(Pocket-lint) – For websites that require high-performance web hosting, a virtual private server (VPS) can provide dedicated server resources without having to spend a fortune on renting an entire dedicated server.
If you have a technically demanding website, such as a WordPress e-commerce site, then you probably want to consider using a VPS rather than a shared hosting plan. Not only will it lead to improved loading speed and performance, it’ll also be easier to scale up in the future without migrating your site to another server. A cloud-based VPS plan can effortlessly grow as your site grows.
Finding the best VPS provider for you may take some deep fishing beyond the few “popular” companies that keep popping up in search results and the same old review lists of “top” providers. The cheapest services out there may leave you hassling with poor support and frequent technical problems, but that doesn’t mean paying a premium price will necessarily guarantee you a better service.
With both affordability and reliability in mind, the following are five companies that offer great value for money when it comes to VPS hosting with the cPanel control panel.
ScalaHosting offers cloud VPS services that are powered by fast enterprise-grade servers. They have three server providers you can choose from: AWS, Digital Ocean, and ScalaHosting’s own data centers. Each of these includes different locations in the USA and other countries.
If you go with the ScalaHosting data center, which is the most affordable option, you’ll be able to build your own custom plan with any amount of each of the three main resources (CPU cores, RAM, SSD disk storage). This is a huge advantage over most other providers that only offer pre-set plans with a fixed amount of resources in each. And in case you need to scale up any individual resource in the future, it can be instantly done from the client area.
Their fully managed VPS plans are a great choice for beginners or those who don’t have the time to handle all of the technical tasks (installations, configurations, updates, security, etc.) on their own. They also have unmanaged (self-managed) VPS plans for those who have advanced technical skills and prefer to manage their server on their own (not recommended for beginners).
For the control panel, you can opt for cPanel, or alternatively save yourself the hefty licensing fees and go with the free SPanel. They have custom-built SPanel to include most of the essential features and tools that cPanel has with a similar simple interface. There are two other useful tools that come with SPanel: SShield with advanced security and real-time threat protection, as well as SWordPress Manager, which includes automatic WordPress installation and updates, WP security lock, and other features.
But it’s not just the technical specs that make this company stand out from the crowd; it’s their amazingly fast and helpful technical support team that is available 24/7 via live chat. Anytime (literally) you run into a problem you’ll find someone on the live chat to offer you instant help. Before you order anything, you can simply start a chat session with their support team and ask a few random questions to get an idea of their response time and level of expertise.
Features and benefits
- A highly reliable cloud infrastructure with fast SSD storage.
- Ability to build your own plan with any amount of each resource.
- Ability to scale each resource on its own with the custom-built plan.
- You can choose between cPanel or the free SPanel alternative.
- WordPress management system and enhanced security with SPanel.
- Optional LiteSpeed web server add-on (faster than Apache).
- Multiple data centers and worldwide server locations.
- Free SSL certificates by Let’s Encrypt.
- Dedicated IP address.
- Instant technical support is available 24/7 via live chat.
- Money-back guarantee for 30 days (excluding any licenses).
Visit the official ScalaHosting website to learn more.
ChemiCloud may not be as popular as some of the dominant companies in the web hosting industry, and that’s partly because instead of focusing on marketing gimmicks, they are more invested in providing excellent services and outstanding technical support to their loyal customer base.
They utilize highly available cloud infrastructure with fast SSD storage, KVM virtualization, DDoS protection and different server locations around the world. Their VPS plans are fully managed so they take care of all software installations, updates, server security, uptime monitoring, etc.
Each VPS plan includes a cPanel Solo license at no extra cost. If you need more than one cPanel account, you have the option to purchase an advanced license. You also get a free LiteSpeed web server license, and if you have a WordPress site, you can take advantage of the LiteSpeed Cache plugin for WP, which can make your site load much faster and consume less server resources.
In terms of cost, this isn’t a particularly cheap provider, but given that you get a fully managed and supported service with free cPanel and LiteSpeed licenses, the higher price is justified.
The support team is available all day long via live chat and they will go the extra mile in helping to resolve any technical issues you encounter with your server or website.
Features and benefits
- Fully managed, cloud-based and scalable VPS plans.
- cPanel and LiteSpeed licenses included for free with each plan.
- Dedicated IP address and private nameservers.
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.
- DDoS protection with network and web application firewalls.
- Remote daily backups (free with the entry-level plan).
- Different server locations to choose from.
- Helpful and friendly support team with instant live chat assistance.
