VULTR Review And Comparison: Best VPS Platforms Now Thru 2018

VULTR ReviewsWow, I can’t believe we’re already at the end of another year and on part #5 of the VMinstall VPS series!

Spinning up VMs on cloud platforms for my reviews has been a fantastic learning experience, and we still have time for one more before 2017 is history!

For today’s lesson, I’ve spent days analyzing the competition to create the best VPS reviews for 2017-2018.

VMware News

Before we get started with this VULTR review, here’s something that caught my attention this week.

Did you see the recent news that VMware refuses to support their products deployed on Azure?

It’s nothing to concern yourself with if you decide to use VULTR because their servers use KVM for a hypervisor, not ESXi.

Although, it’s good to know in case you decide to go this route later on…

Now, let’s watch a video…

VULTR Platform Tour

Comparing VPS Providers

Our goal for today is to see how VULTR VPS matches up with other popular virtual private server providers, i.e., DigitalOcean and Linode.

And to make this review useful for cost-conscience bloggers and small business website owners like me, we’re also going to skip comparing VULTR with Google Cloud, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure.

And here’s why.

Because we learned in our earlier DigitalOcean and CloudWays reviews that big brand cloud resources are at least 5x the price for the small VMs with a similar system configuration. So for now, we’re saving them for later.

VULTR Review

According to what’s in the Google search results, VULTR offers global cloud hosting with brilliantly fast SSD VPS cloud storage. And they are 100% KVM virtualized.

Click…

The VULTR homepage is clear and easy to understand. The one thing I see in common with all the VPS providers I’ve reviewed is they all Boast about Fast SSD Performance and quick deployments.

Expert Tip

As a side note, from my experience over the years managing VMware virtual servers, performance problems are generally due to oversubscription of the host’s CPU, memory, storage, and network. These are metrics I never see published…

Homepage

First, let’s discuss my feelings from the first impression you get when you see VULTR’s homepage. It’s very well designed for a smooth user experience (UX).

VULTR vs DigitalOcean

My experience tells me this is a first class operation that keeps it simple and easy for customers without a lot of technical expertise. They use big bold words and buttons to help anyone create an account. Nice.

Create Account

Speaking of creating an account, here’s the signup form. Enter an email address and password to get started.

VULTR vs Linode

 

VULTR’s sign up form is straightforward to use.

Once I signed up, then they collected the rest of my account information such as full name, billing address, the method of payment, etc.

But what I found interesting was how many ways I could pay for a VPS.

VULTR vs Cloudways

Payment Options

VULTR has several payment options for anyone and everywhere.

You can pay with:

  • Credit Card
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin
  • Alipay
  • Gift Code

My choice is usually PayPal, but I can see the benefit of having all these billing options for customers to use. Some VPS providers I’ve tested only accept credit cards.

So now that we’ve created a VULTR account, added our personal information, and a billing method, let’s get to work and see how easy it is to deploy a virtual private server.

Deploying A New Server Instance

Before we dive in, let me review the UX. As you can see from my screenshots, VULTR has done it again with clear and easy instructions for beginners to deploy server instances.

And as of this VULTR review, there are 15 locations globally where you can host your VPS or application…

DigitalOcean vs VULTR

Now let’s see which operating systems can be deployed with your server instance.

Linode vs VULTR

If you want a 64 bit OS, I count 7 Linux/Unix and 1 Windows button. Windows includes 2012R2 and 2016, and there are a few Linux installs that include multiple versions.

And for the 32 bit OS option, I count 3 buttons for Linux that include – CentosOS 6, Debian 7 and 8, and Ubuntu 17.10, 17.04, 16.04 and 14.04.

Overall, VULTR does an excellent job giving customers operating systems to choose. I know this is a big deal for some people because I’ve been behind the scene and know what it takes to create the automation scripts needed to deploy an OS on a VM.

It takes highly skilled Linux Admins and DevOps Engineers to do this type of automation.

Good job, VULTR team!

Now, let’s look at the applications you can have deployed with your VPS instance.

