VPS Comparison 2018: Hetzner vs. Vultr vs. SSD Nodes

Hetzner vs. Vultr vs. SSD Nodes: a VPS comparison

In early 2018, Hetzner surprised the cloud hosting world by announcing that they would start selling virtual private servers (VPS) on top of their typical cloud/managed/dedicate server products. While many praised Hetzner’s new pricing model, we think it’s worth a second look against the offerings from existing players. In this Hetzner vs. Vultr vs. SSD Nodes VPS comparison post, we’ll take a look at how Hetzner’s new cloud packages stack up against against some of the more established players in the VPS space.

Hetzner vs. Vultr vs. SSD Nodes: what to look for

  • Features
  • Plans and pricing
  • Yearly total cost of ownership
  • Hardware/infrastructure

Features

All three VPS hosting providers offer packages build on KVM hypervisors, which means you get better isolation and more flexibility, such as the ability to install newer kernels (thereby enabling the use of new services like Docker), compared to OpenVZ.

They all also offer full root access to the VPS in question, and a web-based dashboard to monitor your server and start/stop/reboot as needed.

Hetzner and Vultr offer paid add-on features like snapshots, backups, and an API, whereas SSD Nodes is more minimalist in its feature set. All three providers provide many pre-configured OS templates such as Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS, and with the KVM hypervisors, you can add new modules to the kernel, or change its version entirely.

All in all, the providers prove that at its core, a VPS is a VPS—you get root access to the OS of your choice and can do virtually anything (within the Terms of Service, of course) that you choose. For some ideas of what you can install, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to self-hosted alternatives for cloud SaaS apps you’re already probably paying for.

Plans and pricing

To level the playing field a bit, we’ll take a look at the 16GB RAM plans available from each of the providers in question. 16GB RAM is an ideal combination of high-performance for a variety of applications while still keeping costs low (for the most part), particularly compared to buying dedicated resources.

For each provider, we’re showing the lowest possible price available.

Hetzner Vultr SSD Nodes
RAM 16GB 16GB 16GB
CPU 4 vCPU 6 vCPU 4 vCPU
Disk 160GB 200 GB 80GB
Transfer 20TB 5TB 8TB
per/month price $18.44 $80 $7.99

Hetzner’s billing is monthly, unless you use the server for less than one month, in which case they will bill you at a slightly higher hourly rate. Vultr offers both monthly and hourly billing depending on your needs. SSD Nodes provides three-year, yearly, and monthly billing, again depending on your needs.

Note: Hetzner bills their servers in Euros, so the price listed here is after converting to USD on June 21, 2018.

Yearly total cost of ownership

We’ve found that most developers are looking for a server to host their long-term applications, such as a personal blog, web app, or e-commerce website for a client. If you’re looking to host a project or app for longer than a month, the yearly total cost of ownership becomes an incredibly influential figure.

Hetzner Vultr SSD Nodes
yearly price $221.28 $960 $95.88

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Hardware/infrastructure

Disks: All three of the providers use SSD hard drives on their clouds, which are faster than traditional spinning hard disks. Hetzner and SSD Nodes both use RAID 10 configurations with their SSDs, which uses data mirroring to ensure data resiliency in case of a drive failure. Vultr’s website has no information about RAID 10 or any other disk resiliency method.

Bandwidth/networking: Hetzner and SSD Nodes both offer 10Gbit networking interfaces in and out of their data centers. Vultr currently has no information on their website about their networking infrastructure.

Datacenter location: Vultr has the most datacenter locations, with 15 around the world. Hetzner operates two data centers in Germany and Finland. SSD Nodes has four data centers but is currently only expanding its Dallas operation.

Datacenter resiliency and security: On their website, Hetzner says they “operate our data centers in accordance with the strict European data protection regulations” but has no information about its underlying technology. Vultr’s website has no information about their data centers. SSD Nodes’ data centers use 3x 600kVA Liebert UPSs in an N+1 configuration and 2x 30-ton Liebert HVAC units in an N+2 configuration to ensure any hardware failures are mitigated entirely. 24-hour armed security keeps the data center safe from physical intrusion.

Conclusion

It’s impossible to say that one VPS provider is better than the others in all the ways of slicing and dicing the competition. So much depends on your particular needs and application, down to where you’re setting right now.

If you’re looking for the most datacenter locations, Vultr is the best choice. Hetzner has the most built-in features for those who don’t want to spend time configuring services, such as backups, manually. SSD Nodes has the most competitive pricing, particularly over the course of a year, so if you’re hoping to deploy for the lowest possible cost, it’s the easy winner.

Best of luck finding the perfect VPS provider for you!

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