Contabo review: VPS powerhouse on a budget

Contabo is a German company, previously known by the name Giga-International. It’s mainly focusing on advanced Virtual Private Server (VPS), Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS), and dedicated server hosting. In this Contabo review, I focus on its VPS services, analyzing the pricing, performance, security, and more.

If you are looking for advanced storage or web-app hosting, Contabo is among some of the best ones. At the same time, if you're price conscious, yet quality is something greatly important to you, Hostinger VPS should be something you consider too.

Both providers are experts at what they do. And currently, Contabo is only growing. In 2014 it had only 2 data centers in Germany and now operates 8 locations worldwide. So if you’d like to catch Contabo while it’s not a mainstream provider, now is the chance.

But this is just background info. I actually purchased Contabo’s VPS plan to see if a low price can deliver good service. Let’s get into it.

⭐ Rating:
💵 Price:From $6.99/month
📑 Uptime guarantee:99.996%
⚙️ Hosting types:Shared, VPS, VDS, and dedicated
🌎 Server locations:The US, the UK, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and Australia
👨‍💻 24/7 live support:No
🔥 Coupons:Get Contabo for $6.99/month
Best Contabo alternatives:

Pros and Cons of Contabo

Contabo pricing

Contabo mainly focuses on VPS hosting services, with a price range going from $6.99/mo to $34.99/mo. Other options include shared hosting, VDS, and dedicated servers. While shared, VDS, and dedicated plans are nothing exceptional with their pricing, VPS is definitely affordable.

Hosting typeBest for
VPS hostingQuick and powerful server hosting solution.
VDS hostingMore flexibility for those who need dedicated-level power.
Dedicated hostingEnterprise hosting needs.
Shared hostingSmall to medium-sized website hosting.

My main focus when talking about Contabo is the VPS. So let’s take a closer look at what these plans can deliver.

Contabo has 4 VPS hosting plans. All of them are equipped with DDoS protection and snapshot technology. You can also choose which OS should be pre-installed on the server and pick a control panel. While cPanel and Plesk are paid, you can get Lamp, Lamp + Webmin, or Webmin for free.

But here’s how the plans differ from one another:

VPS S4 CPU cores, 8GB RAM, 50GB NVMe or 200GB SSD, 1 snapshot and 32TB bandwidth.$6.99/mo
VPS M6 CPU cores, 16GB RAM, 100GB NVMe or 400GB SSD, 2 snapshot and 32TB bandwidth.$11.99/mo
VPS L8 CPU cores, 30GB RAM, 200GB NVMe or 800GB SSD, 3 snapshot and 32TB bandwidth.$19.99/mo
VPS XL10 CPU cores, 60GB RAM, 400GB NVMe or1.6TB SSD, 4 snapshot and 32TB bandwidth.$34.99/mo

For the resources included, the prices are very low. Just keep in mind that you will have to purchase a domain name separately.

However, since Contabo has upgraded their VPS with faster NVMe storage, you have two choices:

  • You can pick the new NVMe storage if you need high performance, though resources will be fewer.
  • Meanwhile, SSD disk space is still an option and storage limits are very generous.

At the same time, keep in mind that the service is unmanaged. You’ll have to mainly use SSH to manage your server unless you install some sort of a graphical interface to work with. Not beginner-friendly at all, but that’s not where Contabo aims, to be honest.

Pricing is rather complex but doesn’t affect the total cost in any major way. Set up fees or slight price increases, Contabo is still affordable. Plus, the renewal prices remain the same, so it’s a good long-term solution.

By the way, in terms of refund policy, there’s a 14-day money-back guarantee. You have to notify the provider within this period after the purchase has been made. At the same time, extra fees associated with the account will not be refunded.

All in all, Contabo has options of all sizes and forms, yet VPS remains one of the most popular hosting solutions that’s affordable and highly powerful. The provider includes more for less when it comes to server resources.

Contabo ease of use

Contabo is an unmanaged service that in no way is beginner-friendly. For this reason, it's a service well-liked by developers and server managers. Affordable rates and no extra fuss make it a go-to option for advanced server solutions. At the same time, you can opt-in for a Webmin control panel to be installed at no extra cost.

