As Kubernetes continues to gain popularity among developers and organizations, finding a reliable and affordable hosting engine for your applications can be a challenge.
With so many options available in the market, it’s essential to consider factors such as cost, scalability, performance, and support before making a decision.
In this article, we will explore the top three cheapest Kubernetes hosting engines in 2023.
By analyzing their features, functionality and pricing, I hope to help you make an informed decision about the best Kubernetes hosting engine for your needs and budget.
If you’re looking for inexpensive Kubernetes hosting solutions, Contabo, Vultr, Hetzner, OVH Cloud, Linode, and Digital Ocean are solid places to start.
They offer reasonable pricing, ease of use, and scalability to help you manage your infrastructure more efficiently.
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes aka K8s is a portable, extensible, open-source platform used to manage containerized workloads and services. It boosts both declarative configuration and automation.
Kubernetes has a large, rapidly growing ecosystem with services, support, and tools that are widely available, giving you a framework that you can use to resiliently run distributed systems.
It takes care of all the scaling and failover for your application, it also provides you with deployment patterns, and so much more. For example, it can easily handle a canary deployment for your system.
- Load balancing; If traffic to a certain container is high, Kubernetes can load balance and distribute the network traffic so that the deployment is more stable.
- Service discovery; Kubernetes can expose a container using the DNS name or their own IP address.
- Storage orchestration; Kubernetes allows you to automatically mount a storage system of your choice, such as local storage, public cloud providers, etc.
- Automated rollouts and rollbacks; with Kubernetes, you can describe the desired state for your deployed containers and it can change the actual state to the desired state at a controlled rate.
For example, you can set up Kubernetes to automatically create new containers for your deployment, remove existing containers and assume all their resources to the new container.
- Automatic bin packing; You can provide Kubernetes with a cluster of nodes that it can use to run containerized tasks.
You can tell Kubernetes how much CPU and memory (RAM) each container needs and Kubernetes can fit containers onto your nodes to make the best use of your resources.
- Self-healing; Kubernetes can restart a failed container, replace containers, kill containers that don’t respond to your user-defined health check, and it doesn’t advertise them to clients until they are ready to serve.
- Sensitive info configuration and management; Kubernetes lets you store and manage your sensitive information, such as passwords, OAuth tokens, and SSH keys.
You can deploy and update secrets and application configuration without having to rebuild your container images, and without exposing secrets in your stack configuration.
To deploy your Kubernetes project, you can use either a self-managed/self-hosted server or you can use a service-managed Kubernetes engine, depending on your needs and how much you are willing to spend. Your server can also be a shared one or a dedicated server.
Hosting Kubernetes on your own might prove to be a tad tiresome, but you can save yourself the trouble by using a managed Kubernetes Cloud setup where your Cloud provider will set up the Kubernetes components and manage them.
For managed Kubernetes, your service provider’s job will entail installing a well-functioning server.
Your job as a client will just be to deploy your Kubernetes cluster on top of their Kubernetes engine, based on the number of nodes/servers you need in your cluster. You won’t have to install anything.
A few more points to note before choosing your cheap Kubernetes hosting platform:
-The pricing models for Kubernetes providers can vary widely based on whether they offer a fully managed service or a “bring your own nodes” (BYON) model.
-To self-host Kubernetes in a self-managed environment, whichever server or platform you choose needs to have at least 2GB of RAM and 2vCPU.
-Keep in mind that Cloud VPS (Virtual Private Servers) are much cheaper than Cloud VDS (Virtual Dedicated Servers), so if your budget is on the low side, you might want to start with a VPS. VPSs are shared servers while VDSs are not.
With those noted, let’s now look at the most reliable yet cheap Kubernetes hosting platforms you can use for your projects. Each of the platforms on the list below will have a link which you can follow to check them out fully.
Cheapest Self-Managed Kubernetes Hosting
Contabo is a German Web Hosting Company with dedicated and affordable VPS servers for both Windows and Linux. It enables users to set up networks and host Kubernetes multi-node clusters.
