Using a VPS (virtual private server) for web hosting is the perfect middle ground for many businesses. Shared web hosting packages may be inexpensive and newbie-friendly, but they lack the versatility, functionality, and scalability that growing businesses need. On the other hand, dedicated servers are complex to set up and comparatively expensive.
With a VPS, you still share a physical server with other customers, but it’s much less crowded than on shared hosting. More importantly, you are allocated your own share of resources, such as CPU cores, RAM, bandwidth, and storage space, so if other users experience a traffic spike, it won’t negatively affect you. You can choose the operating system and software that runs on your VPS, giving you more freedom and power than with shared hosting.
Depending on your requirements, a VPS can cost a few dollars per month or hundreds of dollars. Most hosts include management tools, like cPanel, that make it easier to set up and administer your VPS if you want to handle things on your own. Many web hosting providers have a managed service, which includes the configuration and maintenance of your server, leaving you free to focus on your website and customers.
There are hundreds of VPS providers vying for your business, and the VPS you choose will affect how your website will perform. In this article, we’ve compared all the VPS web hosting packages from the best VPS providers, so you have a good idea of where to start looking.
What is the best VPS hosting?
Our top choice for VPS hosting in 2020 is Hostinger. Its VPS plans are fantastic value for the money, with one of the best resource-to-price ratios on the market today. The computing power, bandwidth allocation, and storage space you get are all great, and you can choose from 10 hosting plans (if you include the more expensive Windows VPS plans).
Getting the best price from Hostinger requires paying for 48 months in advance, so if you’re not willing to make such a long commitment, we recommend InMotion Hosting instead. Though it’s more expensive than Hostinger, the pricing plans are straightforward and well specified.
Another time-tested VPS hosting company we love is Bluehost. An industry heavyweight, Bluehost is one of the few hosting providers specifically recommended by WordPress. Bluehost has above-average load times and uptimes, relatively low fees, and 24/7 live chat support.
If you have a specific VPS configuration in mind, Hostwinds may be the best choice. It has 10 VPS plans to choose from and supports many Linux distributions. Where other hosts typically charge much more for Windows installations, Hostwinds adds a mere $5/month.
For managed VPS hosting, we recommend Liquid Web. Again, this host isn’t the cheapest, but it’s known for its outstanding server speed and stability. Liquid Web is one of the few hosts around with a 100% uptime guarantee, and it has three state-of-the-art data centers in Arizona, Lansing, and Michigan.
The best VPS hosting you can buy today
Hostinger has been providing excellent hosting service since 2004, and its VPS hosting is second to none.
You can choose from six VPS hosting plans (and four Windows VPS hosting plans). With the lowest tier plan, you get one CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 20 GB of storage, and 1,000 GB of bandwidth. Higher-tier plans give you more—up to eight CPUs, 8 GB of RAM, 160 GB of storage, and 8,000 GB of bandwidth.
Plans are good value and can be more affordable if you commit to multiple years of service. You can get the single-CPU plan for the equivalent of $3.95/month if you pay for the first 48 months in advance, but after that, the plan renews at $8.16/month. Opt for the most powerful eight-CPU plan, and you’ll pay the equivalent of $29.95/month if you buy 48 months up front. After that, you’ll pay $65.56/month.
A Hostinger VPS will have a dedicated IP and IPv6 support and be hosted on a 100 Mb/s network. Linux users can choose between Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, Debian, and SUSE. Windows VPS hosting is available too, albeit at a significantly higher price than the standard VPS plans.
In addition, the company has a 24/7 live chat service if you run into any issues. The low price of Hostinger’s long-term VPS plans is what tempts most people to try its service, and with its 30-day full refund policy, you can do so without worry.
Bluehost is one of the world’s largest web hosting companies, serving over two million domains from its 50,000-square-foot facility in Utah.
For VPS hosting, you can choose from three plans, all of which come with SSL certification, cPanel, and a domain for one year. You can set up unlimited email accounts and sub-domains.