Application Options

For years hosting companies like Godaddy have been allowing you to deploy applications on your hosted instance. So before we review these applications, I want to give beginners a little bit of explanation behind what I see going on.

Expert Tip

When we deploy just a virtual server, we are using infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

 

But then when we deploy a server with an application installed, we are creating a platform as a service (PaaS).

 

And to take this tip even farther, the result of what we do with our VPS may become software as a service (SaaS).

 

In essence, what I am says is the difference between you installing WordPress on your hosting account versus on a VPS is you are using cloud resources, and the virtual private server is only hosting your application.

 

Whereas, hosting your App on BlueHost or HostGator could have 250 other user accounts and all their WordPress installs, viruses, malware, porn, etc sharing the same operating system with you.

 

I hope this tip helps make some sense of all the cloud terms that techies like to throw around?

Here are the applications you can install with your VPS deployment. 

Cloudways vs VULTR

Before we move on, I want to point our an essential application I see at the upper left.

Expert Tip

cPanel is by far the best way for non-Linux administrators to manage a web server.

 

And it will cost an additional fee for using cPanel, but if it saves you hours of command line hacking for creating new websites, directories, setting up domains and DNS; as well as all the other technical stuff that goes on behind the scene, then it’s worth every cent.

 

cPanel is the perfect solution for beginners who manage a large group of websites from a single VPS.

 

Now, before I get too excited about installing cPanel, I want to disclose that you can use cPanel alternatives such as Webmin, ServerPilot, and even CloudWays for managing your websites. They all have a graphical user interface (GUI), so you don’t have to use a command line interface (CLI).

 

Or if you don’t want to waste time and you just want to get down to business, then keep things easy and only install a single application from the list (WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, Minecraft, Mediawiki or PrestaShop).

 

The other App installs shown are for creating and managing multiple websites and applications.

Performance Benchmarks

VULTR gift code

Expert Tip

I’ve spent hours troubleshooting slow Apps running on VMs that were deployed on vHosts that were oversubscribed. If your application seems to always run slow even when you have scaled to a larger VPS, then contact your VPS support to find out if they are oversubscribing your host to the point the VMs hosted on their servers are getting impacted.

 

To help put this in context, basically what happens in virtualization is physical hardware is deployed and a hypervisor such a KVM or ESXi is installed so that the physical resources can be used to deploy virtual servers.

 

Depending on the standards in place and the number of physical resources, a single physical server can be converted into dozens or hundreds of small, medium, or large virtual servers each running their own operating system. This is great for maximizing hardware resources but sometimes can be abused.

 

When comparing VPS platforms, the main factors for producing the best VM performance is physical processor speed, number of physical processors, amount of physical memory, storage speed, network bandwidth and throughput, and VM to host density. You can read more about this in my book about VM troubleshooting.

VULTR Pricing

We covered creating an account, deploying a server from multiple locations, and the different applications you can automatically have installed on your VPS. Now we’re going to see how much a VULTR virtual private server will cost you.

VULTR vs DigitalOcean vs Linode

Wow, $2.50 for a small VPS – darn, out of stock!

I’m not surprised that they are “out of stock” since it takes the same amount of overhead to create a $2.50 small VM as is does to deploy a $320 Monster VM.

The amount of CPU, memory, and disk space may be more significant for the monster, but the infrastructure cost such as support, management, network IP, and directory services are the same for the cheap VPS.

I wonder if this is more of a bait and switch?

All that aside, the next size VPS will cost you $5 for 1 CPU, 1 GB memory, 25 GB SSD space, 1000 GB of bandwidth, which overall isn’t a bad deal either because this same configuration would cost about 5x on AWS.

Expert Tip

I have found in my VPS case study testing that running WordPress with less than 2 CPUs and 2 GBs of memory will cause intermittent outages and freezing of your website if you have more than one WordPress site on the same server with an average of 3000 visitors per week.

 

This is where having your WordPress on shared hosting pays off because most shared hosting accounts allow your host to burst if there are a lot of users on the website for a short time.

