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12 Best Unix Web Hosting Plans ($0.01 to $20) – 2019 Reviews

When tracing the history of the best Unix web hosting, developers credit the popular operating system as the impetus for affordable and user-friendly hosting services — much like how the Big Bang kicked off the start of the universe.

While the galaxy likely started with a massive explosion, web hosting traces its roots to Bell Labs and AT&T in the 1960s and ’70s. Unix, which provides the groundwork for everything from Linux and FreeBSD to macOS, now powers more than 71% of all websites. Thanks to Linux and its many distributions, the software is often a free and open-source component of many successful hosting stacks.

Given the widespread popularity of Unix-based systems, identifying the best environments is a daunting endeavor. That’s why we’ve sifted through the cream of the crop to give you the hosts that showcase all the wonderful features Unix pioneered.

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Despite being created in a commercial environment, Unix revolutionized early computing by prioritizing affordability and accessibility. Developers charged only a nominal fee for the educational use of Unix, which ran on inexpensive hardware and was easy to adapt and migrate to different machines.

Now, dozens of Unix, Linux, and BSD variants and distributions are free and maintained by open-source communities of programmers around the world. In addition to commercial Unix operating systems, the platform is especially popular via the BSD brand — particularly FreeBSD and OpenBSD. Linux-based operating systems are the base layer of the ultra-popular LAMP stack powering most hosting environments: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.

Given the cost-effectiveness of running Linux on servers hosting thousands of websites, it’s no surprise that the world’s largest hosting companies all promote Unix-based packages. Here are a handful of companies we think rise above the crowd when it comes to high-value Linux hosting:

1.

iPage.com


iPage review

Monthly Starting Price
$1.99


  • All servers run on the CentOS operating system
  • Secure FTP access and FTP manager
  • Easy customization with PHP, Perl, and Python support
  • Enhanced security suite ($100 value) and 24/7 monitoring
  • Two datacenters with Cisco routers and load balancing
  • Get started on iPage now.


PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com):
What we love about iPage is the balance of world-class technology and ease of use — and this rings true for the company’s Linux hosting services as well. All iPage servers come with CentOS operating system, secure FTP, and plenty of scripting… Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Linux Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.ipage.com/linux

2.

Bluehost.com


Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price
$2.95


  • Linux, cPanel, and 1-click software installations
  • Support for PHP, Apache, MySQL, and Ruby on Rails
  • Secure FTP access and IP blocking
  • Tons of Linux-friendly eCommerce tools available
  • 24/7 support and advanced spam protection
  • Get started on Bluehost now.


Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com):
For Linux-friendly shared hosting, you can’t go wrong with Bluehost. The company offers all the software support you’re looking for, including Apache, PHP, and MySQL. Data transfer is unlimited and secure FTP access is standard…Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Linux Hosting Plans
30 days 50 GB – Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/linux

3.

SiteGround.com


SiteGround review

Monthly Starting Price
$3.95


  • All shared servers run on CentOS
  • FREE site transfer and setup
  • Easy server management with cPanel and SSH access
  • Unlimited databases with daily site backups
  • 99.9% uptime and 24/7 network monitoring
  • Get started on SiteGround now.


Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com):
All SiteGround hosting accounts, including shared servers, run on Linux operating systems (CentOS). You can easily manage your site and hosting account via cPanel, and the company’s experts are monitoring your network 24/7 to maintain supreme uptime… Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Linux Hosting Plans
30 days 10 GB SSD – 30 GB SSD New or Transfer www.siteground.com/linux

4.

InMotionHosting.com


InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price
$3.99


  • Business-class hardware with Linux operating system
  • SSH access and SSD speed for 20x faster page loads
  • Code with Ruby, PHP, and/or MySQL
  • SPAM Safe™ email and personalized domain
  • FREE SSL and 310+ apps easily installed with cPanel
  • Get started on InMotion Hosting now.


PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com):
InMotion boasts unbeatable power, speed, and security, so it’s no surprise that they’re deemed one of the best Linux shared hosting providers. You can expect world-class, business-ready hardware, SSD speed, and premier protection…Go to full review »

See other top Unix hosts »

For those looking for more computing resources or control over their hosting environment, virtual private servers open up a treasure chest of more Unix-based operating systems you can choose from. Thanks to server virtualization, each VPS tenant can install his or her own operating system independently of the hosting provider and other customers on the same physical machine.

