You don’t have to hop into George and Jane Jetson’s space car to find the best virtual machine (VM) hosting. Web service providers on Earth give developers, small businesses, and enterprises access to hosting features that optimize their virtual machines. Server virtualization may sound like futuristic software, but it’s been around for as long as the 1960s sitcom, The Jetsons.
Major companies, including General Electric and IBM, launched virtualization software in the early 1960s to allow users to interact with computer mainframes. MIT and Bell Labs were the first and only organizations to use this early software, but today virtualization is used across all industries on-premise and in the cloud.
You don’t need a wealth of technical knowledge to manage your virtual machine hosting plan. High-quality hosting providers will give you access to a user-friendly control panel or may even offer fully managed services so you can focus on your website. Our favorite web hosts include plenty of add-ons to their hosting packages for an affordable monthly price. Whether it’s your first time hosting virtual machine software or you’re a pro at running multiple VMs, take a peek at our recommendations.
The Best Virtual Machine Hosting for Developers
Developers often prioritize a healthy cost-for-performance tradeoff. As an individual, you may not have the resources (i.e., budget) to pay for an expensive virtual server plan. But don’t stress; you have several budget-friendly VM hosting plans to choose from.
You should look for a reputable provider that allows easy control panel access and provides a seamless experience. When you choose a quality provider, your website will have guaranteed resources on the virtual server — giving your site visitors a fast, frictionless experience. A virtual private server (VPS) plan is an excellent choice for your test websites or personal projects running virtual machine software. VPS plans tend to be more affordable while offering a robust feature set. Check out some of our favorite VPS hosting plans:
- Turbo server & cache options for faster page loads
- Well-built plans starting with 4GB RAM
- FREE CDN plus auto-installs with Softaculous
- Multilingual support and up to unlimited databases
- Enhanced security with and daily kernel updates
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- Cloud VPS that’s more flexible and affordable
- Load balancer, firewall, and managed services
- Premium Intel CPUs with 300% more power
- Choose between monthly or hourly billing
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- 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
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The Best Virtual Machine Hosting for Small Businesses
A small business’s online presence is essential to the company’s success. If your customers can’t find you online (or if they experience slow page loads), you will feel the pressure of poor site performance on your revenue. The best virtual machine hosting for your small business will provide expertly managed hosting services with premium add-ons, such as a VM backup system, to sweeten the deal.
We recommend cloud hosting for small businesses because of its low starting price and instant scalability. A cloud server may even use virtualization software to create the computing environment. The following cloud hosting providers give customers full root access and control of the operating system and software. So whether you’re looking to use VMWare Workstation, IBM PowerVM, or Oracle VM, one of these hosts should do the trick.
- Managed cloud hosting with 24/7/365 monitoring
- Choose from 5 popular cloud providers
- Auto-healing cloud servers with FREE backups
- 1-click server cloning and easy management
- Host unlimited apps with no contract lock-in
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- HostingAdvice fans get 75% OFF
- Cloudflare CDN, DDoS protection, and backups
- Performance-boosting SSDs and cloud flexibility
- Rock-solid reliability with 100% uptime guarantees
- 24/7 Heroic Support® via phone, chat, and email
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- Scalable, speedy, and fully managed
- FREE Cloudflare CDN and choice of 3 datacenters
- Google Cloud partners for top-tier performance
- cPanel/WHM, SSH access, and private DNS
- 24/7 VIP support and a dedicated IP
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The Best Virtual Machine Hosting for Enterprise Businesses
As a large organization, a VPS hosting plan may not provide the computing resources your company requires. Instead, cloud computing services from a reputable platform can give you the environment to scale your operations and speed up deployment. For greater control and performance, the following providers offer best-in-class service for your virtual machine.
Microsoft Azure VM: Large organizations benefit from Microsoft Azure’s infrastructure to run SQL Server, Oracle software, or SAP on a choice of Linux distribution or Windows server. Customers can use Microsoft’s virtual machine selector to choose a server type and plans that fit their organization’s budget and goals. This provider offers a range of plans to host a simple Windows app or multiple VMs.