- Money-back guarantee for 15 days (excluding any setup and license fees).
Visit the official ChemiCloud website to learn more.
This is another relatively hidden gem among web hosts. HostArmada offers a variety of web hosting solutions including shared, VPS and dedicated servers, which are all based on highly available and redundant cloud infrastructure.
Each of their cloud VPS plans comes with a cPanel license (5 accounts) for free with optional upgrades for those who require additional accounts. The default server configuration is based on the free Apache web server with NGINX as a reverse proxy server for advanced caching capabilities. If you prefer the LiteSpeed web server instead, you will have to pay a licensing fee.
Real-time protection from malware and other security threats is provided by Imunify360, which is included for free with all VPS packages. They also implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF) that provides additional protection from certain vulnerabilities and cyberattacks.
HostArmada’s VPS hosting is fully managed with proactive uptime and security monitoring and reporting. They have a knowledgeable support team that is active around the clock via live chat. They also offer support over the phone, but the instant live chat option may be more convenient.
Features and benefits
- Fast and redundant cloud servers with SSD storage.
- Free cPanel license for 5 accounts included with each plan.
- Enhanced server-side caching with NGINX reverse proxy.
- Real-time protection from malware, DDoS and brute force attacks.
- Multiple server locations in the USA, Europe and Asia.
- Free local backups and optional paid offsite backups.
- Skilled and fast-responding support team.
- A 7-day money-back guarantee (excluding setup fees).
Visit the official HostArmada website to learn more.
InterServer offers cloud VPS hosting with a flexible pricing model that is based on what they call “slices”. Each slice includes 1 CPU core, 2GB RAM and 30GB SSD storage space. They don’t have any pre-set plans, but rather they allow you to create a custom plan with any number of slices you would like to have. You can add slices to your account at any time when more resources are needed.
A control panel isn’t included by default, but you can add one of three available options: cPanel, Plesk or DirectAdmin. The first two require purchasing a license depending on the number of accounts and domains you intend to create. DirectAdmin comes with a free personal license that allows 1 account and up to 10 domains.
InterServer’s main attraction — besides the solid servers they run — is their significantly low prices. A VPS slice (1 CPU core and 2GB RAM) only costs $6 per month. But before you get too excited, there is a catch here; the service is unmanaged unless you buy 4 or more slices. So, if you only need 1-3 CPU cores, you better have adequate technical experience with server management and system installation because you’ll have to do that on your own.
With 4 slices at a monthly cost of $24, you get a very affordable, managed service. Be advised though that their managed support only covers issues related to the operating system, control panel and web server, but not website-related errors. This is not a very beginner-friendly host, so if you prefer a more involved technical support service, you might want to look elsewhere.
An important thing to note about this company is that they don’t have a money-back guarantee (no refunds) for VPS, so keep that in mind when you place an order with them.
Features and benefits
- Both Linux and Windows VPS available.
- Fast cloud servers with an uptime guarantee.
- Three control panels to choose from, including cPanel as an add-on.
- Flexible VPS with any number of CPU cores from 1 to 16.
- Ability to upgrade resources by adding more slices.
- One of the most affordable VPS providers that is more appealing to tech-savvy users.
Visit the official InterServer website to learn more.
Let’s finish up this list with one of the top-notch hosts on the market. Krystal is a UK-based company that deploys VPS servers across UK and USA data centers. This is not a cheap host that oversells their services to millions of users, but rather a small company that offers premium services and expert support to small business owners.
While the company seems mainly focused on the UK market, they do accept customers from other countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and most European countries. They are not yet open to all countries though.
Krystal’s VPS solution utilizes cloud technology with KVM virtualization and super-fast NVMe SSD storage. Each plan is fully customizable with the option to upgrade or downgrade resources at any time. You can set the amount of each resource independently, so you have total freedom to build your own plan.
Server management and cPanel are not included by default, but are available as add-ons. Their server management service is a little costly but you get fast support from real experts based in the UK, as opposed to the poor outsourced support that often comes with cheap hosts. Managed support is only available when cPanel is included. They can assist with any technical issues related to the software that runs your VPS, but they don’t assist with website-related issues, such as WordPress errors.
Features and benefits
- Fully customizable and scalable cloud VPS.
- Fast NVMe SSD storage and unlimited bandwidth.
- Servers located in the UK and USA with DDoS protection.
- A transparent company run by professionals.
- Quick live chat support by an experienced UK-based team.
- A 60-day money-back guarantee.
Visit the official Krystal website to learn more.
Which VPS provider to choose?
