Cloud Hosting vs Shared Hosting

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With over 20 years of experience managing various websites, we know how important it is to choose the right hosting service. Two of the most popular options available are shared hosting and cloud hosting. In this article, we’ll explain the differences between these two types of web hosting and help you decide which one is best for your website.

TL;DR

CriteriaShared HostingCloud Hosting
Resource AllocationLimited, shared among all websites on the serverDynamic allocation across multiple servers, scalable
Performance and ReliabilityPotential for slower performance and downtime due to shared resourcesHigher reliability and performance with redundancy and load balancing
CostMore affordable, fixed pricingUsually more expensive, pay-as-you-go pricing model
SecurityBasic security measures, shared environment poses risksEnhanced security features, dedicated firewalls, regular backups
Flexibility and ScalabilityLimited flexibility and scalability, typically upgrade to VPS or cloud hosting for higher capacityHighly flexible and scalable, vertical scaling available with most cloud providers
Ideal ScenariosPersonal blogs, small business websites, hobby sitesGrowing businesses, high-traffic websites, sites requiring enhanced security
Recommended ProvidersHostingerCloudways

What is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud hosting uses multiple servers to host websites, working together to form a “cloud.” This allows resources to be distributed as needed, providing higher flexibility, scalability, and reliability compared to shared hosting. With cloud based hosting, your website can handle higher traffic volumes and is less prone to downtime.

Pros and Cons of Cloud Hosting

Pros

  • Scalability: Easily adjust resources to meet your website’s needs. Some, such as Cloudways Autonomous, even support auto scaling.
  • Better performance and reliability: Redundancy and load balancing ensure optimal performance and uptime.
  • Enhanced security: Advanced security features protect your website from threats.

Cons

  • Higher cost: Cloud hosting is generally more expensive than shared hosting. A low, entry-level cloud hosting plan costs $11/mo on Cloudways platform.
  • More complex management: Managing cloud hosting can be more challenging, requiring a higher level of technical expertise.

Cloud Web Hosting Provider Example

Cloudways is a prime example of cloud based hosting. It offers managed cloud hosting services with scalable resources, strong performance, and enhanced security features, making it ideal for growing businesses and high-traffic websites.

Cloud Hosting Example - Cloudways

What is Shared Hosting?

Shared hosting is a web hosting service where multiple websites share the same server and its resources. This means that CPU, RAM, and disk space are divided among all the websites on that server. Shared hosting is an affordable and straightforward option, making it an excellent choice for beginners and small websites.

Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting

Pros

  • Cost-effective: Shared hosting plans are very affordable. Hostinger cheapest plan for example is selling at $2.99/mo.
  • Easy to manage: The user-friendly interface (cPanel, Plesk, Plesk) and simple setup make it ideal for beginners.
  • Suitable for small websites: Personal blogs, small business websites, and startups can benefit from shared hosting.

Cons

  • Limited resources: Shared resources can lead to performance issues, especially during traffic spikes.
  • Lower performance: The shared environment can result in slower load times and potential downtime.
  • Security risks: Vulnerabilities in one website can potentially affect others on the same server.

Shared Web Hosting Provider Example

For example, Hostinger’s shared hosting plans offer an easy-to-use interface, budget-friendly pricing, and essential features suitable for personal blogs, small business websites, and startups.

Shared Hosting Example - Hostinger

Key Differences Between Shared & Cloud Hosting

Resource Allocation

In shared web hosting, resources such as CPU, RAM, and disk space are divided among all the websites on a single server. This can lead to performance issues if one website consumes more resources than others.

Cloud hosting, however, allocates resources dynamically across multiple servers. This ensures that your website gets the necessary resources when needed, providing better performance and reliability.

Performance and Reliability

Shared hosting often suffers from slower performance and potential downtime due to the shared nature of the resources. If one website experiences a traffic spike, it can affect the performance of other websites on the same server.

Cloud hosting offers superior performance and reliability. The cloud infrastructure allows for redundancy and load balancing, ensuring your website remains up and running even if one server fails.

Cost

Shared hosting is generally more affordable than cloud hosting. Hostinger, for example, offers shared hosting plans starting at just a few dollars per month, making it accessible for those on a tight budget.

Cloud hosting, such as that provided by Cloudways, is usually more expensive. However, it operates on a pay-as-you-go model, allowing you to pay only for the resources you use, which can be cost-effective for websites with fluctuating traffic.

Security

In shared hosting, basic security measures are implemented to protect the server and its hosted websites. However, the shared environment can pose security risks, as vulnerabilities in one website can potentially affect others.

Cloud hosting offers enhanced security features, including dedicated firewalls, regular backups, and advanced monitoring. Cloudways, for instance, provides full built-in security measures including dedicated firewall and vulnerability scanner, to protect your website from threats.

Flexibility and Scalability

Shared hosting has limited flexibility and scalability. As your website grows, you may need to upgrade to a higher hosting plan or even switch to a different hosting type to accommodate increased traffic and resource demands.

Cloud hosting is highly flexible and scalable. You can easily adjust resources such as CPU, RAM, and storage based on your website’s needs.

Cloud or Shared: Which is Right for You?

When to Choose Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is ideal if:

  • Your business is growing rapidly: Imagine you own an online store that’s expanding quickly, and you expect significant increases in traffic during sales events. Cloudways’ cloud hosting can handle these traffic spikes effortlessly.
  • You manage a high-traffic website: If you run a news website or a popular blog that attracts thousands of visitors daily, cloud hosting ensures your site remains fast and reliable.
  • Security is a priority: For businesses handling sensitive data, such as an e-commerce site processing customer payments, Cloudways’ advanced security features provide peace of mind and protect against cyber threats.

When to Choose Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is a great option if:

  • You’re starting a personal blog: If you’re planning to share your travel experiences or daily musings. It’s budget-friendly and straightforward to set up.
  • You run a small business: Let’s say you have a local bakery and want to create a simple website to showcase your menu and allow customers to place orders online. Shared hosting provides all the essentials without breaking the bank.
  • You’re launching a hobby site: If you’re setting up a fan site for your favorite TV show or a personal portfolio to display your art, a shared web host offers enough resources to get you started.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between shared hosting and cloud hosting depends on your website’s needs and budget. Shared hosting, like Hostinger, is affordable and easy to use, making it great for small websites and beginners. Cloud hosting, offered by Cloudways, provides better performance, scalability, and security, ideal for growing businesses and high-traffic sites.

For more detailed reviews and recommendations to help you decide, check out our hosting reviews. Let us guide you to the best hosting solution for your website’s success.


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Article by Jerry Low

Jerry Low has immersed himself in web technologies for over a decade and has built many successful sites from scratch. He is a self-professed geek who has made it his life’s ambition to keep the web hosting industry honest. For latest personal updates and news, follow Jerry on Facebook and Twitter.
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