Contabo offers several hosting packages that are designed to meet the needs of both big and small websites.
Their servers can be customized prior to ordering, with basic specifications listed on the order pages.
So if you are looking for the cheapest VPS to host your Kubernetes, Contabo is a good option for you.
However, it’s worth noting that Contabo is mostly favourable to users who can handle their own server support and are patient enough to wait for a reply.
Contabo Kubernetes hosting starts at $8.49; with a 4vCPU and 8GB RAM VPS server.
Hetzner is another German Cloud Hosting provider.
Hetzner provides affordable servers in all ranges, that is, standard VPS, dedicated Virtual servers and also dedicated servers.
You can use Hetzner to deploy your servers and add them to a VPS network. You can as well attach your firewall rules to all the servers in your cluster. All this and more at a much cheaper cost than any of the big cloud providers like AWS.
With Hetzner you can get 2GB and 2vCPU AMD VPS for as low as 5 USD.
Tip: With Hetzner you are only charged for the duration when your server is alive. Also, you can set up a network where you can have all your servers.
3. OVH Cloud
The third option you can consider if you are looking for a cheap and reliable hosting service for your Kubernetes is OVH Cloud.
OVH Cloud is a French Cloud Hosting provider which provides a free managed Kubernetes setup and it also charges only for the computing server resources you deploy.
OVH Cloud provides users with different types of self-hosted and managed servers ranging from VPS and dedicated VPS to dedicated Bare metal servers.
The lowest server package for your self-hosted Kubernetes on OVH Cloud would be the 4GB memory and 2 vCPU cloud servers, at a price of 13.52 USD.
To access cloud VPS on the OVH website, go to bare Metal and choose Virtual Private Servers.
Here you can deploy your VPS server on OVH and then set up your Kubernetes cluster as you normally would on any other Cloud server provider.
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Cheapest Managed Kubernetes Engines
What we’ve just looked at in the previous section are the self-managed or self-hosted platforms that you can use for your Kubernetes.
If you do want to install Kubernetes on your own and you would rather use a Kubernetes engine, yet you do not want to use AWS because it is quite expensive, below are some cheapest managed Kubernetes engines.
1. Vultr Kubernetes Engine (VKE)
The Vultr Kubernetes Engine (VKE) is a fully managed platform that allows you to easily deploy your clusters. All you need to do is log into the dashboard, go to Products > Kubernetes and deploy a Cluster.
With plans starting at just $2.50/month, Vultr is one of the most affordable Kubernetes hosting options available.
While their basic plans are limited in terms of resources, they offer upgrade options to help you scale up as your business needs grow.
Much as it is not as cheap as the above options we have looked at, Vultr has reliable servers and multiple readily available data centres globally where you can deploy your Kubernetes.
You are also able to choose your server performance depending on your needs.
The VKE is charged based on the resources you deploy or the servers you use. The Cheapest VPS for your self-hosted Kubernetes starts at $18 per month for 2GB and 2vCPU.
Note: Your cost will go up if you choose optimized cloud computing servers which are usually more expensive than other Vultr server products.
Check out Vultr.
2. Linode Kubernetes Engine (LKE)
Linode offers competitive pricing for Kubernetes hosting, starting at $30/month for a basic cluster.
They provide several features, including load balancing, block storage, and automatic backups, to make it easy to manage your Kubernetes infrastructure.
Linode hosting plans are priced based on bandwidth allocation and server resources that you choose to use.
You are allocated a certain amount of RAM, vCPU, Disk Storage and Bandwidth; for which you pay a monthly price.
With Linode, you can choose the right servers to start with, then you can scale up as you grow your usage. Starting price for 2GB and 2vCPU is $ 20 per month.
