Best VPS hosting for 2021 – CNET

So you’ve created a basic website and traffic is suddenly surging, or you’ve added an online store or other capabilities, and need to upgrade your plan. Now might be time to consider virtual private server hosting — a web hosting option that gets you more resources in terms of storage, CPU, RAM and bandwidth so your site continues to run smoothly as it grows. 

Here, we take a close look at some of the best VPS hosting services available, including DreamHost, A2Hosting, GoDaddy Web Hosting and more. We focused on companies that provide 24/7 support and a variety of hosting plan options.

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What is VPS hosting?

There are three basic tiers to remote hosting options:

  • Shared hosting: Typically the most basic, least expensive plan available from a web host provider, which many people building a website start off with. While a shared hosting provider should have everything you need for a personal or small business site, you are sharing resources with others on the same server, so if your site grows, you may need a different plan.
  • VPS hosting: Essentially a step up from shared hosting, VPS allows you to get similar capabilities and performance to a dedicated server for your site, without going up to a pricier dedicated server service. There are two types of VPS hosting: managed and unmanaged (more below). 
  • Dedicated server hosting: Typically the most expensive plan available from a web host provider, a dedicated server host hosts only one website, not multiple ones. That means you don’t have to share any resources with other sites, so you’ll get far better performance.

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When should you choose VPS hosting over shared hosting?

Shared hosting works best for smaller sites that don’t get lots of traffic or require many resources. Many people creating a website for the first time start with a shared plan. However, if you find that your site has suddenly gotten larger, whether in terms of traffic or adding an online store, or you’re becoming concerned about security or performance, it’s probably time to upgrade to a VPS plan. 

What’s the difference between unmanaged and managed VPS hosting? 

A managed VPS hosting service is typically more expensive, but is best for those with less technical backgrounds as it lets the company take care of the software and system updates you request. An unmanaged VPS hosting service means the hosting provider is only responsible for the physical server and making sure it’s available — you’ll need to take care of maintenance, upgrades and software installation. 

How we chose the best VPS hosting service

It’s important to note that we didn’t explicitly “test” the VPS hosting provider options on this list. Instead, we compiled a competitive overview based on a variety of factors, including third-party ratings and features offered by each web hosting company and shared hosting provider. We’ve also weighted the rankings of each hosting service by the Better Business Bureau and TrustPilot. 

The VPS host vendors on this list all have a rating of A or higher from the Better Business Bureau, and a rating of 3.8 or higher out of 5 from TrustPilot. With the exception of three vendors with between 300 to 400 pieces of user feedback, all of the TrustPilot rankings are based on at least 1,000 user reviews. All of the vendors listed in our top picks also say they offer 24/7 support and an uptime guarantee of 99% or better.

Important caveats you should keep in mind: The Better Business Bureau does not rate companies outside of North America, and to be BBB Accredited, companies have to pay a fee to the organization. TrustPilot, meanwhile, also offers a paid tier that provides companies more interaction with their user ratings. It also removed 2.2 million fake reviews in 2020.

A note on pricing: We’ve made every effort to verify that the prices listed here were accurate at the time of last publication. However, prices in this category are subject to frequent fluctuations and they’re consistently subject to special offers and limited deals. Furthermore, many of the prices listed here reflect the monthly rates if you prepay for 12 months of service or more. Please click through to the vendors in question to verify current pricing at any given time.

Best VPS hosting providers

DreamHost

  • Managed virtual private server hosting starting at $10 a month

With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and 4.8 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot, DreamHost is one of our most recommended web hosting providers for several reasons. First, it offers a custom control panel, which allows you to more easily manage your own hosting. While live phone customer support isn’t available 24/7, the provider is responsive to live chat and tickets. DreamHost also uses superfast SSDs for all its storage, has a free SSL certificate (for more secure web browsing) and provides SSH access for those plans that are intended for more technical users.

Other things we like about Dreamhost: It offers free shared website and email hosting to 501(c)(3) nonprofits. For all others, the pricing is pretty transparent — there are no hidden gotchas in the rates. Plus, it provides a 97-day money-back guarantee, one of the most generous offers available.

SiteGround

SiteGround has an A+ rating from the BBB and 4.7 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot. It sits in the middle ground between a consumer web hosting provider and one that caters to businesses. If you’ve got a small business with more complex web needs than is typical, SiteGround is ideal — and if your business ends up expanding, the service has options to grow with you. 

