The Complete Cloud VPS Hosting Guide

If you’re running your own website, such as a blog, eCommerce store, or any other kind of internet business – and you’re thinking about upgrading your web hosting services to a cloud VPS, you may be wondering if it’s really worth it.

Looking for the best Cloud VPS providers? Click here to jump to the Best Of list.

Quick Read:

Sure, it’s tempting to stick with running your own server – or using a cheap shared cloud hosting service. But as your website grows, investing in a cloud VPS becomes a better and better investment.

In our opinion, switching to a cloud VPS is worth the money for just about any internet business. Why? Find out in this comprehensive review of cloud VPS hosting services. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about cloud VPS, the top companies offering VPS services, and much more. Let’s get started.

What is a VPS (Virtual Private Server?)

A VPS, or virtual private server, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s not a physical server – but a virtualized system, running in a large datacenter in the cloud.

In addition, a VPS is private. This is in contrast to the most basic tier of web-hosting is called shared web hosting – where computing resources and capacity are shared between multiple websites, scaling up and down as necessary.

In other words, a VPS is a virtual, private server that provides you with dedicated bandwidth and computing power. While a single server may run hundreds of VPS instances, you always get the performance you pay for. Your computing resources and bandwidth are not shared with anyone else.

Need an analogy? Imagine building your own physical web server, with a powerful processor core, plenty of RAM, and lots of storage space, and using it exclusively for your website.

That’s exactly what you get from a VPS – except your server is virtualized, and stored in the cloud. You have exclusive access to the server, and can use it however you want. Your server may run in parallel with other virtualized servers – but you always have full access to your own computing resources.

What Are The Benefits of a Cloud VPS?

A cloud VPS has a number of benefits – both compared to running a private server of your own, and compared to using a typical shared hosting plan. Here is a quick overview of some of the major benefits of a cloud VPS.

  • Enhanced data security – Your data and your website are going to be completely “siloed” from other websites with a cloud VPS. This is not always the case with shared hosting plans. Your data could be stored and processed alongside that of other websites – which means there is a higher risk of data loss or breaches due to hacking or malware. If just one of the sites on a shared cloud server is breached, there is potential for your data to be stolen or lost, even if your website is secure.
  • Faster page loading speeds – You’ll notice much better overall loading speeds with a cloud VPS, compared to a shared hosting plan. Why? Because, instead of bandwidth and computing power being shared between multiple websites, your site will have its own dedicated resources.
    The actual speed differences you’ll notice will depend on how well your website is optimized, your peak traffic, and a number of other factors. But every second counts – a study by HubSpot found that, if your page takes more than 2.4 seconds to load, your conversion rate will drop and your bounce rate will increase dramatically.
    According to that study, conversion rates at 2.4 seconds hover around 1.9%, and are as low as 0.6% after 5.7 seconds of loading time. Bounce rates at 2.4 seconds are about 20%, increasing to 58% after 9.9 seconds.
  • Highly-redundant design – This is an advantage compared to running your own, privately-hosted physical server. A VPS that is run by a large datacenter is highly-redundant. Your workload can be spread across multiple servers and your data can be backed up automatically – and if one component fails, your VPS provider will be able to shift your website seamlessly to new hardware, ensuring less downtime and fewer service interruptions.
  • No need to buy and run your own equipment – Running your own dedicated server can be very expensive. Not only do you need to invest in hardware, you’ll also have to manage all of its systems yourself – and pay for power, air conditioning, and other such expenses, just to run your server.
    A cloud VPS gives you comparable performance for a much lower price, making it easier for you to get dedicated hosting without spending too much money.
  • More control over your virtual server – In a shared environment, you may be limited somewhat when it comes to modifying and changing how your server works. Some root commands and administrative privileges may be off-limits, for example, for data security and integrity reasons.
    With VPS hosting, most of these restrictions are removed. You essentially have free rein over your environment – though you are slightly more restricted than you would be with a private dedicated server.
  • Extremely scalable – One great thing about a VPS is that it’s easy to request more storage and computing resources. It’s usually as simple as clicking a button, and paying an additional fee. You can scale your website up as much as you need to, or even reduce the resources you need, as required.

