Switching it up this month. DigitalOcean recently released flexible plans at 15$ per droplet and I thought it would be fun to dig a bit deeper into them instead of just doing a side by side comparison of the different providers.

These droplets come in three varieties: 1 GB of RAM with 3 cores, 2 GB of RAM with 2 cores and 3 GB of RAM with just 1 core. All three come with 60 GB of storage and 3 TB of transfer.

As per usual, I spun up 3 of each size and gave them a whirl. All droplets were in the New York 1 data center and were all running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS x64.

Normally I just show the averaged results but I had noticed some pretty interesting divergences I thought it would be nice to show the metrics for each instance on each plan.

1 GB of RAM, 3 vCPU cores

  Droplet 1 Droplet 2 Droplet 3
Location New York 1 New York 1 New York 1
RAM 1 GB 1 GB 1 GB
CPU 3 Cores 3 Cores 3 Cores
SSD 60 GB 60 GB 60 GB
Transfer 3 TB 3TB 3 TB
CPU Model Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650L v3 @ 1.80GHz Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650L v3 @ 1.80GHz Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650L v3 @ 1.80GHz
CPU MHz 1799.997 1799.998 1797.917
CPU BogoMips 3599.99 3599.99 3595.83
CPU (time taken) (seconds) 14.9508 14.9055 42.5499
Memory (Read) (MB/sec) 1853.11 1871.11 540.89
Memory (Write) (MB/sec) 1850.04 1943.42 582.12
File I/O (MB/sec) 99.257 88.977 21.797
MySQL (Read/write) (req/sec) 5380.70 5181.59 1168.29
ab (req/sec) (mean) 1278.98 1272.78 738.03
ab (transfer rate) (Kbytes/sec) 14445.89 14173.45 7403.84

All three droplets had the same CPU Model, there was a slight variance in the reported clock rates. I assume a lot of that has to do with the servers being virtualized and all that. What is interested though is that the instance that reported the slowest CPU performed exceptionally worse than the other two.

2 GB of RAM, 2 vCPU cores

  Droplet 1 Droplet 2 Droplet 3    
Location New York 1 New York 1 New York 1    
RAM 2 GB 2 GB 2 GB    
CPU 2 Cores 2 Cores 2 Cores    
SSD 60 GB 60 GB 60 GB    
Transfer 3 TB 3TB 3 TB    
CPU Model Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650L v3 @ 1.80GHz Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650 v4 @ 2.20GHz Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650 v4 @ 2.20GHz    
CPU MHz 1799.998 2199.998 2200.032    
CPU BogoMips 3599.99 4399.99 4400.06    
CPU (time taken) (seconds) 16.8264 11.9887 12.0212    
Memory (Read) (MB/sec) 1556.33 2090.59 2190.45    
Memory (Write) (MB/sec) 1617.56 2130.72 2213.51    
File I/O (MB/sec) 43.591   87.279   78.372
MySQL (Read/write) (req/sec) 1663.57 7626.88 7100.76    
ab (req/sec) (mean) 1294.67 3416.73 1286.48    
ab (transfer rate) (Kbytes/sec) 14503.99 38808.73 14467.76    

Of the three instances I spun up, one had the same CPU as the 1 GB variety and the other two received faster CPUs. Not surprising, the droplet with the slower CPU performed the worst.

3 GB of RAM, 1 vCPU core

  Droplet 1 Droplet 2 Droplet 3
Location New York 1 New York 1 New York 1
RAM 3 GB 3 GB 3 GB
CPU 1 Core 1 Core 1 Core
SSD 60 GB 60 GB 60 GB
Transfer 3 TB 3TB 3 TB
CPU Model Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650 v4 @ 2.20GHz Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650 v4 @ 2.20GHz Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650 v4 @ 2.20GHz
CPU MHz 2199.998 2199.998 2199.998
CPU BogoMips 4399.99 4399.99 4399.99
CPU (time taken) (seconds) 15.4133 13.3255 20.8646
Memory (Read) (MB/sec) 1522.34 1963.28 1166.86
Memory (Write) (MB/sec) 1535.42 1999.21 1192.88
File I/O (MB/sec) 97.955 97.832 73.861
MySQL (Read/write) (req/sec) 3788.11 4321.55 2140.37
ab (req/sec) (mean) 1149.32 1299.26 1937.64
ab (transfer rate) (Kbytes/sec) 12912.26 14633.08 19147.69

Got lucky on this one, all three droplets received the same CPU model and clock rate. Even with the exact same CPUs, one instance performed wildly slower than the others.

DigitalOcean vs. DigitalOcean vs. DigitalOcean

Now for a side by side comparison of each of the flexible plans:

  1 GB + 3 vCPU 2 GB + 2 vCPU 3 GB + 1 vCPU
Location New York 1 New York 1 New York 1
RAM 1 GB 2 GB 3 GB
CPU 3 Cores 2 Cores 1 Core
SSD 60 GB 60 GB 60 GB
Transfer 3 TB 3TB 3 TB
CPU MHz 1799.304 2066.676 2199.998
CPU BogoMips 3598.60 4133.35 4399.99
CPU (time taken) (seconds) 24.1354 13.6121 16.53447
Memory (Read) (MB/sec) 1421.70 1945.79 1550.83
Memory (Write) (MB/sec) 1458.53 1987.26 1575.84
File I/O (MB/sec) 70.010 69.747 89.883
MySQL (Read/write) (req/sec) 3910.19 5463.74 3416.68
ab (req/sec) (mean) 1096.60 1999.29 1462.07
ab (transfer rate) (Kbytes/sec) 12007.73 22593.49 15564.34

Not too shocked here, the more well rounded plan ended up performing better in nearly every category. Obviously YMMV and you should pick a plan based on your needs.

Based on mixed lot of CPUs and the fact that I ran into instances that appeared to be duds compared to the others, I would highly recommend spinning up more than one server and running your own benchmarks to make sure you’re getting the best possible server. This goes for all VPS providers, not just DigitalOcean!

As always, if you found this post helpful and are thinking about pulling the trigger with DigitalOcean, pretty pretty please use my referral code.

Also, please comment if you liked the deeper comparison of a single VPS provider or if you think I should stick to just comparing across providers!