Best VPS Hosting – Virtual Private Servers Explained
Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a hosting type similar to shared hosting, but more powerful and flexible. In the case of a vps plan, we are talking about a web server that is partitioned in few accounts each having its own disk space, operation system, RAM and CPU usage.
What to expect from a virtual private server?
Although multiple accounts share the same server, these work separately and are not affecting the other account from the server. The possibility to install custom software and having root access to the account give the user more control over the hosting account, but at the same time require higher technical knowledge than in case of a shared hosting plan. A virtual machine is usually used by ecommerce, community and high traffic websites, which require more server resources and higher security than a shared plan can offer, but still not as much as a dedicated server.
Here is a list of features of a good virtual private hosting plan:
- Should cost between $20-$80 a month, depending on required server resources
- Offer plenty of RAM, disk space and bandwidth and option to upgrade anytime
- Offer Managed hosting with full system administration and tech support
- Offer dedicated IP address, software license (for cPanel or other you choose)
- Offer SSH access and guaranteed network uptime of at least 99.98%
Top 3 VPS hosting providers
#1 HostGator VPS
starting from $19.95 / month, including complete customization option with full root access, increased reliability with multiple layers of network security and multiple bandwidth providers and scalability with the press of a button.
#2 InMotion VPS
starting from $29.99 / month, including full root access with flexible software options, free backups, faster simultaneous processing with unlocked CPU cores and 90-day money back guarantee.
#3 BlueHost VPS
starting from $19.99 / month, including extreme performance using open source technologies, guaranteed server resources, instant setup, enhanced control panel and export online support.
Do You Really Need a VPS?
Thinking of switching to VPS, and you’re in the market for the best VPS hosting? We have your back, but first, ask yourself: do you really need a VPS?
To find the answer to this question you need to understand what VPS hosting is, what are its pros and cons, and when you should choose VPS hosting over other hosting types.
What is VPS Hosting?
A Virtual Private Server or VPS is a virtual partition that is kept separate from other virtual partitions running on the same physical server.
A VPS is often marketed in comparison with dedicated servers, in the sense that a VPS offers dedicated resources, control and independence offered by a dedicated server, minus the high costs associated with dedicated hosting.
It is also said that a VPS offers the best of two worlds – the shared environment similar to shared hosting, which accounts for its lower costs coupled with the dedicated resources specific to dedicated hosting.
A VPS also grants you complete control over your virtual compartment to customize your VPS with the software and applications you need. This level of control and flexibility is not granted with shared hosting packages.
What are the Pros and Cons of VPS Hosting?
VPS hosting comes with dedicated resources, more flexibility and control than a shared hosting plan, and with lower costs than a dedicated server. Even so, when upgrading from shared hosting, VPS hosting may not be the best option for your site.
Before you switch from shared hosting to VPS consider the advantages and disadvantages of VPS hosting:
Pros of VPS Hosting
- Dedicated Resources – compared to shared hosting where a server’s entire resources are shared, a VPS comes with guaranteed resources dedicated just for your site.
- Root Access – a VPS comes with the flexibility and control granted by administrative access. You can install software and applications to customize your server environment.
- Better speed and security – compared to a shared hosting plan, a VPS will not degrade the performance of your website, leading to better speeds and security.
Cons of VPS Hosting
- Higher costs – compared to shared hosting, VPS is a lot more expensive. For example, at BlueHost, shared hosting plans start from as low as $3.95/month, while the costs for a VPS hosting plan start at $19.99/month.
- Technical chops needed – if you choose an unmanaged VPS hosting, which costs less than a managed VPS plan, you will be responsible for managing your VPS alone, that is, deal with software updates, security, and other server maintenance related tasks.
If you don’t possess the technical skills needed to manage a VPS, you can choose a managed VPS hosting plan, however, these plans come with a higher price tag than unmanaged VPS options.
When Should You Choose VPS Hosting?
If you’re launching a small personal website or a blog, the resources offered by shared hosting will more than probably suffice for your needs. Shared hosting comes will server management included, so you don’t have to worry about any maintenance issues.
As your website develops and expands, you may notice a few signs that could indicate that you’ve outgrown your shared hosting plan, and you may need to upgrade:
- Website performance issues – if you notice that your website is slower than usual, even after you’ve taken measures to speed it up, and website load issues still occur, especially during traffic spikes, you may need to upgrade your plan.
- Website security issues – if you notice that your site is under constant attack and hacking issues, switching to VPS can help improve its security.
- Outages, errors – if your site keeps going down and you notice different types of server errors, the problem may be your web hosting.