For these reasons – and quite a few more – a cloud VPS is the best logical next step if you’ve outgrown a shared hosting platform.

Why is a Cloud VPS More Expensive than Shared Hosting?

Depending on the company you choose for VPS hosting (more on that later) you may pay up to 4x or as much for a cloud VPS as you would for a comparable shared hosting product. Why? Here are a few of the reasons you’ll pay more for a cloud VPS.

  • Dedicated resources – With a shared server, your website is simply added to a pool of other websites that all reside on the same server, and use the same resources. This means that the hosting company can save on computing costs, because it can flexibly shift computing resources to the sites that are experiencing high traffic. In turn, this maximizes the number of websites that can be hosted on a single server.
    A VPS, on the other hand, provides you with dedicated computing resources that can’t be shared with any other website. Whether you use none of your server power – or all of it – the cost that the VPS provider pays to host this server will remain the same, resulting in higher costs.
  • Licensing costs – Again, a shared server allows the hosting company to pay once for a server license and other associated costs, and use it for dozens – or even hundreds – of websites. This cannot be done with a VPS, so this is another reason that cloud VPS costs more.
  • Higher start-up costs – Instead of just using an already-existing physical or virtual server, the cloud hosting company will have to spin up a new environment and provision it just for you, which costs time and money.

Of course, there are other reasons that cloud VPS is more expensive, but these are the biggest factors that cause the large price differential between shared hosting and private VPS hosting.

What’s the Difference Between a Normal VPS vs a Cloud VPS?

A traditional VPS is a virtual server which gets all resources (CPU, RAM, disk, network) from the physical machine (server) that it runs on. That results in multiple single points of failure which can cause service interruption. A traditional VPS will fail for a long period of time if any piece of hardware fails in the machine that does not have redundancy – CPU, RAM, motherboard, RAID card. High availability is not possible with traditional virtual servers. Additionally, you can’t attach more storage to one VPS than you have on the physical server.

The cloud VPS gets CPU, RAM and network from the physical machine it runs on but the storage is delivered from a SAN (Storage Area Network). In the cloud you can quickly migrate a VPS from one physical machine to another without any service interruption (the VPS keeps running during the migration). The migration process basically copies the RAM from the current physical server to the new one and once the used RAM by the VPS is 100% in sync, the VPS starts operating from the new physical server. The end users cannot notice anything while that process is happening. The hot-migrate feature in the cloud is useful for load balancing physical servers and for increasing uptime. If a physical machine fails, all VPSes on it can be quickly started from another healthy machine since the storage is central (SAN) and all physical servers in the cloud cluster have access to the SAN. Moreover, you can attach as much storage as you want to a cloud VPS because the storage in the SAN can grow unlimited.

Self-Managed vs. Managed Cloud VPS

If you’d like to save money on your cloud VPS, you can choose to manage it yourself. Basically, this means that the cloud VPS company will provision a server for you, hand over the “keys” to you, and let you do whatever you want with it. They won’t be responsible for managing it. You’ll take care of pretty much everything related to system administration.

If you have good technical skills and are comfortable with managing Linux servers, this is a good way to save a few bucks. Self-managed hosting is very cheap, since the host doesn’t have to take on the cost of managing the server.

You can compare some of the best self-managed cloud VPS providers here.

However, it’s usually better to spend a bit more money on managed VPS hosting. This will usually get you access to a dedicated control panel for your server, and other services like automatic backups and scheduled maintenance. It’s more expensive to choose a managed cloud VPS service, but doing so will give you peace of mind, and reduce the amount of time you have to spend on managing and administering your own server.

You can compare some of the best managed VPS providers here.

How Much Will I Pay For Cloud VPS Hosting?

