Best cheap VPS hosting: powerful hosting for tight budgets
Good cheap VPS hosting is alive, well, and very much possible to get. On the other hand, it does require certain sacrifices. In this article, I’ve shortlisted 6 of the best cheap VPS providers in the market that make these sacrifices as little as possible. Also, you’ll find some pointers on what to expect from cheap VPS hosting.
Virtual private server (VPS) hosting is a bridge between shared hosting and owning a dedicated server. With VPS, you’ll still share a server with other users. On the other hand, resources are dedicated to each account separately, thanks to virtualization.
While a lot of websites thrive on shared servers, many outgrow them, and VPS or cloud VPS becomes the obvious next step.
But VPS hosting can sound like a scary place.
People often say that there’s no such thing as cheap VPS. Others add that you need to be some kind of tech-god to be able to use it.
What if I told you that they are wrong? Mostly, anyway.
Cheap VPS not only exists but is also reliable and good. But it often comes with the ease of use sacrifice – cheap services most commonly are unmanaged and come without any interface to work with. But after a search, I was able to find some providers that do include some kind of control panel so you could manage you VPS more easily.
That being said, the search for an optimal option in the VPS world is not easy. I personally sifted through dozens of hosts in the market and put them to the test. Only 6 were left in the end.
So in this article, you’ll find the 6 best cheap VPS hosting options that were thoroughly tested and that I can recommend confidently.
The top 6 cheap VPS providers: ranked by price
- Hostinger – cheapest VPS hosting from $3.95/mo
- A2 Hosting – unmanaged VPS with generous storage from $4.99/mo
- ScalaHosting – cheap managed VPS for beginners from $14.95/mo
- DreamHost – managed VPS with control panel from $10/mo
- InterServer – month-to-month VPS from $6.00/mo
- GoDaddy – affordable VPS hosting for professionals from $4.99/mo
Having trouble deciding what you need? There’s a short guide at the end of this post, so you can jump straight there to learn more about VPS.
|Features||Semi-managed, VPS control panel, full root access|
|Best for||VPS rookies and pros alike for projects on a tight budget|
Hostinger is first on the list because it’s the cheapest VPS service that comes with generous offerings. For just $3.95/mo, you get a VPS control panel and features like easy web script and OS installers. It’s ideal if you’re looking for semi-managed VPS hosting.
Hostinger has 6 VPS hosting plans, and its cheapest one — VPS 1 — will only set you back $3.95/mo. You can only get this price if you sign up for 48 months. But, frankly, that figure is unbeatable as it’s even cheaper than what many providers charge for just shared hosting.
VPS1 for $3.95/mo comes with 1 CPU, 1GB RAM, 20GB SSD storage, and 1TB bandwidth, all dedicated to you. Best for a small online store or a blog that is getting increasingly higher levels of traffic.
The plan is also available with monthly billing, which would set you aside $9.95/mo. That’s still very cheap if you don’t want to pre-pay.
Resources aside, you also get some sweet features that push Hostinger into the semi-managed VPS hosting territory.
- For starters, the plan comes with a range of Linux-based OS templates. This includes CentOS, Ubuntu, and Debian. On top of that, Hostinger threw an easy auto-installer in to sweeten the deal, too. So, you can install these OSs with just a couple of clicks.
- That’s not all — these templates come with a pre-installed control panel, too. That’s great news, as you can then easily manage and configure your virtual server with the control panel. Apart from that, Hostinger also includes the most popular web scripts, such as WordPress, in its VPS plans.
Of course, these Hostinger features admittedly fall short if you compare to what you get with a fully managed VPS hosting. However, it’s also not the bare minimum, which is what you’ll usually get at this price point.
Hostinger is a great option for those making the transition from shared to VPS hosting with its user-friendly OS templates and pre-installed control panel. It’s also great for those looking for a semi-managed service at bargain-basement prices.
Hostinger VPS performance
When it comes to performance, Hostinger has one of the most reliable results overall. The provider made an impression with 100% uptime and a swift average response time of 540ms.
