In this article, I review the best cheap VPS hosting providers available right now and help pick the right hosting plan for your website.
VPS is a grey space in between shared and dedicated hosting. It's more powerful than shared servers and much more wallet-friendly than dedicated ones.
If we looked at how they work, we would see that it's still the same shared hosting server separated into several virtual units. This way, users get their own dedicated resources and control without owning the whole machine.
It's one of the best options for both growing websites like blogs or for new and promising websites as well. Also, if you plan on launching an online store - VPS server hosting is my top recommendation.
But at the same time, no matter that it's cheaper than dedicated hosting, VPS can get expensive too.
The high-end servers can reach $300/mo.
That's not an amount any start-up project would like to pay just for the hosting.
Personally, I don't like to pay sums that reach 3 digits for any hosting. That's why I always look for the best and cheapest deals.
VPS hosting is not an exception. In fact, I’ve researched, tested and collected a list of providers that offer great value for an affordable price.
But the low starting price is not the only thing that makes VPS affordable. Choosing the right amount of resources can do the trick as well.
Fortunately, VPS servers are highly customizable. So here's what you need to know:
Cheap VPS Hosting Math - How Much Server Resources Do I Actually Need?
The more, the better. Right?
Not unless you want to pay for the things you don't use. The optimal amount of resources is the best both for the wallet and for the website.
But how to find out what you are going to need when the website is just the idea in your mind?
I'm here to help - putting years of experience and technical knowledge, I compiled a little rule book for the server resources you may need.
Read on to find out how much CPUs, RAM, disk space, and bandwidth you might need.
How Many CPUs Do I Need?
CPU is the processor of the server. It handles all of the tasks like calculations and logic. And in this case - the more, the better.
You can get anywhere from 1 CPU core to multiple.
Small websites like blogs that are hosted on shared servers can be powered by 1 shared CPU just fine.
But when it comes to heavier sites, you may need more processing power.
Thanks to VPS technology, you can start with 1 dedicated CPU for building your site and increase the amount on the go.
So the more databases you have, the heavier they are, and the more difficult tasks the CPUs need to perform, the more you need to have.
Ideally, processors shouldn't be pushed over an 80% usage mark. At that point, the performance drops significantly.
How Much RAM Do I Need?
RAM is temporary storage that helps retrieve data faster than hard drives. The amount you need depends on multiple factors: website size, file size you have, and the number of users.
Static files like HTML and images don't require much RAM while dynamic content like databases, eCommerce, chats, and emails will require a lot of it.
- For a basic account with running on cPanel/Plesk using several webmails, firewalls, monitoring, and statistics, 2GB RAM is a good starting point.
- For medium traffic sites with several domains on a hosting account, 4GB would ensure reliability.
- For thousands of simultaneous visits, more memory is required. 8GB is a good starting point.
- 32+ GB RAM works for big eCommerce stores with heavy databases and high loads of traffic. You should also consider external caching, CDN, and clustering at this point.
So if you have a blog, 512MB of RAM can be perfectly fine. But eCommerce stores with increasing databases, live chat support, and emails will need an increasing number of RAM.
How Much Disk Space Do I Need?
Disk space is a resource you don't need as much as you think you need. In fact, it's the most oversold resource that increases the pricing of your hosting a lot.
WordPress installation is 8.5MB. A theme you choose can take up anywhere from 1 to 10MB of space. So it's pretty light and most of the simple WordPress blogs don't take more than 1GB disk space in total.
Of course, the amount increases if you are hosting an eCommerce or another type of content-heavy website.
However, according to data of multiple hosting providers:
The majority of users don't require more than 30GB of disk space and 95% of people will never use 1TB of disk space.
So choosing the server, don't underestimate your website capacity - start small and upgrade when you need it.
How Much Bandwidth Do I Need?
Bandwidth refers to how much data can travel in and out of your server through a specific period of time.
I also believe bandwidth is the easiest resource to calculate.
But people rarely ever do that ending up with expensive packages they don't need.
So to find out your bandwidth needs, there are 3 main variables - average page size, average pages per visit, and sessions per day.
