To answer this question, first, define cheap. Is your version of cheap $2.5/month, or $3/year cheap? Because believe it or not, there are providers out there who offer $2,5/month VPS with premium networks and specifications. Vultr is one of them. The other one, just recently launched, is HostHatch, who had just upgraded their KVM VPS infrastructure to using all NVMe drives. And the crazy thing is, they didn’t increase the price, they instead drop the price of their VPS offerings.
First, you need to ask yourself. How often and how long of a downtime can you actually handle for the server that you want to buy? I’m not saying that Vultr or HostHatch offerings go down all the time, in fact quite the opposite. But as the saying goes, pay peanuts get monkey, and so at these price points, you should be ready for anything.
I myself put my expectation really low when i’m paying under $5/month for a VPS. It’s an arbitrary number i know, but i find that $5/month is a good price standards for a good, stable KVM VPS offerings. Why? Because Digital Ocean is the current market leader for these kinds of VPS, and their cheapest product is $5/month, with very good uptime numbers.
My expectaion is, that any content that i’m hosting in these kinds of VPS, i’m ready for at least one hour of downtime every week. But of course, since at these price most VPS are unmanaged, it’s also pretty important to know what you’re doing, and know when a downtime is caused by the provider’s, or our own stupidity.
The second factor is, how fast can you restore your backup of the current VPS to another one? And can you automate it?
I mean, you do keep a backup right? Even when you’re paying $900/month for a dedicated server, you need to keep a backup. And this second factor is simply a continuation of the first factor. Just in case there is a downtime, and your budget is $2,5/month, for example, you need to make sure that you have a system that can either automate or move and restore the backup from one cheap provider to the next, and efficiently.
If you have considered these two factors carefully, you shouldn’t have any problem hosting with any cheap VPS providers out there. In fact, you might enjoy the experience, as i’ve proven myself. Of course, it’s important to do your research before purchase. If you do it right, that $2,5/month might just surprise you.