Is it Time to Switch from Shared Hosting to Cloud?

We get lots of questions:

But my current shared hosting is much cheaper, and I get the same limits. Why should I pay more for cloud hosting when I can have the same for less?

Well, there is a difference. Continue reading to find out more.

TLDR: If your web is a crucial part of your business, there is no economic case for continuing with Shared Hosting.

What’s the difference between shared hosting and a cloud server (or VPS - virtual private server)? If you’re just launching your first website, or even if you’ve had one for years, you may not see any difference or potential benefits in either. Hosting seems to be one of those things that people know they need, but they don’t actually understand why.

It’s easy to see how it could all get confusing if you don’t have a background in tech – at first glance, all of the different hosting plans look pretty much the same, sometimes, the cloud might even seem to provide you less for more.

What is the difference? Sharing is good, right?

Two people sharing a computer

Well, it’s complicated. Traditional shared hosting has only one goal: to cut costs as much as possible. The problem, however, lies in the sharing part. In shared hosting, a single server (most likely in a data center) is shared by many people for hosting their web sites, apps, and email - sometimes even tens of thousands of them!

So what happens when one of them has a huge spike of traffic and becomes a resource hog? Or what happens when hundreds of customers on that single server start hogging resources? Suddenly your website becomes slow, your emails stop delivering and your customers start to bounce.

What if one of your “neighbors” doesn’t care about security? What if they use a weak password or if they are under attack? The attacker will still target the same server where you reside as well and you may also get affected.

With the cloud, sharing is different. The underlying infrastructure is shared, but the virtual environment means you can have as many resources as you like, on-demand. It’s as if you can make your restaurant bigger when you have more guests, and smaller when it’s almost empty. Also, since it is not only one physical server, but rather multiple redundant servers, you get self-healing features built-in. Read more on the benefits of using cloud services here.

Cost

Transactions

Even though when compared to shared hosting it might seem expensive, hosting a website is not expensive compared to your phone bill, office rent, computers, and other business resources. The lowest-end managed cloud hosting (that is when you have Nebula take care of all of your hosting-related stuff costs $29.99/month, which is likely less than your phone bill. The lowest-end VPS from Nebula costs you just $7.5/month. So even though when compared to shared hosting it can be as much as 10 times more expensive, cloud hosting is still relatively cheap. Especially when compared to dedicated bare-metal servers which run in hundreds of dollars per month per server, while not providing any of the benefits of the cloud.

Shared hosting vs cloud hosting differences

We will focus on the key aspects here: security, performance, speed, and pricing.

Security

Shared hosting

In shared hosting, the security is based on databases and applications (which is how you as the user gain access to your admin panel) which makes them vulnerable to hackers. This is because once one has access to one shared hosting server, they have access to all the websites hosted on it.

Cloud hosting

In cloud hosting your virtualized environment is isolated, so your web site is unaffected by the activities of others on your server. You also get full control of your operating system, as well as a dedicated cloud firewall. So you can decide the level of security you want.

Also, many cloud providers’ data centers undergo regular security audits.

Winner

Cloud hosting - for the simple reason that you get absolute control when it comes to security. In case of problems with hardware, your website is automatically migrated to a stable server.

Performance

Shared hosting

Since the server is shared across many users, there is always a limit on how much performance you can get out of your server. Many shared hosting providers enforce limits on how much CPU and memory you are allowed to use daily under their fair use policy.

Cloud hosting

With cloud hosting, you can pretty much choose your own performance. From shared CPU cores (that is multiple users are using the same physical CPU core) to dedicated CPU cores, GPUs, and hundreds of gigabytes of memory. Usually, the limit enforced by the cloud providers is for the shared CPU plans where they don’t encourage running CPU-intensive applications - hogging 100% of CPU for extended periods of time.

Winner

Cloud hosting - having a lot more resources at your disposal provides you with the flexibility to operate at the level of performance you need.

Speed

Shared hosting

The problem with even the best shared hosting providers is that the servers powering shared hosting are almost always full to capacity (this is what enables them to provide the low prices you get). This means that if one website gets a sudden influx of traffic, all the other websites are affected which leads to terrible load times.

Cloud hosting

Once again, cloud hosting gives you access to as many dedicated resources as you want, while also allowing you to scale up or down depending on your traffic.

Winner

Cloud hosting - Not sharing the server with hundreds of users means you get enough performance at your disposal to keep running your website at optimum speeds.

Pricing

Shared hosting

Let’s say you go for a dirt-cheap shared hosting plan that will cost you $3/month. With that, you usually get somewhere between 2-5 GB of disk space and 100 GB of bandwidth/month, while at the same time limiting you to hosting only 1 website, while at the same time limiting you to specific technologies you can use (usually only PHP). This will also give you all the risks you get from using shared hosting.

Cloud hosting

The cheapest cloud VPS will cost you $7.5/month while netting you 25 GB of disk space (depending on your OS install the actual usable space for your website will vary), 1 TB of bandwidth/month and you can host as many websites as you want in any technology you want as long as it runs on Linux.

Winner

Shared hosting - well, since the main point of shared hosting is cutting down costs, it is the expected winner in this category.

Bottom line

АspectWinnerReason
SecurityCloud hostingYou get absolute control when it comes to security
PerformanceCloud hostingYou get to decide the exact amount of resources you get
SpeedCloud hostingBetter performance means better speed
PricingShared hostingSharing the same resources with multiple users means lower costs

When it comes to shared hosting or cloud hosting, there’s no doubt that cloud hosting is the clear winner for many businesses, especially ones that rely on their web presence.