Wondering how much you’ll really pay for cloud VPS hosting? Let’s discuss the 4 factors that affect the cost of a VPS, and then give you some pricing examples.

  • Computing capacity (CPU) – The higher the computing power of a server, the more expensive it will be to run. This is particularly true of VPS hosting, because your computing capacity can’t be shared with anyone else, even when it’s not being used.
  • Memory (RAM) – If you need more RAM for your server, you’ll pay a correspondingly higher rate.
  • Storage (Disk Space) – Smaller websites may need relatively limited storage, but as your website grows, you’ll pay more for storage. You’ll also pay more if your server exclusively uses SSD (Solid State Drives) than you will if it uses SSDs and traditional HDD (Hard Disk Drives).
  • Management services – Cloud VPS companies offer data backup services, management, and other such extras. The more features you choose to buy, the higher your rate will be.

Now that you understand the primary factors that affect the cost of your hosted VPS service, let’s take a look at a few example Cloud VPS plans from Vultr, to help you understand how much you can expect to pay.

You’ll pay $2.50 per month for a basic Cloud VPS with:

  • 512MB memory
  • 1 dedicated vCPU
  • 10GB SSD storage
  • 500GB outbound transfer

You’ll pay $5 per month for a basic Cloud VPS with:

  • 1GB memory
  • 1 dedicated vCPU
  • 25GB SSD storage
  • 2 TB outbound transfer

You’ll pay $20 per month for a Cloud VPS with:

  • 4GB memory
  • 2 dedicated vCPUs
  • 80GB SSD storage
  • 3 TB outbound transfer

Need more power and storage? You’ll pay $40 per month for a Cloud VPS that includes:

  • 8GB memory
  • 4 dedicated vCPUs
  • 160GB SSD storage
  • 4TB outbound transfer including

Keep in mind that there are more plans to choose from at Vultr. Including cheaper and more expensive ones than these.

As you can see, the price you’ll pay is highly-dependent on how much bandwidth, storage, computing power, and memory you need. In addition, you may have to pay extra fees if you want management services, or additional functionality like load balancers and floating IPs.

Where To Start – The Best Cloud VPS Hosting Companies

Ready to make the switch? Want to do some comparison shopping? Here is a quick list of some of the most popular cloud VPS hosting companies. Take a look, and you’re sure to find one that’s right for you.

  • SiteGround – SiteGround offers an entry-level cloud VPS with 2 CPU cores, 4GB of memory, 40gb SSD space, and 5TB data transfer for $80/month. Migrating your website will cost extra. Only one (the first) website/account is free.
  • Scala Hosting – Scala provides a competitive managed cloud VPS with high availability, a control panel, daily backups and a fully managed service. They developed their own control panel (sPanel) that you’ll use to manage your server. You can get a cloud VPS with 40GB SSD space, 4GB RAM and 2 CPUs for $26 per month, which makes them the currently best option for managed Cloud VPS hosting. They will also migrate all your websites for free.
  • KnownHostKnownHost provides a managed cloud VPS with high availability, every-other-night backups, a fully managed service, cPanel-only free migrations, 2GB RAM, 1 vCPU, 75GB SSD space at $80 per month.
  • LiquidWeb – Prices start at $59/month for 2 vCPUs, 40GB SSD space, and 10TB of bandwidth. Includes free migrations at the start, then they’re paid. High availability can be achieved using multiple servers.
  • Cloudways – They offer fully managed VPS hosting with a control panel. They use Vultr’s, DigitalOcean’s and other providers’ servers. For $24/month, you get 1 vCPU, 2GB RAM, 50GB SSD space. 1 account is migrated for free, the rest are paid. Backups are available at an extra cost. A high-availability option is still in private beta.
  • SolaDrive – SolaDrive offers fully managed VPS hosting with a great 24/7 support team. For $45/month, you get 4 vCPU, 2GB RAM, 50GB SSD space, daily backups, a control panel, and free migrations. High-availability is available upon request with multiple servers.

