The best VPS hosting providers in 2021 – Tom’s Guide

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Utilizing the best VPS hosting is a great middle ground for many businesses, as virtual private servers offer the benefits of shared and dedicated hosting without the disadvantages. While shared hosting is beginner-friendly and cheap, it’s less versatile, functional, and scalable for what growing businesses need.

Dedicated servers meanwhile are ideal for not sharing resources, but are both complex to set up and comparatively expensive. The best VPS hosting providers give you a physical server that you share with other customers, but not only is it less crowded than a shared hosting server would be, you’re allocated your own share of CPU cores, RAM, bandwidth and storage space.

This means that, importantly, should other users experience spikes in traffic, this won’t negatively affect you or your site. In turn, you can choose the operating system and software, so you have more freedom and power than with shared hosting. Costs depend entirely on your requirements, ranging from a few dollars to hundreds a month.

Management tools such as cPanel are included with most hosts’ packages, making it easier to set up and administer a VPS if you want to handle things yourself. Many of the best web hosting services offer managed services too, including configuration and maintenance of servers, so you can focus on your site and customers.

There are hundreds of VPS providers out there fighting for your business, and so the difficult choice of provider can affect site performance. Here, we’ve compared packages from the best VPS hosting services, so that you’ve got a great place from which to start.

What is the best VPS hosting service? 

Our choice for the best VPS hosting is Bluehost. A time-tested provider and industry heavyweight, Bluehost is one of the few hosting providers specifically recommended by WordPress. It has above-average load times and uptimes, relatively low fees, and 24/7 live chat support.

Close behind is Hostinger’s VPS plans, which are fantastic value for money, with one of the best resource-to-price ratios. The computing power, bandwidth allocation, and storage space you get are all great, and you can choose from 10 hosting plans. 

Getting the best price requires paying for 48 months in advance, so if you’re not willing to make such a long commitment, we recommend InMotion Hosting instead. Though it’s more expensive, the pricing plans are straightforward and well specified.

If you have a specific VPS configuration in mind, Hostwinds may be the best choice. It has 10 VPS plans to choose from, and supports many Linux distributions. Where other hosts typically charge much more for Windows installations, Hostwinds adds a mere $5 a month.

For managed VPS hosting, we recommend Liquid Web. Again, it’s not the cheapest, but it’s known for its outstanding server speed and stability. Liquid Web is one of the few hosts around with a 100% uptime guarantee, and it has three state-of-the-art data centers in Arizona, Lansing, and Michigan.

The best VPS hosting services available

Bluehost logo

Bluehost’s legacy and position in the market stand it apart (Image credit: Bluehost)

1. Bluehost

Solid performance and feature-packed plans

Reasons to buy

+Consistent performance +Excellent customer support

Reasons to avoid

Expensive add-ons 

Bluehost is one of the world’s largest web hosting companies, serving over two million domains from its 50,000-square-foot facility in Utah. For VPS hosting, you can choose from three plans, all of which come with SSL (secure sockets layer) certification, cPanel, and a domain for one year. You can set up unlimited email accounts and sub-domains.

The cheapest option has an introductory rate of $18.99 a month, which becomes $29.99 on renewal. For this, you’ll get a static IP address, two CPU cores, 2GB of RAM, 30GB of SSD storage, and 1TB of bandwidth. The most expensive Ultimate plan is $59.99 for the first term, rising to $119.99 a month on renewal. With the Ultimate plan, you get two IP addresses, four CPU cores, 8GB of RAM, 120GB of SSD storage, and 3TB of bandwidth.

Optional add-ons like domain privacy, domain protection, and automatic malware scans are relatively expensive, so factor the costs of these extras into your calculations if you need them. Bluehost has 24/7 live chat support and a toll-free US support number.

To learn more about the provider, read our Bluehost review.

Hostinger logo

Hostinger’s pricing is both inexpensive and very flexible depending on your needs (Image credit: Hostinger)

2. Hostinger

Flexible and inexpensive long-term VPS plans

Reasons to buy

+Great price, particularly if you pay for multiple years up front +Good range of plans

Reasons to avoid

Expensive if you don’t choose a long-term plan 

Hostinger has been providing excellent hosting service since 2004, and its VPS hosting is second to none. You can choose from six VPS hosting plans. With the lowest tier plan, you get one CPU, 1GB of RAM, 20GB of storage, and 1TB of bandwidth. Higher-tier plans give you more—up to eight CPUs, 8GB of RAM, 160GB of storage, and 8TB of bandwidth.

Plans are good value and can be more affordable if you commit to multiple years of service. You can get the single-CPU plan for the equivalent of $3.95 a month if you pay for the first 48 months in advance, but after that, the plan renews at $8.16 a month. Opt for the most powerful eight-CPU plan, and you’ll pay the equivalent of $29.95 a month if you buy 48 months up front. After that, you’ll pay $65.56 a month. 

A Hostinger VPS will have a dedicated IP and IPv6 support, and be hosted on a 100Mb/s network. Linux users can choose between Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, Debian, and SUSE. 

