Alternatives to the Big VPS Companies
When it comes to renting a VPS, most people have heard of and use companies like Linode, Rackspace, Amazon, or Digital Ocean. These are great and they offer some pretty cool products. I used Amazon's free offering for a bit (the Micro instance), and I've used Digital Ocean's bottom two instances: 512MB Ram, 1 CPU, 20GB SSD for $5/month - and 1GB RAM, 1 CPU, 30GB SSD for $10/month. I thought this was great, a powerful VPS with 1GB of RAM for only $10/month! But you can do better.
I found out about lowendbox.com, who says they're a site about "Hosting Websites on Bare Minimum VPS/Dedicated Servers". However, don't be fooled: they do regular spotlight posts on some really good VPS deals, including offers that are definitely not low end. This may sound like an ad for lowendbox.com, but I just wanted to share a good resource for VPS shoppers.
Through that site, I've found two VPS providers that I use myself. One offers a better deal than the big players and one offers a product that they just don't have. First, the better deal was found at Iniz.com. With Iniz, I have a VPS with 2GB RAM, 4 CPU (Xeon @3.5GHz) and 100GB of storage -- for $7/month. That's quite a step up from the Digital Ocean VPS I was using. I can certainly feel the difference going from 1 virtual CPU to 4. I found that deal through this post: Iniz – $6.78/Month 4096MB RAM VPS in the Netherlands. I got my VPS in Chicago, but you're certainly covered if you are concerned about recent NSA revealings and need to be outside the US. I currently value low-latency between myself and a VPS, and console myself with encryption and the belief that I'm certainly a small fish to the NSA.
The second VPS provider I use is Cloud Shards. The service was previousely provided by Versatile IT, but was bought by Cloud Shards and I was migrated smoothly. This is where lowendbox's original vision comes into play. With these guys I have a VPS with 128MB RAM, 4 CPU (Xeon @2.33GHz), and 7 GB of storage -- for $13.50 per year. A whole year! I know it's a runt of a VPS, but I host this site and a few others on it. It even carried this site through being on the front page of Hacker News and getting over 21,000 pageviews in less than two days (for this post about my Raspberry Pi, in case you're curious). That VPS has been pretty stable, only one emergency reboot by Versatile and it has an uptime of 88 days right now.
There are so many uses/options for a VPS. Check out this offering from Backupsy: 512MB Ram, 1 CPU, and 500GB of storage for $7/month. Think about it: throw BitTorrent Sync on there and you're beating Dropbox's $49.99/month for 500GB. And you get a full machine!
While I detailed all the random stuff I do with my Raspberry Pi, sometimes you need an offsite machine or one with more power. If you're in the market for a VPS, don't just go with the big guys. You can find some really good deals if you shop around a bit.
Update: Although the less expensive VPS providers are fun, I've settled in with Digital Ocean for now. They provide bulletproof uptime and great customer support. If you're okay with less than the best in those areas, I still recommend trying out competitors. But if you want a VPS provider that gets out of your way and just works, then go with DO. And... if you use my referral link, you get a free $10 credit for your account.