The bandwidth formula is simple: page size x pages per visit x sessions per day = bandwidth per day.
For instance, let's take that the average page size of your site 3.03MB, your visitors visit approximately 4.5 pages, and there are around 1800 sessions per day. This would be a pretty good result for an eCommerce store.
Multiply each number - 3.03 x 4.5 x 1800 = 26,730 or around 27GB of bandwidth per day.
So 27 x 30 = 810 GB of bandwidth per month. This means, that your site would need on average 1 TB of bandwidth per month.
Now it's the time to pick your own low-cost VPS server.
The Best Cheap VPS Hosting Providers
Choosing any cheap hosting, there are 3 main things to look at: pricing, performance, and features.
If one of the conditions is not satisfied - it's not a good provider. Here are 6 cheap VPS hosting providers that meet and exceed the expectation:
- Bluehost- powerful and cheap VPS starting at $18.99.
- HostGator- easy to use VPS hosting starting at $29.95.
- Hostinger- best budget VPS hosting for $3.95.
- DreamHost - WordPress optimized cheap VPS for $10.
- A2 Hosting- professional affordable VPS hosting for $5.
- HostPapa - cheap scalable VPS starting at $19.99.
Here are the details:
Bluehost combines power, flexibility, and complete ease of use in its cheap VPS hosting packages. Starting at $18.99/mo, the provider equips the websites with state-of-art technology - SSD disks, KVM hypervisor, and 24/7 monitoring. Not to mention all the optimizations for WordPress that Bluehost is best known for.
The offered solution is both advanced enough for high-traffic sites and easy for the beginners to use thanks to intuitive and streamlined control panel Bluehost has designed.
- The cheapest Standard plan for $18.99/mo is powered by 2 CPUs, 30GB of storage, 2GB RAM, and 1TB of bandwidth.
- For more resources, the Enhanced plan for $29.99/mo includes 60GB of disk space, 4GB RAM, 2TB of bandwidth and 2 private IP addresses.
There's also one more option to scale. Although not as affordable VPS, the Ultimate plan for $59.99/mo has the power of 4 CPU cores, 120GB of disk space, 8GB RAM, and 3TB of bandwidth.
So no matter whether your blog's traffic peaks or eCommerce site grows beyond expectations, Bluehost will have a solution to keep the performance in top shape.
Talking about the performance, the provider is fast.
Bluehost Cheap VPS Hosting Performance Results
Bluehost had an average 254ms response time throughout the month of monitoring. The maximum response time hadn't only reached 525ms which is still above the industry average.
Bluehost has also kept a 100% uptime although there's one drawback. The provider does not state any uptime guarantee, meaning that it's just the courtesy of the provider to keep your website running at all times.
But disregarding the minor issue, Bluehost is a reliable provider with millions of users satisfied with the service. And as it's quite obvious now - it is a fast and affordable VPS provider.
Bluehost offers very powerful and affordable VPS hosting. Combining server flexibility and ease of use, it's a great option both for beginners and pros.
- High performance and reliability
- Easy to use
- Highly scalable
- No uptime guarantee
HostGator's VPS packages offer full control and flexibility. Starting with $29.95/mo, all hosting accounts have root access, off-site backups are performed weekly, and even the cheapest plan includes 2 IP addresses.
And because HostGator always aims to make its hosting available to everyone, the server and hosting management is made easy. The optional managed hosting is equipped with cPanel - it's possible to easily add email addresses, domains, and private nameservers.
- The Snappy 2000 for $29.95/mo includes 2 CPUs, 2GB RAM, 120GB of storage, and 1.5 TB of bandwidth.
- The Snappy 4000 costing $39.95/mo is equipped with 2CPUs, 4GB RAM, 165GB of storage, and 2TB of bandwidth.
- The more expensive option to scale, Snappy 8000, for $49.95/mo includes 4CPUs, 8GB RAM, 240GB of storage and 3TB of bandwidth.
As you can see, HostGator has a higher starting price - that's motivated with high-end hardware the provider uses and professional server management.
So how does it perform?
