Keys to Our Top Linux Hosting Reviews — How We Rate the Best VPS Plans for Linux
Security, stability, the support of an extensive developer community — the list of Linux benefits goes on and on for many hosting shoppers. The popular operating system has become such a pull factor for customers that most of the top hosts broadcast features like CentOS, automatic patches, and Linux-friendly software as mainstays of each VPS hosting service.
As someone who just searched “best Linux VPS” or the like, you’re left with a lengthy list of options to sift through. Here, we walk you through our methods for evaluating each Linux VPS server above, so you can make an informed decision for your upcoming project.
Linux Server Points of Comparison
Let’s hash out the details of Linux server hosting. We’ll unveil the features we look for, the hosts who deliver them best, and how the top offerings compare to those of competitors.
A VPS host is only as good as its hardware. A major perk of VPS hosting is a larger pool of dedicated server resources — so why wouldn’t you want the best of the best?
We look into the RAM, storage specs, and disk space allowances in each VPS plan we review. Category leaders tout free SSDs that boost your server with added speed, and Liquid Web has RAID-protected SSDs available for free within its VPS hosting server.
If you’re searching “Linux VPS web hosting,” software is obviously important to you. The hosts we hold in highest regard in this niche offer business-class software to support their world-class hardware.
For starters, you might find enterprise-class CentOS 6 with InMotion Hosting, but then you should also look for other Linux-friendly applications and scripts compatible with the hosting plan. With hosts like Bluehost or JustHost, the Apache web server comes standard, and iPage pre-installs popular programming scripts for you.
3. Security and Monitoring
Since reliability and performance are cornerstones of a quality VPS hosting experience, security and network monitoring features are crucial to Linux VPS shoppers. Customers expect round-the-clock server monitoring as a minimum.
Free Linux OS security patches come standard with InMotion Hosting. Most hosts offer beefed-up security for managed VPS service customers, but Liquid Web’s Heroic Support™ team goes the extra mile for each VPS hosting plan. Built-in backups are included with Liquid Web plans, along with enhanced security for your server.
4. Uptime Guarantee
We can’t drive this point home enough: Uptime, uptime, uptime! It matters! To break it down, a 99.9% uptime guarantee is an industry norm, but, frankly, isn’t up to snuff for most of our VPS or dedicated hosting shoppers. Hosts who guarantee five nines (99.999%) or better are significantly more worth your time and money.
Hosts like InMotion or Bluehost are good for an excellent-but-not-stupendous uptime rate of 99.99%, and — hold onto your socks — Liquid Web promises 100% uptime. The hosting company experienced 99.995% uptime.
5. Technical Support
Customer support can be the most frustrating factor of a hosting experience. It’s a feature that distinguishes the good hosts from the great ones across all hosting niches.
Hosts who handle technical support best are known for their teams’ accessibility, timeliness, helpfulness. Liquid Web surpasses most with promises to respond to chats and phone calls in less than a minute.
At the virtual server level, hosting is divided into managed and unmanaged VPS services. A web host will give site owners more flexibility to install a different Linux distribution if they choose, but won’t help as much on physical server maintenance and software support as with a managed VPS plan.
6. Price vs. Features
Last, but most certainly not least, we have to look at the overall value of a Linux VPS hosting package. The quality and quantity of features offset by the pricing determine a host’s worth to a potential customer. Whether you want managed services, a WordPress VPS hosting plan, or just a virtual machine with CentOS installed, InMotion leads in high-value VPS hosting.
Features The Best Linux VPS Hosting Providers Share
As you have probably gathered from our reviews, each top Linux hosting provider has several key offerings in common. The features listed below are particularly noteworthy for VPS users:
- Choice of Linux operating system
- cPanel, root, and SSH access
- OS security patches, updates, and monitoring
- Instant provisioning and reliable scalability
- Linux-friendly software (e.g., Apache, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby)
- FTP accounts and MySQL databases
- A dedicated IP address and SSD storage
Of course, this list is not comprehensive. The leading web hosts for Linux fans tout these standard features and a host of others to streamline your Linux hosting experience.
Cost Comparison: Free Linux VPS Hosting vs. Quality, Cheap Alternatives
Buyer beware: As with any service you find online, free Linux VPS hosting options are advertised, but you’ll be sadly disappointed by the limited RAM, lackluster, or nonexistent, support, and limited customization options. You’re much better off opting for a quality, low-cost VPS provider such asInMotion for your affordable Linux hosting needs.
What is Linux VPS Hosting?
Linux VPS hosting is a popular server package that users leverage to build their applications and web resources. But Linux is only one type of hosting distribution within the VPS realm. Before we dive into Linux VPS hosting, let’s discuss what VPS hosting is at its core.
