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Best Linux web hosting services in 2021

laptop with lid being closed
(Image credit: Unsplash)

The best web hosting services for Linux, whether a basic shared server or dedicated, are available from a wide range of providers. Should you have simple hosting requirements, you’re likely to opt for an account based on practical features, such as storage or bandwidth amounts. 

In that case, an operating system (OS) is likely to be far down your list of priorities, and it is often left out of features lists and comparison tables completely. However, those with technical experience and history with Linux might want to take advantage of the control that the OS gives them over websites.

One example of this is that you might have a favorite distro or control panel, and want to take greater control of your web server. Most providers, you’ll find, are more than happy to accommodate requests, and often their Linux packages will include lots of extras. These include firewalls, private DNS (domain name servers), mail servers, and good quality technical support.

While your idea of what constitutes an attractive Linux package might be unique, our guide below includes what we consider the best Linux web hosting services available. You're more than likely to find that one of them is right for your business, or at the very least will get your own research off to a good start.

The best Linux web hosting services available

InMotion Hosting logo

InMotion Hosting is widely known to be a reliable web host for Linux (Image credit: InMotion Hosting)

Feature-rich, powerful hosting from a well-known provider

Reasons to buy
+Professional features  +Excellent support +90-day money-back guarantee
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive after the introductory discount-Average performance in testing

InMotion Hosting is widely known as a reliable Linux web host, offering top-end packages that give users ultimate control over sites. Its shared hosting is packed with features ideal for novices, including regular backups, free website migration, and a website builder. 

Technical users are very well-catered for too, with plans that include support for PostreSQL and MySQL databases, Ruby, Perl, PHP 7, Python, and SSH (secure shell protocol) access. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

For example, as well as having PrestaShop, WordPress, and Joomla pre-installation options, you also get WP-CLI, enabling you to manage numerous WordPress installations via the command line. And all of this comes at a very reasonable price: InMotion Hosting’s plans start at just $2.49 a month on a three-year plan.

The more powerful upgrades are just as reasonably priced—you can get optional self-managed cloud VPS (virtual private server) hosting from $5 a month for year one. This plan enables you to choose your OS and firewall and then install, configure, and optimize the server in any way you like. 

We were pleased to find that even its managed VPS hosting provided users with root access, enabling a good degree of low-level control. You have a choice of OSs, including CentOS, Debian, or Ubuntu, and if you come across any problems during the setup phase, InMotion’s Launch Assist gives you a two-hour time slot with qualified tech support to help you iron out any issues.

To find out more, read our InMotion Hosting review.

GreenGeeks logo

SiteGround offers a range of hosting services, backed up with great technical support (Image credit: GreenGeeks)

Professional Linux hosting for technical users

Reasons to buy
+Advanced features +Technical experts on hand +Great support  
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive shared hosting plans-No VPS or dedicated hosting plans

SiteGround takes advanced technical support up a notch. If you don’t find what you’re looking for in its standard products, the company can build you a custom solution. Its website lists a range of the technologies it can support on its platform, including smart Linux containers, bespoke private clouds, database replication, and advanced technical knowledge of MySQL, PHP, WordPress, Drupal, Apache, Nginx, MongoDB, ElasticSearch, Redis, Memcached, Solr, and others. 

Of course, home users can’t expect this degree of support, but SiteGround's shared hosting plan has a lot going for it too, with cPanel and SSH access, free Let's Encrypt SSLs (secure sockets layers), unlimited emails and databases, Cloudflare integration, HTTP/2-enabled servers, daily backups, and open-all-hours support via phone, live chat, and a ticket system. All this comes at a cost of just $4.99 a month plus tax for year one, then $14.99 afterward. 

SiteGround’s VPS-style cloud hosting includes a well-defined CentOS system, PostgreSQL, MySQL 5, 5 PHP versions, Apache, Nginx, HHVM, an Exim mail server, a private DNS (domain name server) setup, and Iptables firewall. Everything is pre-installed and managed for your convenience. These packages begin at $100 a month plus tax.

If you decide a dedicated server would best serve your needs, you’ll get some serious extras, including Nginx-based cache options for WordPress, Memcached and HHVM to boost performance, along with Git integration.

Even though many of these features may be surplus to requirements, they do give users a good indication of the level of technical expertise SiteGround can offer. So for a Linux-based site that you hope to scale up, this provider definitely has the right tools for the task.

Read our full SiteGround review to learn more.

Hostwinds logo

Hostwinds offers Linux hosting for experienced users (Image credit: Hostwinds)

Powerful Linux hosting for veteran users

Reasons to buy
+Choose your OS +Value for money 
Reasons to avoid
-Support needs improving 

With Hostwinds' unmanaged VPS plans, you are given total control over your hosting. You can take your pick from a wide range of operating systems, including openSUSE, CentOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian. What’s more, it’s possible for you to set up and configure your chosen OS in any way you choose and tweak your backup system. 

It’s important to remember that deciding on an unmanaged package will require you to be more responsible for it—it won’t be the responsibility of your hosting provider. For example, if you stumble across a hard-to-solve software issue it’s you who will have to find a way to fix it. Still, experienced Linux users shouldn’t find this too intimidating. 

