This is a great question, and one that lots of people will, without a doubt, ask themselves when searching for a hosting provider!
What does cloud hosting actually mean?
Speaking from personal experience, I can safely tell you that the definition of “cloud hosting” varies massively. Some providers call themselves cloud hosting provider just based on software they are using, one good example being CloudLinux. The name has Cloud in it, so it must make servers that use it cloud, right? Wrong! Software solutions like this do not add any failover or redundancy. To cut a long story short, cloud hosting means that in the event Server A goes down, your content will not become inaccessible, since Server B takes over, and maybe other servers as well. In other words, there needs to be a complete fail over. The bottom line is: be careful when buying cloud hosting, as you may just be purchasing a regular service with a fancy name, but no redundancy.
Dedicated Servers are more secure. When you buy a dedicated server, that entire machine is yours – nobody else’s. Cloud Servers are typically just virtual private servers (or, VPS’), i.e., you’re assigned a piece of a larger cake. What happens if there is a break out vulnerability? These can and do happen, and essentially means that an unauthorized user can find their way into your part of the file system. KVM is one of the virtualization platforms commonly used, and doing a quick search for “kvm breakout” reveals plenty of results. This risk is removed when using a dedicated server.
Dedicated Servers can, actually, give you better uptime. It sounds odd, right? If Cloud Hosting is doing its job right and is a true cloud server, you should surely get better uptime. Wrong! History has proven itself – cloud hosting providers can suddenly announce they’ll be rebooting their platform, or, worse yet, the platform crashes. This has happened with cloud providers that many of us have heard of, and will undoubtedly happen again in future. This is because there’s usually a “host”, and within those hosts, “guests” (i.e. your service). It’s important that both hosts and guests are kept secure, and so reboots can and do happen. With a Dedicated Server, there are no guests, just the host. In the event there aren’t reboots, they may be other service impacting issues, too.
Better uptime and security alone are good enough reasons to order a dedicated server, and, with such reasonable prices, there has never been a better time to do so!