Although offerings start as low as $7 a month, if you go up to its GoGeek plan you’ll get several other useful features, including access to a staging server and one-click Git repo creation. All of its plans include SSL, daily backup, CDN, email, unmetered traffic and unlimited databases. It also differs from some other services in that it sets limits on bandwidth and storage up front, whereas most others claim to be unlimited bandwidth or unmetered bandwidth but have rules in the fine print (more on that below). You’ll also get a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 100% renewable energy match. 

SiteGround’s managed cloud hosting plan is a little different to other VPS plans — it’s a fully managed option, and offers more hardware control and availability, and more responsive provisioning, hence the higher price tag.

As is the case with most other services, if you want to get the lowest price, you’ll have to pay for a year of service in advance. After that year, the price will go up. Support includes 24/7 live chat and phone access, and tickets that are answered in an average of 15 minutes.

GreenGeeks

  • Managed virtual private server hosting starting at $40 a month

GreenGeeks has an A rating from the BBB and 3.9 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot. If you’ve ever been worried about the tremendous amount of power large data centers consume, you might want to check out this service. The “green” in the company’s name reflects GreenGeeks’ commitment to the environment. It buys three times the energy it actually uses in wind energy credits, essentially putting energy back into the economy. The company does this through a form of renewable energy certificates, which, while complicated, means that it’s not just energy neutral, it’s actually helping fuel the green energy economy.

Even though it’s green, GreenGeeks still offers a lot of power for your websites. Its basic shared web hosting plan offers unlimited web space and email accounts, unmetered data transfer, an SSL certificate, a free domain name for the first year, a nightly backup, CDN and a 30-day money-back guarantee. It also offers live chat and email support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It has phone support most hours of the day.

GreenGeeks is one of the more developer-friendly web hosting providers, too, with multiple PHP versions and Git preinstalled.

GoDaddy

  • Unmanaged virtual private server hosting starting at $5 a month

GoDaddy has an A+ rating from the BBB and 4 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot. While the site is perhaps best known for buying domain names, it also offers a variety of web hosting services, including WordPress, WordPress ecommerce and reseller hosting. However, it does not offer cloud hosting. 

The service’s most basic shared hosting plan includes unmetered bandwidth, one-click WordPress install, a domain and Office 365 email (for the first year).

GoDaddy offers 24/7 phone support and live chat support as well.

IONOS

  • Unmanaged virtual private server hosting starting at $2 a month 
  • Managed virtual private server hosting starting at $40 a month (for first six months)

Ionos from 1&1 has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and a TrustPilot score of 4 out of 5. It’s targeted at small and medium-sized businesses, with a focus on taking your first steps online or scaling up. You’ll find several different hosting plans and options, including WordPress hosting, email hosting and domain names and transfers. Just be careful when it comes to pricing — a lot of the hosting package rates seem low, but go up after a certain amount of time.

Hostinger

  • Virtual private server hosting starting at $4 a month

  • Windows virtual private server hosting starting at $26 a month

Hostinger is based in Lithuania, so it does not have a BBB page (that organization only lists US-based businesses). However, it does have a TrustPilot rating of 4.3 out of 5 with more than 2,000 reviews.

Hostinger offers several different plans with a variety of pricing tiers (though many of the prices listed above are for the most basic form of the service, and may not include all the features you want). It’s also got email hosting and a website builder, and a 30-day money back guarantee.

A2 Hosting

  • Unmanaged virtual private server hosting starting at $5 a month

  • Managed virtual private server hosting at $40 a month

A2 Hosting has an A+ rating from the BBB and 4.3 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot. The company does a lot of things right: With every plan, the web hosting service includes SSD, site migration, an SSL certificate and CloudFlare CDN (a group of servers worldwide that automatically determines the best route to connect visitors to your site for increased speed and security). Its Anycast DNS solution duplicates DNS records across its global network, increasing site performance, according to the site.

Customer support is also strong: A2 Hosting’s Guru Grew support team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by phone, email, online chat or ticket. 

Like most web hosting providers, the published pricing is a bit misleading: The shared cheap web hosting price tag of $3 a month is only available if you sign up for the three-year plan and pay upfront. It offers a 30-day money back guarantee or a prorated refund for unused service after that point.

HostWinds

  • Unmanaged virtual private server hosting starting at $5 a month

  • Managed virtual private server hosting starting at $8.24 a month

Hostwinds has an A rating from the BBB and 4.1 out of 5 stars from TrustPilot. Its web hosting offerings are best suited for business owners, with specific business hosting plans and reseller hosting plans. Hostwinds also offers managed or unmanaged virtual private server hosting for Windows and Linux. 

The service’s shared hosting plans include a number of features, like SSDs, free website transfers, unlimited domains, email accounts and databases, a free SSL certificate and a Weebly site builder.

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