Well, you can’t go wrong with any of these five hosts. Each has very reliable services with different features and prices, so it really comes down to your specific requirements and how much you are willing to spend.
The most noteworthy advantage that ScalaHosting and Krystal have over the other providers is that if you go with their custom VPS plan, you will later be able to upgrade any of the resources individually without having to upgrade to a whole new plan. This can result in massive savings in your web hosting bill.
Also note that in addition to VPS, each of the above-mentioned companies has affordable shared hosting plans, so if you are not 100% certain you need a VPS yet, you can start with a smaller shared plan and see how it goes from there.
How we selected the best VPS hosting providers
Everyone may have their own criteria when it comes to determining whether a certain VPS host is the right fit or not. Technical requirements can dramatically vary from one customer to another and from one site to another, so you’ll likely have to weigh up a few different options.
The methodology we followed in choosing and ranking the VPS providers listed above was centered around some of the main features that are commonly considered essential in a reliable web hosting service. The following are the main factors we assessed in our selection process.
If you are going to trust a company with your website, your personal data, and possibly your customers’ data, then you first better make sure they are a trustworthy choice. Some companies are long-established in the industry and have maintained an excellent reputation for many years, while others may be run by a couple of amateurs based in who knows where! You want to ensure that you are dealing with a real company that is run by professionals and operates professionally and transparently.
Many web hosts have different data centers in different locations. Each data center may have different specifications for the type of hardware, network capacity, power supply, and security measures that they have in place. A reliable host should work with data centers that run state-of-the-art equipment with redundant power and maximum security measures.
In addition to hardware specs, it’s important to consider the software technology and network security tools that are implemented. VPS solutions that are built on cloud technology are more popular these days for the increased reliability and scalability they provide over traditional VPS solutions.
Each user may have a different list of features that are important to them, but in general, some of the most important things to look for include: SSD storage (much faster data transfer than traditional HDD storage), a control panel (cPanel is preferred by most site owners), SSL certificates, dedicated IP, backups, etc.
Uptime is one of the most crucial metrics to take into account when choosing a web hosting service. Everything else is useless if your website can’t be kept up and running at all times. A perfect 100% uptime may be impossible to achieve (at least not without a CDN) because of inevitable routine maintenance/updates, but these should normally not cause any major downtime.
You definitely don’t want to be dealing with any hours-long downtime instances as those can be very frustrating for you and possibly very damaging to your online business. The best hosting companies out there proactively monitor their systems day and night to prevent and quickly fix and downtime.
No website owner should sit waiting for several hours, let alone days, when they are in critical need of technical assistance. Maybe that was acceptable in 1999, but nowadays, anything more than a two-hour response time for support requests is considered slow. Companies that value their customers should provide them with instant technical support that is available 24/7, preferably via live chat.
But it’s not all about response time, it has to be a thorough and helpful response with an actual solution, not just some useless copy-paste text that you’ve probably already read in a self-help article. Companies that have an outstanding support service may charge higher prices, but may also save you a lot of unnecessary hassle and headaches down the road.
Finding honest reviews of web hosting companies can be a little tricky with the overwhelming number of review sites being owned by affiliates who are often biased in their opinions. They usually try to push one or more of the companies that pay them the highest commissions regardless of anything else. In order to find more impartial reviews from real customers who actually used the service, we searched non-affiliated webmaster communities as well as some trusted review sites, such as Trustpilot and Serchen.
How does a VPS work?
VPS stands for virtual private server. It is called virtual because it is not a stand-alone physical server, but rather a specified portion of the server’s hardware that virtually (in terms of software) acts like a separate server. One physical server can be split up into several virtual servers by means of a virtualization technology, such as KVM, Xen or OpenVZ.
Although multiple VPS accounts can be sharing the same underlying server hardware, each of them has its own fully dedicated potion of the server’s resources, including CPU cores, RAM and disk space. Each VPS operates in complete isolation and independence from the others and can run its own operating system and any other software required.
A VPS is more flexible, scalable and affordable than a fully dedicated server. It’s also easier to manage and usually comes with pre-installed and pre-configured software, so your website can be up and running almost instantly.
The different types of VPS hosting explained
VPS hosting is more versatile than shared hosting and can be used for many other purposes than just hosting a website. Determining the right type of VPS to use may be a little confusing for beginners, but fret not, the following is a simple breakdown and explanation of the main types of VPS hosting on the market today.
