You may know that there are many different server providers out there, and each of them may have some advantages compared to each other.
At FunnelFlux, we recommend using Vultr, Linode or DigitalOcean. But why?
Below I'll detail some well-known providers, server types, and what pros/cons they have.
Unmanaged Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
These are the basic servers we suggest you start with.
They are cheap, flexible, can easily be created/destroyed or resized to fit your needs, and are generally very easy to set up.
They are virtualised, meaning your server's operating system is running in a virtual box on a much bigger set of hardware. Imagine a big server rig that has 8 physical CPUs with 8 cores each (64 total cores), 10 SSD hard drives, 6 TB of RAM and so on, and it virtually allocates resources to "containers" that your server exists in.
This virutalisation grants the flexibility to create and destroy things easily without changing hardware, but it also results in you technically sharing physical resources with other servers - so there is a chance your neighbours can affect you, which is why these providers often throttle you if you have heavy sustained usage (something they had to tackle quickly with the bitcoin mining craze years ago with people renting servers).
So, let's mention a few common providers:
This is our main recommendation, primarily due to price/performance i.e. the CPU/RAM resources and performance you get for your money.
We have tested a lot of providers and Vultr/Linode generally go head to head for overall performance, trading blows in various areas.
Overall, Vultr is however easier to manage as a less technical user.
They have servers in many locations (importantly US, EU and Asia) and offer the same CPU/RAM resources on their basic plans vs Linode.
Also, they do offer dedicated instances and barebones servers, which let you scale to more dedicated resources when you need to - think a VPS with no neighbours, and beyond that your own dedicated or "bare metal" server.
Lots of regions for servers available, e.g. has Australia, Tokyo
Multiple server types available - useful for scaling
Very pleasant and easy to use UI
Available in our deployment manager 🙂
Availability of regions seems to fluctuate - e.g. as of writing Tokyo, Amsterdam and London are unavailable
Overall, we highly recommend using Vultr.
Linode is comparable to Vultr but has a few differences of note:
Has better in-house monitoring (Longview) that can be added to servers
Has load balancers
Better grouping/segmenting of servers if managing many of them
No dedicated instances or servers available
UI is harder to navigate especially if non-techy
Overall, you'll find little difference between Linode and Vultr for performance, it mainly comes down to personal preference.
DO has been around for a long time and has arguably championed the unmanaged VPS scene - and has a huge customer base because of it (and great documentation).
Because of DigitalOcean's size, their availability of services is much higher than the previous two, i.e. you are rarely likely to find regions being unavailable for any of their services. They also have more services entirely.
However, you will generally find their VPS provide less "power per dollar" compared to Linode and Vultr, so for a small FunnelFlux instance that just needs to get the job done for <$50/mo, DO may not be the most cost-effective choice.
Good server availability, including India, and very unlikely to see unavailable regions.
Excellent and easy to use UI, and much better organisation/segmentation of servers and services (if managing many servers, this is very useful)
Most comprehensive services - firewall, load balancers, floating IPs, VPS, netwok-attached block storage, archival storage, etc.
Offer standard and optimised VMs so you can opt for more powerful underlying hardware (i.e. newer CPUs/memory)
Lots of one-click installation of containers and apps on their servers
Less power to performance from VMs in general
With so many customers, it may be more likely to have performance variation due to neighbours on the same hardware
Managed Virtual Private Servers
There are quite a few managed providers out there.
These are server providers who will handle basic system administration for you, likely install cPanel to give you a visual interface for things like adding domains, FTP accounts, SSL certificates and so on.
You'll pay a premium for the support and these will be easier to use in general, though we think FunnelFlux is ideally installed on its own private server with nothing else, thus a managed system is not necessarily an ideal route here.
However, some people just want the convenience. Here are some basic pros and cons of managed systems in general:
You have system admin support to help you with server issues
Easy to get setup
Usually they will have cPanel and lots of "one click" installers for commons programs e.g. Wordpress
Much more expensive than a basic, unmanaged VPS
For FunnelFlux, these often are actually worse performance-wise as things like cPanel create a more restrictive environment and frankly get in the way
Managed providers don't often offer support for third-party software and things that are "your responsibility to deal with"
Many providers will not know FunnelFlux, so will not necessarily be that helpful with setting up the application in restrictive cPanel environments
Here are some of the key providers we know of:
Liquid Web has been around for a long time and is one of the best known providers.
In our opinion, their plans aren't ideal for entry level FunnelFlux.
Ideally, you would have at least 4 GB of RAM, but their cheapest managed VPS plan with this is $119/mo. That's a lot more than $20/mo!
However, if you are doing significant volume and want some more horsepower, their managed cloud and managed dedicated servers are reasonably priced.
These guys have been around for some time as well and unlike Liquid Web, they know the performance marketing/analytics scene much better.
In fact, they have often catered specifically to marketers running tracking systems, so know how these work, how to make them perform well, and they certainly know FunnelFlux and how to install it for you.
Their $100/mo plan is the ideal starting point for FunnelFlux and has significantly more RAM at a lower price point than Liquid Web (good for the database!).
While this may be a lot pricier than a $20/mo Vultr server, their servers are high performance, their support is top-tier and importantly, they are aware of what FunnelFlux is and how it works - don't discount this, it is important.
In this sense, we would recommend Beyond Hosting over Liquid Web.
If you're needing a dedicated server there's a few options.
I won't go through the pros/cons of different providers here as I think these will get outdated quickly as providers change their avaialble hardware, prices, etc.
I'll just outline some sensible places to get a truly dedicated server.
Vultr Bare Metal servers (unmanaged)
Vultr's bare metal servers pack solid price:performance and are quite cheap - so are good as an entry level dedicated server.
Also, if you are running FunnelFlux on a VPS with Vultr, transitioning will be easy.
Liquid Web Managed Dedicated
If the managed part is a priority, the offerings from Liquid Web are relatively affordable, and the servers are OK.
If you don't need fully managed servers, SingleHop is a good choice.
Their servers are affordable and have solid specs for the price you pay. You can also add in specific management aspects as needed.
They have datacentres in US Central, US East and Amsterdam, so you can also shoot for a US or Europe server location.
I'd like to mention Cherry as well.
They have great server customisation so you can make some very nicely spec'd servers, and they deploy them quickly.
They are quite nice if you want to create a relatively affordable server running storage in RAID or using PCI-E storage to make your database faster.
They are based in Lithuania, which is an ideal location for a European server.