With such a service, all responsibilities (and perks) fall on your lap. You get the hardware and the connection to it to set up and freely customize the way you see fit.

For its part, Contabo houses all you need to handle the above. Since many of these tasks require advanced features and tools, there’s no way the platform can be truly beginner-friendly.

However, if beginner-friendliness isn’t a concern and you know that you’re purchasing an unmanaged server solution as well as all that it entails, we’re golden. Then, Contabo’s hosting management is relatively straightforward.

When you log in, this is what you’ll see on the main account dashboard:

Contabo main dashboard

As you can probably tell, most people wouldn’t describe Contabo’s dashboard as sleek or modern. Not in this decade, anyway. Having said that, it gets the job done perfectly.

For starters, you’ll be able to find vital features all clustered neatly on the left of your screen. Meanwhile, you can find a list of your VPS as well as some quick access buttons — such as start, restart, stop, and manage — at the center.

Ultimately, the dashboard isn’t going to win any award for cutting-edge designs. But, for those of you familiar with an unmanaged server’s tools and features, it should be easy enough to navigate.

Another plus for Contabo is that a Webmin control panel is also available to be installed for free. However, you do have to opt-in during the checkout process.

Contabo Webmin control panel

It’s intuitive and convenient. Most importantly, it has all the features and tools that you need to set up, configure, maintain, and upgrade your server. Some handy ones include configuration of users, modification and control of apps, setup of DNS, and more.

Overall, I’d consider Contabo’s dashboard and the included Webmin control panel to be one for the winning column. With a combination of user-friendliness and control, you should be able to easily manage every aspect of your server.

Contabo performance

Performance is, of course, vital in this Contabo review to decide if the provider holds up its end in terms of reliability and speed. Well, it’s fair to say that Contabo VPS performed very well considering its cheap pricing. Sure, its performance isn’t industry-changing but, overall, still excellent.

Let’s check out the results from the tests I ran.

Uptime result

I monitored Contabo for 50 days, and the results I pulled from the SSH command showed that it’s up for exactly that long. That’s a great sign showing the provider’s reliability.

Contabo uptime

But, of course, I’ll still keep a close eye on Contabo’s reliability as I go along and will keep you updated if the results change.

Response time

As for speed, Contabo performed really well with its response times. I ran tests for 5 different locations across the world, and the results range from between only 36ms and 384ms — both incredibly fast.

Below is what the results are like from Dallas, Seattle, London, Tel-Aviv, and Hong Kong:

Contabo server response times

The fastest response time was Dallas, coming in at a lightning-fast 36ms. Meanwhile, Hong Kong came in last but at a still very speedy 384ms. Truth be told, I had expected the discrepancy in speed due to locations.

My server is located in the U.S. — which explains the excellent results for Dallas and Seattle. After all, the shorter physical distance helps to minimize latency. Meanwhile, Hong Kong is on the other side of the world from my server location. Therefore, the slower response times reflect the longer physical distance.

It’s worth noting here that Contabo has servers in 5 regions: New York City, Seattle, St. Louis, Germany, and Singapore. New York and Seattle are the newest additions in the expanding list of the provider's datacenters.

Geekbench scores

Finally, I also tested Contabo to figure out its Geekbench score. This is what the tests returned: single core at 616 and multicore at 1942. While the results aren’t overwhelmingly impressive, they’re solid considering that I tested on the cheapest server.

Contabo geekbench benchmark testing

In case you aren’t familiar with it, Geekbench is a set of benchmarks that measures processor and memory performance. It runs a series of tests that mimic real-world tasks and applications to time how long the processor takes to complete the tasks. Higher scores are better since they mean that the CPU completes the tests faster.

Ideally, I’d like to see higher scores for both single-core and multicore. But, I find myself far more forgiving when I take into account Contabo’s dirt-cheap pricing. Since its entry-plan is only $6.99/mo, these scores are acceptable as far as I’m concerned.

All things considered, that’s a tick for Contabo’s performance. Reliable and fast, it sets quite a bar for other cheap hosting providers.

Best cheap alternatives:

Contabo security

As Contabo offers unmanaged servers, it doesn’t offer the full stack of security solutions. But, the measures that are offered are very handy. Plus, the provider’s data center security is excellent as well.

