5 Best VPS Hosting Companies of 2017
A review of the best VPS hosting providers. Learn about virtual private servers & how to find a VPS hosting plan to improve your website's performance.
Are you curious about purchasing a VPS web hosting plan for your business? In this article, we’ll cover the top VPS hosting companies we'd recommend signing up with, the benefits of upgrading to a VPS, and how to get started with your new VPS hosting account.
The Best VPS Web Hosts at a Glance
A quick overview of the top choices for best VPS hosting listing the different purposes we would recommend each one for:
|Web Host||Starts at:||Recommended for:||Learn more|
|InMotion Hosting||$24.99/mo||High performance VPS hosting for businesses||View Plans|
|HostGator||$19.95/mo||Premium hardware, performance, & well-known brand||View Plans|
|Bluehost||$29.99/mo||All-purpose VPS hosting suitable for various needs||View Plans|
|iPage||$19.99/mo||Cheap VPS hosting for entry-level sites||View Plans|
|A2 Hosting||$5.00/mo||Customizable unmanaged & managed VPS hosting for developers||View Plans|
Best for businesses that need high performance & reliablity
www.inmotionhosting.com is one of the best VPS web hosts on the market and is trusted by thousands of professional businesses worldwide. Their VPS servers are clustered using a cloud hybrid technology to enhance redundancy and reliability for customers. They offer 3 powerful VPS plans with solid hardware specs and is a great choice for online businesses with resource intensive websites. All VPS plans are fully managed, come with a free cPanel license, and include free SSDs for blazing fast performance. InMotion Hosting has consistently proven to be one of the most reliable and highest performing web hosts in the industry with a high level of customer satisfactions among both business owners & web developers… Read our full review
- Fast & reliable VPS
- A+ Customer Support
- Includes cPanel
- Fully Managed VPS
- Optional Root Access
- Free SSD & SSL
- 4 to 8GB of RAM
- Cloud hybrid technology
Premium VPS Hosting for Uptime & Reliability
www.hostgator.com offers premium VPS hosting services with superior uptime and reliability. Mostly known for their shared hosting, HostGator does offer a variety of other types—including 3 excellent VPS hosting plans named Snappy 2000, 4000, and 8000. These 3 plans come with flexible software options, cutting edge hardware, and award winning support. The only downside is that they are on the pricey side and has a misleading price tag (as prices listed are for semi-managed hosting only and NOT fully-managed). If you want a control panel (cPanel) to come with it, you’ll need to add this option at checkout, which adds $10/mo to the overall cost. Despite the cost, HostGator is a brand name in the industry and is widely recommended, providing premium hosting services… Read our full review
- Premium performance
- Award winning support
- Full root access
- Semi & fully managed
- Great uptime/reliability
- Includes cPanel
- 2 to 8GB RAM
- 2 to 4 core CPUs
Best for all-purpose VPS hosting
www.bluehost.com is a well-known VPS web hosting provider and a popular choice for VPS hosting. They offer a variety of VPS plans suitable for virtually any website that needs a VPS. They also offers decent performance that comes packed with numerous features & add-ons. Their standard VPS plans start at a midrange price, although their new WordPress plans (not advertised under their VPS section) are even more affordable. Furthermore, a revamped user interface and great customer support make Bluehost a safe choice for a wide target audience… Read our full review
- Well-known web host
- Includes cPanel
- Root access
- Fully managed VPS
- Great for WordPress
- 2 to 8GB RAM
- 2 to 4 core CPUs
Best for entry-level & affordable VPS hosting
www.ipage.com is a great choice for those on a budget looking for an affordable yet reliable place to purchase a VPS plan. Their entry level VPS starts at $19.99/mo and includes a variety of features and premium customer support. In addition, they offer 2 more plans that are more pricey for larger businesses. All in all, their entry level VPS is a decent place for small business websites that have matured and are not expecting to grow… Read our full review
- Affordable VPS hosting
- Fully managed VPS
- Premium VPS tech support
- Includes cPanel
- Optional root access
- 1 to 8GB RAM
- 1 to 4 core CPUs
Great for both managed and unmanaged VPS hosting
www.a2hosting.com is another great choice for VPS hosting and also one of our favorites. They offer a wide variety of plans with exceptional performance and features. They're the only web host on this list that offers customizable unmanaged plans (you can learn more about managed vs unmanaged below), which start at a low cost of $5 per month (managed ones start at $32.99 per month). All plans include free SSDs for enhanced performance and can be upgraded with plenty of RAM. Their VPS plans are feature rich and a great choice for developers who want full control and advanced capabilities over their server. Their managed plans are also very good for regular webmasters managing a business website… Read our full review
- Managed & unmanaged VPS
- A+ customer support
- Customizable VPS plans
- $5/mo VPS plan
- Free SSDs
- Optional root access
- 512MB to 8GB RAM
- 1 to 8 core CPUs
What to Look for in a VPS Web Host?
