What are the differences between a cloud server and a virtual private server?

27.04.2022 1,858 0

In this article, you will learn what a cloud server and a virtual private server (VPS) are, and you will be able to make the right choice according to your needs.

Are you searching for a server solution for your business? You have probably encountered many different options which led to confusion, but don’t worry – we will explain everything.

Cloud Server

First, let us explain what a cloud server is. It is a type of virtual server. A network of many different servers running in a cloud-based environment. This makes it easily accessible remotely. Another significant advantage is because it is virtual, it is incredibly easy to set up and to make changes to in the future. Imagine if you suddenly needed more space or an additional service, this takes just a few clicks to see the different plans and select the right one for you.

This is the magic of on-demand services. You don’t need to make physical changes to your server; this saves time and money. This makes it a very suitable solution for small and medium-sized businesses, that would like to start small but also have the opportunity to expand easily and quickly. A benefit of the cloud structure is also the better availability and security. The cloud services usually include a network of different servers in different areas; this makes it very convenient. Imagine if one of your servers suffers a  DDoS attack, or maybe it is just down for maintenance, the rest will still be online and will cover the load between them, so your clients won’t even feel it.

So, in short, it is a type of virtual server, but with the resources located on multiple servers, making it more resilient and far easier to upgrade. 

Virtual private server (VPS)

A virtual private server, or VPS for short, is a virtual server inside a particular machine sold or rented by a service provider. It is the choice mainly of large enterprises, which require a high level of control, outstanding I/O performance, and Big Data capabilities. Here you will have full access to the configurations, CPU, RAM, storage space, and more. You get a dedicated part of the resources of the server, but the server is limited by its hardware which makes it more difficult to upgrade and add more resources. The hardware is upgradable, but this requires IT support, and it can incur downtime for maintenance. In most cases, you have full root access, and you decide how to use it, but again, you need to hire IT administrators for it. Whilst it has a lot of power, it is harder to manage.

When you compare this to other popular options of a dedicated server, they can look very similar. VPS is often cheaper and provides the same experience as a dedicated server, but with the caveat of being inside a server with other virtual servers. If one of the virtual servers gets attacked, it can bring down the whole server. 

Cloud server vs the virtual private server, main differences

Let’s compare the cloud server and the virtual private server and see their main differences. These 6 categories can best show the differences between the two and help you make the right choice for your case.

Performance

First, if you have a website and you want to move it to a VPS or a cloud server, in both cases you will see a massive speed boost. The VPS will have great consistency. It has guaranteed resources, so it will have the same peak performance always. The cloud server will also provide the same performance always and it has a large pool of interconnected servers to do it. If the provider has a large network of servers, it would be able to provide consistent performance too. In many cases, even better than the virtual private server.

Scalability

Talking about scalability, the cloud server is a clear winner. You can upgrade it with just a few clicks inside your control panel, or by asking the support team of your cloud provider. The limit for upgrading will be the limit of the network of connected cloud servers. You can imagine that a large provider will have a lot to offer. Far more than any single server can offer. 

The VPS is limited by its hardware and the other users of the server. The server dedicates resources to the users and provides them with a VPS for each of them. If a particular server is already fully divided between the users, the possible upgrade will require hardware changes, and they could be very limited. That is why, a cloud server scores a lot better in scalability, in comparison to a virtual private server. 

Security

For a VPS, the security depends  upon the user, whereas in a cloud server the security depends upon the provider.When a user gets a VPS, they will have root access to a server, and complete freedom to do what they want with it. To protect it with firewalls and traffic filters or not, which software to install, etc. The choice of the configuration is in the user’s hands. 

If the user knows what they are doing, they can have excellent security and protection, which could be even better than the cloud server. But if the person doesn’t know, there could be a vulnerability that can expose their server. It is not an easy task and you will need professional IT staff for managing your virtual private server. 

When we are talking about the cloud server, usually the cloud provider will have excellent security. As a user, you will have a full separation from the rest of the users. The whole network of cloud servers could also suffer from DDoS attacks, but it will be more resilient than a single server. 

One important thing to mention is compliance with local laws and regulations. In some parts of the world, there are strict requirements that the servers, holding sensitive data about the users from that region, must be located inside the same country. If you have to comply with a similar regulation, please always make sure that all of the cloud servers that you are using are located inside the country or countries that are allowed. Otherwise, you might be breaking the law.

Customization

The VPS wins this round. A VPS acts just like a dedicated server. You will have an access to the root. That gives you the power to change everything you like about it. You can install the OS you like, and the software you need and fully configure and customize it according to your business needs.

On a cloud server, you usually don’t have complete freedom. You will have the OS pre-installed. You can still install the software that you need and configure the system, but you won’t be 100% free. For 100% control, VPS and dedicated servers are better options. 

Redundancy

Talking about redundancy, the cloud server is a clear winner. The data that a cloud user has, is spread between different servers and there is at least one complete extra copy. Even if some of the servers break, the data won’t be lost. The user won’t even notice such an event and it won’t stop the normal functionality of the cloud server. 

The VPS loses this round. If the server where the user stores its data breaks with no backup, ckup, then the user will lose all of their information. Everything is on a single hardware. 

Cost

It is often the case that cloud servers and VPS have the same, or similar price points. Yet, you can expect a slightly higher price for the cloud servers because of their nature;they are a whole network of servers, working together and naturally you can expect that the price for maintaining them will be higher. 

There could be a big difference between service providers though. You need to check in detail the packages that the providers offer, and see which solutions match your budget and needs.

So which is better?

If we are just checking the two technologies, the cloud server and the virtual private server, the cloud server shines brighter. They match almost everything except scalability. The cloud server uses the resources of different servers, while the VPS uses the resources of a single server. If you need to upgrade a cloud server, it is a simple software operation that can be performed immediately, while the VPS has its hardware limitations and your desired upgrade might even be impossible. 

For small and medium-sized businesses, the Cloud server would be a better choice. It offers a lot of flexibility with the option to quickly and easily update and upgrade if needed. VPS is for particular tasks; we recommend this to larger companies with very specific needs. It gives you 100% customizability, but that could be a double-edged sword if not used correctly. 

If you require this option and you really need the root access, why don’t you check dedicated servers too? Yes, they might be a bit more expensive than a VPS, but you will have the whole server for yourself. No sharing. 

And if you are leaning toward the cloud server option, you can go ahead and check our cloud servers. We have great servers with good performance and prices. There are many options for different business needs, and we are sure you will find a suitable cloud server for you and your needs!

If you have a very specific need, you can also contact our sales representatives. We’re keen to hear all your needs and help to build a custom cloud solution too. 

Check out some of the other articles, written by Martin Pramatarov:

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