First thing first, Hostinger reliability is just perfect at 100% over 2 months. Sure, the long term will show some downtime, but first impressions count too. Meanwhile, 540ms average response time on a bare server is great.
Additionally, there’s no reason to worry, even if your site caters to a global audience. After all, Hostinger has servers in the UK, US, Brazil, Netherlands, Singapore, Indonesia, and Lithuania. You can pick the location that's closest to your audience to cut latency.
To put it briefly, Hostinger absolutely sets a high bar with its reliable and fast performance.
All things considered, Hostinger packs a hefty punch by offering handy features and phenomenal performance at dirt-cheap prices.
- VPS control panel is included
- Installers for OS
- 100% uptime result
- Cheapest VPS price
- Requires technical know-how
- Resources on the smaller side
2. A2 Hosting
|Features||Unmanaged, full root access, control panel is available|
|Best for||Experienced users that need a lot of storage|
A veteran in the industry, A2 Hosting is also a popular option for cheap Linux VPS hosting. Besides its inexpensive prices and generous resources, another one of the provider’s main appeals is its flexibility. Considering the many customizations allowed, A2 Hosting suits those new to VPS, developers, and everyone in between.
A2 has 6 unmanaged VPS plans: 3 standard and 3 turbo plans. Its cheapest plan is Runway 1, which costs $4.99/mo.
Runway 1 for $4.99/mo comes with 1 CPU, 1GB RAM, 150 GB SSD storage, and 2TB bandwidth. It's a good high-storage plan, just keep an eye out on how many visitors you have – 1GB RAM is on the lower end of the things.
The one thing I feel is sorely missing here is cPanel. But, you can easily fix that if you’re willing to shell out $8.99/mo. Which, for cPanel, is cheap enough.
Otherwise, you can also make do with Webuzo, which you can include in your plan for free. And, since Webuzo offers 1-click software installation, this makes it a great contender for those new to VPS hosting or just want to quickly get a site up.
Another plus for A2 is its flexibility. For starters, when you’re checking out, you have the option to customize your server location to reduce latency. You can choose between Michigan (US), Arizona (US), Amsterdam (Europe), and Singapore (Asia).
But, most importantly, you get full root access. This allows you administrative-level control to configure your server as you see fit. Hence, those who intend to make full use of the freedom to configure — such as developers — would be a great fit for A2.
Overall, A2 Hosting turns on the charm with its generous resources and economical prices. Plus, the amount of control it affords the users is certainly attractive as well.
A2 Hosting VPS performance
In regards to reliability, A2 is a force to be reckoned with a nice 99.98% uptime. Even better, its response times are some of the fastest in the industry, averaging at 253ms.
The good news is that A2 performed extremely well in terms of uptime — far better than its 99.9% uptime guarantee. My site experienced just one 5 minute outage in a month.
The response times were even more impressive, at 253ms. That's one of the top results that you can get.
Overall, A2 Hosting very much complies with its claims of offering a good performance. Both in terms of speed and reliability.
A2 Hosting is one of the best options when you need cheap prices, flexibility, and reliable performance. It’s also one of the friendlier options for those willing to learn with the Webuzo installer and the possibility to add cPanel.
- Generous SSD storage limits
- Servers location choice
- Some of the fastest servers
- Full root access available
- Requires technical knowledge
- CPU and RAM on the minimal side
|Features||Fully managed, free SSL, domain, backups, control panel|
|Best for||Fully managed beginner friendly VPS hosting with control panel|
ScalaHosting is one of the very few options that offer fully managed VPS at affordable rates. It comes with full support, a custom control panel, and security features on its fully-equipped plans. All this, starting at $14.95/mo.
The provider’s plans can be configured from $14.95/mo with the lowest level of resources to $789.95/mo when maxed out. Quite frankly, we are focusing on cheap here.
The cheapest Start plan for $14.95/mo comes with 1CPU, 2GB RAM, 50GB SSD storage, and unmetered bandwidth. It also includes a free domain for a year, SSL, and comprehensive security. That’s the best option on the list to transition from shared to VPS if you have 0 technical skills – they are simply not required here.