Even better, Unix VPS hosting doesn’t have to break the bank. Our list of the top cheap Linux VPS hosting plans show that you can get started for roughly $5 per month, with site owners still able to find a ton of value by spending up to $20 per month. Because of the added technical pressure placed on VPS customers (with great power comes great responsibility) to properly customize, secure, and optimize their environments, you’ll want to be sure to sign up with a host that offers always-there support alongside the powerful infrastructure and technologies.

Here, we’re highlighting the VPS hosting providers we trust the most to find that sweet spot of managed services, affordability, flexible environments, and superb operating system options. These hosts represent the best of the best when it comes to Unix-based virtual private servers.

5.

InterServer.net


InterServer review

Monthly Starting Price
$0.01


  • $0.01 for the first month using code HOSTINGADV
  • Then $6 monthly with no contracts, no price changes
  • Flexible configurations for Linux cloud VPS hosting
  • Choices of OS include Debian, CentOS, and Ubuntu
  • Deploy in 15 minutes or less with 99.9% uptime
  • Get started on InterServer now.

LINUX VPS

RATING

4.9

★★★★★


Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com):
InterServer’s cloud VPS options boast the utmost flexibility. Choose your operating system, select the right number of cores for your project, and set your memory, storage, and data transfer allowances, and you’re good to go! It’s computing… Go to full review »

6.

InMotionHosting.com


InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price
$19.99


  • CentOS 6: Enterprise-class Linux operating system
  • FREE OS security patches and updates for VPS
  • Root access, SSH access, and reseller access with WHM
  • FREE cPanel license, SSL, and speed-boosting SSDs
  • Unlimited FTP accounts and MySQL databases
  • Get started on InMotion Hosting now.

LINUX VPS

RATING

4.9

★★★★★


PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com):
InMotion is a powerhouse VPS provider, and their Linux offerings only affirm that fact. These scalable solutions include a Linux operating system with fully managed OS patches and updates, plus root and SSH access via the command line. Experience page loads… Go to full review »

7.

LiquidWeb.com


Liquid Web review

Monthly Starting Price
$19.99


  • Choice of Windows or Linux OS available
  • Instant provisioning and easy scalability
  • RAID-protected SSD VPS options
  • Enhanced security and built-in backups
  • Blazing-fast speeds coupled with always-on support
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.

LINUX VPS

RATING

4.9

★★★★★


Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com):
Liquid Web’s top-of-the-line VPS offerings tout your choice of Linux or Windows operating system, access to cPanel/WHM or Plesk, and Heroic Support®. With managed services and world-class security, Liquid Web offers a competitive Linux VPS hosting… Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Linux VPS Hosting Plans
N/A 30 GB SSD – 150 GB SSD New or Transfer www.liquidweb.com/linux-vps

8.

Bluehost.com


Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price
$18.99


  • Transition from shared Linux server to VPS quickly
  • Powered by modern versions of CentOS, Apache, and OpenStack
  • PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, and MySQL available
  • Guaranteed resources with KVM hypervisor
  • Enhanced cPanel included for easy hosting management
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

LINUX VPS

RATING

4.7

★★★★★


Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com):
Bluehost offers an excellent balance between performance and pricing with all of its hosting plans, including the Linux-friendly VPS options. Provision instantly, enjoy the intuitiveness of CentOS, and program in many Linux-supported languages…Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Linux VPS Hosting Plans
30 days 30 GB SSD – 120 GB SSD FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/linux-vps

See other top Unix VPS hosts »

Now that we’ve run through the top features and price points to look for, let’s take a step back and talk about Unix hosting more broadly. Site owners will more commonly see plans marketed as using a Linux-based operating system, but there are slight differences between Linux and Unix you should know about.

