What is the Difference between hosting platforms, shared hosting server, VPS, dedicated hosting server and a cloud server ?

  • Shared hosting is a fast, easy, and cheap way to get started but is prone to overselling due to the highly competitive and saturated nature of the market. VPS gives you more control of your environment, but due to being on shared hardware, your service can still be potentially affected by other customers. 
  • Cloud Hosting is great if you have no idea how many resources you need, or have extremely variable usage patterns, but tend to be significantly more expensive for the same amount of resources and thus don't make a lot of sense for long-term, regular use. Their usual reliance on shared storage results in much higher disk latency, which may be problematic for applications like databases. 
  • They also have a more complex underlying environment, and are still relatively immature and sometimes prone to strange and difficult to diagnose problems. Dedicated Hosting, as the name implies gives you dedicated resources so you're not going to see contention for hardware resources due to anyone other than yourself. However, you generally need to have a good idea of what you're doing unless you opt to pay for managed services. 
  • You'll also need multiple servers for a proper redundant infrastructure, which may be overkill or not, depending on the level of hardware resources required.
  • It might help you to think of it as a matrix where the two columns are "real server" and "virtual server," the two rows are "shared" and "dedicated." A "real server" means that your operating system is directly accessing hardware without a virtualization layer while, conversely, a "virtual server" lives inside a virtual machine running on a real server. 
  • "Shared" and "dedicated" are just indicators of whether you were guaranteed a baseline performance level or whether another entity who's sharing the same hardware that you're using could monopolize all resources. Within this matrix, the shared hosting server is a "real server" that is "shared." The VPS is a "virtual server" that is "shared." The dedicated hosting server is a "real server" that is "dedicated." And the cloud server is a "virtual server" that is "dedicated."
  • If we follow the evolution of outsourced hosting, it reveals much of the pros and cons of each choice. At first the only outsourced hosting service available was shared hosting. You were limited to the platform choices established by the service provider and you shared CPU and memory with other hosting customers. 
  • To address these limitations, service providers began offering dedicated servers. While you're limited to a finite set of operating systems, what you put onto the server is your own business and every last CPU cycle is yours to keep. Server recovery does become more complex as the entire disk image needs to be cloned or saved somewhere and there are cost issues because you're paying for all of the hardware whether or not you're using all of the hardware.
  • Once virtualization technology came into being, with a VPS, it became possible to get the efficiency of shared hosting with the customizability of a dedicated server. Each virtual machine could get its own OS and could be customized as you see fit but, simultaneously, you'd be sharing the underlying hardware with many other customers. In practice, this usually worked just fine because most software works in bursts. 
  • And virtual machines can be snapshotted and recovered quickly by simply moving the guest OS to a new host server. But like a shared Internet connection, all it takes is one misbehaved customer to ruin the experience for everyone. To address that, cloud servers claim to provide each virtual machine a guaranteed performance baseline. Thus you know you won't ever be completely squeezed by your neighbor. 
  • This is very much analogous to WAN technology like MPLS, Frame Relay, and ATM: your carrier provides you with a "Commited Information Rate" that they guarantee while they also allow you to burst if no one else is using the bandwidth, except in this case you'd be getting a commited percentage of CPU cycles from your service provider.
  • Shared hosting is the most common form of low-priced hosting. Each site  on a shared hosting package lives on a server with many other sites. Virtual Private Servers use virtualization technology to partition a powerful server into smaller “virtual” servers. Dedicated servers are just what they sound like. Each hosting client has their site on a dedicated physical machine.

Shared Hosting Pros

- it's low cost
- good option for a small business that doesn;t expect a ton of traffic

Shared Hosting Cons

- Each site on a shared hosting package lives on a server with many other sites
- Typically have fairly limited storage and bandwidth allocations and you can hit upper limits (although more space can usually be purchased)
- you don't run the server and share it with others, which limits configurability
- security. Your neighbors issues are your issues (although this can be dealt with using CloudLinux)

VPS Pros

- completely configurable and upgradable to meet the needs of your business.
- can get them managed or unmanaged

VPS Cons

- you're still sharing the server

Dedicated Pros

- your own site on a dedicated physical machine
- easily scalable for higher traffic