The only thing that’s not ideal about this package is that the price will increase on renewal. So if you buy the monthly option, renewal comes very soon. To extend it, pick a 3-year subscription.
But such a drawback is compensated with other perks:
- As the service is fully managed, you can go on and simply migrate your website or start a new one. The server will be running by the time you log in.
- The ease of use is brilliant – ScalaHosting SPanel is very similar to cPanel. If you’ve used that one before, you won’t have any issues at all. If it’s your first time – it won’t take long to find all that you need.
- There won’t be any extra expenses for the first year – you get a domain, SSL, and email accounts ready for business.
- The management is so smooth I didn’t even need to contact support for a single thing. But, it’s there 24/7 via live chat, email, and phone when needed.
To sum it up, ScalaHosting is affordable yet includes a ton of features to make VPS hosting easy. It’s the best option for beginners.
ScalaHosting VPS performance
ScalaHosting is reliable and comes with speedy servers. It managed to go through a month without a single outage, scoring 100% uptime. The average response time evened out at 443ms.
ScalaHosting comes with a standard 99.9% uptime guarantee, so it’s refreshing to see it being outperformed. I might be repeating myself, 100% is not something that lasts over a very long time, but it’s an excellent first impression.
The speed, at 443ms, is also above what others offer. This shows us that ScalaHosting manages servers professionally, even at a low price.
Additionally, it’s nice that ScalaHosting offers cheap VPS in Europe and the US datacenters that are privately owned. Also, you can pick other locations if you’d like your site hosted on DigitalOcean or AWS instances that ScalaHosting conveniently resells and manages for you.
So performance-wise, ScalaHosting is definitely a tough one. It’s fast, reliable, and has one of the best server location choices depending on your needs.
Altogether, ScalaHosting is perfect for business websites and inexperienced users – it’s a gateway to VPS. Cheap price, full management, and good performance make it a very competitive option.
- Very easy to use with control panel
- Server location choice
- Full server management
- Prices increase upon renewal
|Features||Fully managed, control panel for VPS|
|Best for||Inexperienced users looking for low cost VPS with control panel|
The last provider to join this list of the best cheap VPS providers is DreamHost. Known for its managed VPS plans with handy features, the provider is popular with those new to hosting as its prices start from $10/mo.
DreamHost offers 4 plans going all the way up to $80.00/mo. Since we’re in the market for the cheapest VPS, let’s check out its entry plan.
The cheapest plan you can get is VPS Basic at $10.00/mo. It comes with 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD storage, and unlimited bandwidth. An excellent option for blogs, small to medium-sized online stores, and membership sites.
While DreamHost offers fully-managed service, the management is on the basic side. It does include custom control panel for server management and you don't get full root access. So it's good for beginners and easy enough to navigate.
Other features include:
- Server updates
- OS updates
- Security patches
- 24/7 technical support
- Automatic software updates
While this is very much helpful and enough, it doesn't put DreamHost on the same level as ScalaHosting or the more premium Liquid Web that are known for effortless VPS services. This puts the provider more in the generous semi-managed category. But hey, I'm not complaining.
In any case, whether it’s fully or semi-managed VPS hosting, it’s undeniable that DreamHost brings a lot of user-friendly features to the table. This makes it a great option for those making the move from shared to VPS hosting and those who want a no-fuss solution.
Overall, DreamHost offers some of the most comprehensive features at affordable prices and is a great gateway into VPS hosting.
DreamHost VPS performance
First thing first, DreamHost uptime is unparalleled — the provider maintained a faultless 100% uptime throughout the whole month of observation. However, the average response time is less awe-inspiring at a pretty mediocre 710ms.
Holding up its end of the 100% uptime guarantee, DreamHost delivered incredible reliability with no outages in a month.
However, it seems that perfection isn’t in the cards for DreamHost. The provider’s average response times landed at a sluggish 710ms. That’s definitely slower than is ideal, yet it's a bare server. You are free to implement optimizations.
To sum it up, DreamHost’s performance has potential. Its uptime is amazing, and I’m excited to see how significantly the provider can improve its speed.