As we alluded to earlier, Unix is specifically a largely commercial product with closed, vendor-specific costs and development. In addition to the work done by AT&T (that continues today), Unix has been popularized through distributions from Oracle (Solaris), IBM (AIX), Hewlett-Packard (HP-UX), and Apple (macOS). Unix is typically used on servers, mainframes, and other complex computing systems, while Linux distributions tend to be more prevalent on consumer-oriented devices. A third option, BSD-based operating systems like FreeBSD and OpenBSD, resides between the two extremes as a developer-friendly open platform.

In response to the 1980s launch of the GNU Project, an ambitious undertaking to create a free and open Unix-like system, Linus Torvalds released the Linux kernel as free software under the GNU General Public License in 1991. The Linux kernel, along with collections of compatible software packages, combines to form dozens of Linux distributions popular with PC users, developers, and website owners:

Thanks to the global communities of developers, Linux has been adapted to serve a wide variety of requirements, technologies, and tech-savviness. Cost-effective Linux and BSD operating systems cover most hosting needs and are expanding into new markets like consumer-grade desktop, mobile, and embedded devices.

Before you even get to the point of choosing which Unix or Linux operating system to use, you’ll first probably want to rule out one other option: Windows. Despite the familiar name, the Windows Server operating system is vastly different than what you’re used to seeing on your PC.

At the most basic level, the Linux hosting vs. Windows hosting debate boils down to the programming language and software components you wish to use to build and operate your website. Linux hosting is the natural choice for most hosting customers. Unless you have a specific reason to use Windows, such as running a website or application through the ASP.NET or the .NET frameworks, chances are that a Unix-based hosting environment will be best for you.

For comparison’s sake, however, take a look at our highest-recommended Windows shared hosting plans. You can get a sense of the important features, technologies, and prices you should look out for when shopping for Unix alternatives:

9.

HostGator.com


HostGator review

Monthly Starting Price
$4.76


  • Strong Windows hosting to launch your ASP.NET site
  • Install apps with a single click via Plesk
  • FREE domain and unlimited bandwidth included
  • Award-winning support from the HostGator team
  • Support for ASP.NET, PHP, Python, and MVC
  • Get started on HostGator now.


Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com):
HostGator is a legacy host in just about every niche of the shared hosting space. The company’s powerhouse Windows hosting solutions bring everything you need to quickly launch a Windows application or ASP.NET website…Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Windows Hosting Plans
45 days Unlimited New or Transfer www.hostgator.com/windows

10.

InterServer.net


InterServer review

Monthly Starting Price
$5.00


  • ASP.NET, ASP, MSSQL, Silverlight, and MVC6
  • FREE RAID-10 storage and SSD caching servers
  • Unlimited storage, websites, transfer, and email
  • Automated weekly backups and FREE Cloudflare CDN
  • NO contracts and your price is guaranteed for life
  • Get started on InterServer now.


Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com):
Built for speed, InterServer is a perfect solution for developer-friendly Windows shared hosting. In addition to offering a free site migration, the company uses only 50% of its server capacity to guarantee resources are available as your site grows…Go to full review »

See other top Windows hosts »

Because of Microsoft’s reputation in the business world and the popularity of the company’s Azure cloud platform, Windows represents a secure and scalable option for established organizations with more demanding computing workloads. Here are our rankings of the best Windows VPS hosting plans to compare with the Unix and Linux options above.

11.

InterServer.net


InterServer review

Monthly Starting Price
$10.00


  • Affordable Windows VPS with a flexible pricing model
  • Choice of Windows 2008 or 2012 servers
  • Deploy your slice within 20 minutes with instant setup
  • Plenty of RAM and data transfer
  • Cloud backups and snapshots included
  • Get started on Interserver now.

WINDOWS VPS

RATING

4.9

★★★★★


Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com):
Interserver is an up-and-coming brand to watch in the dedicated and virtual server markets. The host touts powerful, reliable VPS hosting for Windows or Linux at a competitive price point. Configure your server slice with as much or as little RAM, storage, and… Go to full review »

12.

Hostwinds.com


Hostwinds review

Monthly Starting Price
$7.99


  • Managed or unmanaged virtual servers available in Windows or Linux
  • Cloud hosting instances with hourly or monthly billing
  • Instant upgrades without downtime
  • FREE around-the-clock monitoring
  • Automatic nightly backups available
  • Get started on Hostwinds now.

