Cloud Hosting Vs Web Hosting: The Differences Explained


With the speed at which technology is advancing, creating an online presence is key to any business’s success. It helps business owners establish their brand and expand their customer base.

But, when it comes to creating a website for your business, you’ll first need to choose a hosting provider. There are several types of web hosting services including shared, dedicated, VPS, and more.

In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between cloud hosting and traditional web hosting so that you can choose the one that’s most suitable for your business or website.

What Is Web Hosting?

Simply put, web hosting is when a hosting provider allocates space on a web server for a website to store its files. They are therefore hosting your website.

Put differently, by choosing a web host provider, you are renting or buying space to house your website on the internet. This makes all your files, including code, images, and more, viewable online.


You need to consider your exact needs before making a decision. For example, you don’t want to choose shared hosting if your website will require a lot of space or you expect a very large amount of traffic.

That’s because, with this type of hosting, many websites share a single server, and this limits each website’s resources.

So it’s important to consider things like the size of your site, the amount of traffic you’ll get on your site, and your technical abilities.

Here are a few of the web most popular hosting options available:

  • Shared hosting: This is the most basic type of hosting and essentially means you’ll be sharing a server with other websites. Each website, including yours, will have an allocated amount of resources available to each, outlined by the hosting plan. This option is the cheapest because costs are shared. But it’s not ideal for larger sites.
  • Dedicated hosting: This option allows you to have dedicated servers for your site only. This means that your website will not have to compete for resources. This means excellent uptime rates. But, it also means it’s more expensive because you’re not sharing the costs with other sites.
  • VPS hosting: This option is very similar to shared hosting because you still share a server with other websites. But each server houses fewer websites than with shared hosting. This is because the main server is split into virtual servers which are customizable per each individual website. It is also a cheaper option than dedicated hosting.

To learn more about all the different types of web hosting options avaible have a look at this article.

What Is Cloud Hosting?

Instead of hosting your website on a single server, like with more traditional types of web hosting (shared, dedicated, and VPS), cloud hosting hosts your website using many different servers around the world which are linked together and updated in real-time. And, these are accessed on-demand.


The benefit is that these cloud servers are around the globe, meaning that the location of those accessing your website is detected and the closest cloud server to them is used.

This means that cloud hosting provides more reliability, scalability, and better performance for your website.

Cloud hosting options include:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Also known as cloud application services, this is the most common choice when it comes to cloud hosting. This option involves third-party vendors who utilize the internet to deliver applications to their users.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Also known as cloud platform services, this cloud hosting option involves providing cloud components to certain software. This is mainly used for applications.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This is an on-demand, pay-as-you-go cloud hosting service. IaaS gives you the ability to bypass the cost and complexity of buying and managing physical servers and data center infrastructure.

What Is the Difference Between Cloud Hosting vs Web Hosting?

Choosing between cloud hosting vs web hosting shouldn’t difficult. But you do need to consider your website’s needs beforehand.


Web hosting is often referred to as traditional hosting because it has been the longest option around. And, while cloud hosting is new, it is also showing great benefits for website owners. This, however, doesn’t mean that traditonal web hosting isn’t still the best option for some website owners – it is. The hosting service you choose depends on your needs.

Traditional web hosting is the most popular option for small to medium-sized businesses with shared hosting being the most common choice for those starting out. That’s because this option is low maintenance and cost-effective. The hosting company also does all the maintenance for you.


A big drawback is that spikes in traffic could cause major slow down in site speed. It is also more difficult and expensive to scale up if your business grows a lot.

With cloud hosting, the major difference lies in scalability. Because cloud hosting offers on-demand access to virtual space, you don’t pay for a set amount like with traditional hosting.


You only pay for what you use and this can scale up or down according to your website’s traffic without affecting performance. However, this added benefit makes cloud hosting more expensive compared to traditional web hosting services.

Pros and Cons of Traditional Hosting

In this next section, we’ll provide a summary of the pros and cons of choosing traditional web hosting vs cloud hosting.


The Benefits
  • Less expensive
  • Easy to set up for beginners
  • It’s upgradable
  • Ability to host multiple domains for cheap
The Downside
  • Difficult to scale
  • Slow speed with high traffic
  • Limited control
  • Greater security risks

Pros and Cons of Cloud Hosting

In this next section, we’ll provide a summary of the pros and cons of cloud hosting as a hosting provider for your website.


The Benefits
  • Increased uptime
  • Cost-efficient (for high traffic sites)
  • More security
  • High scalability
The Downside
  • More expensive (for low traffic sites)
  • Unnecessary for most websites

Cloud Hosting vs Shared Hosting: What to Consider

When it comes to choosing between cloud hosting vs shared hosting, you need to consider your unique business. Here are some of the biggest ones to consider:


If you’re starting out and your need is to set up a standard website, then shared hosting is probably the most affordable option. Cloud hosting is more costly, although it is becoming more affordable.


There is also the option of using dedicated or managed hosting services if your website needs to perform well but unless you are working with a very high traffic website with a great need for a high level of security (think international ecommerce) you won’t benefit from it.

Traffic Demands

You should determine how much traffic your site is likely to experience. Shared hosting is known for being sluggish, so if you have an online business and your website is built to bring in tons of web traffic, cloud hosting may be more suitable.

It is also easier to scale up with cloud hosting vs traditional web hosting. A smaller business, on the other hand, may perform just fine with a web hosting service provider.

Website Performance

If your website demands high performance, cloud hosting is the better option. Because shared hosting uses one server, split between websites, your resources are limited.

Speed performance for wordpress website

Shared or traditional web hosting, on the other hand, may be sufficient for smaller businesses. Dedicated or managed hosting offers the same benefits but are much more expensive than cloud hosting.

Security Needs

Cloud hosting can be less secure without the right measures in place. Shared hosting offers less security compared to cloud hosting services. Dedicated or managed hosting plans offer more security.


Choosing a hosting plan depends on the level of security your website needs.

FAQs About Web Hosting vs Cloud Hosting

What Is the Difference Between a Web Server and Cloud Server?

Web hosting requires computer server resources which website owners purchase to host their websites. Cloud computing on the other hand is a pooled, centralized server resource that is hosted over a network.

Is Cloud Hosting Better Than Shared Hosting?

When it comes to reliability and the ability to handle high amounts of traffic, cloud hosting is the preferred option. It is more costly than shared hosting, though.


Is Cloud Hosting a Type of Web Hosting?

Cloud hosting is a solution that uses cloud resources to make websites and applications accessible. Web hosting or traditional hosting which involves a fixed server which is used to upload website files to make them available to internet users.

Concluding Thoughts

When it comes to choosing the right hosting plan, you need to think about your business or website’s needs.

Knowing the differences between commonly used terms puts you in a better position as a researcher and shopper.

If you’re a small business and have a physical store, and your website is more for credibility and support, then a shared or traditional hosting plan could work well for you.

Visit our guide on the 7 Best Web Hosting For Small Businesses to learn more.

But, if your business is fully online or is a huge part of your income, cloud hosting may be the better option for you.


Article by

Matt Diggity

Matt is the founder of Diggity Marketing, LeadSpring, The Search Initiative, The Affiliate Lab, and the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. He actually does SEO too.

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