In addition, the company has a 24/7 live chat service if you run into any issues. The low price of Hostinger’s long-term VPS plans is what tempts most people to try its service, and with its 30-day full refund policy, you can do so without worry. Read our Hostinger review to learn more about the platform and what we made of it.

InMotion Hosting logo

InMotion Hosting’s VPS plans provide excellent value for money (Image credit: InMotion Hosting)

3. InMotion Hosting

Feature-packed plans and great support

Reasons to buy

+Plans are all well specified +Useful extra features rarely found elsewhere 

Reasons to avoid

Relatively expensive

VPS hosting providers know that a low headline rate attracts potential customers, but they have to use a few tricks to keep costs so low. Sometimes the physical hardware used is underpowered, particularly on entry-level VPS plans. 

Often, important features such as cPanel administration and backups are add-ons that you’ll need to buy, raising the price significantly. It’s also common to offer an attractive introductory price if the buyer pays multiple years up front, only to hike the price substantially when the honeymoon period is over.

InMotion Hosting takes a different approach. The basic VPS plan from InMotion Hosting costs $29.99 a month over two years, which is far from the cheapest option around. However, the plan includes three dedicated IPs, 4GB of RAM, 75GB of storage, 4TB of bandwidth, backups, a cPanel license, and a 90-day money-back guarantee. You get much more for your money with InMotion.

The host also offers interesting features seldom found elsewhere. Unlocked CPU cores let you spread your processing load across all the server cores, instead of being locked down to one or two cores. This can mean a big performance boost for multi-threaded processing tasks.

InMotion Hosting also offers Launch Assist, which is included for free on all managed VPS servers or available for $99 on other plans. You get a two-hour consultation from a server administrator, who will help you move your site to InMotion, migrate the domain name, configure cPanel, and install applications.

InMotion Hosting is a professional VPS provider with well-specified plans, great technical support, and a 90-day money-back guarantee. To find out more about the company’s hosting provisions, read our full InMotion Hosting review.

Hostwinds logo

Extensive configuration and customization sets Hostwinds apart (Image credit: Hostwinds)

4. Hostwinds

Choose from a huge range of configurable plans

Reasons to buy

+Extensive choice +Configure your VPS as you see fit 

Reasons to avoid

Underpowered entry-level plan 

Hostwinds has 10 VPS hosting plans that can appeal to everyone, from first-time users to big businesses. The entry-level tier is just $12.74 a month, but it’s somewhat underpowered (one CPU core, 1GB of RAM, 30GB of disk space, and 1TB of traffic.) You can add extras like cloud backups and basic server monitoring for $6 a month.

Most businesses would need something more like the Tier Four plan from Hostwinds. At $42.74 a month, it comes with two CPU cores, 6GB of RAM, 100GB of disk space, and 2TB of RAM.

The Tier Ten plan initially costs $431.24 a month and includes 16 CPU cores, 96GB of RAM, 750GB of storage, and 9TB of traffic. This is overkill for just about everyone, but gives you an idea of how scalable Hostwinds is.

All plans have interesting configuration options. For example, you can choose from the usual Linux distributions, such as Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS, but you can also choose Windows Server 2008, 2012, or 2016. Installing Windows only costs an extra $5 a month, which is great value.

Our Hostwinds review provides more detail on the provider and its other hosting plans.

Liquid Web logo

Liquid Web offers a comprehensive product focused on performance, support, and quality (Image credit: Liquid Web)

5. Liquid Web

Outstanding quality, support, and uptime—at a price

Reasons to buy

+Highly configurable +Fantastic support team 

Liquid Web has been offering managed hosting solutions for over 20 years and now has over 32,000 customers worldwide and over half a million websites.

You probably don’t want to choose Liquid Web just for the price; it’s a more comprehensive product that focuses on quality, performance, and support. The cheapest VPS plan is the equivalent of $80 a month if you pay annually, but it comes with a generous four CPU cores, 2GB of RAM, 100GB of SSD storage space, 100GB backup space, and a massive 10TB of bandwidth.

You can configure your VPS with Debian 8, CentOS 6, Ubuntu 14.04, or Ubuntu 16.04, and you have a choice of control panels, such as cPanel, Plesk, and InterWorx.

More importantly, Liquid Web’s VPS are managed products. The hosting company will fully support the base operating system that you install, and it will proactively restore services that have failed for any reason, at no extra cost.

Liquid Web also has outstanding customer support, with 24/7, 365 days a year phone and chat support that has a 59-second initial response guarantee.

Consider Liquid Web even if you’re not bowled over by its headline prices, because it’s cheaper than many others when you account for all the extra features. Having arguably the best technical support in the business available to you at any time can make running your VPS a breeze. Find out more about Liquid Web in our Liquid Web review.

Richard Sutherland

Richard brings over 20 years of website development, SEO, and marketing to the table. A graduate in Computer Science, Richard has lectured in Java programming and has built software for companies including Samsung and ASDA. Now, he writes for TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, PC Gamer, and Creative Bloq.