What’s The Difference? – Forbes Advisor INDIA

Hosting a website has never been easier, especially since web hosters now provide several custom solutions for all needs and purposes. Whether you wish to host a personal website to showcase your professional journey or need one for a small business, there’s something for everything in this ever-evolving digital world. 

However, before venturing into the technical details, it is important to clearly understand the differences between the two main types of hosting: web hosting and cloud hosting.

What is Web Hosting?

Web hosting, in its most native form, is storing information on a computer (also known as a server) with access to the World Wide Web so that it is available remotely, on demand. The data is then displayed as a website, which the service provider manages. So whether it is a shopping website, one that books cinema tickets, or one that lets you order groceries, all of them use some form of web hosting to cater to their audience.

Today, there are multiple types of web hosting, such as shared hosting, reseller hosting, etc. However, in the traditional sense, web hosting refers to floating a website on a physical server with limited resources, such as RAM, storage, processing power, etc. Building up on this, the types of hosting that we discussed earlier, along with dedicated hosting, are actually the subtypes of web hosting.

Some examples of web hosting providers include Bluehost, HostGator, DreamHost, NameCheap, Network Solutions, and InMotion Hosting. 

What is Cloud Hosting?

On the other hand, cloud hosting is a more modern approach, which entails using multiple virtual servers to host a website or a web app. Unlike web hosting, where web pages are stored on one physical server on the ground, cloud hosting distributes its data across virtual servers via the internet, ensuring high uptime and reliability.

Since cloud hosting relies on highly customizable virtual environments, it offers several benefits, such as scalability, better resource allocation, and more control over the back end, which deals with the technical aspect of a website. In more ways than one, the differences between web and cloud hosting stem from their infrastructure’s characteristics. So let’s understand them one by one.

Some examples of cloud hosting providers include IONOS, MochaHost, TMDHostings, Hostwinds, SiteGround, GoDaddy, etc.

Key Differences: Web Hosting vs. Cloud Hosting


Web hosting relies on a physical server with resources often shared between several websites, making it more economical. However, its performance can suffer, especially during peak traffic hours, when viewers encounter high loading time, poor quality images, and general instability.

Not only are these resources shared, but they are also finite, which means there’s no practical way to boost performance in real-time. In contrast, cloud hosting providers can dynamically adjust for increased traffic and improve the website’s performance by allocating different virtual servers. 

Another disadvantage of using web hosting is server failure, which leads to downtime and data loss. In the case of cloud hosting, an outage among a few servers doesn’t impact the overall website performance.


Traditional web hosting generally relies on the security measures the hosting provider practices, including protection against hacking through firewalls, scanning for malware, installing SSL certifications, etc. However, since several websites rely on the same server to store the information, a leak or vulnerability in one could compromise many, making web hosting less secure.

With cloud hosting, the data, whether viewer’s or developer’s, is stored on multiple virtual servers that aren’t shared with others. Further, it’s much more challenging to take down an entire network of servers than one, which makes cloud hosting well-defended against hackers or bad actors. Moreover, cloud hosting is more secure than web hosting.

Scaling and Flexibility

To scale up a web-hosted website, providers often have to install more servers, which requires manual intervention, making the process less efficient and more costly. As a website grows and attracts more visitors, clients often have to upgrade their terms with the hosting service provider and shift to a more expensive plan, which promises them better performance, if available. However, the process could take time, losing customers or traffic.

Cloud hosting offers exceptional and instantaneous scalability. Service providers often have algorithms to monitor a website’s traffic and allocate more resources as needed. This means that a website initially planned for a capacity of 100,000 visitors at any given point in time can accommodate more visitors without any delay or downtime. Cloud hosting also provides easy upgrades over time, and as a result, the “on-the-go” model makes it more scalable and flexible.


When it comes to reliability, web hosting could let clients down as it is susceptible to hardware and network failures and security breaches, and provides limited resources, which could often slow down the website. Hence, web hosting is less reliable unless a client gets an entire server for their operations.

Cloud hosting is more reliable primarily because of its distributed nature. Even if a server goes down, another server could take its place, offering the same bandwidth and processing time without causing hiccups on the front end.

Even during intentional maintenance, providers can shift the load to several active servers and make the necessary upgrades/repairs without affecting the website. The servers also maintain recovery copies of the crucial data, making them more reliable.


Web hosting is often regarded as the most affordable hosting solution. However, as a website grows and starts gathering more traffic, clients using shared web hosting might have to upgrade to plans with higher resources, which costs more. Further, dedicated hosting, wherein clients rent an entire server for better uptime and higher reliability, is often expensive, with added maintenance costs.

Cloud hosting is more cost-effective in the long run, especially if the client needs dynamic resource allocation. It might seem a tad much initially, but the benefits of cloud hosting outweigh its cost, especially for clients who want a more secure and reliable hosting solution.

Web Hosting Vs. Cloud Hosting: What’s Right For You?

Ultimately, the comparison between web hosting and cloud hosting depends upon a client’s budget, purpose, and the expected load on the website. Small businesses often begin with shared web hosting, and as they grow, they shift to dedicated hosting or cloud hosting. On the other hand, a well-funded startup that offers software solutions could set up its website on cloud hosting for higher security and better customer experience.

New bloggers or writers can start their digital journey through shared hosting. However, new media outlets, which might push dozens of stories with several high-quality images and need to run 24 hours a day, could go for cloud hosting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are examples of web hosting?

Examples of web hosting include shared hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, dedicated WordPress hosting, etc.

Which is the most common type of web hosting?

Shared hosting is the most common type of hosting, which entails floating several websites on the same server for increased affordability.

Is cloud hosting safe?

Cloud hosting is safer when compared to traditional web hosting, primarily because the solutions offered by a hosting provider aren’t shared between clients and have sophisticated security measures in place.


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