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What’s the difference between a server and a cloud hosting?

Today I’m going to answer a question from Sacha, the co-founder of a B2B marketplace. His question is…

What’s the difference between a server and a cloud hosting?

Before answering this question, let’s add a bit of context.

Sacha and his cofounder already developed the first version of their product. They are now undertaking the Version 2 of their development and are considering moving to Amazon Web Services (AWS) as their cloud hosting solution.

Moving an application to the cloud is usually a very good option because you are not renting a server anymore but buying a delivered service instead.

Let’s see how cloud services work.

How the cloud works

For example, AWS builds data centers all over the world with thousands of computers.

When you use their services, you do not have one server attributed to your service. The service you buy will be dispatched across dozens of servers and even across several data centers.

On this data center, you will have several services:

  • Apps
  • Hard drive/storage
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Backup
  • Etc.

That’s not one server that will be dedicated to one service, but a group of servers that will be dedicated to one service.

And the beauty of a real cloud service is that you just need to worry about developing your application. If something goes wrong but everything is setup correctly, the cloud handles everything. You don’t even have a downtime.

A downtime is a time when a server crashes, and your website will be down and not working. It doesn’t happen anymore when you are on a real cloud server.

Cloud providers use what we call a load balancer which switches client requests from one server to another automatically.

You don’t need to have an engineer 24/7 available. No need to spend days and weeks setting up manual architecture manually. We can build on a cloud provider, architecture similar to large companies with very high reliability, while still being a startup.


So to conclude and answer Sacha’s question, with cloud solutions, any technical issues are under the responsibility of the cloud provider, which makes things:


  • More reliable
  • With automatic failover
  • With database as services (enables you to handle all your data with a single service)
  • Allows you to build high availability architecture (enables you to switch from one server to another if there’s any issue)

So the last question, you might ask is, what are the drawbacks of a cloud architecture?

I can see 3 smalls drawbacks:


  • Technology dependencies
  • Costs
  • Application needs to be adapted for it

And this last point is specially what I’m going to talk about in my next video: what changes are needed to be made on an application to be cloud compatible.

Now if like Sacha, you have a specific question for your project, just go ahead and ask on

I will do my best to answer your question by video or to redirect you to any existing content that will answer it.

Also be sure to go through our other content here at to learn more from real startup growth experiences and better manage your startup development.

I’ll be waiting for your questions, and I look forward to seeing you in other videos. Cheers.