But even with these advanced features, many components of Hostwinds' plans are still fairly straightforward and simple to use. For example, site management is conducted through cPanel, while WordPress and other installs are automated via Softaculous. You’ll also find one-click Nextcloud install, and more. 

And because there are no management fees, you’ll receive 50% off your package. Regular managed Linux VPS plans start at $8.24 a month for 1GB RAM, one CPU core, 30GB disk space, and 1TB traffic, and go all the way up to $395.24 for 96GB RAM, 16 cores, 750GB disk space, and 9TB traffic.

In contrast, HostWinds' unmanaged packages start at $4.99 and go as high as $328.99 a month. Hostwinds also offers rolling contracts, so you can try the service for a month and change it if you're not satisfied. Read our Hostwinds review to find out more.

Liquid Web logo

Liquid Web offers a range of OSs to choose from (Image credit: Liquid Web)

Choose your operating system

Reasons to buy
+Pick your OS +Great support 
Reasons to avoid

Liquid Web has a proven track record in providing flexible VPS and dedicated servers, and it’s this flexibility that attracts many technical users. Liquid Web creates bespoke solutions, enabling users to have advanced low-level control over their server. 

For example, you don’t just have a single version of CentOS. Instead, you can opt for CentOS 6 (with CloudLinux if you want it), CentOS 7 (with either cPanel or Plesk),  Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04, Debian 8, 9, and 10, and Fedora 30. You can choose from a mix of self-managed, core-managed, and fully managed plans too. 

You’ll find you have even more control over other extras. For example, instead of a regular backup strategy, Liquid Web enables you to choose the number of daily backups you'd like to do, or fit as many backups as possible into a disk space the size of which is up to you to determine. For this feature, you’ll pay a nominal $0.08 per GB a month for the space required. 

Liquid Web provides round-the-clock support, and the team is very quick to respond to any issues you may encounter. If there’s a hardware failure, the provider guarantees it will be dealt with and replaced within half an hour of the issue being identified. 

These claims are underpinned by a comprehensive service level agreement. One clause states that if the company doesn't respond to your ticket within 30 minutes, you'll be credited with 10 times the amount the deadline was missed by. You’ll also find other clauses covering things like network, electricity outages, and more.

Make sure to read our Liquid Web review to find out more about this web host.

OVH logo

For new Linux users, OVH is a top pick (Image credit: OVH)

5. OVH

Good for new Linux users

Reasons to buy
+Wide range of OS and control panels +Incredibly cheap 
Reasons to avoid
-Support is seriously lacking 

A budget provider like OVH will give you the opportunity to learn the ropes without shelling out too much capital. OVH doesn’t have great support, and there’s no way we would recommend the provider for websites that are critical to a business’s success, but it does give you a lot for the price.

The provider’s VPS plans support a wide range of operating systems, including Ubuntu 14.04 Server and Ubuntu 16.04 Server, CentOS 6, CentOS 7, Debian 7, 8, and 9, Fedora 26, Arch Linux, and Kubuntu 14.04 Desktop if you require a user interface. What’s more, you don’t have to have cPanel as a website manager as the provider also supports Plesk Onyx, Vesta CP, CozyCloud, and Virtualmin.

OVH claims that it’s possible to have WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, and PrestaShop pre-installed, but we couldn’t find any reference to a one-click application installer like Softaculous. But you do have full root access, so in theory, it should be possible to configure anything you require. The most impressive thing about OVH, however, is the price of its plans, which start at only $2.20 a month minus VAT. 

OVH is by no means one of the best Linux hosts on the market, but it does enable novice users to experiment with control panels and distros at very little expense. We’d recommend this to users who are ready to dip a toe in the water but not yet prepared to take the plunge with a comprehensive Linux package.

How to choose the best Linux web hosting for you

Most providers offer Linux hosting, but usually, unless you opt for a dedicated server, you’ll find that your plan is managed totally by the company. This means your provider will set up, manage, and service the OS and all the other corresponding features for you. 

For first-time users, this is a good option, but more technical users might want to have a little more control and get frustrated by the lack of flexibility. Almost every provider aiming to offer the best Linux web hosting will promise top-end technical support. What is hard for users to do is determine which provider is genuine, and which are simply talking the talk.

A good way to figure out whether the provider you’re interested in really can deliver on this promise is to do a little research into its most advanced package. Standard plans won’t provide you with the level of support that a pro package will, but it’s very helpful to know what’s on offer should you need it. 

One of the appealing things about Linux hosting is the amount of control you can have over the separate components that make up your package. But this isn’t something you can expect from every provider. In most cases, you’ll find that you are offered a default OS like CentOS and cPanel as standard, with no other options. 

First-timers might struggle to choose their initial Linux hosting plan, as the range of features and optional extras can be a little overwhelming. One way to test the waters is to sign up with a provider that’s both flexible and affordable.

Kieron Allen

Kieron is a freelance science and technology journalist with more than a decade of experience writing for magazines in print and online. Today, his focus is on cybersecurity, blockchain, and emerging tech.