Dedicated Cons

- cost
  • Sharing have never been easy:How do you feel when you have to share your room with your siblings or cousins or for hostel people, roommates, if the space is less, you definitely feel congested, same is the case in sharing of servers, you’ll have to share a limited space with a lot of other people who you are not even aware to.
  • Shared server:Sharing the same IP- All websites on a single server have the same IP address and therefore, you share your address with unknown people, who may be using it for malicious activities, in case they get blocked, you are blocked along with them, even when you are not the culprit.
  • Server response time:When a variety of tasks are lined up in a queue, the completion of tasks take time, same is the case with shared server, your task gets slowed down due to the completion of tasks of others on the same address.
  • Crashing of server: As the number of scripts generated in the case of shared server is more therefore, server crashes are greater in number.
  • Dedicated server- It’s all yours.If you are a medium or small enterprise then you should think twice before opting for a dedicated server because dedicated server is basically for large and busy sites like portal, search engine, online content provider, heavy traffic forums, etc.
  • You are your own boss- You can install whatever applications and scripts you want, the server is totally yours, you can decide how many websites you want to run through it, you will be able to customize the hardware and software on your server, all these benefits cannot be obtained in the case of shared server.
  • Bandwidth- Bandwidth too is all yours; you can upload and download according to your requirement which isn’t the case in shared server.
  • Security- You have your own firewall, so, all your information is safe and within the reach of only the ones who you want, everyone would not be able to access your information, therefore increasing the security of your data.
  • Performance- Better performance is obtained as response time increases and files are loaded faster as compared to the case in shared server, therefore increasing the performance of your website.
  • While you still share things on the property, you are ultimately responsible for maintaining your own property and repairs inside the condo. There is also significantly less residents per building and assigned parking. On a Virtual Private Server, you are allotted resources that are not shared by everyone. The over all CPU time and memory are shared across all accounts on the machine, but at the same time portions of those resources are always dedicated to each account. This allows for more power and flexibility than being on a shared account.
  • Shared hosting is normally the cheapest hosting available from a web hosting company. Once a site outgrows the shared environment, it can be upgraded onto a more flexible plan with higher capacity: normally a Virtual Private Server (VPS).
  • The VPS is based on sharing. In terms of its virtual existence, it's isolated, but it still shares a single physical server with a clutch of other VPS clients. VPS customers only have partial control over the hosting environment, and they can still run into problems if a neighbour behaves badly.
  • A dedicated server is just that: dedicated to one customer. The entire box is theirs. More importantly, it means that the customer is free to tweak and customise the whole environment, including the server operating system.
  • Starting from the cheapest, least readily-scalable hosting option, you have shared hosting, in which one server (usually located in a datacenter) hosts multiple clients on the same servers with shared resources and bandwidth.  Next up you have virtual private servers, which involve a usually heavy duty server hosting multiple complete virtualized servers.  
  •  This allows for more customization and generally better access, but either requires you to have knowledge of server management or to pay someone else to manage it for you (unmanaged vs. managed VPS).  Alternatively, you could purchase a physical server and collocate it at a datacenter, a scenario in which you would own your server, and pay a monthly fee to have a company host it at their datacenter, being billed for resources (electricity and bandwidth primarily) and management if you so choose.  This allows for the most flexibility as you are not limited by the number of virtual servers you host on your own physical machine, but again, requires knowledge of server configuration and management.  Finally there’s Cloud hosting, which involves multiple copies of your server applications being hosted across multiple servers at multiple locations.  This allows for greater uptime, and in the case of resource-intensive applications, better durability and access speed.  However, it is the most expensive solution to implement (for a single site) and requires a fair bit of know-how.  On the plus side though, cloud hosting is the single most scalable type of hosting solution and can become a more cost effective solution as you scale it up.
  • Shared Hosting is the cheapest of all the types of web hosting services and mostly comes with managed hosting. As soon as you got your shared hosting details you can set up your website on the web by uploading your website files or installing a script like Wordpress. Depending on the web host shared hosting is good to serve 50 to 100 concurrent web site visitors.
  • VPS Hosting is costlier than shared hosting and comes with managed VPS or unmanaged VPS. With a VPS you would get root access so that you can install any software you want to install on your account. VPS Hosting Servers are like mini Dedicated Servers and are cheaper than a full dedicated server depending on the configuration.
  • Dedicated Server Hosting is in which you get to use the resources of a full dedicated server. Dedicated servers are costlier than VPS Servers (depending on configuration). With a Dedicated server you would get to use all the resources of a dedicated server and won't share your server with anyone, hence it's called Dedicated Server.
  • And finally Cloud (Hosting) Server is in which several web servers are connected to one another to make it a cloud. Cloud hosting servers are good for your websites if you expect any spike in your websites traffic. With Cloud Hosting you get to pay per hour or the actual system resources your websites use.