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My heart goes out to Bruce Banner. Every time he transforms into the Hulk, he tears through his clothes until all that’s left are some tattered purple chinos. It’s got to be a bit of a headache. The poor guy is in dire need of a more flexible clothing option.
Incidentally, this is a troubling position that many website builders find themselves in.
Although their small, shared hosting plan was good for their earlier days as an internet small fry… Once they start “hulking out” into a bigger, more ambitious organisation they find it’s a little too small, cramped, and bound to “tear apart” the bigger they get.
Like the Hulk, these businesses need something more tailored to their impressive size.
Enter the Virtual Private Server (VPS).
What Is VPS Hosting?
A VPS is typically far more advanced and expensive than shared hosting. It strikes a balance between a shared hosting plan, which is usually free, and a powerful dedicated hosting plan which can often break the bank.
Not only is it an affordable option, but it also brings much of the customisation, flexibility, and control that is offered by a dedicated server.
Sounds great, right? The web hosting equivalent of Hulk-Proof Flexi-Pants. The best of both hosting worlds.
But hold your horses… It gets better.
You see, just as many shared hosting plans are free. Some VPS hosting comes without a single penny in cost too!
Now, while I know that peaked your interested -after all, who would want BETTER hosting at ZERO cost- it’s not as cheery as it seems.
While you can get free VPS hosting… Most of your absolutely free options will be mostly terrible, with a lot of downsides.
It’s hard work finding the ones that are worthwhile. But, as we like to provide the best web hosting guides out there… We’ve put in that hard work, so you can find the best free VPS providers with as few downsides as possible. We’ll show you the most well rounded free options, as well as the BEST VALUE “almost free options."
In other words, all the value for next to none of the cost. Don’t say you don’t love us!
How We Reviewed VPS Providers
We spent a couple of weeks hunkered down sifting through the mass of web hosts to find you the best free VPS provider there is.
It took a lot of signing up, a lot of website building, and A LOT of performance testing…
The results were… Interesting.
There’s a lot of sneaky behaviour going on in the world of free VPS. A lot of what is promised as “free VPS hosting” is little more than scams designed to get advertising revenue, email addresses or other data.
This means that a lot of testing left us putting on heads (or rather, data) on the chopping block.
First, here’s what you want to look out for:
- Sign up programs designed to get you clicking adverts - Your clicks equals their money.
- Email signups that lead nowhere - Your email can be sold for money.
- Unnecessary levels of data collection - Information about you can be sold to advertisers.
Start to tread carefully if you see anything like that.
Second, it’s not all bad news. Through our little bit of selfless heroism, we’ve found you the best VPS hosting out there that is also free of charge.
Take a look:
5 Best Free VPS Providers (UK 🇬🇧)
Before we begin, you should know something. Finding a high-quality free hosting provider is hard. If it's free VPS you're looking for, it's even harder. If you're real serious about upgrading to a virtual private server, scroll further down and examine the cheapest VPS hosting providers. It'll be better for you in the long run.
1. VPS Wala - Reliable, Speedy & Free
VPS Wala is a great option for outright beginners, upcoming devs, or students on a budget. Their free VPS requires no credit card details at signup, and setting up your server and getting started is super simple. You can even create backups easily using cPanel.
Widespread Coverage 🌐
Their hosting platform comes with 15 data centres and is locked and loaded with Free SSL. There is a range of Linux system options such as CentOS, Debian, and Ubuntu. The service is further backed by RAID-10, Intel SSD storage leading to a well optimised and reliable service.
2. Giga Rocket - Free Linux Website Hosting
A great option for anyone keen to try their hand at Linux web development. It comes with a free cPanel hosting account which is great for beginners, and MySQL/PHP support that’s perfectly set up for Wordpress. However, there are some issues with availability. If you're looking for great WordPress hosting, you might want to go for a paid option and look elsewhere.
