9 Best: Hosting With Root Access (Feb. 2024)

Best Hosting With Root Access

You’ve probably heard of or read about web hosting services that give users “more control” over their servers. Half of the time, they’re referring to root access. Root access is helpful to individuals who need to customize their servers beyond the default settings.

Imagine you’re customizing a virtual machine to host your latest AI-based mobile budgeting app. You need root access to create the environment you want without running into trouble with permissions. Root access also lets you download software and optimize your network security, so you can keep your user’s spending habits safe from hackers. No one wants their midnight runs to Taco Bell to become public knowledge because of a data breach.

While the best hosting with root access provides more control, that’s not the only benefit. Read on to learn more.

Cheap Hosting with Root Access: Cloud and VPS Plans

In the world of web hosting, most servers usually come installed with the features you need to host your website or application. But with root access, you can customize the server to suit your unique needs. In other words, you’ll have administrative access and control over the server.

That said, here are my personal favorites:

1. Kamatera.com

Kamatera review

Monthly Starting Price $4.00

  • Ultimate scalability with limitless customizations
  • Create and deploy servers in 60 seconds
  • Easily add load balancers and firewalls
  • Stellar 99.95% uptime guarantee
  • Sign up today for a 30-day FREE trial
  • Get started on Kamatera now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

Kamatera: Our Expert’s Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Starting with more than 60 operating system images to choose from, Kamatera is a strong option for developers who know exactly what environment works best for their project. Customize your cloud server as needed and deploy in less than a minute. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
5 minutes 20 GB SSD – 4 TB SSD 1 – 32 cores 1 GB – 128 GB

2. IONOS.com

1&1 IONOS review

Monthly Starting Price $4.00

  • Start with $100 in credit for your first month
  • Auto scaling with premium Intel processors
  • Customized operating systems (Linux or Windows)
  • Deploy Linux instances in less than 1 minute
  • Transparent costs and by-the-minute billing
  • Get started on 1&1 IONOS now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

1&1 IONOS: Our Expert’s Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): Boasting 99. 998% platform availability, the popular cloud hosting services from 1&1 IONOS deploy more than 2,500 virtual machines each week. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 10 GB NVMe – 640 GB NVMe 1 – 24 cores 512 MB.- 48 GB

3. Hostwinds.com

Hostwinds Review

Monthly Starting Price $4.99

  • Managed or unmanaged, in Windows or Linux
  • Cloud hosting with hourly or monthly billing
  • Instant upgrades without downtime
  • FREE around-the-clock monitoring
  • Automatic nightly backups available
  • Get started on Hostwinds now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

Hostwinds: Our Expert’s Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Does any hosting provider have more virtual private server packages than Hostwinds. The company offers 10 configurations — and that’s just for managed Linux server partitions. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 30 GB SSD – 750 GB SSD 1 – 16 cores 1 – 96 GB

4. Bluehost.com

Bluehost Review

Monthly Starting Price $31.99

  • Seamless migration from any Bluehost shared hosting plan
  • Root access and easy multi-server management
  • Ample RAID-1 storage and tons of bandwidth
  • Each plan gets at least 3 dedicated IP addresses
  • cPanel and WHM with root access
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

4.6 ★★★★★ Our Review

Bluehost: Our Expert’s Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): We love recommending Bluehost for its lifetime customer growth potential, meaning you can start with shared hosting and seamlessly scale to VPS hosting plans and beyond. The price versus performance is pretty unbeatable in the virtual hosting space, and Bluehost’s engineering team will kick off the customer relationship by instantly provisioning your server. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 120 GB SSD – 240 GB SSD 2 – 4 cores 2 GB – 8 GB

5. Hostinger.com

Hostinger Review

Monthly Starting Price $5.99

  • Cloud-based SSD storage for speed and reliability
  • Double your RAM with burst periods
  • FREE dedicated IPv4 and IPv6 addresses
  • Custom control panel for reboots and OS installs
  • HostingAdvice readers enjoy more than 50% off
  • Get started on Hostinger now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

Hostinger: Our Expert’s Review

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Hostinger’s laser focus on providing affordable hosting solutions shines brightest with the company’s VPS packages. The company provides six different virtual server plans, including one that costs less than $5. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 50 GB NVMe – 400 GB NVMe 1 – 8 cores 4 GB – 32 GB

So why is root access important to you, the administrator? Why would you want admin access to a server if you can just let the web host set up everything for you?