 

Whereas, with a small VPS instance, when you run out of CPU and memory, there is no bursting until you upgrade to more CPU and memory resources.

 

So if you are running more than 1 WordPress website, or you’re getting more than 3000 visitors per week, then I recommend a minimum of 2 CPUs and 2 GB of memory.

 

That said, you can start at the $5 VPS and upgrade if needed. But be advised that once you upgrade, you can’t downgrade without migrating the site to a new VPS and deleting the old VPS so you don’t get charged for using 2 servers.

 

For more about this topic see the FAQ at the bottom of the page.

VULTR PROS And CONS

Let’s start with the PROS because I think VULTR is doing a fantastic job and they have built an excellent and affordable cloud platform (Sorry for my bias but this is what I do for a living).

PROS:

  • Account creation on VULTR is by far the easiest I’ve had to deal with while creating my VPS series. But, I also want to note that they also offer 2-factor login in case you want more security.
  • The VULTR platform interface is easy to use and navigate with big bold labels and menus, as well as clearly marked buttons for their services.
  • 5 ways to pay for their services is the most I’ve seen so far, although my preferred method of payment is PayPal, which is one of the payment options available.
  • Their datacenters are geo-located around the world which is good because Google doesn’t like slow websites and neither do users. Having your site hosted as close to the user base is the best option for low latency.
  • They use KVM which is a very good hypervisor for hosting virtual machines. And because they don’t have to worry about paying for costly VMware ESXi or Citrix XenServer licenses, it allows them to offer lower prices.
  • I’m no Linux Admin, so cPanel is a huge PRO for me because I have had to manage multiple websites via CLI and it is not fun. I’d rather click and install than type commands. cPanel saves time and helps avoid human typo errors.
  • For some, it might matter that VULTR is a U.S. based company with their headquarters in Matawan, New Jersey.

There are a lot more PROS to list, but for the blogger or small business use case, this likely covers your needs.

CONS:

  • The Out of Stock is a turnoff. I’ve logged into VULTR serval times since creating my account months ago, and the $2.50 VPS has always been out of stock. Now I’m sure it’s only my bad luck, and there are times when it is available but my recommendation to the powers-that-be is to either stop offering this cheap VPS option or fix whatever the problem is that keeps these small VMs from being available. As I said, I do this for a living and get it on the overhead, but this looks like a clear case of bait and switch.
  • This is not a big deal because everyone charges extra, but it would be nice if at least a free weekly or monthly backup were available just in case a customer’s website is hacked, and a full restore is needed. Without a backup, the webmaster is out of luck. Hence, for beginners reading this – I recommend always paying the extra fee for a full backup of your VPS.

These are the 2 CONS I’ve run into that would be a factor for bloggers or small business users with a tight budget.

Now, let’s rate VULTR, DigitalOcean, Linode to see who offers the best VPS platform…

VULTR Comparison Chart

Below is my rating for each VPS platform based on my testing. This is only my opinion and you should do your own testing before making a change to your website or blog.


VULTR
Best VPS

VULTR vs DigitalOcean
Better VPS

VULTR vs Linode
Good VPS

Comparison Details

My overall conclusion is that VULTR is the best VPS platform for anyone who is in a rush or needs to deploy fast servers, quickly.

  • They have their own server resources that are distributed around the globe.
  • They have a very good control panel and they offer cPanel.
  • They have a large selection of operating systems to choose from for your application needs.
  • They have a large selection of DFY application installs ready to go.
  • And they have multiple payment options.

When compared to my review of DigitalOcean or Linode which were the better and good options, I found VULTR to be the best user experience.

 

A big difference for me with DigialOcean vs VULTR, and Linode vs VULTR, was both lacked the cPanel option, and Linode only accepts credit cards.

 

Another thing I didn’t like about Linode is when I registered they required a deposit to create an account.

 

In full disclosure, I didn’t compare performance metrics of any of these VPS platforms against each other. But I did spin up their small servers and they were all fast setups. And other reviews I read where they did do performance testing noted that both Linode and DigitalOcean VPS performance was not as good as VULTR.

