ based on the host, bandwidth, memory and options, but there are some average figures. Shared hosting typically hovers around at $5 to $15 per month, though it can go up to $50 for some hosts that offer more resources.
Cloud hosting is more expensive. You can choose a metered account, pay-as-you-go and paying by CPU cycles. On average you can expect to pay about $75 to $200 per month for good cloud hosting, though for web owners with lower ressource requirements, there are some smaller accounts that cost less than this.
Shared Hosting vs Cloud Hosting Conclusion
Both shared and cloud hosting have their place in the hosting world. While cloud hosting offers many customizations, this can be scary for new users that are not as technologically inclined. Not only that, but shared hosting is cheaper. On the other hand, cloud hosting is the best for people who will need to scale up someday as it is easy to add virtual hardware to the server. Overall, it matters how big your website is and what you really need from your host to best serve your website.
Shared Hosts and Cloud Hosts Recommendations
If you’re a regular reader of Web Hosting Ratings, you should know by know that we recommend the Canadian hosts HostPapa.ca and Web Hosting Canada for shared hosting. Before you sign up with any of the two, make sure to read our reviews (just click on the previous links) and make sure to use the HostPapa coupon or the Web Hosting Canada promo code.
Other good shared hosting options are the American HostGator.com (HostGator coupons here) or another Canadian company MyHosting.ca.
Cloud hosting, while relatively new, is becoming increasingly popular among web hosting compagnies. We recently announced that GoDaddy had joined the Cloud Hosting bandwagon. But when it comes to more established website hosting companies, we strongly recommend Liquid Web’s Smart Servers.