HostGator Cheap VPS Hosting Performance Results
HostGator has very reliable performance results. It has an average of 386ms response time. The highest peaks do not reach 550ms showing good reliability even during periods of increased traffic.
The availability of the host is also flawless. During the month, HostGator has not gone down even for a minute keeping uptime at 100%.
So although the provider has a pretty standard 99.9% uptime guarantee, it shows the quality of its service with results. Not just with high promises.
I can say the same for the whole HostGator's VPS hosting package.
HostGator offers fast, secure, customizable, and very powerful VPS hosting. Best of all, it's very easy to use and comes at an affordable price.
- Customizable VPS hosting
- Easy to use
- Managed servers
- cPanel costs extra
Hostinger is the cheapest VPS provider on the list offering hosting starting at $3.95/mo. And cheap pricing does not translate into bad service.
The provider promises blazing fast server speed and introduces the no-downtime policy. The 24/7 customer support is proactive in solving problems for you rather than directing you to the knowledge base.
What else can you expect from a very cheap VPS hosting? Well, Hostinger has enough resources to power the most traffic-heavy eCommerce stores.
The provider has 8 plans ranging from 1 to 8 CPU cores.
- The cheapest plan for $3.95/mo includes 1 CPU, 1GB RAM, 20GB storage, and 1TB bandwidth. It's great to start a website that's meant to expand rapidly.
- The most expensive plan costs just $29.95/mo. It includes 8 CPUs, 8GB RAM, 160GB storage, and 8TB of bandwidth. That's a great option when the website you have needs more and more resources to keep its best shape.
Hostinger can keep its pricing low because VPS hosting it offers is not managed. This means you have full control over how to allocate server resources. Which, unfortunately, means that you'll need some technical knowledge.
But thanks to the very friendly support team - managing the server is possible even for beginner users. And what you get by learning a couple of command lines is a very affordable hosting and top performance.
Hostinger Cheap VPS Hosting Performance Results
Hostinger's performance is just a tiny bit worse than Bluehost's. It averages at 278ms response time with a couple of peaks reaching 800ms.
The result is 2 times better than the industry average of 553ms - an excellent result for cheap VPS hosting.
Another performance metric, uptime, also shows high reliability. Hostinger has a "no downtime policy" and manages to keep it with a 100% uptime.
All results show Hostinger's reliability and power for hosting big and traffic-heavy websites. Best of all, it's possible to do that without spending more than you would on a cup of coffee.
Hostinger is the best budget VPS hosting option offering the best performance, reliability, and customer support. Even the most expensive VPS option costs cheaper than the cheapest packages offered by some other hosts.
- The cheapest VPS provider
- Powerful and fast hosting
- Highly scalable
- Service is not managed
DreamHost offers a professional managed VPS service with a 100% uptime guarantee for a very affordable price. Starting at $10/mo, the hosting accounts are equipped with unmetered traffic, custom control panel, SSL certificates, and even unlimited email accounts.
And DreamHost is very well-known for WordPress hosting. It actually is endorsed by the CMS's creators as one of the best providers. So with that comes automatic updates, server optimization, and other features.
That's a good long-term business option - with options to scale and no increase in pricing, DreamHost is a very reliable provider.
- VPS Basic costs $10/mo including 1GB RAM, 30GB of SSD storage, free SSLs, and unlimited websites.
- VPS Business for $20/mo is equipped with 2GB RAM and 60GB of storage.
The more expensive options VPS Professional ($40/mo) and VPS Enterprise ($80/mo) are good for scaling. It's possible to upgrade the server up to 8GB RAM and 240GB of storage.
The server performance is what proves how good DreamHost actually is.
DreamHost Cheap VPS Hosting Performance Results
DreamHost performance is slightly behind our top 3 players. However, the results are still great - the provider has an average of 419ms response time with no significant peaks.
What's more impressive is DreamHost's uptime guarantee. It promises and delivers 100% uptime at all times. That's the reliability that all business users need in order to gain customer trust and have great Google rankings.
It's very nice to see that DreamHost has fully-featured hosting packages that show great performance results. Together with affordable pricing, it's one of my favorite options.
