Hi, if your just one of those people looking for a way to run a small server with your friends(only) for cheap, the best way would be a home server. As long as the hardware you use isn't a power hog it should usually use less than a dollar of power a month. I've done this myself and ran a 4gb ram linux server in my home it hardly cost me a thing. Yes there are a bunch of cheap hosts out there but the advantage to running one on your own server is you have more control over your server, good uptime and you can optionally install any control panel of your choice. Much other advantages too. The one thing i would only be worried about to running a home server is DDoS attacks but that would be more likely to happen if it was a public server. So, there are to options for sharing a home server with your friends port forwarding or have them connect over a VPN. And if you did want to run a public server in home i would only recommend that if you knew how to setup a good firewall. Just wanted to give some advice to those who are new to being a minecraft server owner. Good luck!