Review: Top 2 Managed VPS Providers

Let's be clear what I'm reviewing here.

What is a VPS?

A VPS (Virtual Private Server) is when someone takes a powerful server, and divides it up into a number of mini "virtual" servers. You can then pay to run your own private server, only without the cost of paying for the whole physical machine - you just pay your share. Lots of people host their websites on a VPS when they want a step up from shared hosting - you typically get a lot more resources than in any shared package. They really come into their own when you want full control. With a VPS you get root access to the server, and you can set it up how you want, installing whatever software you need.

What is a Managed VPS?

Many people are nervous moving from shared hosting, where the server and secured for you, to a VPS where you have to run your own server. Some VPS providers offer "managed" services. This means different things to different providers, so it's always worth asking them what's included.

There are two main kinds of server management. The first is reactive. The company delivers you a server that is configured to your needs, and has had basic initial hardening and securing all done for you. Thereafter, you can ask for help at any time, and they'll help as you ask for. That doesn't mean you need to know what to ask them to do — you can ask for advice too. Then there's proactive management — where the company will keep an eye on the server and tune it for you.

Server management is not cheap, so managed providers will cost less than unmanaged providers. But, unless you have the experience at Linux server systems to manage it yourself, and the time to do so, it's a good option. You get peace of mind. There's a pro you can ask for help at any time. And ultimately you'll save much more time and money putting things right if you make a mess of it yourself, or if you get hacked.

What am I recommending?

I've used many unmanaged providers over the years, but only two managed ones. Both have been brilliant. I mean that. Their support tickets have all been professional, resolving the issues in a timely way. The hardware has been good and stable. Their sales or billing departments have been accessible and constructive. The firms get to know you. They work with you.

Honestly, I can't recommend one over the other. They're just subtly different, so I'm glad to heartily recommend both, from many years' first-hand experience. They have data centres in different locations. They have slightly different packages and plans. They have different upgrade options. Use whichever suits you best, and you'll be in good hands.

I'm going to give a brief review of each here (in no particular order) - just click the links to the full review if you want something more substantial. Here, I'll focus on some of the (very minor) differences.

Future Hosting

First up is Future Hosting. I've used them for about 3 and a half years, for VPS, Hybrid VPS and Dedicated Servers. They're simply a solid provider. One advantage of Future Hosting is that they have data centres outside of the US. As well as the 3 US-based ones, they also have locations in the UK, Netherlands and Australia. If you're not in the US, that may give you reduced latency that's worth having. Their hybrid VPS are very powerful ones, which come with more RAM and disk space than many providers can offer within the VPS range. Future Hosting know have pure SSD drives on all of their VPS ndoes. cPanel is included in the price, but you only get one IP address initially. (Read the full review)

KnownHost

Then there's KnownHost. I used them for just under 2 years. KnownHost have 3 locations all within the United States, but they're well located west, central and east. In my experience, their network is well set up, with good peering, so you get low latency to Europe from their east coast location, and I'd imagine Asian users are fine with their west coat one. One bonus for KnownHost is that all servers come with two IP addresses as standard. Their cPanel licenses are cheap, at $5 per month, but remember you'll need to add that to the price. I've always found their support to be very friendly and helpful - professional, but without curtness. Lastly, Future Hosting have the option of VPS with or without SSD drives. With SSD drives you get less storage space, but more RAM, so you can choose which resource is going to be more important for your particular use. (Read the full review)

Prices and Plans

To help you compare providers, below is a table with the plans for each provider, together with the prices. (If you spot any errors, please let me know).

Provider Plan RAM Disk Space Price / Month Price / Quarter Price / year Order
Future Hosting HYB1 8192MB 120GB $100.00 $300.00 $1200.00
Future Hosting HYB2 12288MB 160GB $140.00 $420.00 $1680.00
Future Hosting HYB3 16384MB 200GB $180.00 $540.00 $2160.00
Future Hosting SSD1 1024MB 30GB $30.00 $90.00 $360.00
Future Hosting SSD2 2048MB 40GB $40.00 $120.00 $480.00
Future Hosting SSD3 3072MB 50GB $50.00 $150.00 $600.00
Future Hosting SSD4 4096MB 60GB $60.00 $180.00 $720.00
Future Hosting SSD5 5120MB 80GB $70.00 $210.00 $840.00
Future Hosting SSD6 6144MB 100GB $80.00 $240.00 $960.00
KnownHost SSD-1 1536MB 25GB $35.00 $102.00 $399.00
KnownHost SSD-2 2816MB 50GB $50.00 $147.00 $570.00
KnownHost SSD-3 4352MB 70GB $70.00 $205.00 $798.00
KnownHost SSD-4 5888MB 90GB $90.00 $264.00 $1026.00
KnownHost SSD-5 7168MB 110GB $110.00 $322.00 $1254.00
KnownHost VPS-1 1024MB 25GB $25.00 $73.50 $285.00
KnownHost VPS-2 2304MB 75GB $35.00 $102.00 $400.00
KnownHost VPS-3 3072MB 85GB $45.00 $131.50 $510.00
KnownHost VPS-4 3840MB 105GB $60.00 $175.00 $685.00
KnownHost VPS-5 4864MB 125GB $75.00 $215.00 $855.00
KnownHost VPS-6 6400MB 155GB $95.00 $275.00 $1080.00
KnownHost VPS-7 8192MB 180GB $120.00 $350.00 $1365.00
Additional Terms