Would you use a Cloud server or webhosting for XenForo?

If you need to ask you are better off using regular hosting. Setting up your own fast/stable and secure vps has a steep learning curve.
Well I'm pretty comfortable using servers. In fact I've never used web hosting before. I'm dealing with lots of cloud and dedicated servers in my daily life.

But for some stuff like running a simple hobbyist XenForo forum, I would prefer a peace of mind. I created this thread to have an overall idea of how people are running their forums.

I guess I'll go with XenForo's Cloud solution once it's released. I signed up for Beta for a while ago but still haven't received anything.
The Cloud service is still in beta and currently closed to new subscriptions.

It will be opened up for general use soon™ though.
IMO the only reason not to use a VPS is if you don't have the knowledge required to be able to build and maintain it.
I have worked in IT officially for 22 years and was doing it as part of another role for a decade before that.

I don't run my board on a VPS because it is small enough to work quite well on our shared host and I would rather not be doing my day job in my after hours hobbies. I love tinkering with Xenforo but have no interest in building and maintaining servers in my free time when that's what I do at work (or used to, now I mostly manage the team that does it).

I also have the problem that my host has never launched their promised VPS offering so I am into a site move and a new host if I want to go VPS and until I see how this board fares in the next few years, I am reluctant to sink time and effort into that.
cloud (self-managed) is probably more expensive than a shared host for a small site. you can't leverage the economies of scale with no scale.

It's pretty easy to upgrade from a shared host to a vps when your traffic dictates it, and later to a full dedicated bare metal. Then, it might be beneficial to go cloud. it seems cheaper until you start getting nickel and dime'd for each email, bandwidth ingress, storage, blocks, backups, dns, multiple certificates, any platform licenses/etc for control panels, etc etc etc.

XF cloud, no one really knows for sure, but you might be stuck there. How do you migrate later? not sure that's even been posted. i feel, based on what i know, that it's designed for small new sites who probably don't need to ever customize much or grow. maybe a staff member will chime in but it seems like managed/owned services are not flexible in a lot of areas.
I was running on dedicated servers for many years, migrated to cloud a year ago. To me, it's the same server-admin experience, just adopting a different strategy toward resource-utilization. Divided the workload among smaller instances and some services (private network, basic LAN firewall to reduce unncessary load, object storage, CDN, & etc). I didn't change my software stack that much, my license costs were slightly less, but saved a lot of money on infrastructure costs.

If I were starting a new forum today, I'd run it on an inexpensive cloud instance using a service provider that can provide a basic LAN Firewall (still run a firewall on your server as well) and object storage (if/when you need it).
I also work in IT. I run 3 servers on VPS, 2 forums, 1 e-commerce. They are automatically updated with Ansible playbooks (friend's forum, my forum, wife's business in that order). Once the builds are done (a few hours work, templated) maintenance is extremely trouble free. I use latest Ubuntu LTS, MariaDB, NGINX, etc. I have optimised the servers extensively with caching (Redis), HTTP2 etc. You can get this level of service from a shared hosting provider if you are are prepared to pay good money, cheaper shared hosting tends towards dated software and non-optimal settings. I'd rather be able to resolve a problem myself than be dependent on a minimum wage helpdesk.
You can get managed VPS hosting too, so that's a good medium if you want to have more control than you would with shared hosting, but also want experienced people there to do whatever you can't or don't want to. Much cheaper than fully dedicated hosting.
We autoscale our Xenforo according to demand, based on AMI's built using image builder on a regular basis. Also leverage backup capabilities etc, but this doesn't come cheap (although considerably cheaper than the old DC days). Small/Medium forum could use something like S3 for static data with CloudFlare doing the CDN, and the instance itself can reside elsewhere, but use a VPS.
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