When you purchase a managed VPS plan, it means that all of the essential management, maintenance and monitoring tasks will be handled by the provider. Things like installing and configuring the OS, control panel, CDN, backups and other technical tasks will be taken care of for you while you can focus more on growing your site and business.
This is an ideal option for both beginners and also experienced users who want to save themselves a considerable amount of time and trouble. On the downside, managed VPS is considerably more costly and may have some limitations, e.g. no full root access to the server.
Also known as self-managed VPS, this type of VPS hosting costs less than the managed counterpart, but comes with very limited or even no technical support. This option is more suitable for the tech-savvy users who know how to use the Linux command line and have experience with server setup and management.
You will have to install and configure all of the server’s software yourself starting from the OS, web server, control panel and whatnot. You will be responsible for securing your server and constantly monitoring its uptime and performance. If you experience any software-related problems, then don’t expect any help from the support team.
The host will only be responsible for making sure that the server’s hardware remains functional while the rest is your job. Most of the cheap VPS servers are either unmanaged or minimally managed, so make sure you fully understand what you’re signing up for and what level of support is included.
Linux is by far the most commonly used operating system for web servers. The Linux OS is more customizable, more cost-effective, more secure, and performs better in a server environment than its closest competitor: the Windows OS. Many web hosting applications and services are designed and optimized to work with Linux. For example, the cPanel control panel only works on servers running certain distributions of the Linux OS.
Not all Linux distributions are suitable for use with a VPS though. The most commonly used distributions for web servers are: CentOS, AlmaLinux, Ubuntu, Debian and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Windows Server is a commercial operating system which is often used when working with applications that are primarily designed to work on Windows, such as MS SQL, MS Exchange, ASP.net, and others. Because of the relatively high licensing fee of Windows Server and its tendency to consume more hardware resources, it isn’t a very popular choice and it’s almost exclusively used when working with Windows-only apps.
KVM stands for kernel-based virtual machine. It is a virtualization solution for Linux that is used to divide the physical server into several virtual machines, aka virtual private servers. Each of these is fully isolated and runs independently from the other VPS instances on the same physical server.
A few different virtualization technologies are used to create VPS instances, and KVM is currently the standard option that is favored by most providers of Linux-based servers. Some of the main advantages of KVM include: complete isolation, full resource allocation and management, great performance and improved security.
Tips for finding the right VPS provider
Beginners who are used to shared web hosting environments may find it a little intimidating to make the switch to VPS hosting, but once you get the hang of the basics, it quickly becomes second nature.
There are lots of various technical details that should be considered as you search for the right VPS host. The following are some general tips that can help you make the right choice.
Tip 1: Managed VPS can save you a lot of time and trouble, especially if you have no or limited experience in running web servers.
Tip 2: Solid-state drives (SSDs) are estimated to be 10 to 20 times faster than regular hard disk drives (HDDs) and result in a noticeable difference in site loading speed. SSD storage may cost a little more, but the difference in performance will be totally worth it.
Tip 3: Cloud-based VPS is more cost-effective and flexible than traditional VPS. Most providers that use cloud technology guarantee a near 100% uptime. Cloud VPS can also be instantly scaled up or down without any significant downtime.
Tip 4: CentOS and AlmaLinux are the most recommended free operating systems for VPSs running a web servers. These two Linux distributions work best with cPanel.
Tip 5: Most VPS installations come with the free Apache web server. If you want a faster web server software, you should consider upgrading to LiteSpeed. When coupled with the free LiteSpeed Cache plugin, it can significantly improve the performance and loading speed of a WordPress site.
Tip 6: Look for VPS plans that include a backup service. Automatic daily backups stored on a remote server would be the safest option, but may cost extra.
Although cPanel is arguably the best control panel with its rich features and ease of use, there are some decent free alternatives that offer similar functionalities and will save you a lot of money down the road. Consider trying out alternative control panels, such as SPanel and other custom-built ones.
VPS hosting comes with dedicated resources and a completely isolated server environment, leading to better performance and security. Most websites experience significant improvement in loading speed and overall performance when switching from shared hosting to a VPS.
Thanks to increasing competition, the cost of VPS hosting has been steadily dropping as of late, and it’s easier than ever to find plenty of decent and affordable providers of this type of hosting. Above, we collected five of the best VPS hosts, compared the main types of VPS hosting and listed some essential tips to keep in mind when shopping for a VPS.
Disclaimer: This brand story was provided by Geeky Way. The author may receive a commission if you make a purchase through one of the links in the article above at no additional cost to you. All opinions expressed herein are those of the author and none of the companies mentioned in this article paid us to be included here.
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