WINDOWS VPS

RATING

4.8

★★★★★


Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com):
Does any hosting provider have more VPS packages than Hostwinds? The company not only offers 10 configurations for managed Linux server partitions, but also provides 10 additional plans each for managed Windows VPS and unmanaged varieties of both…Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Windows VPS Hosting Plans
N/A 30 GB – 750 GB SSD New or Transfer www.hostwinds.com/windows

See other top Windows VPS hosts »

Although Windows and macOS dominate the personal computer operating system landscape, Unix and Linux are the major forces when it comes to servers and web hosting environments. Why, you may ask? And we’re glad you did, as here are some of the top benefits to using Unix hosting:

  • Cost: Thanks to Windows’ high licensing fees, price-conscious hosting consumers will find better bargains with Unix and Linux hosting. Many of the programs and associated technologies, including MySQL databases, are free and developed in open-source communities.
  • Compatibility: Sure, you can run databases, PHP, and other applications like WordPress through Windows environments, but you may notice some subtle differences or jump through a few extra hoops.
  • Performance and stability: Unix-based operating systems are designed to handle high traffic loads without as many reboots and updates as those Windows requires. That means more efficient page load speeds and less downtime.

Naturally, Unix and Linux hosting is not always sunshine and rainbows. Some potential drawbacks to Unix include not being able to run Windows-friendly technologies like Microsoft SQL databases or the .NET family of languages and frameworks.

Perhaps a larger sticking point is the operating system’s reliance on secure shell commands in a terminal or other command line interface. This can be especially intimidating for newbies getting started with their first VPS because you can royally mess up your environment with the wrong commands. Fortunately, most users won’t have to go down that rabbit hole with user-friendly Unix plans.

Given the power and popularity of the LAMP stack (remember, that’s Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP), Unix is generally considered the supreme option for WordPress and other content management systems. However, Windows users can still run and optimize WordPress in much the same way— it just may not be as smooth a process.

Illustration of command line interface on a Unix system

Unix and Linux systems often rely on shell commands for advanced customizations.

Site owners will notice a few subtle differences in certain components and functions, depending on which operating system they’re on. For instance, Windows users will likely need to update the web.config file in the ASP.NET framework to allow for pretty permalinks. Additionally, PHP operates differently on the two operating systems when it comes to mail — meaning that contact forms on your WordPress site may transmit messages a little slower if you use Windows.

The Linux speed benefits especially shine through with WordPress hosting. The content management system can be a heavy consumer of server resources at times, but an estimated 20% edge in performance for Linux offsets any potential slowdowns nicely.

That being said, keep in mind that content management systems (including Joomla, Drupal, and others) have web-based administrative portals, making your interactions with writing posts, adding media, and updating your theme exactly the same across operating systems.

Because Unix, BSD, and Linux-based systems are so popular in web hosting, the attributes for a strong host are pretty common. Obviously, the price is always one of the first characteristics that hosting shoppers look at, but it’s not necessarily a good descriptor of the quality of services you can expect to receive. You can find stellar Unix hosting for just a few dollars per month, but those willing to spend even more can discover upgraded features and add-on tools.

In this case, uptime guarantees are a good indicator of the attention a hosting provider pays to effectively running, maintaining, and supporting Unix systems. Because the family of operating systems is known for stability to start with, any extra promised uptime is icing on the cake. Don’t settle for anything less than 99.9%.

Because of the benefits to performance and email, look for a plan that capitalizes on those Unix-based advantages. Click here to check out our favorite email hosting providers, along with those with high-powered solid-state drives that promise up to 20-times-faster page loads.

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About the Author

Laura Bernheim has spent more than 12 years crafting engaging and award-winning articles that share the passion behind organizations’ products, people, and innovations. As a freelance contributor to HostingAdvice, she combines a reputation for producing quality content with rich technical expertise to show experienced developers how to capitalize on emerging technologies and find better ways to work with established platforms. A professional journalist, Laura has contributed to The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, the Sun Sentinel, and the world’s top hosting providers. In addition to conducting interviews with industry leaders, Laura drives internal writing and design teams to deliver stellar, timely content that clearly explains even the most difficult concepts.

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