A crowded field
There is good news and there is bad news: the good news is that the low price VPS market is very competitive, providers are pushing hundreds of VPS plans, many of them with impressive specs. Prices are trending lower every year. Just look at how DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr and others have created $5 plans in the past year that include 1GB of memory. Vpsdime, Kamatera, hetzner, Ramnode and a few others offer VPS with 2GB RAM and 2+ cores for less than $10.
The bad news is that, for the same price and specifications, some of those VPS are blazingly fast while others are painfully chugging along. VPSBenchmarks spent thousands of hours testing 35 VPS providers and 120 plans. We figured out which ones perform the best for $10 or less per month and the results are all summarized here.
We graded each VPS plan in five categories
Rather than just pointing at the single best VPS, this list shows the strengths and weaknesses of each VPS by grading them in five categories. The categories are web, disk IO, network IO performance, raw CPU power and performance stability.
All grades is backed by our web, sysbench, endurance and network test results that you can review by following the grade letter links in each plan and each category. Some of those providers are sponsors of vpsbenchmarks.com but all tests are automated and conducted in exactly the same way. No test result is influenced by providers.
To decide which grade category is the most relevant to you, you must know your needs: if you're running a web server, you will be most interested in the web performance and stability grades. If you're crunching numbers, the raw cpu power is what you should pay attention to. Do you do intensive disk IO or network IO? Check the related grades.
And of course, the official specs of the VPS matter too, you want a VPS that has enough memory and enough disk space to run your application. All of those plan characteristics are reported, along with the performance grades, in the list below.
$10 or less
You can go very far with just $10 per month, several providers offer more than 2 CPU cores and 2GB memory for that price. However, be careful about the specs advertised by the providers, they don't tell the whole story: for the same specs, some of them can go twice as fast as others. There are several possible reasons for that: obvioulsy one reason is that some plans come with one CPU core while another gives you two. But it could also be because the slow providers over-allocates their machines and squeeze more VMs than its competitors on the same hardware. Disk speed is also an important factor in the overall performance of a server and it can't easily be estimated just looking at the specs.
The VPS plans in the list below all have two things in common, they cost $10 or less and they're unmanaged. They are sorted by their overall performance, the fastest is at the top of the list but providers who sponsor vpsbenchmarks.com are on the first half of the page. If you have a bigger budget or want to filter the list using other attributes such as memory or disk space, simply go to the VPS Screener where you can pick the price range and specs that you desire.
The list is updated several times per week as we test more plans or refresh the tests for existing plans. Come back often to get the newest data!
As of March 2020, our favorites in the $10 or less VPS category are Genesis, Vultr, Vpsdime, Upcloud, Hetzner, Lunanode, Kamatera, UpCloud, IONOS and Clouding.io.
Genesis VMs is a young provider based out of Illinois, USA. Its infrastructure is built on OpenStack and many of its servers feature very recent and very fast Xeon Gold CPUs. Its only weakness compared to competitors in this list is the WHMCS UI. As of March 2020, the single core, 8GB, $9/month Genesis VMs VPS is the fastest you can get for less than $10.
Vultr is a well established provider with datacenters all over the world. Its UI is zippy and very easy to use. Its "High Frequency Compute" servers are among the fastest but the plain "Compute" VC2 plans have nothing to be ashamed of. You can't go wrong with Vultr servers.
UpCloud makes a point of building servers with leading disk IO technology and fast CPUs. It shows in the performance grades of their $5 and $10/month plans. UpCloud's management UI is one of the best there is along with those of DO and Vultr.
Hetzner at $6 is a good choice with the right specs and great performance but it only has datacenters in Germany and Finland which means serving a website from there might appear slow to USA visitors.
Vpsdime $7/month plan is an affordable and well balanced option, it includes the most CPU cores and memory of all contenders and performs well especially in terms of raw CPU power and disk speed. Review their terms of service before you sign up as some types of applications are forbidden.
LunaNode is a small Canadian provider with data centers in both America and Europe. One of its strengths is its powerful and easy to use, no nonsense administration console. For $7/month, the s.1 VPS is a solid value VPS.
Clouding.io is a young cloud provider based in Barcelona, Spain. It's fully focused on delivering the most powerful VPS for the right price. When used as a web server, the €8 VPS is one of the fastest you'll find and the Clouding.io web UI is one of the best you'll find.
In the end you'll have to make your own choice based on your needs. Hopefully the grades below will make it easier.