Forum Posting? ⛓️
As we already mentioned, GigaRocket is completely free, quite flexible and has tons of useful features. Yup, you get all that for free. BUT you will need to apply for access - a process that requires you to post 25 times on their forums.
Definitely not ideal. ⛔
3. x10 Hosting - One of the Oldest Free Hosting Providers
X10 hosting has been proving hosting solutions for over 15 years, giving it a pedigree of experience that few other companies have. While more experienced users will balk at the idea of missing root access, the platform offers a variety of features which are fine for beginners.
Bonus Features ✨
X10 hosting is a fast and simple host. It is fuelled by SingleHop architecture and boasts fast deployments, as well as unlimited bandwidth and storage, and full SSD hard drives.
4. Accu Web Hosting - Great Windows VPS Hosting
While by no means a completely free web hosting platform the free period ends after one month Accu Web Hosting is a reliable, trustworthy VPS host that comes with the Windows operating system. They have over 14 years of experience and in excess of 15,000 servers in operation.
Extensive Database Management 🤓
Their basic set up includes Microsoft SQL and ASP.NET, but other software can be requested. While the free period isn’t long-lasting, the company boasts premium support and hardware due to its ability to make money from other services. An all-around great option.
5. InstaFree - Well-Established VPS Brand
InstaFree has been providing free VPS plans since 2010. Their VPS plan comes with a cPanel included and has an impressive 99% uptime guarantee.
Not the Best Customer Support 📵
However, you should be aware that InstaFree doesn’t offer any support or management for their environments, so you are on your own if something goes wrong. While they do handle server outages and troubleshooting, general support is handled by their community forum. This can be fine for experienced developers but will be an issue for beginners.
Cheapest VPS Providers (UK 🇬🇧)
Not all VPS providers are free. Although this means you’ll be shelling out a small cost each month, it also means you’ll be free from a lot of the issues that plague so-called “free” VPS offers.
For our money, these are the best value VPS providers on the market.
1. Hostinger - Premium (Yet Inexpensive) VPS Hosting
Hostinger is our number one pick for excellent value VPS hosting. They offer a full SSD infrastructure that boasts page loading speeds of up to 30x faster than shared hosting services.
Worth the Price 💸
The amount of RAM, bandwidth and disk space that you get for the price is unmatched, and any issues you face building your website will be easily handled by their 24/7 support team.
In short, what’s not to like? Check out our in-depth Hostinger review for more.
2. InMotionHosting - Market-Leader in VPS Hardware
InMotionHosting has top-of-the-line VPS hardware, free backups and SSD drives, and great management software. As far as VPS offers go, they’re one of the most complete there is.
Secure & Reliable 🔒
Their VPS plans come with super fast and secure RAID-6 arranged SSD storage, as well as buckets of RAM for the price you’re paying. Most importantly their uptime reputation is unbeaten in the marketplace, so for reliability, it’s hard to find a better choice.
Lastly, if you’re unsatisfied for any reason, they throw in a 90-day money-back guarantee. Pretty good right?
3. Hostwinds - Fully-Managed VPS Hosting
Hostwinds is a complete one-stop-shop for VPS hosting. They have an incredible range of VPS hosting plans and incredibly low prices, fully managed support, and a great uptime record.
Wide Range of Plans 📈
Their plans range from 1 CPU core, 30 GB of storage and 1GB of RAM to 16 CPU cores, 750GB of storage and 96GB of RAM. If you want it, they’ve got it.
They’re a great option for someone looking for a no-fuss, fast-performing VPS host that can offer you room to grow as your website does.
#4 DomainRacer – Devs Will Love It
DomainRacer offers VPS hosting with complete root access. They offer impressive connectivity, solid state storage, and reliable, low latency infrastructure. Alongside this, their security is relatively formidable and they offer OS installation and server reboot. For a cheap VPS starting at £6.69 per month this is nothing to sniff at.
Great for Developers 👨💻
Full root access won’t be necessary for an out and out beginner, but for a more experienced web developer this kind of service could be exactly what they are looking for.