VPS stands for virtual private server. A virtual private server uses virtualization to split and isolate resources among a single server and distribute these resources to multiple tenants. Unlike shared hosting users, VPS users and their websites don’t get bogged down by other tenants’ usage and performance needs. VPS users may share a server, but they don’t share resources. Virtual private servers are a more affordable alternative to dedicated servers, as hosting customers can receive ample resources and features without operating and paying for dedicated hardware.
VPS hosting lies in the middle of the hosting pack because its capabilities and pricing serve as the happy medium. VPS hosting costs more than shared hosting but carries the lofty price tag that dedicated server hosting plans do. Users can also do much more with a VPS plan than with a shared one. VPS capabilities allow users to customize and gain control over their server environment through root access, enabling users to configure their servers how they like. This freedom and functionality that VPS provides lead us to how Linux relates to the server type.
Linux is an open-source operating system that users can deploy on a VPS server. When a hosting provider offers a Linux VPS package, it delivers the performance capabilities of a virtual private server optimized for the Linux OS. But users can choose to use a different operating system on their Linux server. Similar to a cloud server resource, a VPS hosting service offers excellent stability, scalability, and flexibility with its hosting resources, making it a fantastic choice for many users and small businesses.
What’s the Difference between Linux and Windows Hosting?
Hosting providers don’t only optimize their virtual private servers for the Linux operating system. Linux has a rival in this arena, and its name is Windows. Users can choose between Linux and Windows for their VPS hosting plans on most web host websites. But what makes the two operating systems different? And why do some customers prefer one over the other?
This debate comes down to the battle of the interfaces — more specifically, whether you prefer a graphical user interface versus command line. With a Linux server, users leverage the command line to manage their customizations and configurations. But the Windows server has a graphical user interface embedded within its operating system for more visual users. The command line and graphical user interface offer different benefits, showing why some users choose Linux over Windows VPS or vice versa.
Linux’s command line interface enables users to perform more hardware actions than the Windows operating system because the command line has direct access to a computer. The graphical user interface’s point-and-click functionality separates it a bit from the hardware and limits it from doing certain tasks connected to the computer. If users want unrestricted access to their server, Linux would be the way to go.
Linux is also an open-source operating system, which gives users more freedom with the distribution and modification of software. It also supports various choices of tools. On the other hand, Windows solely relies on Microsoft for database solutions and website management tools. Linux plans are typically less expensive than Windows plans. That means users can get almost the same performance, speed, and stability for a lower monthly cost.
What Are Linux Distributions?
Users aren’t limited to a single operating system with Linux. Because Linux is open-source, it can offer and support multiple operating systems. These operating systems are called Linux distributions, or distros for short. All an operating system needs to be a Linux distribution is a Linux kernel, which is the foundation of the operating system, and a package management system. These distributions are downloadable and support user programs, repositories, and libraries.
Thousands of Linux distributions exist. Since Linux is open-source software, anyone can create their own Linux distribution by modifying the code of an existing distribution or assembling the source code themselves. Most hosting companies offer commercial distros within their Linux VPS plans. Below, we’ll share some of the most popular brands within the web hosting world. These OS distributions include:
Linux distributions can also be organized into two categories: enterprise and community versions. These two distinctions are significant because they help drive the process behind distros and can help you determine your choice of a Linux distro. Community distros are free Linux distributions maintained and supported by the open-source community. Enterprise distros are the opposite: a vendor offers a distro through a subscription and handles support and maintenance. Beginners with fewer commitment needs may seek out a community distro, as mainly contributors maintain it. Enterprise distros, on the other hand, are better for businesses or users with long-term projects needing consistent updates and vendor support.
Finding the right distribution for you can take some research or trying out, whether you’re migrating from a Windows VPS or subscribing to your first Linux VPS plan. But with so many distributions on the market, you will surely find one that fits your needs. Each distro has a specific use case. These use case fields include servers, security, development, desktop computers, and so on. Users can leverage tools, such as the Distro Selector, to help them select a distribution tailored to their goals by answering a few simple questions about their experience and needs.
Why is Linux VPS Hosting Useful?
Linux VPS hosting has multiple use cases. Hosting customers can use it as a gaming server, proxy, file server, cloud service, mail server, DNS server, and so forth. Its reliability, flexibility, and robust performance capabilities give users the freedom and power to accomplish many different workloads, making it useful in various fields.
Below, we’ll look at the main features of Linux VPS hosting and expand on how you can benefit from purchasing a Linux virtual server compared to Windows VPS.
Cost: Linux VPSes are pretty affordable, more so than its competitor, Windows. Because it is open-source software, hosting providers don’t have to pay much for it as it can be distributed and modified by anyone within the open-source community. There are also multiple free Linux distributions with high functionality for users to leverage. That means VPS hosting providers don’t have to pay for a vendor subscription and charge more on their plans. In contrast, Windows VPS hosting charges steep licensing fees to use its OS services.