 

If this is true, based on my experience, I would assume DigitalOcean and Linode have a higher threshold set on their host which will allow a KVM host to max out on system resources – also known as ballooning or oversubscribing.

 

When this happens, some platforms will automatically throttle CPU cycles to avoid performance problems for all the other VPS customers using the same host resources.

 

If you want to test all 3 VPS platforms from a single control panel, you can with CloudWays. Although, CloudWays will add a fee for using their service and you will not be able to access VMs created through CloudWays directly from your DigitalOcean, Linode, or VULTR portals.

FAQ

Do I need root access to my VPS if I’m only installing WordPress? Well, that depends on whether you intend to do any direct changes to your Linux installation. However, all 3 of the providers allow root access by default.

 

Is Linux the best operating system to install on my VPS? Unless your application requires Windows, then installing Linux is the cheaper and preferred OS for a web server that runs MySQL and Php. The LAMP option will install Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Php.

 

Do I have to install cPanel on my VPS? No, as I said above, there are cPanel alternatives, or you can manage your VPS direct with the CLI.

 

Is it difficult to migrate a website from a hosting account to a VPS? It depends on the website. There are plugins for some content management systems such as WordPress that make migrating a WordPress site easy. Whereas, some applications may require a unique set up and configuration of the VPS before the website will work. Please consult your software support for more instructions.

 

If I power off my VPS will I still be charged? Yes. Because even a VM in an off state is still using systems resources.

 

Is 25 GB of SSD enough for WordPress? Yes, under normal circumstances 25 GB of disk space is more than enough space for a WP install. However, if your blog or website will be storing big images or large files, you may need to upgrade to a larger VPS with more space. But you don’t have to upgrade until you need the space.

 

Will my VPS come with a domain? No, with VULTR, DigitalOcean, and Linode you have to buy your own domain.

 

Is it easy to add my domain to these VPS platforms? Yes, it’s straightforward to add an existing domain after you set up the name servers. All 3 platforms will provide step by step instructions for setting up a domain.

 

Can I use my caching plugin with a VPS? Yes. Please check out part #4 of the VPS series for step by step instructions.

 

Can I use Putty to access my server directly? Yes, once you have created a VPS, then you can enable the remote access and use a secure SSH connection.

 

Can I use my VPS for Linux and DevOps training? Yes, you can install multiple applications on your server. Then you can test and evaluate your automation scripts. And if you pay to backup your VPS, you can use your backup to restore the VPS back to the default state if you accidentally break your server. Or if you want to start over.

 

Which is the best VPS for mining Bitcoin? You can use VULTR, Linode, and DitialOcean VPS as a Masternode for Cryptocurrency or Bitcoin mining, however, you will need to scale up to a large server if you expect any real results crunching through the blockchain. You can start with a small VPS to get the software and process working and then scale up from there.

 

Can I use VULTR for setting up Minecraft? Yes, VULTR has an automatic install for setting up Minecraft when you deploy a new VPS from their application install library. You will need to scale to a larger VPS depending on the load you plan to host on your server.

 

Can I buy a storage server at VULTR? Yes, if you choose the storage server tab, you can follow the special set up option for creating a storage server.

 

Can I buy a dedicated server at VULTR? Yes, if you need a dedicated server for more power then you can choose the dedicated server tab and set up a dedicated server.

 

I’d like to try before I buy, do you offer a VULTR gift code?  I have not seen a trial code, discount code, or gift code for use with VULTR, however, at $5 per month or .007 cents per hours for a small 1 CPU, 1 GB Memory, VM and a no minimum usage you can test a VPS and then end the service if you are not satisfied. Just don’t forget to delete the VM when you are done testing so you are not billed for unused servers.

 

Do you still have questions? If you still have more questions about hosting your application on any of  VPS platforms we covered in this review, please consult the preferred provider’s support team.

 

Thank you for your time and I hope this VULTR review helps you decide on a VPS platform.

Please bookmark this review for later, share it on social media, and leave comments or feedback below.

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