The Best VPS Web Hosting
The best virtual private server (VPS) web hosts have nearly flawless uptimes, great 24/7 customer service, easy upgrade paths, and low fees. That's why we put each of the top web hosts through a gauntlet of third-party verified uptime testing, and then repeatedly contacted their customer service departments, looking for who offered the best all-around VPS hosting plans at the most reasonable cost.
99.98% average uptime (the best of any web host we tested) and easy to upgrade plans.
99.95% average uptime and industry-leading customer service.
Virtual private server (VPS) web hosting offers more space and more security than shared hosting, and for only a slightly higher cost. Each website hosted on a VPS receives its own allocation of memory that’s not affected by other websites on the server, no matter how much traffic they’re receiving. This allows for more reliable speeds than shared web hosting while still keeping monthly costs down – at least when compared to paying for a dedicated server, which offers the highest guaranteed speeds of any web hosting service.
GoDaddy came out on top during our testing, with five VPS hosting plans that offer a super-reliable 99.98 percent average uptime and range dramatically in available storage space. That’s exactly the kind of consistency and flexibility that a growing business’s site demands, and since GoDaddy is also our top pick for Best Dedicated Web Host, you’ll want to stick with it even when your business outgrows its VPS server. A close second in the VPS category, and a great choice for those new to VPS hosting, was our overall winner for Best Web Host, InMotion Hosting. It simply can’t be beat when it comes to customer service, but it also offers a slightly less consistent average uptime of 99.95 percent, and only three VPS plans.
How We Found the Best VPS Hosting
The same criteria we used in our Best Overall Web Host review applied to our search for the best VPS web host. We only looked at services that hit all of our benchmarks in our initial test, which means that our final contenders had to have an average third party-verified server uptime of at least 99.95 percent, an exceptional knowledge base and 24/7 customer service, as well as transparency in terms of pricing and an easy upgrade path – meaning that you can upgrade to another VPS plan with more RAM and storage, or a separate dedicated server entirely. Having already done the research and arrived at eight final contenders that scored highly in all of these categories, we then focused on what makes a great VPS web host different from a great shared or dedicated web host.
GoDaddy Web Hosting, InMotion Hosting, Bluehost, Media Temple, FatCow, GoDaddy, HostGator, iPower
When Should You Upgrade to a VPS Host? If you anticipate your site receiving more than a few thousand visitors per day, you'll want to go with a VPS web host over a shared one. If you start to get tens of thousands of daily visitors, both GoDaddy and InMotion Hosting will allow you to easily upgrade to a dedicated server later, too.
Server uptime was key. Time is money, and uptime is no different. Once your business starts attracting consistent traffic, any time your server is down – even if it’s just a few minutes per day – it’s time that your customers won’t be able to access your website. That’s why we required an average uptime of at least 99.95 percent between Webhostingstuff.net and Uptime.besthostratings.com, two well-known third party web host verification sites. Of our contenders, GoDaddy proved the most reliable with an average server uptime of 99.98 percent.
We also looked for easy to upgrade plans. One of the most important elements of a VPS host is flexibility – the ability to adapt to a business that hasn’t stopped growing and whose demands may not be entirely predictable. With that in mind, we focused on finding a VPS host that offered multiple VPS hosting plans for users to choose from as well as dedicated sever hosting plans, all of which range dramatically in both price and available storage space.
Then we assessed each web host’s customer service. The internet is not infallible, and something is bound to go wrong with your site at some point – and when it does, you’re going to want help fast, so you don’t lose any more business than you have to while your site is out of commission. That’s why we only considered web hosts with 24/7 customer service. But we went even further than that, contacting our final contenders again (we had already called and grilled their customer service departments once for our best overall web hosting review) to see how quickly and honestly they could answer our queries. Once again, InMotion Hosting earned our highest mark, with an agent named Patrick O. hopping on chat within seconds to answer our questions about upgrade paths. GoDaddy also ranked highly, but didn’t have as quick of response times.
Our Picks for the Best VPS Hosting
With five VPS hosting plans to choose from, GoDaddy is one of the most flexible web hosts out there – enabling you to easily expand your web hosting service at the same rate as your business. It’s reliable, too, with a rock-solid average third party-verified server uptime of 99.98 percent. Throw in the fact that each plan comes with unlimited domains and emails, and you’ve got a host that will start you off strong and keep up as your business grows.
