Vultr Review – Unmanaged VPS Servers that are Dirt Cheap
Vultr is an unmanaged VPS hosting solution for people who want the performance of a VPS, but don't want to pay a higher price than they would pay for normal shared hosting. Another advantage that you will discover reading our Vultr review is that with this type of cloud VPS hosting you can very easily fire up a new server instance, add more resources to existing ones, and generally speaking having an extra layer of control over your sites. On the other hand, if you're not the most tech-savvy person, it can be a little intimidating.
Here are 3 reasons you shouldn't be intimidated by managing your own VPS:
- There are a ton of great guides to help you with every step of the process, even if you've never setup your own server before.
- You can use a service like ServerPilot.io to help you manage things in a more visual way without having to use the console, and it's free.
- You'll get the best performance to value ratio possible.
Speaking of low prices, you'll often see Vultr compared to other services like Digital Ocean, but it's worth pointing out that Vultr's pricing starts at half price for a service that's similar (But less bandwidth) than Digital Ocean's cheapest which starts at $5.
If you are budget conscious and still looking for good performance, you've met your match with Vultr. All of these unmanaged hosts, for the most part, are excellent, and you really can't go wrong with one or the other, but there are some unique benefits to each of them. Now, let's take a look at some of the best features you'll get with Vultr besides offering one of the lowest starting price points.
Lets Review Vultr Features & Services
Vultr has a number of different services, including their Cloud Computing packages that work great for hosting websites, their Block Storage for keeping important files safe, and their Dedicated Instances for those who need a higher-tier of hosting performance. Let's go over each of those briefly in order to help you understand which option is going to be the best fit for your projects, and then we'll cover some of their other key features.
Operating Systems: They have many different flavors of Linux, along with Windows, and even the option to upload your own OS of choice. Also, they have a variety of different versions of Linux so you can find the right flavor no matter what you're looking to run on it. Certain software may perform better on different operating systems, and not at all on others, and Vultr makes it easy to make the right choice.
Control Panel: Vultr's control panel makes server management a breeze, and their documentation helps you if you're ever not sure what to do.
Snapshots: You can create an .iso of a server instance, configure it exactly how you want, and use that to boot up future instances much more quickly. You only have to go through the customization and setup process once, and this also adds an additional layer of effectiveness to your backups.
Locations: Vultr is waiting for you in 15 different data centers all around the world, from Tokyo to Dallas to LA and many places in between.
Mobile: Not only is it easy to deploy a new server instance at your workstation, but even if you're mobile it's super easy to spin up a new server and to manage your existing ones.
Vultr Cloud Compute (VC2)
This is their bread-and-butter offering, the servers you'll use to host apps, websites, and so on. We'll take a look at the pricing tables for this in just a moment, and the fact that it starts at about half the cost of similar offerings from other companies out there. But there's a little more to the story than that – which we'll be looking at closely in the speed section of this Vultr hosting review.
Vultr Block Storage
Vultr also offers block storage for the reasonable price of $0.10 per GB per month. This is great for backups, or just having some extra space on your servers. You can mount additional storage volumes to your VC2 servers very quickly and easily through Vultr's interface.
When you don't want to have to worry about which sites are sitting next to your, or being in a “bad neighborhood” which can negatively impact your site in numerous ways, you can grab a dedicated server from Vultr for a surprisingly low price. Their dedicated servers give you ‘bare metal', all yours and ready to go. Dedicated CPU, SSD storage and RAM, starting at $60 per month for a setup with 2X CPU, 8GB ram, and 10TB of bandwidth.
Value & Pricing
When it comes to pure pricing, Vultr is offering up some of the best deals you'll find. Comparing their $5 plan to the $5 plan from Digital Ocean, Vultr offers more SSD storage and twice as much memory for the same price. On top of that, they also offer the $2.50 option which is similar to Digital Ocean's $5 plan, but with less bandwidth. Obviously, there's more to value than just price… the other side of the coin when it comes to value is whether it's actually good or not. If you want to skip right to the point, the answer is: Yes, Vultr is offering great hosting packages for awesome prices, and some of the best value in the industry.
In addition to the following server packages, Vultr offers a handful of other price points so that no matter how busy or big your site is, they'll have you covered for a more-than-fair price that will never break the bank.
Vultr review of it's performance
Vultr has tested their servers against those of some other similar hosting companies, both their lower-tier options along with their mid-tier packages. Here's a look at the results along with some more information about the tests. It's fair to be a little bit skeptical when one company is telling you they're better than these other companies, but in that case we encourage you to just give them a try – especially if you're switching from another host – give them a try and see for yourself how they perform, and stick with whichever one works the best for your site. At the end of the day, we want you to get the best performance for your money, and whether it's Vultr that offers it or someone else, follow the value and follow the performance.
