What is Cloud Hosting?

CloudIn recent years, “cloud hosting” has started to take over thanks to its security, speed and scalability. Sometimes called Cloud VPS hosting, this type of hosting is operates much differently than shared or standard VPS hosting.

With cloud hosting, your website’s resources are shared or “pooled” across multiple different virtual servers on an extensive network (or “cloud”) of physical web servers – some located far apart geographically.

This is much different than other hosting options, where a single server is used in virtually all cases.

There are two models of cloud hosting – managed and unmanaged. With managed, you’ll pay a monthly fee and be able to use the cPanel to manage your website, just like shared hosting. With unmanaged, you’ll have to set up your own cPanel and manage all the technical details.

How Does Cloud Hosting Work?

As described above, cloud hosting disperses your website’s files across multiple virtual servers, who are also hosting on an extensive network of physical servers. All of those servers work together to serve your website. If one server is too busy, another will pick up the slack.

It’s extremely scalable and secure, since no one server is handling the entire load. As an added benefit, all hardware becomes redundant. If there are any hardware issues with a server, the cloud system will migrate the work to another available server. This creates a very stable and very high-performance environment.

Who is it ideal for?

Because it’s so scalable, managed cloud hosting can really be for anybody. For instance, HostingRookie.com uses a Cloud VPS, but juggernaut Amazon.com is also using a similar cloud-based system.

Unmanaged cloud hosting has a significant barrier to entry, so only the technically inclined should choose to go that route.

Cloud hosting is perfect for anybody that’s outgrown shared hosting plans and is willing to pay a little bit more than a standard VPS.

Quick Overview


  • The biggest advantage of a Cloud VPS is the redundancy. Because your site is shared across multiple servers, it’s really hard to experience downtime.
  • Scaling up or down is incredibly simple, especially if you’re on the pay-per–use (or managed) system.
  • A managed Cloud VPS is set up just like shared hosting once you set up your cPanel via the web host manager.
  • With most unmanaged cloud servers, you only pay for the resources you use.


  • If you’re a HostingRookie reader, an unmanaged cloud-based system is likely not for you. You’d be dealing with tons of jargon and confusing terms that you’ve probably never seen before and you’ll be doing all this without help or a control panel. Companies like RackSpace and Amazon Web Services are going to give you cloud hosting that is 100% unmanaged, so you’re responsible for everything.
  • That said, managed cloud hosting could still be a viable option, particularly for sites who need more security or stability than shared or VPS hosting.

Price Range

As noted earlier, there are two payment structures for cloud hosting.

  1. With a managed Cloud VPS, payments are normally set up just like shared hosting. You’ll pay a fee every month and be allotted a certain amount of resources. The prices start out close to a VPS, but they’re a little more expensive. An entry-level cloud server is normally around $25/month, but can grow to thousands if you scale up significantly down the line.
  2. For huge sites that are using an unmanaged cloud-based system as a dedicated server alternative, payment structures are matched to the amount of resources you use during the month. With this setup you’re normally charged a certain fee (i.e. $0.06) per hour of usage for each instance or database you create. Two huge companies with payment structures like this are RackSpace and AWS.

Cloud Hosting Vs. Dedicated Hosting

You may be wondering – why should someone choose a dedicated server over a cloud server, or visa-versa?

Cloud VPS hosting has advantages over a dedicated server in that adding resources is incredibly easy to do. Not only are Cloud VPS’ scalable, but their resources are guaranteed just as though you were on a dedicated server. Performance between dedicated and cloud servers could be virtually identical, though cloud will usually win out for reliability and server uptime.

Some very demanding applications require heavy CPU usage, so a dedicated server might be preferred in that situation. With a dedicated server you get a fully dedicated CPU. To overcome this issue with a Cloud VPS, normally you can request CPU priority for an additional monthly fee.

Cloud hosting is only growing in popularity, while dedicated servers seem to be phasing out or becoming more specialized. In the long-term, I can only see cloud hosting becoming a more frequently used option.