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By published 14 March 22
Make your web site more stable and faster-loading with a virtual server. These are the best VPS hosting providers today
The best VPS hosting can be a vital lifeline, if your website is experiencing traffic spikes that your current hosting can’t keep up with. Below, we round up the best VPS hosting providers on the market today.
But first, what is VPS hosting, exactly? Well, VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. And VPS hosting is essentially a halfway house between the cheapest kind of hosting – shared hosting – and dedicated hosting, which is much more expensive.
Shared hosting is aimed at small, low-traffic websites that are typically owned and managed by individuals. These websites share space with others on a hosting company’s server, keeping prices low. But that means they may struggle to keep up with a sudden spike in traffic. This may make your website slow to load, or it might even crash completely.
At the other extreme, with dedicated hosting your website has a server entirely to itself. That means it can cope with virtually any amount of traffic, and load everything quickly, however much content you add to it. This type of hosting is very expensive, though, and is targeted at large companies with high-traffic apps and websites.
VPS hosting lies somewhere in the middle. Your website gets its own space on a hosting company’s server, but not the whole server itself. So you get a service that’s relatively affordable, but still pretty powerful. Accordingly, VPS hosting is generally targeted at either small to medium businesses, or individuals with popular websites. Both typically need more server resources than shared hosting can provide, but don’t want to pay very high prices.
In this article, we’ve selected the best VPS hosting providers today. All of these companies come highly recommended, but each has slightly different things to offer. So we’ll give you the information you need to choose the one that fits your specific needs the best.
Meanwhile if you’re looking for hosting in general, then check out our roundup of the best web hosting. And if you mistyped and are actually looking for a VPN (Virtual Private Network), then see our guide to the best VPN for photographers.
In our view, InMotion Hosting provides the best VPS hosting on the market today, for a number of reasons. Firstly, while their starting prices aren’t the lowest, you do get a lot for your money. On the cheapest plan, for example ($17.99 a month for the first six months), you get unlimited bandwidth, two CPU cores, three dedicated IPs, five cPanel licenses, 2GB of RAM, 45GB of SSD storage and a free domain. We’d say that represents excellent value overall.
A second reason is that, well, time is money. And InMotion does a great job of saving you time (and stress) in setting up your hosting, with a service called Launch Assist. This includes a two-hour consultation from a server administrator, who will set up your server, email, domains, security implementation, FTP accounts and more.
That support continues after setup. “Think of us as your own personal IT department,” Inmotion say, and they provide excellent 24/7 support via live chat, phone or email. Their help articles, YouTube videos and community forum are first-rate too. And overall, InMotion’s interface is the easiest to use of all the hosts on this list. Finally, as the icing on the cake, the company offers a generous 90-day money-back guarantee on all its VPS hosting plans.
The only downside is that InMotion only offers VPS hosting for Linux servers. So if you need a Windows server, turn to number 2 on our list. Alternatively if you’re on a tight budget and are looking for the cheapest VPS hosting possible, then number 4 on our list will see you right.
If you need VPS hosting based on Windows (not Linux) servers then Hostwinds is our top pick. The company offers a range of plans for both Linux and Windows, and doesn’t push up the price dramatically for the latter like some hosting companies do.
With 10 Windows VPS hosting plans to choose from, Hostwinds also makes easy to find the strike the right balance between specs and price. The cheapest plan is $12.74 a month and comes with one CPU, 1TB of bandwidth, 30GB of storage, and 1GB of RAM, while at the other end of the scale, you can get a mammoth 16 CPUs, 9TB of bandwidth, 96GB of storage and 750GB of RAM for $431.24/month. With eight other configurations to choose from in between, it’s easy to find the right combo for you, and to scale up accordingly as your website traffic grows.
Hostwinds offers strong customer support, including live chat, email, and online tickets. Be aware, though, that there’s no phone support option. If you want that, as well as a Windows server, the next entry is for you.
Hostgator supports both Linux and Windows and, unlike Hostwinds (above), also provides phone support. You also get live chat support and, somewhat unusually, a dedicated Twitter support account.
There are three VPS hosting plans, titled Snappy 2000, Snappy 4000 and Snappy 8000 in keeping with the company’s crocodile mascot. The cheapest, at $23.95/month, offers very good value, including two CPUs, 2GB RAM, 120GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, and two dedicated IPs. All VPS plans come with a 45-day money back guarantee.
We’ll be honest: Hostgator doesn’t actually excel in any particular area. But what it does is provide a high-quality, all-round service, and if you’re seeking Windows support and phone assistance, it’s an excellent choice.
Want to get started with VPS hosting but on a budget? Then at time of writing, Hostinger is offering an unbeatable plan at just $3.95 a month. That nets you one CPU, 1GB of RAM, 20GB of storage and 1TB of bandwidth, and 1TB, which to be frank is insanely good value. Higher-tier plans have a lot to offer, too.
So where’s the catch? Well, you have to commit to 48 months, after which the price will jump to $8.16 a month (although that’s still pretty cheap). Also note that hosting is only available for Linux, not Windows. And while there’s live chat and online ticketing, as well as a good range of tutorials and knowledge-base articles, there’s no phone support.
On the plus side, you do have a 30-day money back guarantee. So you’ll have plenty of time to decide whether you’re happy before making that 48-month commitment.
Liquid Web doesn’t really compete with the cheap VPS plans offered by the other hosts on this list. What it does offer, though, is quite powerful configurations for not that much more money.
At time of writing, for instance, it has a ‘Special Introductory Offer’ of two CPU cores, 40GB storage, 10TB bandwidth and 100GB backups for just $25 per month. That kind of power may be overkill for most individuals or small firms. But medium sized businesses, or individuals with very popular websites, will find that very attractive indeed.
Also note that this is managed hosting, in which more of the administrative tasks involved in keeping your website online are covered by the company’s technical staff. Again, this is a useful service for medium-sized businesses, freeing up your own employees’ time and helping reduce stress and worry. Should you run into problems, though, there’s 24/7 on-site support via phone, live chat and email.
Bluehost is a popular hosting company and its VPS plans have a lot to offer. Both Linux and Windows servers are supported, and the cheapest plan, which costs $17.99/month for the first term, provides you with two cores, 30GB storage, 2GB RAM, 1TB of bandwidth and one IP address. That’s pretty good value in our eyes, although note the price will jump up to $29.99 per month once the first, 36-month term is over.
There’s excellent 24/7 customer support available via ticket or phone, too. Be aware, though, that the latter is only toll-free in the US; customers outside of the States may need to pay international rates. And that may take the edge of the low price you’re getting overall.
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Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, T3, Heat, Company and Bella.
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