If your website outgrows its current hosting, VPS is not the only upgrade available. Another option would be switching to a managed WordPress hosting if you own a WordPress site. This hosting type ensures that all technical aspects like updates, security, backups, uptime are taken care of for you by your host.
Managed WordPress hosting is comparable in price with VPS, and it’s suitable for:
- Users without the technical know-how to manage their own server;
- Users that don’t need to be able to configure and customize their server environment.
If you have the skills to manage your own server and you need to be able to run custom applications and software, a VPS hosting can be a perfect upgrade option for you.
Best VPS Hosting
If you’ve decided on VPS hosting, your next step is to choose the one that’s best for you. Here are our top choices for best VPS hosting:
As one of the most recognizable brands in the web hosting landscape, HostGator distinguishes itself with affordable hosting packages packed with great features. HostGator was founded in 2002, and covers the entire spectrum of hosting packages including VPS hosting plans.
VPS hosting at HostGator is represented through 3 Snappy plans – Snappy 2000, Snappy 4000, and Snappy 8000. The monthly price for VPS hosting starts at $19.95/month for the entry-level VPS plan and goes up to $39.95/month for the VPS plan with the most resources.
As far as resources are concerned, customers can enjoy up to 8 GB RAM, 4 cores CPU, 240 GB disk space, and 3 TB bandwidth. Managed VPS plans and semi-managed VPS plans are both available, and only managed VPS plans include cPanel.
Other features that come with HostGator’s VPS plans include full root access, unlimited domain hosting, unlimited email addresses, unlimited database hosting, weekly offsite backups, auto-installer tool, and free website templates.
All HostGator hosting plans feature free migration services including full cPanel transfers and manual transfers.
HostGator is also a good option if your site continues to develop as you can later upgrade to dedicated servers without having to switch hosting providers.
Besides a variety of web hosting services, HostGator also offers domain registration services with Domain Privacy Protection and Domain Locking services both available.
InMotion Hosting is a business-oriented, independent hosting provider. The company was founded in 2001, and it’s one of the best VPS hosting providers thanks to their performant and affordable Linux SSD VPS servers.
InMotion Hosting’s web hosting services are completed by web design, web building, eCommerce, and domain registration services.
No matter the VPS plan tier, all InMotion VPS plans include full root access, burstable RAM, free cPanel/WHM, free server management, auto-scaling CPU cores, LAMP stack, failover redundancy, 90-day money-back guarantee, and instant VPS restore. A free domain name is included with all 6 and 12 month plans.
Customers can select from three VPS packages priced $29.99/month, $49.99/month, and $74.99/month. The costliest and most powerful VPS plan is the VPS-3000HA-S, which comes with Intel Xeon E5 processor, 8 GB burstable RAM, 260 GB SSD storage, 6TB 100 Mbits bandwidth, and 5 IPv4 IP addresses.
InMotion VPS allows you to customize and configure your VPS, offering total control, which means that you can make alterations to the default configuration (e.g. implement NGINX, changing MySQL version, using PostgreSQL, etc.).
InMotion Hosting’s VPS plans are a good option for professionals and business users who can make use of the many features included with these plans.
BlueHost is one of the most important web hosts in the web hosting industry looking back on a long-standing history. Founded in 2003, BlueHost is a WordPress-recommended web hosting with various packages for WordPress sites, but offering numerous other options for most types of websites.
Using all SSD storage, BlueHost offers 3 VPS plans with prices starting at $19.99/month. All plans include a free domain name, up to 2 IP addresses, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and are fully managed. The most powerful VPS plan costs $59.99/month and boasts 4 CPU cores, 120 GB SSD storage, 8 GB RAM, and unlimited bandwidth.
If the amount of storage offered by the pre-configured VPS plans is not enough for you, you can add more resources directly from your cPanel without having to contact customer support.
cPanel and WHM are included for free with every VPS plan, VPSs are instantly provisioned, and use open source technology like OpenStack and KVM.
Like all other hosts reviewed in this article, BlueHost offers domain registration services and website migration services.
Whether you pick one of the hosting providers recommended by us in our best VPS hosting section or choose to conduct your own research about the best VPS providers on the market, make sure that you really need a VPS hosting and that you choose a plan from a reputable VPS host.
Although VPS hosting is more expensive than shared hosting, it offers more in the way of stability, performance, flexibility, resources, security and independence, without the hefty price tag of a dedicated server.
The web hosts reviewed in our article all offer 24/7 support, various options to either upgrade resources or upgrade hosting plans when you outgrow your existing one, free cPanel & WHM, fully managed VPS hosting, and plenty of resources and perks.