It’s the same reason you’ll want to decorate your office space after renting it.

I’ve used root access for different reasons, and it has always worked out great. I remember there was this one time I needed to install Snort, an intrusion detection system to monitor traffic going in and out of a server belonging to one of the tech startups I used to work for. We had received a lot of malicious attacks ahead of Black Friday, and we needed something to neutralize the attacks and send genuine human traffic our way.

That’s the level of control root access offers.

The possibilities are endless when you have root access. From managing CPU and RAM usage and optimizing the server’s performance to setting up firewalls, this level of access basically turns the server into your own playground.

I almost forgot to mention that Cloud and Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting are more affordable than dedicated servers. But there comes a time when having a dedicated server with root access makes perfect sense. Let’s discuss a few of these scenarios.

Dedicated Server Hosting with Root Access

To begin with, both cloud, VPS, and dedicated servers offer more access than most hosting options, including shared hosting. But the level of access varies. To understand why you may need a dedicated server with root access, I’ll quickly go over the different levels of access cloud, VPS, and dedicated servers provide.

A cloud VPS host offers the lowest level of root access because this hosting service is usually scalable and flexible and has resources distributed across multiple virtual servers. As a result, providers of this type of hosting often limit root access to ensure the stability and security of their cloud environment. In other words, users have limited access to the underlying infrastructure.

VPS hosting gives users access to a virtual server partitioned from a physical server but shares the same physical resources. This might seem like a good option, but it will limit your access to the hosting provider’s software configuration and server restrictions.

Dedicated hosting wins the battle of control by a mile. It offers the highest level of access, given that users rent an entire physical server for their exclusive use. This is the kind of hosting I’ll recommend if you want to make any changes you desire without having to constantly worry about the hosting provider’s restrictions. In short, there are no restrictions with dedicated servers.

The hosting company dedicates the entire server to you, just as the name implies.

I would really recommend this option if you’re running a growing business or enterprise and you need a high level of customization and control over your server environment. That’s because you’ll have full administrative control over your dedicated server.

6. InMotionHosting.com

InMotion Review

Monthly Starting Price $69.99

  • Bare-metal or managed servers available
  • 1-on-1 time with a server administrator
  • 99.99% uptime via Smart Routing™ technology
  • Tier 1 network with redundant bandwidth
  • SSH root access and DDoS protection on all servers
  • Upgrade for cPanel, migration, and auto backups
  • Get started on InMotion now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

InMotion: Our Expert’s Review

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion Hosting offers amazingly fast and reliable dedicated hosting on market-leading hardware — making it an easy choice for anyone seeking a premium dedicated server host. From free SSDs to a fanatical support team, InMotion has all the bases covered for both small-scale and large-scale operations. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
7 minutes 1 TB SSD – 3.2 TB SSD 12 – 32 cores 192 GB DDR4 – 512 GB DDR4

7. LiquidWeb.com

Liquid Web Review

Monthly Starting Price $75.00

  • Linux or Windows with choice of 3 control panels
  • 100% network and power uptime guarantees
  • Custom configurations and instant provisioning
  • Auto-migrations, backups, and real-time monitoring
  • Block/object storage and load balancer add-ons
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

Liquid Web: Our Expert’s Review

Alexandra Anderson (HostingAdvice.com): Liquid Web’s strong suit is managed dedicated server hosting. The company owns and operates five state-of-the-art datacenters in the US and Europe works tirelessly to build and maintain custom solutions for added performance and security. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
8 minutes 480 GB SSD – 960 GB SSD (+ 2 TB SATA) 4 – 16 cores 16 GB – 64 GB

8. HostGator.com

HostGator Review

Monthly Starting Price $89.98

  • Linux or Windows servers available
  • HDD or SSD storage plus unmetered bandwidth
  • Fully redundant network and datacenter
  • SSH access and support for multiple languages
  • Managed or semi-managed solutions
  • Get started on HostGator now.