Featuring rich features, 100% uptime, and a helpful control panel, DreamHost’s VPS is an affordable option for beginner users that need guidance in bringing their sites to this powerful hosting solution.
- Easy to use control panel
- Fully managed service
- 100% uptime result
- Scaling is quite expensive
- Root access unavailable
|Features||Unmanaged, full root access, control panel available|
|Best for||Flexible month-to-month hosting|
Among the providers throwing their hats into the ring is InterServer. The provider is well-known for offering very flexible month-to-month billed VPS. Its prices start from $6.00/mo.
InterServer offers 16 different packages. With it, you can scale up from 1 CPU core to 16 CPU cores — in an increment of $6.00/mo called “slice.”
The cheapest one is, of course, 1 CPU core at $6.00/mo. It comes with 2GB RAM, 30GB SSD storage, and 1TB bandwidth. Best for medium-sized online stores, membership sites, or big blogs with increasing popularity thanks to generous 2GB RAM.
One of InterServer attractions is that there are no pricing increases, and you’re billed monthly. This way, you don’t need to pay a huge sum in advance to keep your bank account healthy.
The semi-managed server comes with some very attractive features.
For starters, it’s absolutely not a problem if you’re not familiar with the command-line interface. InterServer’s packages come with free DirectAdmin control panel — which offers one-click installations. A straightforward and easy-to-navigate control panel, you can deploy hundreds of apps easily as well as manage your server space. This includes WordPress, Magento, Joomla, Prestashop, Dolphin, and Drupal.
cPanel is also available at an extra $15/mo charge.
Additionally, here’s a tip for all of you who want a little more help from the provider: if you purchase 4 slices or more, InterServer throws in managed support. With this, you can contact customer support 24/7 via phone, live chat, and ticket system.
Here, the host will help with things like:
- Installation and server set up
- Hardware issues
- Problems with system/control panel
- Security patches
- Diagnosing failed services
In brief, InterServer offers great value for money with its included control panel and relatively plush resources.
InterServer VPS performance
InterServer performance is a bit hit-or-miss. The provider’s uptime is great at 100%. However, I find its 1s average response time is slower than I’d like it to be.
While InterServer offers the standard 99.9% uptime guarantee, it did much better than that when monitored. Sure, 100% uptime won't stay for 2 years in a row, but so far, it looks great.
At the same time, 1 second average response time is quite slow. Even for a bare server with no optimizations.
To put it briefly, InterServer’s performance might not be record-setting, but it can be worked on with custom configurations.
With free hosting interface options, monthly billing, and reliable performance, InterServer has one of the best value to features ratios. Just keep in mind that you'll need to work to make that server run faster.
- Cheap month-to-month VPS billing
- Control panel is available
- 100% uptime result
- Slow server response times
- Requires technical know-how
|Features||Unmanaged, full root access, easy snapshots|
|Best for||Professional developers and personal projects|
One of the most recognized names in the industry, GoDaddy also lands itself on this cheap Linux VPS hosting list. The provider is popular with developers, freelancers, and avid webmasters since it offers root access — making it easy for various customizations. GoDaddy’s cheapest VPS plan will set you back $4.99/mo.
GoDaddy offers 8 unmanaged VPS: 4 standard RAM ones and 4 high RAM ones. But, since we’re keeping the purse strings tight, let’s check out its cheapest plan, which costs $4.99/mo.
1 vCPU plan for $4.99/mo comes with 1GB RAM and 20GB SSD storage. It's best to reserve this plan for developers working on personal projects.
If there’s one thing you should know about GoDaddy’s VPS service is that its cheapest plans (whether standard or high RAM) don’t come with a control panel. And, if you’re on standard, there’s no option to purchase one, while with high RAM plans, the not-so-cheap VPS with cPanel costs $15/mo extra.
But, if you can look past its lack of control panel GoDaddy is pretty comprehensive platform:
- It allows full root access with SSH keys. So, that’s a plus in terms of control and flexibility in configuration — especially for developers and seasoned users.
- Beyond that, you’ll also have access to the backups and recovery console. Here, you can set automated weekly backups. In fact, you can even set a day and time for the backups. If that’s not good enough, you can perform on-demand snapshots, too.