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are a hosting solution designed to give more power and flexibility to website owners for custom developed software requirements and complex web applications. Technically, a VPS will function in the same manner as a dedicated server while operating on a partitioned hardware framework that allows for the use of only a fraction of the resources of the host machine. When seeking the best VPS hosting solution, the most important account configuration options for you to compare are:
- The number of dedicated cores allocated to the virtual machine
- The amount of guaranteed RAM memory provided
- The HDD/SSD storage space included with the plan
- The bandwidth limits for monthly data transfer use
Web hosting companies offer managed, self-installed, and cloud VPS plans with a variety of features determined primarily by the virtualization software used for platform account management.
QUICK TIP: The first step is to determine which type of VPS you need. There are managed, unmanaged (self-installed), and cloud VPS hosting plans available.
Managed vs. Unmanaged (Self-Installed) VPS Platforms
Most managed VPS plans include a pre-configured version of the Linux operating system with Apache, MySQL, PHP, Python, Perl, and other server extensions for web development pre-installed with optimized settings. Some managed VPS hosts offer different OS “snapshots” (Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, etc.) that can be chosen that include additional distribution-based server utility frameworks to speed up deployment. Windows VPS accounts are provided with a default ASP.net configuration. With unmanaged, only the physical server hardware is maintained. It is the customer’s responsibility to install and maintain their own software on the server. Managed is recommended for beginners who want worry free hosting, while unmanaged offers complete customization and is great for tech savvy webmasters. We strongly recommend managed if you’re not that familiar with web hosting and how to install/maintain your own server software.
Cloud VPS Platforms
Cloud VPS platforms offer extremely fast hardware with solid state drives (SSDs) that usually include a pre-installed Linux version that is running under the Open Stack framework. The use of SSDs with multi-core servers and large amounts of installed DDR4 RAM on optimized Cloud VPS platforms has shown performance gains of up to 20x in page load speed under benchmark testing. Web hosting companies have launched Cloud VPS solutions as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) product designed specifically for the hosting needs of custom LAMP development.
Features to Consider in a VPS Plan
While many companies offer VPS platform services, attention to the difference between accounts is important in order to determine which options are most suitable for the development requirements of the website to be hosted. Some of the features to consider with any VPS plan are:
- Choice of Operating System
- Web Server Performance
- Virtualization Software
- Systems Administration
- Cloud Optimization
- Web Security & Back-ups
- Technical Support
Site owners and developers considering leasing a virtual private server will need to closely scrutinize the difference between managed, self-installed, and cloud VPS accounts with regard to these features in order to make an informed decision between the variety of platforms available in the marketplace.
Choice of Operating System
The choice of operating system is not always available with managed VPS and cloud hosts who offer a default Linux distribution that is deployed across all installations of a virtualization framework. Windows VPS servers are normally priced without additional licensing costs due to vendor agreements with Microsoft that enables them to remain competitive with Linux. Some companies offer a free license for cPanel on CentOS with WHM, or a Cloud Linux upgrade on the VPS, which can be a good value. For the greatest amount of flexibility on the choice of the operating system, order a self-installed VPS account and put the time into custom configuration and systems administration.
