Cloud Hosting vs Traditional Hosting: What’s the Difference?

The world is digital. Whether socializing or doing business, the internet is where it’s all at. And when it comes to business, if you don’t have a website, does your company even really exist? 

Thankfully, it’s become super easy to create a website, reach people across the world, and start making sales or offering services. But aside from design and content, there’s an aspect of your online presence that’s often overlooked:

Your web host is your online foundation. Today, there’s an important decision to be made: cloud hosting vs. traditional hosting. It might seem like a small difference, but trust us… This could be the one decision that changes your business success. Let’s get into it! 

The Old Faithful: Traditional Hosting 

Traditional hosting has been around for decades. Most web hosts offer traditional hosting, which is split into shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and VPS hosting. Whichever one you choose, your site is stored on their server, and they take care of it for you. 

Old-school web hosting is handy, but it has a few specific downsides. Your site needs constant TLC, and whatever type of hosting you choose, it doesn’t easily adapt to what’s happening around it. 

For example, if your site gets a spike in traffic, it might get overwhelmed and crash. And even worse, if your site’s neighbor gets an influx of traffic, yours might just slow down completely. 

New Kid On the Block: Cloud Hosting 

Cloud hosting has also been around for a good while, but it’s only now becoming a valid and viable option for just about every business. Instead of putting your website on a physical server, cloud hosting uses a huge network of virtual servers spread across the world. 

This means that you’re not limited to the resources that can fit on a physical server. So flexibility is way above what traditional hosting can provide, and the same goes for scalability and even price points. 

Key Differences: Cloud Hosting vs. Traditional Hosting 

Now that you have a basic understanding of each one let’s compare each type of web hosting so you can see at a glance which would be best for you. 

Uptime & Reliability 

Normal hosting is at the mercy of its server. If the server goes down for whatever reason, your site is offline, no way to get around it. But because cloud hosting splits your site’s data across multiple virtual servers, there’s pretty much zero chance of all of them going down at once, which means perpetual uptime! 

Strength of Security 

Security is one of the biggest factors in all types of web hosting. But cloud hosting has a bit more muscle in terms of security measures, and it also uses all the latest cloud-based technology to monitor for, find, and fix potential security issues before they even start. 


When you’ve got a certain piece of physical hardware providing your resources, there’s only so much flexibility. But when you’ve got a vast open playground like the internet, which cloud hosting does, you can customize your site to a much finer degree. For many, this won’t really be a thing, but for those who like to customize their sites, cloud hosting is a dream. 

Allocation of Resources 

When it comes to a physical server, you’re also pretty limited in terms of resources. On a shared server, all the good stuff gets shared between 2, 5, 10, or more websites living on the server. Even with a dedicated server, there’s only so much there before you hit the ceiling. 

Then there’s cloud hosting. It’s not limited by a physical device, so you can go much bigger with resources. You also don’t need to do much in terms of resources because it takes care of everything automatically. 

Ease of Scalability 

Regular hosting can only take you so far before you have to start manually adding extra resources or moving to bigger servers. But cloud hosting comes with practically unlimited scalability, and the best thing is that you can scale up and down when and where you need to. 

Pricing Structure 

Regular hosting can come in a huge range of prices, some absolute bargains, some ridiculous, and most falling somewhere in the middle of these two. It also varies quite drastically based on whether you choose shared or dedicated hosting. 

Cloud hosting looks pricey at first glance. But the biggest draw here is that you pay for exactly what you need and use—nothing more, nothing less. It’s a pay-per-month model, which can be quite advantageous for those on a budget. 

Which One Should I Choose? 

There’s no right or wrong answer here, but your choice can make a difference to how your website (and, therefore, your business) performs. Traditional hosting is good for small, simple websites. If you’ve got a good idea of how much traffic you’re expecting and it’s not likely to fluctuate much, regular web hosting should be perfectly all right. 

But cloud hosting is far above traditional hosting, so if you’ve got the budget for it, we highly recommend choosing it regardless of your site’s needs. It’ll cover you if you do get some wild traffic spikes or if you want to add on apps and plugins that might chow through your resources quickly. 


The differences between cloud hosting vs traditional hosting are quite big. Technically, they do the same thing—they’re your website’s digital landlord. But it’s like the difference between living in a tiny flatlet on the 4th floor and staying in a standalone mansion on a few acres of ground. 

Web hosting tends to be the last thing most of us think about when launching a site. It’s all about website design, the functionality, the content. And while those things are vitally important for success, your web hosting can either work against them or really work for them. 

Choose wisely. Your first step is to figure out exactly what your website needs so you can match it up to a web host that’s going to suit you. Sure, you can change later if you find out your host isn’t right for you. But why not choose the right thing from the start and build on a solid foundation? 

About the Author 

Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting

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