- Then there’s the recovery console. With it, you can easily fix any issues that popped up — even if you don’t have access to the SSH. You can simply access it via your dashboard.
With these features, it shouldn’t surprise you that GoDaddy is ideal for developers, freelancers, and experienced users looking for more control.
GoDaddy VPS performance
GoDaddy’s performance is nothing to shout from the roof about. However, it’s still a class above plenty of providers with a 99.92% uptime and a 597ms average response time.
During my month-long observation, my GoDaddy site experienced 14 outages totaling 42 minutes of downtime. Now, that doesn’t sound too good, right?
But, if you look at it objectively, most of the micro downtimes took place in the same 3 days. This indicates a specific reason for the downtimes rather than just a general lack of reliability.
Ultimately, that worked out to a 99.92% uptime, which is still very respectable. Also, GoDaddy has an uptime guarantee of 99.9%. So, you would be compensated if the uptime dipped below that benchmark.
Speed-wise, my site saw great response times — hovering around 500ms — initially. But, this took a change for the worse and one major spike ruined a perfectly good result.
GoDaddy’s performance isn’t going to set the world alight, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either.
As a whole, GoDaddy is a solid option for experienced users looking for flexible yet cheap VPS server hosting for personal use.
- Very cheap prices
- Full root access
- Recovery console and easy snapshots
- Control panel is not available
- Tight resources with the cheapest plan
Best cheap VPS hosting services compared
It’s easy to get lost in each host's offers, so I compiled a quick comparison table to help you out. Here’s how the most crucial features compare among the providers offering the best cheap VPS hosting:
Best cheap VPS: final recommendations
While it may not seem like it, there are actually quite a few respectable providers who offer cheap VPS hosting. However, unlike cheap shared hosting, it takes a little more time and effort to sniff them out.
So, to help you along with your search, here’s a summary of the best contenders in the market:
- Hostinger offers the cheapest semi-managed VPS hosting on this list with control panel included.
- GoDaddy is affordable VPS hosting for professionals. Comes unmanaged and with full root access.
- A2 Hosting is a flexible developer-friendly option on a budget for those who need lots of storage and good performance.
- InterServer features cheapest month-to-month unmanaged VPS hosting on a flexible platform.
- ScalaHosting is the best user-friendly managed VPS solution. It comes with control panel and generous features.
- DreamHost is an affordable managed VPS option that's great for less experienced users.
Now, any of the providers above can offer you high-quality VPS hosting at a wallet-friendly price. But, as for which one of them is the best option for you, you’ll need to evaluate your budget, needs, and deal-breakers.
How to choose a cheap VPS provider for your needs?
When it comes to cheap VPS, a large part of what you can expect depends on whether you go for unmanaged, semi-managed, or managed VPS hosting. This, in turn, hinges on the level of control that you want and is comfortable with.
Let’s zoom in on the 3 VPS options — unmanaged, semi-managed, and managed — and break down the main differences to see which is suitable for you.
Unmanaged VPS hosting
With unmanaged hosting, the user pretty much has full control of the VPS and is responsible for it. While this offers significant flexibility and is cheaper, it also, of course, requires a higher level of technical know-how. This option is better suited for those who are tech-savvy and not total beginners.
Now, with unmanaged VPS, your provider is technically only responsible for the physical server and its availability. So, basically, it only needs to provide the VPS and maintain the hardware — everything else is in your hands.
And, since the bulk of the workload is on you, this is generally the cheapest VPS solution. Besides that, you have full administrative control of the server, and you’re free to configure the VPS to suit your needs.
But, on the flip side, this does mean that you should have at least some technical expertise considering that the VPS is your responsibility. Be prepared to take on various tasks, including:
- Installing software and taking care of updates without a graphic interface.
- Setting up and configuring features such as SSL certificates, backups, firewall, and CDN, among other things.
- Monitoring, troubleshooting, and protecting the server from malicious threats and more.