Google Cloud Platform: You can create a virtual machine using the Google Cloud console, the Google Cloud CLI, or the Compute Engine API. Google’s cloud computing platform offers custom and predefined machine types and up to 42% higher cost-for-performance than other multipurpose VMs. Big companies, including Spotify, Twitter, and Home Depot, use Compute Engine from the Google Cloud Platform to rapidly increase capacity and scale.
IBM PowerVM: Customers who choose IBM PowerVM can increase operational efficiency by eliminating scheduled downtime. Using the latest hypervisor technology, IBM helps its customers shore up security by isolating critical applications and I/O (input/output). This server virtualization environment is made for AIX®, IBM i, and Linux applications.
What Is a Virtual Machine?
Despite its name, a virtual machine is not a transformer-like hologram that appears out of thin air. Rather, it’s a piece of software that runs on a physical server. Each virtual machine has its own guest operating system that runs on the machine, allowing it to run programs, store data, and carry out computing functions independently.
Using a guest operating system (or systems) creates efficiency because it eliminates the need for additional physical hardware. Plus, the sectioning allows IT departments to perform riskier functions — such as accessing virus-infected data — because the rest of the server is protected. This also means you can run many operating systems on a virtual server, including Windows OS, VMWare Fusion, or Parallels Desktop.
Virtualization is so common you’re more likely to run across an Emperor penguin in Florida than you are to go a day without visiting a website that doesn’t use virtualization in some form. Whether it’s used to run a SQL server, deploy a new Windows app, or build out a virtual PC environment, teams using virtualization are increasing operational efficiency, security, and scalability.
Software such as Oracle VM, Microsoft Hyper-V, or one of the many products by VMWare (VMWare Fusion, VMWare Vsphere, VMWare WorkStation Pro, or VMWare WorkStation Player) is leading the industry because of the innovation and benefits it provides to enterprises.
What Are the Three Types of Virtualization?
Virtualization comes in three distinct flavors: full virtualization, paravirtualization, and OS-level virtualization. The flavor you choose will depend on your goals for using server virtualization software, how much flexibility you need, and how you plan to use your environment.
Full virtualization involves a specialized type of software called a hypervisor. The hypervisor, sometimes called a virtual machine, instantly creates virtual servers and tracks disk space and CPU usage. This system allocates server resources making the virtual environment flexible, portable, and instantly scalable. If you’re looking for a hypervisor for full virtualization, VMWare ESXi is an excellent choice.
Paravirtualization differs in that the separate operating systems are aware of one another, unlike full virtualization, where the virtual environments operate independently. The advantage of paravirtualization is that the virtual servers share resources more readily because they know the others exist. This symbiotic relationship creates great scalability and efficiency. Microsoft Hyper-V supports paravirtualization on a Windows server if you’re looking for this environment.
OS-Level Virtualization, the final type of virtualization, doesn’t require a hypervisor as do the other types. Instead, the physical hardware handles the responsibilities of monitoring and allocating resources. This system requires fewer resources to implement but requires each virtual machine to run on the same operating system, which may be a drawback for some users.
What Is the Best Server Virtualization Software?
A well-selected server virtualization software may help your organization reduce the strain on resources, increase flexibility, and optimize your resources. Recently, PayPal adopted Google Cloud’s virtual machines. The company’s movement of its mission-critical workloads to a virtual environment allows it to deploy workloads faster than ever, reaching 300 million customers in 200 markets.
Your virtualization software can make a similar impact on your business. Of course, major players are leading the way with popular operating systems. VMWare takes the cake for popularity and variety regarding virtual machines. It offers an enormous suite of VMs, including:
- VMWare WorkStation Player (and WorkStation Pro)
- VMWare VSphere
- VMWare ESXI
- VMWare Fusion
But Microsoft offers equally impressive VMs. The company has introduced several new iterations since its original virtual machine. Now, customers looking for a Windows VM can choose from among:
- Microsoft Hyper-V
- Azure VM
- Windows Virtual PC
While we won’t list each operating system under the leading virtualization companies, we will give honorable mention to Red Hat Virtualization, Oracle VM, and Citrix before rounding out this list. As you decide which provider offers the best VM hosting for you, keep our recommendations in mind. If you choose a provider from this list, your host will dutifully care for your virtual machine as George Jetson cares for R.U.D.I. the atomic supercomputer.