4.6 ★★★★★ Our Review

HostGator: Our Expert’s Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Founded in 2002, HostGator is one of the largest web hosts with a long lineage of dedicated server hosting. With updated hardware, including Intel Xeon Quad-core processors and a boatload of RAM, HostGator balances performance, quality web hosting service, and competitive pricing. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
6 minutes 512 GB SSD – 2 TB HDD 4 – 8 cores 8 GB – 30 GB

9. Bluehost.com

Bluehost Review

Monthly Starting Price $91.98

  • Instant provisioning for all Bluehost server plans
  • Minimum 3 dedicated IP addresses
  • Modern hardware, built and maintained in house
  • 24/7 expedited support from a dedicated team
  • Sign up to save 49% on your first term
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

4.5 ★★★★★ Our Review

Bluehost: Our Expert’s Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Built on modern technology, with a minimum of four CPU cores per dedicated server, Bluehost offers reliable and flexible dedicated hosting options at an extremely reasonable price. We continually praise the company’s shared hosting options for having fantastic hardware and a great management console, and the brand’s dedicated server offerings are no different. Go to full review »

Setup Time Disk Space CPU RAM
8 minutes 500 GB – 1 TB (RAID-1) 4 cores, 4 – 8 threads 4 GB – 16 GB

Do you own a business or work in an industry with unique software requirements or high compliance standards? Root access can ensure you’re on the right side of the law.

I’m talking about strict standards, including the following:

  • European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX)
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

And many others.

You shouldn’t have to worry about meeting such strict compliance requirements if you have root access; you can simply install and configure the software you need to stay compliant.

Finally, most of these big companies you see running the show usually have dedicated IT departments. So instead of wasting precious time going through a hosting provider’s support team to customize or troubleshoot their servers, they handle everything internally. That’s how they manage to make big bucks even during tough economic times — they know how to keep their systems running with minimal downtime.

The bottom line is that when you think of root access, think of more control and greater power.

And if you’d like to try out some great dedicated servers, any of these four should kick-start your journey.

If you need to learn more about dedicated hosting, we’ve covered that in detail in this article.

What Is Root Access?

Root access is just the ‘technese’ description of the level of administrative access a user has on a server. It offers full administrative privileges, allowing users to access and modify any file or setting on the server.

Does Shared Hosting Allow Root Access?

Not really, and that’s because shared hosting stacks up multiple websites on the same server with a limited amount of resources. In this kind of setting, the hosting provider typically manages the server.

Shared hosting diagram
Root access is uncommon with shared hosting because it creates security risks for other sites hosted on that server.

When one user has root access, it means they can do anything they wish to with the entire server, including manage other websites and their data. That could also create serious security concerns no web host wants to deal with.

What Is the Difference Between Unmanaged and Managed VPS Hosting?

The level of support is what differentiates these two types of hosting.

Unmanaged VPS hosting will give you full root access to the virtual server, but you’ll also need to manage and maintain the server yourself. On the other hand, managed hosting will give you a higher level of support from the hosting provider so you can focus on your own applications and content rather than worrying about server management tasks.

Take managed WordPress hosting as an example. The managed plan comes with key WordPress features and functionalities already installed.

Do I Need a VPS or a Dedicated Server?

You won’t find any straightforward answer to this question because it all narrows down to your specific hosting needs and budget. That said, I can tell you what you should consider when choosing between a VPS server and a dedicated server.

If you have a high-traffic website or application that requires a lot of processing power, memory, or storage, I would recommend a dedicated server. Why so? As I mentioned earlier, the server provides you with exclusive access to all of its resources, whereas a VPS hosting plan shares resources with other virtual servers on the same physical server.

Three dedicated servers next to globe
Dedicated servers offer more power and security than virtual private servers.

A VPS plan would come in handy if you expect your website or application to grow rapidly, as it is easier to scale up your resources as your needs increase. On the other hand, you may need to purchase and set up a new physical server to accommodate your growing needs with a dedicated server.

Before I go even further, this article can help you choose the best VPS hosting provider.

In terms of pricing, you’ll spend less on a VPS hosting service, whether it’s a Windows VPS or a Linux VPS, than you would on a dedicated server, and you should know why by now. But that’s not the path you want to take if you lack the technical expertise to manage and maintain a VPS. Rather, managed VPS plans or dedicated servers with technical customer support featuring phone, email, and live chat, would be the best option.

Key Takeaways

Root access is all about control, which comes with different levels.

For starters, don’t even think of a shared hosting plan as an option if you want control. But you may consider it for a basic website or blog that requires minimal maintenance and customization.

Cloud hosting will give root access but is a little more controlled to maintain the stability and security of the cloud environment.

Finally, a VPS offers more control than cloud hosting, but nothing comes even an inch close to a dedicated server, the ultimate king of control.

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