- 50% off the first month with added discounts the first year
- Real-time redundancy powered by a cloud infrastructure
- FREE cPanel/WHM licenses with enterprise-grade CentOS
- FREE server management for patches and updates
- FREE SSDs for 20x faster hosting
- Get started on InMotion now.
- Only pay for resources you use with daily billing
- 5TB of outgoing bandwidth and FREE incoming bandwidth
- API access and cPanel available
- Instant provisioning and SSD speed
- FREE Storm® Firewall and real-time server monitoring
- Get started on Liquid Web now.
- 2-4 cores and 4-16GB of RAM
- Endorsed by the WordPress team
- Redundant storage and optional SiteLock security
- Seemless migration from Bluehost shared plans
- Get 50% off your first month (was $29.99, now $14.99)
- Get started on Bluehost now.
- Includes cPanel
- Instantly deploy, grow, and scale as demands increase
- High-speed mirrored SAN storage
- Pre-installed scripts: CGI, Perl, Rails, Curl, and more
- Join today for 20% off your first term
- Get started on iPage now.
- Full root access
- Redundant network with multiple layers of network security
- Fully or semi-managed options
- FREE website, domain, MySQL, and script transfer
- Use code HA30OFF for 30% off first month
- Get started on HostGator now.
- Instantly deploy and scale
- Predictable monthly costs with no overage fees
- Guaranteed RAM and resources
- Fully managed, monitoring site load and any issues
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- Guaranteed server resources from enhanced virtualization
- Instant provisioning
- Scalability from cloud technology
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- Includes Parallels Plesk and Virtuozzo Containers
- FREE domain name
- Guaranteed RAM and storage resources
- 24/7 support
- Get started on Network Solutions now.
Here are the best VPS hosting services:
|Rank||Web Host||Setup Time||Disk Space||Expert Rating|
|1||InMotion||4 minutes||75 GB – 260 GB SSD||★★★★★ 4.9|
|2||Liquid Web||7 minutes||50 GB – 1.6 TB SSD||★★★★★ 4.9|
|3||Bluehost||5 minutes||30 GB – 240 GB SSD||★★★★★ 4.8|
|4||iPage||6 minutes||40 GB – 120 GB||★★★★★ 4.6|
|5||HostGator||7 minutes||25 GB – 3 TB||★★★★★ 4.5|
|6||FatCow||6 minutes||40 GB – 120 GB||★★★★★ 4.3|
|7||JustHost||4 minutes||30 GB – 240 GB||★★★★★ 4.1|
|8||Network Solutions||6 minutes||10 GB – 50 GB||★★★★★ 3.8|
1. What is VPS Hosting?
In short, a virtual private server (VPS) is just a physical server whose hardware has been divided into multiple partitions, each acting as its own server environment (a “virtual” dedicated server, or VDS).
As with any other niche in this industry, the companies selling “virtual” machine hosting, allowing sites to live online, are called web hosts.
What is a VPS? – Terms to Know
As you familiarize yourself with this market, you’re bound to come across some commonly used, easily confused terms. Let’s clarify, shall we?
- VPS stands for Virtual Private Server: the physical server that’s been partitioned into several “virtual” servers, each acting independently of one another
- VDS stands for Virtual Dedicated Server: an individual slice of the VPS that’s acting as its own server environment
VM stands for Virtual Machine: this is a cloud server that’s actually a collection of servers backed by SAN storage (NOTE: Cloud hosting, or VM hosting, is NOT the same as VPS hosting… More on this later.)
- Dedicated Virtual Server Hosting: another way of saying “VPS” or “VDS hosting”
FYI: Please don’t say “VPS server.” This is redundant. Saying “VPS servers” is like saying “virtual private server servers,” and that’s just silly.
“Virtual” Hosting vs. “Cloud” Hosting
Alright, we’re going to go a bit beyond the basics here. The distinction between cloud hosting providers and virtual private server hosting providers can be a tough one to grasp.
To compare the two, I’d like to throw it back to 10th-grade geometry: In the same way that a square can also be called a rectangle but a rectangle is not necessarily a square, a personal cloud server can also be a VPS but not all VPSs are cloud servers, necessarily.
The main differences you’ll see:
- Scale: Since cloud providers allow you to take advantage of multiple machines, you get unlimited storage, mega bandwidth, and superior load balancing all on the fly.
- High Availability: Cloud hosting offers high availability because if a single physical server fails, all data is seamlessly transferred to another physical server. VPSs don’t do that.
- Price: With the added server power and flexibility comes added cost for cloud hosting.
While a VPS offers your site room to grow, a cloud server is known for offering on-demand resources. You can often pay for said resources by the hour, which has its perks, but this means you have to be vigilant about how long you keep your servers spun up.
What About “Managed” VPS Hosting?
Managing servers is time-consuming and technically demanding. It can be expensive to staff an entire team dedicated to maintaining hardware updates, monitoring security, and all in all keeping things online. With this in mind, some of the leading hosts offer their IT expertise to manage the infrastructure for you in addition to hosting VPSs. It’ll cost you a premium but, more than likely, also save you a priceless amount of headache. InMotion’s DV service is top-of-the-line when it comes to managed VPS hosting.
