Cloud Hosting vs. Shared Hosting: In-depth Comparison

Julia Raznik

Written by Web Hosting Expert

Reviewed by Technical Editor

Updated June 6, 2022
Cloud Hosting vs. Shared Hosting: In-depth Comparison

Shared hosting is a web hosting package where server space and resources are shared with other websites. Competing for resources can cause slow down. Whereas Cloud hosting splits resources across many servers, more efficiently distributing the load.

If you started off with shared hosting because it's basic and cheap, as your website grows you will need to upgrade. Cloud hosting should be on your radar.

You can easily match your website’s goals with your hosting needs. We've outlined a comparison of the two to help you find the option that's right for you.

Cloud Hosting vs. Shared Hosting: Brief Comparison


Common Features

Customer service and uptime guarantees
These features will be near identical

Shared data center space
Both hosting types involve sharing space in a data center, albeit in slightly different ways

Both are good for small businesses
The two hosting types are reasonably priced and well set up for small businesses

Differences

Data center resources distribution:

In shared hosting, multiple websites all sit on one server together, sometimes causing competition for bandwidth.

Cloud hosting on the other hand spreads computing power across multiple servers, often the whole data center, and will assign resources to sites as and when needed. This makes it a more efficient way to balance the load during spikes in traffic.

Cloud Hosting vs. Shared Hosting: Point By Point Comparison


Resource Allocation

  • Shared Hosting
    Sites are restricted to the resources available on just one server. There could be dozens, or hundreds of sites all sharing limited space meaning your neighbors could be taking processing power away from you, causing slow-down.
  • Cloud Hosting
    Cloud hosting uses multiple servers to share the resource burden across all the sites hosted in that data center, leading to a much more efficient share of resources

Verdict
If a website on cloud hosting exceeds its data quota or experiences a spike in traffic, it can borrow resources from another server, making resource allocation much more efficient.

Performance

  • Shared Hosting
    Smaller websites should rarely notice any performance issues in a shared server. It’s only when a site starts to grow that you’ll start to see a significant increase in loading times and performance.
  • Cloud Hosting
    Since resources are so efficiently distributed, cloud hosting clients will often notice significantly improved speeds, often performing tasks twice as fast as in a shared hosting counterpart.

Verdict
It should be rare for you to experience performance issues on a cloud website, unless you significantly exceed your traffic allowance.

Traffic Volume

  • Shared Hosting
    Shared hosting struggles to compete when it comes to shared hosting traffic limit. Almost all plans will impose restrictions on the number of monthly site visitors and, if you receive more than this, you’ll see a significant slow-down and need to upgrade your package.
  • Cloud Hosting
    Dealing with high traffic is no issue at all for cloud-hosted sites. If one of the sites in the data center experiences a traffic spike, it can easily draw on additional resources to compensate.

Verdict
Cloud hosting easily takes this round with its near infinite scalability.

Security

  • Shared Hosting
    As shared hosting uses shared databases and servers, it makes websites on there relatively more vulnerable to cyber attacks. However, we should stress breaches are still very rare, data hosts have impressive protections in place these days, and shared hosting is secure enough for the majority of users.
  • Cloud Hosting
    Cloud environments generally have multiple layers of security built into servers, although the kinds of firewalls and antivirus software deployed by the data center provider are similar across both types of hosting.

Verdict
Cloud environments offer just as much security as shared, with the added benefit of being able to install extra security measures on the server.

Control

  • Shared Hosting
    You’ll have very little control over the features you can add to your site. You’ll be limited to pre-approved software and plug-ins and won’t be able to install your own software onto the server.
  • Cloud Hosting
    Cloud hosting gives you a little more flexibility to install applications on your server and manipulate the source code to make changes to your site.

Verdict
Cloud hosting takes this round too with added control over your servers. However, you’ll still need to abide by certain terms and conditions.

Server Administration

  • Shared Hosting
    Shared hosting is designed around simplicity. You don’t have any responsibility over server administration at all, and all problems, issues, glitches and maintenance are catered for by your data host.
  • Cloud Hosting
    You’ll find many cloud hosts operate in a very similar way to shared hosting when it comes to server administration. Many prefer to sign up for a managed hosting plan and let the host deal with any maintenance and administration issues.

Verdict
This one is too close to call as both operate with a lot of similarities.

