Once you have discovered a working betting or trading strategy that can be automated as a betting bot, you might think about using a virtual private server (VPS) to deploy it. Running a betting bot on your own hardware such as your personal computer or laptop has some disadvantages: Power cuts, interruption in internet connectivity, low latency and other issues can impact the profitability of your betting strategy. Moving a betting bot to a VPS can help to avoid such problems.
However, if you have never deployed a betting bot on a VPS before, let alone purchased any VPS in the past, it might be a bit of a challenge: There is no simple answer to what the best VPS for betting bot is. Multiple criteria need to be taken into account to make an informed decision which includes technical aspects (CPU, memory, latency, etc.) as well as non-technical factors such as price and support.
Over the past years I have been running betting bots on VPS and I would also like to share my personal experience in this article.
Technical VPS Specifications for a Betting Bot
First you should think about what exactly you need and this depends very much on how your betting strategy works and how it was automated. A bot that places few bets a day has typically very different requirements compared to a high frequency trading bot that places hundreds of orders within a short time in a single market.
Best Operating System for a Betting Bot
Usually the big choice for the Operating System (OS) for your VPS is between Windows and Linux. If you decide to go with Windows, you would need to pick a suitable Windows Server version. For Linux there are various distributions to chose from such as Debian, Centos, Ubuntu etc.
Assuming that you have the betting bot ready, there is a good chance that it only works on either Linux or Windows, especially when using proprietary software to configure or run a betting bot. In this case you don't have to choose the operating system anymore, Maybe there is a chance that the software vendor sells you a managed version of the Tool? This might be interesting as you don't have to install the betting bot software on the server yourself and in some cases the vendor also does the maintenance for you.
Most of the betting bots I use are written in Python which means that they can run on either Linux or Windows or even other platforms. Betting Bots in C/C++ or other programming languages can be compiled for different target platforms. This means that you have to pick a suitable operating system. My recommendation is to stick to the operating system you are familiar with, most likely it is the operating system you used to test and validate your betting script. There might be an impact on costs as Windows server are typically slightly more expensive due to license cost.
The number of cores will determine how much calculations can be done in a certain time and hence will determine how fast your betting bot can run. For betting bots that rely on heavy computation this is a critical factor. Again I would try to replicate the environment that was used to test the betting bot and use similar computing power as a starting point.
When running and testing a betting bot you can use profiling to check the memory footprint of your betting bot. This will give you an idea of how much memory is required. On Linux you could use the top / htop command to check the memory usage per process which could be a first indication. Also monitor your betting bot in production - out of memory (OOM) killed processed might indicate that it is time to move to a server with more RAM.
I never hit a storage limit in the past. The betting scripts, historical data used by the betting bot or the footprint of machine learning models that I deployed only required a few GB storage. Your betting bot also should use logging which might take a bit of storage. You should be able to estimate the storage requirements for an existing betting bot pretty easily and can then confirm that the VPS offer includes sufficient storage.
Data transfer includes the requests that are made using the API of your bookmaker or betting exchange as well as any other traffic caused by the betting bot (calling other APIs, scraping information from websites, etc). It also includes the data that is transferred during SSH or remote desktop connections that you use to connect to your VPS as well as updates of software packages on your VPS. For low frequency betting strategies data transfer is less critical as only few requests are made and often data transfer is within the limit of the VPS offer. For high frequency trading it is useful to estimate the traffic based on the number and size of the requests as it might have an impact on pricing.
Especially for high frequency trading bots, fast access to the betting exchange market is a big concern as speed of execution can have a huge impact on the profitability of a trading strategy. In this case you would need to compare the latency of different providers. In addition to the latency information that is published by the VPS provider it typically makes sense to run a speed test yourself.
Other Criteria to select a suitable VPS for Betting Bots
Once you have gone through the more technical requirements you might already be in a position where you have narrowed down VPS offers that are suitable for you. Also non-technical factors need to be considered when selecting a suitable VPS:
Jurisdiction of the VPS
Betting is heavily regulated around the globe and many bookmakers / betting exchanges only accept customers from certain countries. They also use IP-based filters to block access from restricted countries. This means that you will run into trouble when your VPS is located in such country and the IP is blocked. A couple of years ago I tried to use Google Cloud Platform. Even though I selected the UK as the location of my service, the outgoing IP was associated with Google in California and hence got blocked by Betfair. Since then I focus on UK based offers. Of course you can also use a VPN to avoid IP filter but this will just add another layer of complexity.
Even though VPS are often praised as an option to run your betting strategy 24/7 - downtime will still occur for various reasons: Maybe a software update requires a restart, maybe a VPS server is moved between data centers or your provider is facing some technical problems. Such downtime is typically included in the uptime figures published and guaranteed by the provider. It is worth to compare the figures between providers. You might also check reviews of customers to see if the promised uptime matches with customer experience.
It is a terrible experience to find yourself in a situation where you have issues with a VPS that runs your betting bot. In such cases you might require support of the VPS provider. Important criteria to judge the support is the time that is needed to respond as well as the quality of the response itself. It is difficult to judge the support of a provider if you have never used their support before. You can only rely on what the provider advertises and what other customers say about the support (reviews).
There are two aspects of security: First of all how secure is the VPS. Assuming that you have root access the security will mainly depend on how you setup the VPS. But maybe the provider has additional features which will help with security. One example might be protection against DDoS.
The other aspect is securing your intellectual property (IP) - the betting strategy. If you deploy your strategy on a VPS, in the worst case the provider could steal your strategy, apply it and your strategy would lose its edge. This is a complex topic and I will address it in a separate post.
Costs and Billing Period of a Virtual Private Server
The last criteria I want to highlight is the price of VPS offers. When you just get started with VPS services and deploying betting bots then I would rather prefer a more flexibility billing setup where you can easily terminate your contract. Once you have some confidence into a provider and your betting bot, a longer term commitment can make sense. Typically costs go down if you commit to using a service over a longer period of time and maybe even pay one year upfront.
So what is the Best VPS for Betting Bots?
First of all, I hope that this guide is helpful for the process of selecting a suitable VPS to deploy betting bots. I believe that there is no one fits all solution and the "best option" always depends on the specific situation and the nature of you betting bot. Therefore I do not want to recommend a specific service here without knowing the exact circumstances.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish additional information on this topic.