Virtual Private Servers (VPS) versus Cloud Computing – What’s the Difference?

Cloud computing or cloud hosting is the hot topic these days. However, with many small web hosting companies offering Virtual Private Servers (VPS) masquerading as “cloud hosting,” we thought it would be helpful to clear the air:

So what is a Virtual Private Server?

A VPS is a traditional single dedicated server operating in a multi-tenant hypervisor-like environment. Customers will typically order the server with fixed attributes and, when necessary, alter those attributes manually. A visual example is a sliced apple pie. No matter how many slices, the pie is still the same pie. Hosting providers generally price VPS offerings as part of a service bundle. Most traditional VPS offerings are billed by the minute and have pre-sized configurations.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing offers resources from a group or pool of technology resources – such as a network of servers located online and working together (“the cloud”) – that provides greater flexibility and reliability. For example, imagine a network of servers that is hosting your application or data. If one of the servers experiences a technical issue or downtime, another server is always on standby, available to jump in and take over seamlessly. Also, anytime your applications need extra resources (for example, more memory or computing power to support data analysis or bandwidth during high-traffic peaks, the cloud computing platform would automatically be able to adjust and provide the necessary support.

Taking it a step further, cloud computing should be thought of as a utility, just like the local electric company,  where cloud service providers offer virtual machine instances that do not have fixed computing attributes. The computing configuration of the virtual machine can grow or shrink dynamically depending on the resources requested by the specific application or user. Billing for the resources are based on a consumption basis over a specific time period for CPU cores, memory, storage, and bandwidth, rather than a preset package the may include resource levels not required.

Let’s Compare 

So, VPS or Cloud – Which is Best?

When choosing between VPS servers and Cloud Servers, it’s most important to select the server that best meets your specific needs and requirements.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a system of partitioning a server so that each partition (or slice) can act as a virtual dedicated server. Each VPS has its own disk space and bandwidth, and runs its own operating system.  A Cloud Server is a virtual machine that is dynamically scalable by virtualization. Cloud servers uses redundant hardware that has already been installed and tested by ProfitBricks or other provider.

VPS servers and Cloud Servers have different features, functions, and applications. Because each has fundamental differences, it is important that you select the right environment.

One important fact to realize is that traditional VPSs don’t have centralized storage. This means that if your node goes down, you could be down for hours. If data in a VPS environment is corrupt, there is a very good chance it might be gone forever. Finally, your ability to scale a VPS is limited based on the amount of resources that are available on your specific node.

So, which is right for you?