DreamHost is a good option for business users that require reliability, excellent performance, and useful features. The provider combines all that together with WordPress optimization for a very good price.
- 100% uptime guarantee
- Premium features included
- Limited live chat working hours
A2 Hosting is the best cheap VPS hosting option for all professionals. It's an unmanaged service providing users with root access, complete server customization, and all the possible software options.
The provider allows choosing RAM, disk space, bandwidth, OS, and datacenter. This way you pay only for the required resources.
- The cheapest Entry option costs $5/mo. It includes 20GB of storage, 1 CPU, 2TB of bandwidth, and 512MB RAM.
- The Mid option for $10/mo offers 30GB disk space, 1 CPU, 2TB bandwidth, and 1GB RAM.
- The Elite for $15/mo includes 50GB of disk space, 4 CPUs, 2TB of bandwidth, and 1GB RAM.
It's a great option for developers - cheap pricing and powerful servers are great for testing new things out as well as building websites for clients.
The performance won't be a let down too.
A2 Hosting Cheap VPS Hosting Performance Results
A2 Hosting performs better than the average host, but just by a tiny bit. It has an average 494ms response time while the industry average is 553ms.
The provider also has a 99.9% uptime guarantee and exceeds it - with just 2 minutes of downtime, it has evened out at 99.98% uptime.
So considering the performance, A2 Hosting doesn't show the best results on this list. However, the results are no less reliable - it loads websites as fast as any other top-performing host. At least to the human eye.
A2 Hosting has very cheap VPS hosting packages, 24/7 customer support, and provides users with complete freedom over the servers. So while performance is lagging a bit behind our other top providers, it's still a great hosting option for professionals.
- Complete server customizability
- Root access
- Average performance results
Instant server provisioning, eCommerce optimizations, and full root access - that's just a couple of features HostPapa offers.
It provides premium services for all business and professional needs. And while it has a number of plans, just a couple of them are actually affordable.
While others might take it as a negative trait, it only shows that HostPapa is focusing on quality rather than taking as many users as possible.
- The cheapest Plus plan costs $19.99/mo and already includes 4 CPUs. It's also equipped with 1,5GB RAM, 50GB of SSD storage, and 1TB of bandwidth.
- Another cheap option for scaling, the Pro plan, costs $39.99/mo. It equips users with 4 CPUs, 3GB RAM, 100GB of disk space, and 2TB of bandwidth.
So as you can see, the budget VPS plans offered by HostPapa are already powerful enough to host not one but several eCommerce stores.
To make everything easier, HostPapa also has a dedicated team of VPS support. For security, there's a firewall, brute force detection, and regular security updates.
There are a lot of features, but how about the performance?
HostPapa Cheap VPS Hosting Performance Results
HostPapa has very reliable VPS servers averaging at 420ms response time. And the results are very stable - the highest peak in response time has reached only 492ms while minimal response time was 395ms.
The availability is also impeccable. HostPapa hasn't gone down at all during the whole month.
Results show how well HostPapa's servers are managed and that it uses only top-level hardware.
Although HostPapa has only 2 cheap VPS hosting packages, both are fully featured and equipped with a lot of resources. The host's performance is also flawless making a nice affordable option for business and eCommerce stores.
- Powerful VPS hosting
- Optimized for eCommerce
- Scaling options are expensive
Best Cheap VPS Hosting - the Verdict
Cheap VPS hosting can be good when you carefully evaluate your website hosting needs and choose a provider with an excellent performance record.
That's what all of my picked hosts are - fast and very affordable. Here's the list of 6 best cheap VPS providers and their top features:
- Bluehost - cheap, powerful, user-friendly, and very affordable
- HostGator - easy to use and very powerful cheap VPS hosting.
- Hostinger - the cheapest VPS hosting, great customer support, and fast servers.
- DreamHost - best WordPress-optimized and powerful VPS hosting.
- A2 Hosting - scalable and completely customizable cheap VPS for pros.
- HostPapa - eCommerce optimized budget VPS hosting.
Which hosting provider is the right for you? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section down below!