The best VPS hosting offers a middle ground for many businesses between shared and dedicated hosting, because virtual private servers (VPRS) offer the benefits of these types of the best web hosting without the drawbacks. Shared hosting, while aimed at beginners and cheaply priced, is less versatile or scalable for growing businesses.
At the other end of the scale, dedicated servers are great if you don't want to share resources, but are complex to set up as well as being more expensive. The best VPS hosting providers offer a physical shared server, but it's less crowded than a shared hosting server, and allocates you your own share of cores, bandwidth, RAM, and storage.
As a result, even if other users experience traffic spikes, your site won't be affected. You also have the flexibility to choose your operating system and software, meaning you have more power and more freedom. Plans vary in cost, but depend on your requirements, and can cost as little as a few dollars a month or hundreds.
Packages include management tools such as cPanel, so it's easier to set up and administer a VPS if you want to take control in-house; though most VPS hosts offer managed hosting too, so you can focus on your customers and your site while they take care of configurations and maintenance.
With hundreds of VPS providers to choose from, it can be tough to identify the right provider, and choosing the wrong one can affect your site's performance. Our guide to the best VPS hosting services evaluates the five leading hosts, to help you make your decision.
What is VPS web hosting?
A virtual private server (VPS) carves out a dedicated space on an existing shared server. Via the virtualization process, you have your own resources for hosting without having to pay for CPUs and RAM, and providers can thus host multiple VPSs on one server.
With VPS hosting, you only pay for resources used, and it's just a question of choosing between managed vs unmanaged hosting. The former sees IT professionals maintain, update, and configure hosting for you, including installing security updates and backing up data.
If you manage the VPS yourself, you're responsible for all of this, which requires high levels of technical experience. If you've got that knowledge, a VPS can be extremely customizable and configurable, as you have your own operating system, and completely control your particular server.
The 3 best VPS hosting providers right now
Bluehost: competitive VPS plans from the leading host
Bluehost offers three VPS plans that include SSL certification, cPanel management panels, and a domain for one year, while you can set up unlimited email accounts and sub-domains. Plans start from $17.99 a year, offering 24/7 live chat support, and optional add-ons including domain privacy protection available.
Hostinger: low-priced, highly secure VPS hosting
Hostinger's VPS solutions offer low prices and a no-frills, highly-secure service, alongside a highly redundant server network and excellent scalability, for when your website needs to grow. More powerful plans offer wider amounts of bandwidth and other tools, making it a clear leader.
InMotion Hosting: top performance and great features
Across its VPS packages, InMotion Hosting includes a large amount of top tools not found elsewhere, like unlocked CPU cores or its Launch Assist migration consultation. With plans starting at $17.99 a month, it's more expensive than competitors, but comes with an industry-leading 90-day money-back guarantee.
What is the best VPS hosting service?
Our choice for the best VPS hosting is Bluehost. A time-tested provider and industry heavyweight, Bluehost is one of the few hosting providers specifically recommended by WordPress. It has above-average load times and uptimes, relatively low fees, and 24/7 live chat support.
Close behind is Hostinger's VPS plans, which are fantastic value for money, with one of the best resource-to-price ratios. The computing power, bandwidth allocation, and storage space you get are all great, and you can choose from 10 hosting plans.
Getting the best price 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, the pricing plans are straightforward and well specified.
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 a month.
For managed VPS hosting, we recommend Liquid Web. Again, it's not 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 services available
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 (secure sockets layer) 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 $17.99 a month, which becomes $29.99 on renewal. For this, you’ll get a static IP address, two CPU cores, 2GB of RAM, 30GB of SSD storage, and 1TB of bandwidth. The most expensive Ultimate plan is $57.99 for the first term, rising to $119.99 a month on renewal. With the Ultimate plan, you get two IP addresses, four CPU cores, 8GB of RAM, 120GB of SSD storage, and 3TB 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.
Read our Bluehost review.
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. With the lowest tier plan, you get one CPU, 1GB of RAM, 20GB of storage, and 1TB of bandwidth. Higher-tier plans give you more—up to eight CPUs, 8GB of RAM, 160GB of storage, and 8TB 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 a month if you pay for the first 48 months in advance, but after that, the plan renews at $8.16 a month. Opt for the most powerful eight-CPU plan, and you’ll pay the equivalent of $77.99 a month if you buy 48 months up front. After that, you’ll pay $131.99 a month.
A Hostinger VPS will have a dedicated IP and IPv6 support, and be hosted on a 100Mb/s network. Linux users can choose between Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, Debian, and SUSE. In addition, the company has a 24/7 live chat service if you run into any issues. The lower 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.
Read our Hostinger review.
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.
InMotion Hosting takes a different approach. The basic VPS plan from InMotion Hosting costs $24.99 a month over two years, which is far from the cheapest option around. However, the plan includes three dedicated IPs, 4GB of RAM, 75GB of storage, 4TB of bandwidth, backups, a cPanel license, and a 90-day money-back guarantee. You get much more for your money with InMotion.
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.
Read our full InMotion Hosting review.
Hostwinds has 10 VPS hosting plans for unmanaged and managed Windows and Linux installations that can appeal to everyone, from first-time users to big businesses. The entry-level, unmanaged Windows tier is just $12.74 a month, but it’s somewhat underpowered (one CPU core, 1GB of RAM, 30GB of disk space, and 1TB of traffic.) You can add extras like cloud backups and basic server monitoring for $6 a month.
Most businesses would need something more like the Tier Four unmanaged Windows plan from Hostwinds. At $42.74 a month, it comes with two CPU cores, 6GB of RAM, 100GB of disk space, and 2TB of RAM. The Tier Ten unmanaged Windows plan initially costs $431.24 a month, and includes 16 CPU cores, 96GB of RAM, 750GB of storage, and 9TB 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 a month, which is great value.
Read our Hostwinds review.
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 $35 a month if you pay annually, but it comes with a generous four CPU cores, 2GB of RAM, 100GB of SSD storage space, 100GB backup space, and a massive 10TB 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 days a year 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.
Read our Liquid Web review.
Further reading on web hosting
If you're wondering how VPS servers compare to dedicated server hosting, read our comparison pitting dedicated servers vs VPS; to learn about the two dedicated hosting types, take a look at our comparison pitting bare metal vs dedicated servers.