VPS, or virtual private server hosting, is the next step up from shared web hosting. Many high-traffic websites or rapidly-growing companies soon find that their shared environments are slow, buggy, or simply unsafe. This is where you take the next step.

Our top picks were chosen based on the features they offer, included extras, customer service, website speed, and price. In fact, our number 1 and 2 choices were very difficult. While our #2 choice Media Temple did the best in all of our tests, Blue host did everything nearly as good but cost about $20/month less. So overall, we consider it a better value.

Our Picks For The Best VPS Providers:

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Who Didn’t Make The List:

We weren’t a fan of Interserver’s VPS offerings. We were initially attracted to their low prices ($6/month for Linux and $10/month for Windows!). But their layout is bare bones. You need to be comfortable with terminal commands and setting up WHM (Web Host Manager) by yourself. If you have tech expertise and want to use it to save you some cash, then by all means give Interserver a try. But for most folks it’s way too technical.

How to Choose the Best Hosting For Your Situation:

You started your business website using shared web hosting, with the goal of one day operating your website on a dedicated web hosting platform. On the road to operating your business website from a dedicated server, you realize that you must make an intermediate web hosting stop.

Welcome to virtual private server (VPS) hosting

best vps hosting companies

VPS operates on many of the same principles that define dedicated web hosting platforms. However, instead of operating your website from a dedicated server, you share the same server with other entrepreneurs and business owners. The difference between shared and VPS web hosting is the server you share on a VPS platform dedicates some of its resources exclusively to running your business website. Think of VPS web hosting like you think of a succulent pie. You eat from the same pie as others, but your slice is exclusively yours to consume.

VPS web hosting provides several benefits you don’t enjoy by operating on a shared web hosting platform:

  • Privacy
  • Control
  • Customization
  • Dedicated Resources

The best part is VPS web hosting doesn’t cost that much more than the cost of a shared web hosting plan. You just need to know more about operating a website to reap the benefits of enhanced web hosting features.

Management of a VPS Plan

When you opt for shared web hosting, you leave all of the server management responsibilities up to the shared web hosting company (i.e. restarting a crashed server, using the Web Host Manager interface). The management of the web server changes dramatically the moment you sign on with a VPS provider.  Managed VPS services, of course, cost more than the cost of unmanaged VPS services, but the cost is well worth it for business operators that don’t possess enough technical skills to configure their websites. Unmanaged VPS web hosting means you are responsible for fixing website crashes and slow data transfer speeds. If you have the technical skills to maintain and repair a web hosting server, then save some money and go with an unmanaged VPS plan.

Get Off My Cloud

Cloud computing has become a common term tossed about by computer geeks, but what exactly does the term mean for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners? While a standard VPS represents a small server working within a larger server, cloud-based VPS operates on several clustered servers. Cloud-based VPS uses resources from a single machine, but the machine operates more than one server to perform website operations.

You pay more for using cloud VPS services, since cloud-based computing has no limit on the operations you can perform for your website. Whenever you add another server to the server cluster, you increase your website operational capabilities. The decision you make between standard and cloud VPS depends mostly on what you need to accomplish in the operation of your website. For example, eCommerce software programs work best with cloud-based clustered servers.

Specifications Matter

If you select a standard VPS hosting plan, server specifications play a huge role in determining the quality of your website performance. You have no way of changing the processing speed, disk storage space, and amount of bandwidth by selecting a standard VPS hosting plan. At the very least, businesses that switch from shared to VPS web hosting plans require one gigabyte of RAM and 20 gigabytes of disk storage. Make sure you don’t have any restrictions on the speed of data transfers or the choice of an operating system. You must have backup protocols to recover data after a website crash, as well as the capability to add IP addresses, at little or no cost.

The Human Touch

best virtual private server hosting - customer support

Most VPS plans offer 24/7 phone customer support.

Although you plan to take the next step and handle more of your website operation responsibilities, you still need to work with a VPS web hosting company that provides strong technical support. Even managed VPS web hosting plans require the immediate help of web hosting experts to fix operational issues. The best VPS web hosting companies offer technical support 24 hours per day by phone and live chat.

Make sure you test technical support departments of all the VPS web hosting companies on your short list. Moreover, read customer and expert third-party reviews of VPS web hosting companies to learn about the level of technical support provided.

You Get for What You Pay For

Like most purchases, VPS web hosting follows the time-tested adage of “You get what you paid for.” VPS web hosting services vary significantly due to the wide variety of features that you can include in your plan. You must consider service levels, customization choices, and different hardware specifications, among many other cost factors. Most basic VPS web hosting plans run between $8 and $15, which gives you the standard one gigabyte of RAM and 20 gigabytes of disk storage. If you want enhanced website features, you can expect to pay more for a VPS web hosting plan.

Read the Fine Print

Before you choose a VPS web hosting company, spend some time reading each company’s terms of service (TOS). The TOS presents the guidelines for using a VPS web hosting company for the operation of your website. Although the document presents valuable information, it can also present several restrictions to your web hosting services within the fine print. Moreover, some VPS web hosting companies lie to sneak hidden fees into their TOS agreements.

Choosing the best VPS web hosting company for your entrepreneur or small business website appears to require the expertise of a skilled investigative reporter. However, you can eliminate any doubts you have about a VPS web hosting by choosing one that offers a free trial period. A VPS web hosting free trial period acts as a money back guarantee, if you find the VPS web hosting service to be unsatisfactory. Web hosting trial periods allow you to monitor crucial web site performance indicators, such as uptimes and data transfer speeds.