As you can see, this isn’t exactly the ideal solution for someone new to the hosting world. Hence, if you aren’t familiar with the above or simply aren’t interested in taking on so many responsibilities, unmanaged VPS isn’t the right solution for you. Instead, semi-managed and managed VPS are the better options for you.
In brief, unmanaged VPS can be a great solution but only for those with technical knowledge or who are willing to learn as one goes.
Semi-managed VPS hosting
With semi-managed VPS, the solution comes with more features and support. This, in turn, means that you should expect to see slightly higher prices than unmanaged VPS hosting. It’s a great option for those looking for some extra help in managing their server at a still affordable price.
The middle-ground between managed and unmanaged VPS hosting, semi-managed is where your provider will assist in certain aspects of operating and maintaining your server. Typically, this means that the provider will assist in hardware, operating system, and basic configuration issues.
In most cases, semi-managed providers will help with things like:
- Basic issues such as 404s
- Load issues
- Network issues
- Configuration of basic services such as mail servers and FTP servers
- Installation or configuration of the OS and control panel
- Security enhancements
- Other common problems
Additionally, many semi-managed VPS providers include a control panel in their plans. This is great news, especially for those who aren’t familiar or experienced with a command-line interface (CLI) — which is considerably less user-friendly.
Besides that, since you’re still largely responsible for your server, most semi-managed VPS hosting remains inexpensive. Hence, it’s a good compromise, where you get the affordability of unmanaged VPS, but you’re not left to fend for yourself, either.
It’s also worth noting at this point that if you’re looking for cheap VPS hosting, generally, semi-managed hosting is the best that the market has to offer.
Overall, semi-managed VPS is a happy medium between fully-managed and unmanaged VPS with its convenient features and modest pricing.
Hostinger is the only provider on this list offering semi-managed VPS.
Managed VPS hosting
The web hosting provider handles all server-related issues in managed VPS hosting — including updates, maintenance, and OS installations. This is ideal for those who are less tech-savvy or those who prefer to have someone else take care of the backend.
In managed VPS hosting, the provider shoulders the bulk of the responsibilities and will take care of most — if not all —server-related issues.
Usually, these are some of the things you can expect from your managed VPS provider:
- Software installation, updates, and upgrades
- Control panel installation
- Server setup and backups
- Monitoring of the server for early signs of failure and malicious attack
- Security configuration and patches
- Troubleshooting and technical support
As the provider takes care of almost the whole shebang, there’s really not much technical knowledge necessary on your part.
This makes it perfect for those making the transition from shared to VPS hosting. Besides that, it’s also fitting for those who don’t want to spend all that much time on hosting. For instance, businesses focusing on growth.
But, of course, there’s a snag. In return for its convenience, managed VPS hosting tends to be more expensive when compared to unmanaged and semi-managed VPS. Plus, you also lose a degree of flexibility since much of the control is in your provider’s hands, which makes your choice of a hosting provider a vital one.
To put it into a nutshell, managed VPS’s hands-off approach is great for beginners and those looking for convenience — if you’re prepared to pay for it.
All in all, what you can expect from your provider largely depends on whether you opt for unmanaged, semi-managed, or managed VPS hosting. And, the main tradeoffs among the 3 solutions are cost and control.
Best cheap VPS FAQs
What is VPS?
VPS is short for Virtual Private Server. Here, VPS uses virtualization technology to split one physical server into multiple virtual servers. Thus, users can experience dedicated server environments within a shared server.
When should I move to VPS hosting?
You should move to VPS hosting if your shared hosting plan can no longer accommodate your website in terms of resources. Besides that, VPS hosting is also a good idea if you’re looking to grow your website in the near future or simply want better security and control.
How much does VPS hosting cost?
VPS hosting’s cost in the market varies wildly. You can expect to pay anywhere from less than $5.00/mo to hundreds of dollars per month — depending on the provider as well as your configuration.
What is root access?
Root access is the administrative level access to install, configure, and edit all of the files on your VPS servers. With it, you can configure your server to suit your needs and wants.
Can I get cheap VPS with cPanel?
Usually, cPanel monthly subscription costs more than the actual VPS plan. So while you will get a cheap VPS, cPanel will cost extra.