Let’s take a closer look at Contabo’s range of security features:

Two-factor authentication

Here, you need to use your email and phone number to identify yourself. Plus, you need to authorize every person contacting the provider from a new email if it involves your customer account.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection

A DDoS attack is where a high amount of requests from compromised systems overload a server with the intention to disrupt its services.

Contabo’s DDoS protection is included in all of its packages and is already automatically activated.

Data center security

Contabo appears to take data center security seriously. It offers constant CCTV monitoring with over 50 observation cameras and video recording, magnetic card access, alarm system, multiple live webcams, and security service on duty 365 days a year.

Plus, the provider also protects against elements with smoke detectors and fire alarms, water detectors, and heat extraction systems amongst other things.

Apart from those listed above, Contabo has other precautions in place, too. However, the provider made it clear that it “can’t talk about the details” but suffice to say that it’s “obsessed with security.”

It’s a shame that we don’t know for sure what those precautions entail. But, judging from the lack of negative Contabo reviews about its security, whatever those precautions are, they appear to be working.

Well-rounded and detailed, I’m satisfied with Contabo’s commitment to security overall. However, the provider could stand to be even more transparent with its security solutions.

Customer support

Contabo’s support is only available via phone and email support between 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. CEST. Fortunately, Contabo also has a well-stocked knowledge base that’s filled with articles covering a wide range of topics.

Contabo customer support contact information

If you run into any trouble or issue, you can get in touch with Contabo’s customer service via a call or an email. You’ll find that the team uses a 3-tier system where its members are working as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level agents. Or, as the provider calls them: supporters.

From what I could glimpse, the agents from all 3 levels are well-trained and effective. But, the 2nd and 3rd levels are experienced system administrators who are well-versed with the technical side of things.

However, I do find Contabo’s lack of live chat a little bit of a letdown since it’s most people’s support channel of choice.

Sure, you could call instead. However, if you aren’t based in Germany, you’ll need to shell out for an international call, which could be costly.

As for email, it’s great that there’s a free option to contact Contabo. However, you might have to wait a bit since its support team only monitors emails during working hours — which isn’t ideal if you have an urgent issue.

Luckily, Contabo has a knowledge base if you prefer to handle any issue independently instead. The knowledge base might not be the most extensive one in the industry, but there are some very useful tutorials and guides included.

Contabo knowledge base

The articles are thoughtful and delve deep into the topics. Plus, there are in-depth step-by-step guides where necessary.

On top of that, I find Contabo’s comprehensive FAQ page to be very helpful, too. It covers a whole lot of areas including billing, domain, software, security, and service-specific ones.

Overall, Contabo support is a mixed bag. Its support agents are knowledgeable and helpful, but the provider lacks live chat, and its availability is limited to just business hours.

Contabo review: the final verdict

All in all, Contabo offers up a very affordable and straightforward solution — especially for those looking for high-level storage or web-app hosting. Despite its cheap pricing, my experience was a smooth one overall, with no serious issues or difficulties. I absolutely have to give props to Contabo for this.

Below, I have summarized the final verdict for the most important aspects:

VPS for flexible needs
Contabo is super affordable, with its VPS plans starting at just $6.99/mo. Plus, it’s also more than liberal with its server resources, and all of its plans are well-equipped.
Ease of Use
Contabo offers free opt-in for Webmin to help with hosting management. However, its native dashboard is slightly outdated. That said, both interfaces serve their purpose well and are functional as well as powerful.
The provider is reliable with its 100% uptime and has a remarkably fast response time.
Contabo security precautions are stripped back since it’s an unmanaged solution. But, it takes data center security seriously and also offers vital measures like DDoS protection and two-factor authentication.
You can reach Contabo’s team via phone call or email. The support is skilled and well-trained but only available during business hours.

For those looking for a budget-friendly solution, Contabo is a good pick. However, since it focuses on advanced solutions such as unmanaged VPS, it’s more suited for those with at least some technical experience and know-how. Projects requiring advanced storage and businesses should be able to make the most out of Contabo’s plans.

Alternatives to Contabo

Contabo might be number one to many looking for affordable VPS solutions, but it might not be the right one for you. In that case, a couple of other providers might be a better fit.