Scalability

  • Shared Hosting
    Shared hosting will assign your website a strict amount of bandwidth and processing power. If you go over this you’ll need to upgrade your plan. This can be done quite easily by contacting your hosting provider and you’ll be set new limits.
  • Cloud Hosting
    Cloud hosting can be scaled much more easily and quickly than shared plans since you’re sharing resources across the whole data center.

Verdict
Cloud hosting is perfectly made to handle spikes in traffic and is great for scalability.

Price

  • Shared Hosting
    Shared Hosting’s biggest advantage comes from its low price. There’s huge competition in the market these days and prices are at rock bottom at the moment. You should only need to pay a few dollars per month to set up a site using shared hosting.
  • Cloud Hosting
    Cloud web hosting plans can be a bit more expensive since you’re utilizing more resources. Expect to pay even more on Managed cloud hosting depending on how much space and processing power you need.

Verdict
It’s unlikely shared hosting will ever be beaten on price. An easy choice for the winner.

User-friendliness

  • Shared Hosting
    Shared hosting packages are incredibly user-friendly. Most provide you with a straightforward cPanel to administer your site which lets you make edits and install plug-ins easily.
  • Cloud Hosting
    A lot of cloud hosting options now utilize the same web-building tools as shared options so are quite user-friendly. However, those looking to install additional applications to their servers will need to have the technical knowledge to do so.

Verdict
Just about anyone can sign up for a shared hosting package and have a site up and running in no time. The best choice for newbies and those that lack technical knowledge.

Customer Support

  • Shared Hosting
    Any reputable host will provide support 24/7 as well as a comprehensive selection of Knowledge Base guides and FAQs to help you manage your site. When using shared hosting you can expect everything to be taken care of for you.
  • Cloud Hosting
    Cloud hosting will generally utilize the same customer support resources as its shared hosting counterpart, and there’s little to differentiate between them.

Verdict
Both shared and cloud hosting plans will draw on the same knowledgeable team of customer service agents, making this one a draw.


When to Upgrade Your Hosting Plan


When your site is running slowly
This suggests that your site isn’t being allocated enough resources. It’s an indication an upgrade is due

There’s an increase in traffic
As your site grows and you start to notice significant increases in traffic, you’ll want to upgrade your plan to cope

You need multiple sites
Data hosts will often only let you run one site on basic packages. If you need more than one website you’ll need an upgrade

When your site is running slowly
This suggests that your site isn’t being allocated enough resources. It’s an indication an upgrade is due

There’s an increase in traffic
As your site grows and you start to notice significant increases in traffic, you’ll want to upgrade your plan to cope

You need multiple sites
Data hosts will often only let you run one site on basic packages. If you need more than one website you’ll need an upgrade

Additional Web Hosting Comparisons


Shared Hosting Vs. VPS

Virtual private server hosting (VPS) is a good middle ground between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. You’ll still be sharing servers, but will be assigned your own private space, meaning none of your neighbors can muscle in on your resources.

Shared Hosting Vs Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting represents the next step up in terms of processing power and storage space. It’s generally used by large enterprises or those that have very high traffic websites. However, it’s a lot more expensive than shared hosting.

Summary


While it might look like cloud hosting has taken the prize in most of our categories, shared hosting still very much has its uses.

The low cost, ease of use and fully managed service offered by shared hosting make it the perfect choice for anyone brand new to website development, or those that just need a simple, uncomplicated site.

Those that are a little more established, need to scale up operations or are simply looking for more storage and processing power, would be better off opting for a cloud hosting option.

Think you’re ready to explore each option more in depth? Find out more about cloud hosting and shared hosting on our blog. Be sure to browse through the frequently asked questions below too.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need technical knowledge to use cloud hosting?

Not necessarily. Under a fully managed hosting package Verpex will take care of all the technical aspects for you.

Will the data center location affect speeds?

Yes. Generally, the closer you are to where your data is hosted, the faster your website will be.

Can I customize my shared hosting package?

No, our shared hosting packages come with set bandwidth and storage limits, and you can’t install software on the server. You can however easily upgrade or switch to VPS or cloud hosting if you prefer.

Are trial periods available?

No, but Verpex offers you a 60-day money-back guarantee if you're not completely satisfied with your hosting package.

Julia Raznik
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Julia Raznik
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