You'll notice that the UnixBench scores between Vultr and Rackspace are the most similar out of any of these comparisons, however when you look at the Performance Per Dollar, it tells a different story. Basically that means you'll be paying a lot more money for a Rackspace plan that performs similarly to Vultr's option.
The above charts show a look at the mid-tier hosting plans offered from each company. While this data is interesting, it's worth pointing out that there are a lot of other hosts similar to Vultr that aren't included on this list, and that Rackspace is well known as a managed host, so keep in mind it could be slightly cherry-picked. If you're looking for hosting, there are a lot of options besides Vultr, Rackspace, and AWS.
Having said all of that, we ran a little test of our own where we compared Vultr's 25GB SSD server with 1GB of ram ($5) to Digital Ocean's $5 server which boasts half the memory.
Both servers had a fresh installation of WordPress and just one optimization plugin called Autoptimize installed on them, and Digital Ocean was able to get that page loaded more quickly despite having less resources. So, this just goes to show you that there's a lot more to server performance than simply comparing the numbers.
Having twice as much ram for the same price sounds good on paper, but if Digital Ocean can load a site faster with less ram, that's something else to keep in mind.
This is Vultr's result in loading a fresh WordPress installation on a $5 server:
And here is Digital Ocean's results from the same test on their $5 plan:
That's quite a difference. It's worth pointing out that performance can vary from location to location, for instance if Digital Ocean's server was closer to Pingdom's speed testing server. It can also vary by application, and your mileage may vary for a variety of reasons.
We've seen Vultr outperform a few other hosts on their own tests, and we've seen Digital Ocean outperform Vultr in our test. If you're really looking for the best option, we recommend just trying both and comparing them side by side with your own project to see which comes out on top. It's cheap and fast to fire up a server, so in the long run it's definitely worth taking the extra 5 or 10 minutes to test out both for yourself.
Vultr has a fairly standard service level agreement where you'll get credited if downtime surpasses a certain amount. Now, this isn't particulairly useful if it's down so often that you decide to switch hosts, because you won't want to use those credits anyways, but it's something – and that's such an unlikely event that you don't really need to think too much about it.
Offering actual money rather than credits would be better and, in our opinion, more fair to the customer, but they have very high up time in any case. Here's a look at the breakdown of the amount you'll be credited in the event of an outage:
Vultr has redundancies in place and aims for 100% up time, the following excerpts are from their website where they describe how they aim to achieve that. Keep in mind, 100% uptime is only possible for so long, we're living in reality and things go wrong, accidents happen, things break, human error can occur, and so on, but thanks to the nature of cloud hosting, it makes those events much less likely when there are so many ways to route traffic around the servers that fail, and to get things back up again quickly.
100% Host Node Uptime: “The hardware platform hosting your compute instances is designed with stability as primary goal. At the same time, our engineering team utilizes active monitoring to proactively detect problems and take preventative measures, minimizing any impact failing host node hardware could have on your environment.”
100% Network Uptime: “Utilizing a redundant architecture and intelligent BGP routing, the Vultr core network intelligently routes around disruptive network activity in an effort to provide 100% uptime and high performance connectivity throughout all of our worldwide POPs.”
One area where Vultr definitely shines is their response time for support tickets. We sent them a quick inquiry asking for advice on how to speed up the server, and they responded within minutes and were on the case, which is much appreciated, especially for an unmanaged server.
They certainly earn some points when it comes to the promptness of their support staff and willingness to help, and that goes a long way in the grand scheme of things.
Overall, Vultr is a very capable company and very easy to use. They're quite similar to DigitalOcean in a lot of ways, but there are some distinct differences that we noticed during our tests and comparisons of both.
Digital Ocean took considerably longer to respond to a support ticket (However, they also mentioned to us that they're actively working on reducing ticket times and that they also prioritize tickets. For instance, if we had contacted them about a server outage, we would have received a much quicker response than we did to our inquiry about one of their policies.)
Despite being faster to respond to support tickets, our Vultr server didn't load a page as quickly as Digital Ocean did right out of the box, but we need to remind you that your mileage can, and almost certainly will, vary depending on a number of things.
With servers starting at $2.50 and $5.00 respectively, we strongly recommend trying out both options with quick test sites and just sticking to the one that suits you best. The purpose of this Vultr review is to make you understand that in the long run, it's worth the extra effort to ensure you're getting the best bang for your buck.