3. DigitalOcean Managed Kubernetes
DigitalOcean is a cloud hosting provider that offers developers cloud computing services and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
DigitalOcean servers are almost identically priced to those of Linode and Vultr. Their managed Kubernetes starts at $10 a month for a basic Kubernetes cluster.
DigitalOcean is an excellent choice for small businesses and startups. Their platform is user-friendly, and they offer flexible pricing options that allow you to scale your infrastructure as your business grows.
DigitalOcean is also a good platform for you if you don’t want to self-host your Kubernetes setup, you can use it to run your K8s cluster and you won’t have to go through the pain of installing, debugging, and updating Kubernetes components.
If none of the above options works for you, there are a couple of other platforms you can try out for instance Scaleway or even NameCheap (with 2GB / 2vCPU server for $10), all depending on your server needs and your price range.
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Cheapest Kubernetes hosting FAQ
What is the cheapest Kubernetes cluster?
The cost of a Kubernetes cluster can vary depending on the hosting provider, the number of nodes in the cluster, and the amount of resources allocated to each node.
As discussed in this article, some of the cheapest basic Kubernetes clusters are offered by DigitalOcean ($10/month), Vultr ($15/month) and Linode ($20/month).
Keep in mind that even though these choices may be the least expensive Kubernetes clusters available, they might not be appropriate for all workloads.
Additionally, some providers may charge additional fees for services such as load balancing, storage, and backups.
Remember to take reliability, performance, and scalability into account while selecting a cheap Kubernetes cluster.
How do I reduce Kubernetes costs?
You can reduce your Kubernetes costs by:
-Optimizing resource allocation
-Choose a cost-effective infrastructure provider
-Optimize container images
-Use horizontal pod autoscaling (HPA) to help you scale your application automatically based on resource utilization metrics.
-Consider using serverless options, such as AWS Lambda or Google Cloud Functions, for applications with low resource requirements and intermittent traffic.
-Monitoring resource usage in your cluster to help you identify inefficient resource usage and optimize your infrastructure.
-Use resource limits and quotas to help you control resource usage in your cluster.
Is there a free Kubernetes?
Yes, here are some of the free options for Kubernetes available:
Minikube: Minikube is a tool that allows you to run a single-node Kubernetes cluster on your local machine for development and testing purposes. Minikube is free and easy to install and provides a lightweight way to get started with Kubernetes.
MicroK8s: MicroK8s is another lightweight Kubernetes distribution that is designed for easy installation and use. MicroK8s is free and open source and can be used on a single node or a small cluster of nodes.
K3s: K3s is a lightweight Kubernetes distribution that is designed to be easy to install and use. K3s is free and open source and can be used on a single node or a small cluster of nodes.
Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) free tier: GKE provides a free tier that allows you to run a small Kubernetes cluster with limited resources for free. This can be a good option if you want to run Kubernetes in the cloud without paying for infrastructure costs.
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) free tier: EKS also provides a free tier that allows you to run a small Kubernetes cluster with limited resources for free. This can be a good option if you want to run Kubernetes in the cloud without paying for infrastructure costs.
Note that while these options are free, they may have limitations on the resources or features available. If you have more demanding requirements, you may need to upgrade to a paid version or consider using a different provider.
What factors should I consider when choosing a Kubernetes hosting provider?
When choosing a Kubernetes hosting provider, you should consider factors such as cost, reliability, scalability, ease of use, support, and the specific features and integrations you require.
In summary, Kubernetes has become an essential tool for managing and scaling containerized applications. However, choosing the right Kubernetes hosting engine can be a daunting task, especially when considering the cost implications or looking for the cheapest Kubernetes hosting
After evaluating several options, we have identified the above platforms as the top cheapest Kubernetes hosting engines available that you can use to deploy your Kubernetes clusters.
Test the platforms and see which one fulfils your needs and requirements, and if you aren’t satisfied with one, just move on to the next one until you find the one that works for you.
Note that for almost all of the managed Kubernetes engines or servers listed above, the pricing depends on the resources you deploy for your Kubernetes cluster.