Hostinger VPS

Hostinger comes to mind first because it has even cheaper plans than Contabo. Its VPS plans start at just $4.04/mo. Hence, if you don’t need that much in terms of resources, you might want to keep Hostinger as one of the top options.

Plus, Hostinger offers self-managed service with easy-to-use control panel and 1-click OS templates, which is good news for those concerned about ease of use. All plans include excellent features, such as weekly backups, a snapshot, a malware scanner, and even an AI assistant.

Beyond that, Hostinger is known for its performance, too. The provider is reliable and incredibly fast, with data centers in 6 locations around the world.

Liquid Web

Liquid Web is popular for its enterprise-grade hosting solutions. While not as cheap as Contabo, Liquid Web is more than reasonable with its pricing — with its cheapest managed VPS plan costing $16.00/mo with our introductory discount.

Its managed hosting comes with Plesk and cPanel to boost its ease of use. Additionally, performance-wise, Liquid Web is reliable and speedy.

And, if you find Contabo’s support to be a hassle, Liquid Web offers a great alternative. Human support is available 24/7 via phone, email, and live chat. It even has a 59-second initial response guarantee for live chat.

More web hosting reviews from Cybernews:

Contabo FAQs


prefix 1 year ago
Since comparable features were significantly more expensive on other websites, they actually had one of the best servers for the money. Additionally, the customer service is excellent, providing immediate answers. The website, however, was a little strange, and I believe that both the frontend and backend need to be upgraded. The navigation on the website was somewhat unusual, and when I purchased a server, they had to manually open a second account and link the server to it because it appears that the currency was set to a different region. Additionally, they just share passwords via emails, which, to my knowledge, is not very secure.
Azhar Umar
prefix 2 years ago
Daylight Robbery

Do not host your public sites on Contabo server, they have the worst TTBF ever in the market. They also have weird policies. I paid for a year, cancelled on their dashboard within 14 days, waited 8-10 days for refund, but did not receive a refund. Upon reaching out to customer care, they said their policy states that just cancellation is not enough, the customer has to send them a refund request in a prescribed format either via a mailed letter, a fax, or email. C'mon, which year are they living in?

Anyhow I lost the money 1 year subscription money. They lost a customer forever. I still have my ERP instance running on contabo. I am waiting for the contract period to end to switch back to GCP.

Here is the story about TTBF.

On recommendation from an ERP consultant, we moved our ERP from Google Cloud VM to a Contabo server. Everything seemed fine. But few of our employees complained that the ERP has become a bit slower. I dint give it much concern.

Later that month, we decided to move our public wordpress site to contabo's server. Our website have a very minimum traffic, approximately 1000 to 2000 vistors per month. But the website was loading very slow. When we checked the GTMetrix it showed that TTBF was above 3500 ms. Originally our total load time used to be only 280 ms. To make sure it is not an issue with our theme and plugins, we tried a plain installation of wordpress on contabo, digital ocean and google cloud. All on their chepest servers. Digital ocean and google cloud servers selected for testing was on a fraction of the specification of contabo servers. We discovered that there was some real issues with Contabo server, because DO and Google Cloud was delivering TTBF below 80 ms. I read online and found that this was a common issue with Contabo and they were also throttling disk IO. It was hardly 5 to 7 days since we purchased the server and I had read that they had a 14 days refund policy. We had paid for an entire year. We immediately cancelled the services and waited for the refund to happen. It never happened.
Michael Solomson
prefix 2 years ago
Please post this for your readers. My company has submitted numerous Copyright Infringement (DMCA) reports to Contabo and have had no response and no action taken to disable access to the illegal sites. This goes against statements on this subject within their own Terms and Conditions (Clause 6 - Rights of Third Parties) as well as German Copyright law. By hosting and allowing sites to blatantly offer unauthorized and illegal access to copyrighted materials Contabo encourages other site owners to conduct similar activities unchallenged. Legitimate site owners considering or utilizing Contabo's services should take pause before supporting an organization with questionable business ethics.
prefix 2 years ago
I have a piracy website. I didn't have time to check my email to remove that website from my server, they locked me and asked me to pay 40$ = 30 Euro to reopen that host. God... It's like they blackmailed me. Really too expensive for it. While my server costs $18/month. Nowhere do they do this... Very bad in this regard...
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are markedmarked