2. What are the Advantages? Who Uses It?
Alright, what is a private server from an end-user point of view? Let’s cover the perks, the downsides, and who’s typically using this particular hosting product.
At a very high level, VPS hosting is considered a bridge between shared and dedicated hosting. It’s often said that once your site “outgrows your shared hosting environment” — meaning you need more RAM, more storage, or the ability to accommodate higher traffic volumes — it’s time to consider a VPS.
That’s really the biggest benefit to migrating from a shared to a virtual server: Your site can grow to receive more visitors without you having to eat the higher cost and hardware responsibility of a dedicated server. VPS users are rarely first-time site owners or folks seeking a personal email server. Typically, the people using VPSs are those whose sites or apps are receiving upwards of 100,000 visitors a month.
3. Finding the Best VPS Plan for You
Let’s examine the features we looked for when conducting our VPS hosting comparison above. What separates the so-so from the best private servers? We found flexibility to be a common theme, and that begins with having your choice of operating system.
Linux VPS Hosting
Below are some of the buzzwords we look for when judging the best Linux server(s):
- CentOS, Ubuntu, or Debian operating system
- Linux-friendly software like CGI, MySQL, or Apache
- 24/7/365 expert support
- Managed security patches and updates
- Uptime (preferably 99.99% or better)
Whether you’re hosting your increasingly popular website or you’re in need of a Linux backup server for secure storage, hosts like InMotion and Media Temple never cease to exceed expectations in terms of service.
Windows VPS Hosting
For those shopping for Windows server hosting, here are the things we look for:
- Choice of Linux or Windows server, backups included
- OS-friendly applications with easy management via cPanel
- 24/7/365 expert support
- SSH access with Windows SFTP servers
- Uptime (preferably 99.99% or better)
If you’re wondering, ‘Windows or Linux: Which is for me?’ chances are you should go the Linux route. Only go the Windows way if you have a really specific reason for doing so (i.e., you’re going to be running some sort of software that’s not Linux-compliant). The vast majority of y’all are going to want to run Linux, so we’ve reviewed the top shared hosts for Linux and the top plans for Linux VPS hosting.
Top Cloud Providers
Since we’ve covered the differences between VPS hosts and cloud hosts, feel free to delve deeper into the nuances of what makes for the best cloud hosting providers here.
4. Finding Cheap VPS Hosting
The question of the hour: How much does VPS hosting cost? First, it’s important to remember that “the cheapest VPS” is not synonymous with “the best VPS.” It’s important to consider the overall value that a web host is offering.
Free Virtual Private Servers
There are VPS providers out there offering free hosting or a VPS free trial, and this can be great for gamers, part-time vloggers, or developers spinning up mini side projects from time to time.
If you’re serious about getting a site online and you’re expecting serious performance and/or traffic, you need to be able to pony up the cost of a decent plan. A cheap server rack can offer VPSs in the $15-a-month range, which is really not too extravagant, especially when you compare it to the cost of your average dedicated server.
Cheap Cloud Server Pricing
As I mentioned, cloud hosting can be a bit more expensive than VPS hosting, but if you opt for a shared cloud server, you can cut down on that expense significantly.
5. Common Confusion: Other “Cloud Service” Providers
Lastly, I’d like to clear up any confusion around similarly named terms. Especially with so many “cloud services” popping up these days, one can easily get lost in cloud-related phraseology amid all the acronyms with similar lettering.
Cloud Server Providers vs. Cloud Computing Services
A company selling or reselling cloud servers is different from a company offering various services that use cloud resources, e.g., cloud computing providers. This gets confusing because those providers may use what’s called a cloud computing server, but that’s just referring to the hardware they’re using to conduct their services.
VPS vs. VPN Hosting
Though only one letter off, a VPS service is very different from VPN hosting. First off, VPN stands for virtual private network, which is a collection of Internet protocols that allow you to send and receive data anonymously. This allows you to keep your private information private, even while on a public Internet connection such as the free wifi at your favorite local coffee shop.
Many larger corporations and institutions use VPNs to allow remote workers to securely log into the company network while abroad. Say an agency dealing with sensitive client information wants to add an extra layer of anonymity to their private email service. A VPN can offer that extra veil of privacy for as little as a few dollars a month.
The Best VPS Host Will Help You Deploy in Minutes
I don’t know how many fifth graders are studying up on virtual servers, but nevertheless, I hope you all found my no-guesswork guide to our VPS hosting reviews to be informative, actionable, and snarky in a good way. With all the main questions answered, you’re ready to sign up and spin up.
Providers like Bluehost and iPage offer instant deployment, so you can quickly get on to business. The InMotion Hosting team offers Launch Assist — two hours of assistance from experienced SysAdmins — to customers who sign up for 12 months or longer. Our team tested all the top VPS hosts and found the sign-up times to be in the 6- to 7-minute range, so getting started is, virtually, a snap.