You can compare other managed VPS providers here.

The prices and specs of the providers featured above might be incorrect by the time you’re reading this, so please do your own research, contact them and check their websites.

 
Question(s) asked:
Hello. I am interested in a fully managed SSD cloud server and I have the following questions. Do your servers come with high availability e.g. in case of a hardware problem my server is migrated automatically within 10 minutes to another server and brought back online? What backups do I get if any? What is the cost to have 7 recovery points for each of the last 7 days? Will you migrate all my websites for free and if there is a charge what is it? What kind of management is included with the server? Do you charge extra for migration of additional websites in the future? Do you charge extra for installation of additional software such as ffmpeg, memcached, php modules?

KnownHost

Live chat: 

Ivan 

Hello. I am interested in a fully managed SSD cloud server and I have the following questions. Do your servers come with high availability e.g. in case of a hardware problem my server is migrated automatically within 10 minutes to another server and brought back online? What backups do I get if any? What is the cost to have 7 recovery points for each of the last 7 days? Will you migrate all my websites for free and if there is a charge what is it? What kind of management is included with the server? Do you charge extra for migration of additional websites in the future? Do you charge extra for installation of additional software such as ffmpeg, memcached, php modules? 

Deborah 

We do full server image backups every other night to external servers. Those backups are retained for between 7-10 days so you have at least 3 backups to select from. Full VPS restores can be done for you upon request at no charge. We don't offer any option for additional backups but you are certainly welcome to make your own backups to a destination you provide. 

If you're using cPanel now, our Support team will do the entire migration for you at no charge and we don't charge for additional migrations as long as you're using cPanel on those sites being migrated. 

See https://www.knownhost.com/support-coverage.html to view what's covered under managed support. Assuming the software will not conflict/break the server and it's outside of our standard support we do have professional services billed @ $35/hr 

 SiteGround

Specifications: 2 CPU, 4GB RAM, 40GB SSD - $80 / month

Support: Fully managed service. Admin time $50 / hour

Migration: 1 cPanel account free and others cost 24 EURO per account

Backups: Backups for last 7 days

High-availability: Yes

Live chat: 

Ivan: What backups do I get if any? What is the cost to have 7 recovery points for each of the last 7 days?

Martin V.: We keep the backups safe for 7 days and each day we create such backup

Ivan: Thank you. Will you migrate all my websites for free and if there is a charge what is it?

Martin V.: Can you tell me of one your sites, so I can check what is the control panel type that you are using here?

Ivan: I use cPanel

Martin V.: Great! In that case we can transfer the full cPanel here

Martin V.: Our migrations tech team is quite handy and can transfer copy of your cPanel over. Then you can test things out and see how things come along, whether you like it or no, although I am sure you will. In the meantime websites will be still Live at old host, so you can still compare and see for yourself which way you want to really stick with

Martin V.: That being said your full cPanel data (sites, mails and databases) will be part of the transfer

Ivan: free of charge?

Ivan: I host many websites. Will you migrate all of them for free? They are more than 100.

Martin V.: Yep, that would be included in the total migration

Martin V.: If they are part of the same cPanel, we can move that whole cPanel and it will be free of charge

Ivan: they are separate cpanel accounts

Ivan: 100+

Martin V.: Ah okay! Well, in that case we can transfer one of the cPanels free of charge Ivan. The other cPanels would be 24Eur per cPanel

Martin V.: Do you have 100+ cPanels Ivan?

Ivan: Yes, it will be costly to migrate them. I will probably migrate them myself.

Ivan: What kind of management is included with the server? Do you charge extra for migration of additional websites in the future? Do you charge extra for installation of additional software such as ffmpeg, memcached, php modules?