The cheapest option has an introductory rate of $18.99/month, which becomes $29.99 on renewal. For this, you’ll get a static IP address, two CPU cores, 2 GB of RAM, 30 GB of SSD storage, and 1 TB of bandwidth. The most expensive Ultimate plan is $59.99 for the first term, rising to $119.99/month on renewal. With the Ultimate plan, you get two IP addresses, four CPU cores, 8 GB of RAM, 120 GB of SSD storage, and 3 TB of bandwidth.
Optional add-ons like domain privacy, domain protection, and automatic malware scans are relatively expensive, so factor the costs of these extras into your calculations if you need them. Bluehost has 24/7 live chat support and a toll-free US support number.
VPS hosting providers know that a low headline rate attracts potential customers, but they have to use a few tricks to keep costs so low. Sometimes the physical hardware used is underpowered, particularly on entry-level VPS plans. Often, important features such as cPanel administration and backups are add-ons that you’ll need to buy, raising the price significantly. It’s also common to offer an attractive introductory price if the buyer pays multiple years up front, only to hike the price substantially when the honeymoon period is over.
We mention this because InMotion Hosting takes a different approach. The basic VPS plan from InMotion Hosting costs $29.99/month over two years, which is far from the cheapest option around. However, the plan includes three dedicated IPs, 4 GB of RAM, 75 GB of storage, 4 TB of bandwidth, backups, a cPanel license, and a 90-day money-back guarantee. You get much more for your money with InMotion Hosting.
The host also offers interesting features seldom found elsewhere. Unlocked CPU cores let you spread your processing load across all the server cores instead of being locked down to one or two cores. This can mean a big performance boost for multi-threaded processing tasks.
InMotion Hosting also offers Launch Assist, which is included for free on all managed VPS servers or available for $99 on other plans. You get a two-hour consultation from a server administrator, who will help you move your site to InMotion, migrate the domain name, configure cPanel, and install applications.
InMotion Hosting is a professional VPS provider with well-specified plans, great technical support, and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Hostwinds has 10 VPS hosting plans that can appeal to everyone, from first-time users to big businesses.
The entry-level tier is just $4.49/month, but it’s somewhat underpowered (one CPU core, 1 GB of RAM, 30 GB of disk space, and 1 TB of traffic.) You can add extras like cloud backups and basic server monitoring for $6/month.
Most businesses would need something more like the Tier Four plan from Hostwinds. At $26.09/month, it’s competitively priced and comes with two CPU cores, 6 GB of RAM, 100 GB of disk space, and 2 TB of RAM.
The Tier Ten plan initially costs $296.09/month and includes 16 CPU cores, 96 GB of RAM, 750 GB of storage, and 9 TB of traffic. This is overkill for just about everyone but gives you an idea of how scalable Hostwinds is.
All plans have interesting configuration options. For example, you can choose from the usual Linux distributions, such as Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS, but you can also choose Windows Server 2008, 2012, or 2016. Installing Windows only costs an extra $5/month, which is great value.
Liquid Web has been offering managed hosting solutions for over 20 years and now has over 32,000 customers worldwide and over half a million websites.
You probably don’t want to choose Liquid Web just for the price; it’s a more comprehensive product that focuses on quality, performance, and support. The cheapest VPS plan is the equivalent of $39/month if you pay annually, but it comes with a generous two CPU cores, 2 GB of RAM, 40 GB of SSD storage space, 100 GB backup space, and a massive 10 TB of bandwidth.
You can configure your VPS with Debian 8, CentOS 6, Ubuntu 14.04, or Ubuntu 16.04, and you have a choice of control panels, such as cPanel, Plesk, and InterWorx.
More importantly, Liquid Web’s VPS are managed products. The hosting company will fully support the base operating system that you install, and it will proactively restore services that have failed for any reason, at no extra cost.
Liquid Web also has outstanding customer support, with 24/7/365 phone and chat support that has a 59-second initial response guarantee.
Consider Liquid Web even if you’re not bowled over by its headline prices, because it's cheaper than many others when you account for all the extra features. Having arguably the best technical support in the business available to you at any time can make running your VPS a breeze.