CPU vs RAM: What Is More Important for Cloud Hosting?

CPU vs RAM: What Is More Important for Cloud Hosting?


Startups love scalable hosting. Their founders dream big and want server architecture to be able to meet a sudden increase in traffic demand. But do you need to purchase the most expensive plan there is right away? If you are looking to host a cloud server, consider your needs and the nature of your web application before making an order. Hosting plans usually differ based on the amount of RAM and the number of CPU cores. What’s more essential?

How To Know Your Requirements

Testing your application on a local server before migrating to the cloud is a sensible approach. That’s what the hosting providers often tell their customers to do when they get stuck choosing between different plans. Since every application is unique due to its architecture or the nature of user interaction, testing remains the only choice to pinpoint the exact hosting needs.

On the other hand, you can scale easily in the cloud. You might start somewhere in the middle and go up and down in terms of computing resources. While some hosting services allow you to scale up only, platforms like Amazon AWS provide you with both options. In addition, you can use load balancing and caching to reduce the workload and make your app perform better.

Estimate Your Needs

To estimate your CPU, RAM, storage, and bandwidth needs, define the overall size of your app, the volume of traffic you are planning to receive, page views per visitor, and the number of repeat visits.

If you are planning to launch a niche web project, starting with a standard hosting plan is a preferable option. You will be able to migrate to a more powerful server if you ever make it big and start receiving heavy traffic. And you will have plenty of time too since the growth is not a matter of days. It’s more likely to be months and even years before you peak.

What Do You Need Ram For?

Random Access Memory or RAM allows your server to store data temporarily. It is directly linked to the CPU, so the processor can access information fast without needing to request it from the data storage. Generally, the more RAM you have, the better your performance will be.

Is your website dynamic? Do you have to process a lot of traffic? Do you have a large web application? If you have answered “yes” to all these questions, you need a plan with more RAM.

How much RAM does a basic website with a low-to-medium load need?

  • If you have WordPress or a similar CMS, you will need at least 1 GB of RAM.
  • If you are running Windows on your server, add 0,5 GB of RAM.
  • Additional needs usually require another 0,5 GB.

So, you require at least 2 GB of RAM for your pet project and more, if you are building a heavy-load web application. Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Static websites require less RAM than dynamic ones.
  • More traffic equals more RAM.
  • Choose a streamlined Linux distribution to optimize your RAM needs.
  • Caching will reduce your reliance on RAM.
  • Heavy animations, videos, and high-definition images require more RAM.


If you get confused, ask a hosting service provider. Explain the nature and the goals of your web application. You will be given an estimate based on the performance of similar apps.

How Many CPU Cores Do You Need?

The CPU is the main unit of any computing system. It usually consists of several cores that share the workload, with one core performing one task at a given time. Multithreaded applications benefit from the server having more cores because they can assign concurrent tasks. Server CPUs can have as low as 4 cores and go up all the way to 32.


Unless you have a demanding multithreaded app that can perform a lot of parallel calculations, having a plan with a lot of cores is overkill.

Again, starting with a basic web app that receives low-to-medium traffic, you will need 2 cores. The same factors that affect RAM requirements will influence your CPU needs. Large, dynamic websites with a lot of incoming traffic will need more processing power. To bring your “server bill” down, optimize your web application, and streamline its design.

Start With The General Plan

If you have a personal blog, business website, or a small e-commerce store, opt for the standard hosting plan. While some plans are CPU-optimized or RAM-optimized, the majority of applications on the Web perform well within the limits of a standard plan. Your CPU and RAM needs will be balanced. You will always have the option to scale up if your website continues to grow and get more regular visitors.

When Should You Choose a CPU-optimized Plan?

Let’s say that your website has a lot of dynamic content which is not cached or stored in memory. In this case, you will have to rely on the CPU alone. Chose more cores, especially if you estimate having performance peaks from time to time.

Websites that might need CPU-optimized plans:

  • Membership websites that have a lot of dynamic content and never cache it due to privacy reasons.
  • Stock brokerages.
  • Web applications that perform heavy calculations.
  • E-stores that don’t use much caching for various reasons.

When Should You Choose a RAM-optimized Plan?

Does your website have a large database that is accessed often? Do you need to rely on caching to improve user experience and speed up your app dynamic processes? Does your website have heavy elements? Getting more RAM won’t hurt.

Websites that might need RAM-optimized plans:

  • Web apps that rely on short-term caching vs. dynamic processing of content.
  • E-stores.
  • All sorts of forums, informational hubs, and sites with large databases.


Both CPU and RAM are important for your cloud hosting needs. It’s enough to start with a regular hosting plan for most web projects. But in certain citations, you might opt for a CPU or RAM-optimized hosting. Make sure to consult with your hosting provider before making this decision.