VPS Bandwidth Overages Comparison
When you lease a Virtual Private Server (VPS) you are paying for a certain amount of bandwidth per month. This means you can transfer a certain amount of data to and from your VPS every month.
The amount of bandwidth provided depends on the VPS plan you choose to purchase. It is usually in the terabyte range. Even the cheapest VPS plans usually include one terabyte of bandwidth, which is 1000 gigabytes of bandwidth.
How A Provider Might React To Excess Bandwidth Usage
VPS providers are able to limit the amount of RAM, HDD space and CPU that you use. They do not have a great way to limit the amount of bandwidth you use over the month however. Some might completely shutdown your VPS for the rest of the month if you exceed your bandwidth limits. Others might charge you a certain amount (which can add up really quick). Finally others might give you a warning, but not do much else.
It often depends on how much of a problem this has been in the past for VPS providers. The main reason for limiting bandwidth is that it is easy to impact the VPS usage of other customers if your VPS is hogging all the bandwidth from the port your server is connected to.
This could be intentional. Maybe you have a service that streams video. Video streaming is bandwidth intensive. It might also be unintentional. Maybe your website is the target of a DDOS attack.
Whatever the reason, your provider will want to stop you from impacting other customers.
The other main reason why bandwidth charges exist is that a VPS provider usually has a set of fixed costs, and bandwidth is not a fixed cost. Your VPS is running on a physical server, which was already paid for by the VPS provider. It does not really matter to them if the CPU of that server is used at 20% or at 80% capacity. They do not have to pay anything extra for high CPU usage.
Bandwidth is different. Your VPS provider pays for their Internet connection every month. The amount they pay depends on their usage. If they go over their bandwidth limit, their uplink provider charges them an overage charge.
It costs your provider more money to provide you with more bandwidth, so they limit the amount of bandwidth you can use.
VPS Bandwidth Overages Compared
As stated above, different VPS providers deal with bandwidth limits in different way.
Linode Bandwidth Overages
Linode is a leading VPS provider. Their VPS plans tend to offer more RAM than their competitor's plans. Their higher end plans also include more bandwidth than their competitor's plans. This makes it less likely that you will reach your bandwidth limits each month.
Linode charges a set amount for bandwidth overages. For every Gigabyte of bandwidth over the amount included in your VPS plan, Linode will charge you $0.10. That is, ten cents for every gigabyte of bandwidth over the amounts included in your plans.
Digital Ocean Bandwidth Overages
Digital Ocean is another leading VPS provider. Their cheaper VPSs come with a similar amount of bandwidth as Linode, but their higher end plans come with less bandwidth than their competitors.
The good news is that Digital Ocean currently does not charge or monitor bandwidth. This means you essentially have unlimited bandwidth with your Digital Ocean VPS. I do not recommend abusing this, but it is great to not have to be concerned with using too much bandwidth.
Digital Ocean does plan on charging for their bandwidth eventually. The overage cost that I have seen was $0.02 per gigabyte. They have stated in the past that if they do begin to charge bandwidth overages, they will ensure all their customers are informed.
Vultr Bandwidth Overages
Vultr is another great VPS host. They offer a similar amount of bandwidth as Digital Ocean, and beat Digital Ocean at the higher end of their VPS plans (though less than Linode).
Vultr bandwidth overage charges are $0.02 per GB in North America. Two cents per gigabyte of overage bandwidth. Vultr also has VPS offering in Asia and Australia, where bandwidth costs are higher. In these locations the bandwidth overage charges are $0.05 per GB and $0.10 per GB, respectively.
RamNode Bandwidth Overages
RamNode is a smaller VPS provider, but very well respected. They have a lot of low-end customers looking for cheap VPS instances. Due to their smaller size they have to compete a bit harder than the above three well known VPS providers. This is great for RamNode customers. Their VPS plans include more bandwidth than their competitor's plans.
Unlike their competitors, RamNode will never charge you more than you expect per month. Instead of paying bandwidth overages, when your VPS reaches its bandwidth limit, it is shutdown.
But before (or after) this happens you can always purchase more bandwidth. RamNode allows you to add a terabyte of bandwidth for $4 per month. I do not know what the limit is, or how many terabytes you can add to a single VPS, but this is an excellent solution for those who need a lot of bandwidth but not a lot of processing power. It is also nice to know that you will not find surprising overage charges on your monthly VPS bill.
The above are four of the best VPS providers on the Internet. They have different fees when it comes to bandwidth overages. Take a look at the different plans they each offer and choose which ones works best for you.
Remember, VPS providers make it easy to upgrade plans. If you are unsure how much bandwidth you currently need, estimate low, and then upgrade your plan if you end up needing more.
Note that there is no such thing as unlimited bandwidth. Companies that advertise unlimited anything are being dishonest. They do have limits and they will cut you off if you go beyond those limits. It is much better to get service from a company that explicitly tells you what limits your VPS has and what kind of overage charges you should expect if you go over your limit.