Martin V.: It really depends Ivan! The ffmpeg for example can be installed free of charge on the Cloud

Martin V.: The migration of the sites is always paid one though

Martin V.: Only the first one is free of charge

Martin V.: Still, the support we provide you with is really top quality Ivan and you will be able to contact us over phone and chat 24/7 and response is always immediate and our advanced team over ticket can help with a very wide variety of questions, even non-hosting related ones.

Martin V.: I am certain you will be pleased with the technical assistance, its usually the first big difference people notice once here

Martin V.: Have in mind that our Clouds also come with 15 days money back guarantee Ivan

Martin V.: So you can taste the waters and even have us transfer one of your cPanels here at no cost

Martin V.: This way you be sure if we fit you and if you are not satisfied, we can fully refund you for the Cloud hosting

Ivan: What kind of management is included with the server? Do you have a page or something where I can read what is covered?

Martin V.: Not really, but its fully managed hosting service. So you wont have to hassle with the Cloud software, the MySQL upgrade or something like that

Ivan: If I want to install custom software?

Martin V.: That would be paid service Ivan, since that is considered development

Ivan: What is the cost per hour?

Martin V.: We normally charge 50$ per hour for such custom installation requests Ivan.
 LiquidWeb

Live chat: 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:09:28 PM): We will migrate your sites for free if they already reside on a C-Panel or Plesk instance elsewhere. Off server back-up is available for $0.12 per GB per month, you can request how long to retain backups up to 30 days. Management includes: Includes a control panel as well as complete support of base operating system and all control panel services. Proactive service restoration is provided. Future migrations are normally a charge, initial is free with (C-Panel or Plesk). 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:11:07 PM): High availability would have be custom configured with multi-server set-up. Hardware is normally replaced within an hour if needed. Support is LIVE 24/7/365 and we guarantee to answer the phone within 59 seconds, chat within 59 seconds and ticket within 30 minutes. 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:11:38 PM): What type of sites are you currently hosting? 

Me (1/29/2019, 5:12:21 PM): All sort of sites. I have 100+ on both cPanel and non-cPanel servers. Will you migrate all for free and if something costs extra how much will you charge? 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:18:01 PM): Whatever sites you currently have on a C-Panel instance elsewhere...we will migrate over for free to a C-Panel instance here. 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:18:41 PM): If you have 120 sites on C-Panel currently, we will migrate those 120 over for free 

Me (1/29/2019, 5:21:15 PM): When I need to migrate websites in the future will it be free as well? 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:22:38 PM): No, only when you first order 

Me (1/29/2019, 5:23:33 PM): what is the cost for future ones? 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:23:56 PM): when we charge for migration it is typically $100 for the 1st hour and then $50 for any additional hour there after. Charges are for desk time specifically, transfer time is not charged 

Me (1/29/2019, 5:26:44 PM): What kind of management is included with the server? 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:27:42 PM): Management includes: Includes a control panel as well as complete support of base operating system and all control panel services. Proactive service restoration is provided 

Me (1/29/2019, 5:28:01 PM): Do you charge extra for installation of additional software such as ffmpeg, memcached, php modules? 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:28:39 PM): More info on management here (Fully managed): https://www.liquidweb.com/support/compare/ 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:29:38 PM): We won't charge you, are you are free to add whatever you like. We might assist you with php modules if needed. Not sure about the other 2, you might have to do that one your own. 

Me (1/29/2019, 5:30:03 PM): How much will it cost if I want you to install anything that is not supported? 

Will (1/29/2019, 5:30:37 PM): I don't believe they will charge, they just won't do it. 

Me (1/29/2019, 5:30:50 PM): ok

Cloud VPS Hosting – a Great Middle-Ground Between Shared Hosting and Dedicated Servers

If you’re ready to move on from shared hosting, to ensure better loading times and keep your data safe and private – but you don’t want to invest in a dedicated server – a cloud VPS is the perfect middle ground. Even though it will cost more than shared hosting, it’s worth every penny.

So start shopping for a plan now. Start with our above recommendations, and do your own research to find out who will offer you the best deal. We’re certain that you will make the right choice.

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