Self-Managed vs. Managed Servers Every server needs regular updating to stay secure from online threats and to ensure they're running with optimum performance. With self-managed servers, it's up to you to do the updates. With a managed server, your web host does this regular maintenance.
One of the things we love about GoDaddy is its pricing model, which rewards loyalty by offering significant discounts (up to 30 percent, in some cases) on 12- and 24-month plan packages. And it’s not as if GoDaddy is trying to lock you into a service you don’t love. The company’s 30-day money-back guarantee offers plenty of time to get acquainted with the ins and outs of your plan before committing long-term; just take note that it only applies to plans of 12 months or longer.
Get beyond the pricing and into the actual service, though, and that’s where GoDaddy really shines. We can’t emphasize that stellar 99.98 percent uptime enough, but it’s only part of the company’s wide-ranging appeal. You’ll also get to choose between a self-managed or managed server, the latter of which includes patching, security monitoring, malware removal, backups, and a straightforward cPanel backend. If you’re not already a pro at handling your own server, we highly recommend going with the managed option for $10 more each month. Once you’ve signed up with GoDaddy, you might want to start off with the basic Economy package, which offers 1GB of RAM and 40GB of storage on a managed server for $29.99. As your website grows, you’ll be able to upgrade to a plan that better suits your needs; the $99.99 Ultimate plan, for example, comes with a hefty 8GB of RAM and 240GB of storage.
If you’re new to web hosting and want a steady hand to hold, we recommend a VPS plan from InMotion Hosting. With one of the easiest on-boarding processes of all of our top contenders and a refreshingly straightforward signup page that doesn’t make you question what you’re getting yourself into, InMotion gets your site up and running faster than any other host we tested. The average uptime is an impressive 99.95 percent, which doesn’t quite match GoDaddy’s 99.98 percent mark, but still ranks it among the best.
InMotion’s VPS hosting starts at $29.99 per month (4GB of RAM and 60GB of storage), which is the same price as GoDaddy’s entry-level plans, but tops out at a very reasonable $74.99 per month (8GB of RAM and 200GB of storage). Like GoDaddy, InMotion also offers unlimited emails and domains, though Windows-dependent users will have to look elsewhere, as only Linux servers are available. With that said, those Linux servers come loaded with helpful features including SSD (solid-state drive) storage for all hosting plans, making your site’s backend more reliable than hosts who still use traditional hard disks. And because a growing business can’t afford to stay down for long, InMotion offers automatic site backup and free file restoration in case something does go wrong.
The most compelling reason to choose InMotion, however, may be the US-based customer service department. We were impressed by these folks in our initial review, but our admiration grew even more when we pestered them about upgrade paths and received a friendly, detailed answer within minutes. Representative Patrick O. assured us that customers “can upgrade at any time” and that InMotion “will move all data to the new server for free with zero downtime,” which gives them even more points for ease-of-use.
What Type of Web Hosting Do You Really Need?
Small businesses may be able to skirt by with a shared hosting plan in which they share a server’s storage and processing power with hundreds of other websites, but shared hosts have their drawbacks. Most shared hosts work on a “first come, first served” model; whoever gets to the memory first gets to use as much as they please. If just a few of the other websites on your server start picking up more traffic, it could make your site run significantly slower.
If you’re building a brand-new website and need some time to get it off the ground, shared hosting is a good place to start.
You’ll always be able to upgrade to a VPS later, however, and you’ll be able to tell quickly if a shared web host is noticeably slowing down traffic for your customers. Conversely, if your business does massive traffic and is willing to pay a high price for optimal versatility, a dedicated web host probably makes more sense. Both GoDaddy and InMotion Hosting allow you to quickly and easily upgrade your plans whenever you want, whether that’s just bumping up RAM and storage on a VPS, or eventually moving over to a dedicated server.
If you run a mid-sized businesses, a VPS server may be right where you want to be, allowing you to expand gradually while still keeping monthly costs down when compared to a dedicated server. Each website on a VPS server receives an independent allocation of memory, so if you sign up for an 8GB plan through GoDaddy, for example, that’s exactly what you can expect to receive.