Flexibility: All VPS plans bring a level of flexibility that other hosting forms don’t. Most people adopt virtual private servers to increase this specific feature. But if we’re comparing Windows and Linux servers, Linux VPSes definitely take the cake in this department. Since Windows is not open-source, it doesn’t offer support for various tools and CMS. Linux also provides more OS choices.
Security: As for security measures, Linux triumphs again! Linux offers a more secure server environment with robust security built by a community of software developers ready to address and resolve any threat that may come the operating system’s way. Windows, however, experiences more targeted attacks as it has a weaker structure than the Linux system and is more prevalent among enterprises. Its graphical user interface opens more avenues and lines of code for attackers to infiltrate and take over.
User-friendliness: Ease of use is a bit more balanced in the battle between Linux and Windows. Windows offers customers a graphical user interface (GUI) for their server configuration and management tasks, simplifying duties with a visual approach. Although Linux primarily supports a command line interface, users can also add a GUI in some instances to their distributions. This shift, however, can introduce security issues. But most Linux VPS plans come with cPanel and other tools to make life easier.
Technical Support: Above, we established that Linux OS requires more technical expertise than Windows when it comes to its management. Unfortunately, Linux also has a less robust technical support system than Windows. With Windows VPS hosting, users receive the backing of certified Windows experts and an extensive Windows commercial support ecosystem for a paid fee. On the other hand, Linux users must leverage the free aid of the open-source community, which isn’t the most reliable as users don’t know if they’ll get the assistance they need to resolve their query.
Linux delivers tons of fantastic features and benefits to make your hosting journey successful. Its low cost, flexibility, and security are unmatched. And it truly embodies freedom. Its servers allow users to create and make configurations how they want and access the tools and knowledge of the massive open-source community.
What is Managed VPS Hosting?
Managing VPS hosting plans can be challenging for many users. It requires a great breadth of technical knowledge to configure Linux servers, and handling it alone can be a daunting task. If you can’t afford a dedicated team for server administration, you can leverage a managed VPS hosting solution. The best VPS hosting providers offer users the option of choice. In this case, it’s the choice between managed and self-managed VPS plans.
A managed VPS plan includes all the essential hosting resources a user needs but also delivers managed services on the tail end. Many businesses and users want to focus on their core tasks and not have to worry about manual server duties. With a managed VPS, users can offload their technical and server admin requirements to their VPS hosting provider’s capable hands.
Managed VPS services typically include:
- Server setup and maintenance
- Software updates and installations
- Technical customer support at the bare minimum
But some hosts go above and beyond by supplying users with security audits, monitoring, malware removal, and even custom development assistance.
Managed services are a great solution to consider. The good thing is users can use this solution for multiple hosting forms. Scala Hosting offers both managed cloud VPS hosting and managed WordPress hosting. Its fast SSD VPS plans come with all the hosting essentials and the assistance of the hosting team for your server management needs. Some WordPress hosting plans even fall within the bracket of cheap VPS hosting, making these plans affordable for everyone.
How Much Should Linux VPS Hosting Cost?
Linux VPS hosting provides optimal performance, scalability, and security for users to power their online projects. It sits in the middle of the hosting spectrum because it offers greater benefits than shared hosting but for a lower price than dedicated hosting. But how affordable is it?
We know that VPS hosting comes in two forms: Linux and Windows. Linux VPS hosting typically costs less than Windows VPS because of its open-source framework and free distributions. Hosting providers don’t run into licensing fees or paid technical support as is the case with Windows, so they can deliver Linux servers for less. Most VPS plan prices range between $20 and $200 per month. But there are also many cheap VPS plans on the market.
The pricing of your plan will depend on your needs. More affordable VPS plans are usually self-managed and require more technical knowledge to run. They also may have fewer resources or support than more expensive VPS packages. A managed Linux VPS plan may work better for businesses needing more hosting assistance, with most plans starting around $20. Although you won’t find free VPS plans, users with tighter budgets can access the cheap Linux VPS hosting that multiple top web hosts offer.
Hosting Linux VPS Sites Is Simple With the Top Web Hosts
Premier Linux hosting services abound with the top hosts listed above — and now you understand our reasoning for thinking so highly of them. With instant server provisioning and daily billing from the expert-recommended providers, you can have a fully functional Linux project up and running in virtually no time at all.
The question remains: Which of the best Linux VPS hosting providers is your top choice? If you determine you’re not quite ready for a virtual private server, no worries. Hop on over to our Linux shared hosting plan reviews, and go from there.