However, while DomainRacer’s storage is superfast solid state tech, it is also limited to a mere 20GB, which most users will find themselves using up in no time, causing them to need to spend more money upgrading their plan. With that in mind, the cheap plan is little more than a taster.
#5 GreenGeeks – Who Doesn’t Like Nature?
Green Geeks VPS hosting isn’t the most popular or well known option, but it comes with dozens of enviable features, making it an option that’s definitely worth considering. Chief among these features is their 24/7 365 days per year support. As any web development process is going to encounter obstacles, having this on hand can be a life saver for experienced or beginner devs.
Simple to Use and Eco-Friendly 🌳
Green Geeks also offer an easy to use VPS management portal, where you can control all elements of your VPS through your account - meaning that DNS management and re-installs are extremely simple.
On top of this, the company boasts an impressive 99.9% service uptime, and, more uniquely, 300% renewable energy infrastructure. Which, if you ask us, is pretty cool.
#6 Interserver – Affordable With Low Storage
Aside from being an incredibly affordable option, Interserver hosting comes with a number of benefits. Firstly, they don’t put any limits on accessing or updating your data or service. You are free to do whatever you want to your database, files, and folders, giving you an impressive range of control. Second, they provide you with root access, extending this level of control to a level desired by more experienced developers.
Self-Healing Hardware 🚑
Importantly, they also provide what they call “self healing hardware”, which essentially means that if a glitch is encountered on a US server, they will redirect your server to another node - all at lightning fast speed, so that your site is unaffected.
In terms of reliability and control, Interserver are hard to beat. However, 30GB storage is far from exhaustive and may leave you wanting.
Free/Cheap VPS Providers: Things to Look Out For
As we said at the start of the article, there are certain things you want to keep your eye out for as they give away which VPS providers are actually offering a decent service.
While at the start, we focused on things to avoid, such as forcing you to click on advertising. Now we want to focus on the kind of features you should look for as they will present you with the best kind of service, performance, and support for your VPS hosting.
Free Trials (Test it First 🔬)
Who doesn’t love a free trial? It costs nothing, you get to see how it works, and, if you’re smarter than we are, you’ll remember to cancel to automatic payment a month down the line if you don’t like it.
Free trials are a crucial thing to look for when taking up VPS hosting. They allow you to get a feel for the hosting service, a deeper understanding of how it works, an opportunity to see its strengths and weaknesses in action, and, most importantly, a chance to see if it’s right for your experience level.
I cannot stress this last point enough. If you’re a complete beginner, the last thing you want is to be paying for VPS hosting you have no idea how to use. This will make your development process a lot harder and grind your learning to a halt.
So look for a free trial and take the different VPS hosting services for a spin. Just remember to cancel the ones that aren’t right for you.
Customer Support ☎️
Great customer support on your hosting is invaluable. Unless you’re the Yoda of web hosting, you’re almost guaranteed to come across bumps in the road that are beyond your ability to solve.
Website crashing. Getting hacked. Installing plugins. All of it.
Enter customer support.
A good customer support agent will be expertly trained to deal with your problem. This means no matter how confusing or impossible it might seem, they’ll be able to figure it out.
But here’s the best bit. A good customer support service is available 24/7, 365 days a year. This means no matter when you encounter your problem, you will be able to get help to solve it.
When looking for a good VPS hosting service you want to make sure it comes with great customer service. Look for reviews that indicate this to be the case, and make sure they offer year-round 24/7 service. Doing so will vastly increase the quality of your hosting and help you maintain your site year-round.
Dependability and Proof of Service 🤝
A good reputation is hard to win but easy to lose. This is especially true when it comes to web hosting.
If a VPS provider has a solid reputation for dependability, then it means they’ve put in the work and consistently delivered what their customers have wanted time and time again. This means they’ll do the same for you.
These are the kind of providers you want to look for, but additionally, you want to look for proof that they’ve provided great service to customers. Look for testimonials from reputable websites (especially if they’re in your niche) that indicate the hosting service has helped them get to where they are.
