Most people choose shared web hosting for their first website. However, the performance of your site could suffer if your site gets lots of traffic or another site on the server takes up too many resources. Renting an entire server is far too expensive for many small businesses, but a virtual private server (VPS) is a great in-between step that guarantees great website performance at affordable monthly prices.
Here we’ll explain what to look for in a VPS and recommend six of the best VPS hosting providers.
What are the benefits of VPS hosting?
So what exactly is a VPS and why might you need it? With a VPS hosting package you get a server setup with many of the benefits of a dedicated server but the cost savings of shared hosting.
Put simply, a single physical server will contain multiple VPS but you still have full control of the server. This gives you the increased security and improved website speed that comes from sole use of allocated resources such as CPU, RAM and storage space.
In other words, you’re not sharing any of those resources with anyone else, so your website’s performance will be consistent.
A VPS can be “managed” or “self-managed”. Unless you already have server expertise you should opt for fully managed VPS services. And unless we say otherwise, all the services here are managed.
How much does VPS hosting cost?
There are plenty of providers of virtual providers around, but what should you particularly look out for? Prices can vary enormously depending on what features are included. Watch out for the fact that some providers include certain features while others charge for them as extras and be wary of low price introductory offers that have high renewal costs.
But on average, expect to pay £10-20 / $10-20 after introductory discounts have finished.
The main considerations when choosing a managed VPS are: the number of CPU cores, amount of disk space and memory, which operating system you want (usually either Linux or the more expensive Windows), and whether you want control panels from Plesk or cPanel.
Obviously, you’re unlikely to know how much or how little is enough, but in almost all cases you can upgrade or downgrade your package on the fly.
The cheapest Linux-based package (named 1 vCPU) starts at $3.95 per month (around £3.20) and offers 1 core CPU, 20GB SSD disk space and 1GB of memory.
Hostinger offers 10 VPS packages in total: 6 Linux packages and 4 Windows packages.
All Hostinger VPS plans come with at least one dedicated IP address and Linux packages offer a variety of Linux operating systems. Through Hostinger’s VPS Control Panel, you can easily manage and control your virtual server with just a few clicks.
In case of problems there is a simple backup and restore system to get you website restored and back online in just a few seconds. Free 24/7 support is available but priority support costs an extra $1.99 a month (around £1.60).
Hostinger offers a good range of reliable packages starting at a very low price with a good level of support as well as a 30-day money back offer. Its wide range of Linux operating systems may be particularly attractive to some buyers. Be aware though that to get the best price you need to sign up for four years (48 months).
From $19.99 per month
Bluehost specialises in Linux hosting and offers three Linux VPS packages starting with the Standard Package which has 2 CPU cores, 30GB of SSD storage and 2GB RAM.
All three packages include free domain registration for a year, a dedicated IP address, 30-day money-back guarantee and free SSL certificate.
Bluehost’s VPS plans may not be the cheapest but are packed with extra features to make them quick and easy to use. The enhanced cPanel allows root access and full control over the server.
There are, however, a number of optional extras available (which cost more) such as domain privacy and protection, access to additional disk space and memory and Sitelock to protect against malware and website attacks.
The cheapest prices are for a 36-month contract.
Bluehost’s good reputation, excellent customer support and ease of use help to justify the prices and these may be more important considerations than the absolute cheapest deal, especially if you’re not necessarily equipped to deal with all the technical stuff yourself.
The cheapest of three managed packages available is called VPS-1000HA-S and provides unrestricted CPU core usage, a generous 75GB of storage space and 4GB RAM. The most expensive package offers 260GB storage and 8GB RAM.
All of InMotion’s VPS packages are feature-rich – including free SSL, unlimited domains and websites, at least three dedicated IP addresses per account.
Advanced features include improved WordPress page speed through its NGINX configuration and advanced caching controls, plus 30 free zero-downtime cPanel transfers per account.
InMotion has a solid reputation for high-quality, feature-rich VPS hosting and the unique unrestricted core usage sets it apart from its competitors and that makes it a good option if you’re happy to spend more on your hosting.
Liquid Web VPS
From $15 per month
Liquid Web offers both Windows and Linux VPS packages with the 2GB RAM package starting at $15 per month (around £12.20).
For this you get 2 cores and 4GB SSD disk space. All packages include a range of features as standard including CloudFlare CDN for faster site speed and better security, ServerSecure, built-in backups and DDoS attack protection.
Control panels available include cPanel, WHM and WHMCS for hosting reselling, Plesk and Interworx.
Liquidweb has an easy to use website with everything you need set out clearly. Its VPS hosting includes a range of very good features and there are no confusing add-ons for you to have to evaluate and select.
The whole pricing structure is straightforward so you won’t get caught by an unexpected price hike at the end of an introductory period. And we like that.
From $4.99 per month
GoDaddy’s surprisingly cheap entry-level price is achieved by offering packages with minimal features as standard and optional extras at additional cost.
The 2 vCPU package starting at £15.99 / $19.99 per month is the lowest-priced package that will be suitable for most people. This offers 2 CPU cores, 4GB RAM and 100GB SSD storage.
It is available with Linux, but a Windows option is available for an extra £7 / $5 per month. Similarly if you want cPanel or Plesk control panel (most people will) the charge is an extra £11 / $15 per month. Essential and deluxe website Security are also available as optional extras.
GoDaddy has become an established part of the hosting scene, but its VPS offerings stand out for the wrong reasons. The pricing structure that treats what most would consider to be basic features as optional extras may work for some people but effectively makes this more expensive than some of the alternatives here.
The Basic VPS package on Linux with cPanel offers 1 core CPU, 1GB RAM and 40GB disk space and one IP address.
Prices includes a free domain name, free email addresses free SSL certificate plus the ability to host multiple domains. Additional extras available at extra cost include domain privacy, website security and site backup and restore.
iPage has unfortunately fallen into the middle ground. The Basic package isn’t as cheap as some competitors while there are no features that make the company stand out from the hosting crowd. It’s not a bad option: it’s just not the best either.