Web Server Performance
CPU speed benchmarks are recommended to evaluate between VPS web hosting costs, as they can help determine the performance difference between the various Intel Xeon/Atom processors and AMD Opteron chips. Look for VPS accounts which offer a free upgrade to Solid State Drives (SSDs) for best performance and value. Bandwidth speeds may vary between web hosting companies, so it is necessary to establish what the data transfer rates are on each account, as well as if there is the ability to provision different uplink providers. Instant upgrades provide the ability to add more RAM, CPU cores, and disk space to a VPS account without the need to re-install the operating system and site files.
Identification of the virtualization platform each VPS hosting company uses (Xen, VMware, OpenVZ, Virtuozzo, KVM, etc.) is another way to evaluate company services. The type of hypervizor administration provided by the virtualization system will determine various aspects of VPS functionality including the operating system configuration options. Knowledge of the fundamental features of each virtualization platform will also help determine when to choose between managed, self-installed, and cloud VPS hosts. Open Stack is the most popular and widely used VPS framework for cloud web hosting.
Developers should determine whether the command line or a control panel will be used to manage server settings in advance of signing up for a new VPS account plan. Instant provisioning in managed VPS hosting can speed up development time considerably over self-installed plans when configuring the operating system. The most popular choices for server administration on VPS accounts are cPanel, Plesk, Webmin, and Virtualmin. All of these tools for Linux provide a GUI navigation interface to simplify domain management and the configuration of server extensions. Most VPS users will need to be thoroughly familiar with use of the command line for remote systems administration.
QUICK TIP: Webmin is a popular free, open source alternative to cPanel for managing server configurations on a Linux VPS platform. Another option is Virtualmin for users who have less command line experience.
Cloud optimization solutions include server load balancing and website page caching software that is pre-installed in a managed VPS platform. Cloud VPS plans include all of the server extensions required to run popular web scripts like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Moodle, etc. with optimized settings for increased high-traffic scalability. Most Cloud VPS frameworks can also be further configured through the command line to support Nginx, Varnish Cache, new third-party database formats, or other custom development frameworks that extend the LAMP stack. Look for Cloud VPS accounts with “burstable” RAM and solid state drives for the best performance when hosting CMS websites.
Web Security & Back-ups
Before signing up for a VPS hosting account, users should determine whether or not the account includes provisions for integrated database and site file backups. It is also important to confirm the type of firewall, network security, DDoS protection, and anti-spam services offered by different VPS plans. Systems administrators on self-installed VPS hosting are responsible for maintaining server security settings on the OS, extensions, and web software. Managed and Cloud VPS hosts offer company network services that automatically keep server software patched with the latest security upgrades.
Uptime guarantees and the data center rating of the web hosting company are additional determinants that can be used to evaluate between the various VPS account plans offered by competitors. Look for companies with a strong commitment to customer service and who offer direct contact with experienced systems administrators for technical support. Companies that provide 24/7 support services through toll-free phone lines and quick turn-around on email requests are recommended for the most efficient management of common website hosting problems.
Final Thoughts on Choosing a VPS Suitable for You
While it is important to know the basics about virtualization platforms, most data centers manage this aspect of VPS web hosting behind the scenes. When looking to purchase the best VPS hosting plan, the method of system administration is the most important factor in determining the choice between different plans. Developers with custom requirements for web programming can choose between a Managed VPS, Cloud VPS, or “self-installed” VPS plan according to which platform most fits their particular sys admin background and experience.
Managed VPS accounts allow for limited choice in determining the operating system compared to the freedom of an unmonitored, self-installed approach. Cloud VPS web hosting plans are based on the most advanced and powerful servers with installed DDR-4 RAM, multi-core processing, and solid state drives. When a shared hosting plan does not provide enough processing power for a website, but a dedicated server is too costly, a Cloud VPS account can be a good middle option, allowing for strong performance gains in website page load speeds through software and hardware optimization.