Discounts & Deals on VPS Purchases 🤑
Many VPS providers will offer sales and discounts on their hosting options. A good example of this is Black Friday sales or Hostinger’s Cyber Sale which can offer deals at discounts of up to 90%.
Buying VPS hosting during these periods can lead to massive savings in both the short and long term. As you’re likely going to be looking for hosting across a period of months of years, finding a good discount on an already cheap service can make your hosting bills as painless as possible.
If you combine that with a service that offers excellent features, hardware, performance, and customer service - then you’ll end up getting top quality hosting for next to nothing at all.
Automatic Backups, Added Security, Extra Features, and Freebies 🔐
If there’s one guarantee in the world of web hosting, it’s that something is going to go wrong, and problems are going to pop up like weeds.
This is normal.
It could be anything from your website crashing, to your hosting getting hacked, to you suddenly needing more functionality from your website in order to meet your creative / business needs.
When this happens, you want a VPS provider that helps you solve these problems as easily as possible. To do this you want to look for a provider that comes locked and loaded with a set of extra features that are going to help you handle these problems, or, even better, solve them before they occur.
Features like added security help to prevent or deter hacking, while automatic backups consistently keep your web content backed up in case your site crashes or gets corrupted by a bad update. This helps you get your content back online often at just the click of a button.
Many of these extra features will be free, but it will depend on the hosting package. Take time to understand what extra options are included and consider whether they’ll help you down the line.
VPS Hosting – Frequently Asked Questions
We get a lot of questions about VPS hosting, and this is no surprise. Without a great website builder and code knowledge, website building is difficult. Thus, finding the right hosting service is a key part of getting that building process right.
You don’t just want a service that works, but you want one that actively makes your website building process less expensive and more simple.
To help you, here are some of the most common questions we get.
Why Would I Need a VPS?
You may need a VPS if your website requires greater performance than shared hosting can offer. For example, if you need a customisable environment for your server, more RAM and more CPU cores, as well as a service that is scalable - then you will need a VPS.
How Much Does Good VPS Cost?
VPS hosting can be quite cheap. Some providers have plans for as little as a few pounds per month. However, these plans will be for low traffic websites.
If you require a high performing VPS that comes with more robust hardware, then it could cost you as much as £20 per month or more.
Is VPS Better Than Shared Hosting?
Yes. A VPS has significant advantages over a shared hosting plan.
For starters, a VPS is compartmentalised, which means although you share a physical server with other users, each VPS is its own environment.
Likewise, there is no need for you to share resources on a VPS, which means that if there is a traffic spike on one site, it won’t affect your own in any way. This is because your VPS has its own resource allocation that determines its own bottlenecks - an allocation that is scalable if you need more RAM or CPU cores for your business.
A VPS is also typically fully customisable, giving you much more control over the settings of your servers environment.
What Are the Benefits of Using a VPS?
A VPS comes with a variety of benefits. These are:
- Increased reliability and stability.
- Total control of the server.
- Ability to instantly scale server resources.
- Improved performance.
- Dedicated resources.
What Are the Best Free VPS Providers?
There are many options when it comes to free VPS providers. Although free website builders usually aren’t good or free, there are some decent options to consider such as VPSWala and Gigarocket. These companies both have strong reputations and respectable offerings at zero cost.
What Is the Cheapest VPS Provider?
The cheapest VPS provider is Hostinger. Their plan starts at £3.95 per month.
That’s our list of the best free and cheap VPS providers on the market. Although it can be tempting to look for the cheapest VPS, it’s important to remember that any cheap or free VPS provider is looking to make money out of you in some way.
A good host will do this by charging you for the use of their hardware, a lesser host will do so by offering you a poor service riddled with ads or data collection schemes.
However, if you do your homework, utilise free trial periods, and keep an eye out for “scammy” or sub-par services, you can find extremely cheap VPS hosting that can meet most of the needs of any beginner website builder.