$5 VPS Showdown - May 2018 - DigitalOcean vs. Linode vs. Vultr

Josh Sherman
5 min read
VPS Showdown
HEADS-UP: A ton has changed since this post was originally published!
Why not check out the latest comparison?

Switching it up yet again on y’all!

This month, we’re back to looking at those east coast data centers, but also, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is out and this is my first set of metrics run on the latest long term release of Ubuntu.

Sadly though, sysbench was throwing shade while I tried to run the MySQL benchmarks so I am omitting them this month. Think you can get things working correctly? Feel free to tweak my [benchmarks script][bench] and kick me a PR!

One other tweak this month, I swapped out Apache for nginx, but I am still using Apache Benchmark ab to conduct the benchmark.


  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Location New York 1 Newark, NJ New York (NJ)
RAM 1 GB 1 GB 1 GB
CPU 1 Core 1 Core 1 Core
SSD 25 GB 20 GB 25 GB
Transfer 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB

CPU Info

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
CPU MHz 2200.01 2499.99 2396.30
CPU BogoMips 4400.01 4999.97 4792.60


  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Total time (seconds) 10.00 10.00 10.00
Min (ms) 1.17 1.24 1.13
Avg (ms) 1.33 1.36 1.31
Max (ms) 3.11 6.05 10.36

Memory (Read)

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Total time (seconds) 10.00 10.00 10.00
Min (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00
Avg (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00
Max (ms) 0.81 7.63 5.91

Memory (Write)

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Total time (seconds) 10.00 10.00 10.00
Min (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00
Avg (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00
Max (ms) 1.65 9.21 0.96

File I/O

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Total time (seconds) 10.00 10.00 10.00
Min (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00
Avg (ms) 0.08 0.13 0.14
Max (ms) 40.49 16.53 11.97

Speed Test

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Distance (km) 2434.49 2421.10 1871.87
Latency (ms) 246.57 65.33 54.43
Download (Mbit/s) 1116.11 214.65 1369.89
Upload (Mbit/s) 502.70 175.89 483.75

Apache Benchmark (hitting nginx on the servers)

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Time taken for tests (seconds) 1.67 1.69 1.49
Requests per second (mean) 6020.25 6011.23 6726.75
Time per request (ms) (mean) 166.71 168.91 149.05
Transfer rate (Kbytes/sec) 5050.20 5042.62 5640.41


Linode clocked the fastest CPU but definitely underperformed in a handful of category. Maybe not in the overall time taken, but falling short in regard to the max time taken to execute certain operations.

In the past, Linode has conquered most of the metrics so I’m unsure if I caught them on a bad day or if the gap is closing on Linode.

It makes sense that the other providers are starting to close in fast. I’m admittedly a big fan of Linode, but it’s hard not to notice their aging UI and the fact that the other provider’s offerings are becoming more sophisticated (block storage and more nuanced service tiers) and the easier to use (default SSH keys, turn key app installs, spinning up multiple servers, etc).

Vultr has continued to perform well on the networking side of things (albeit not the fasted upload speed this time around). What’s interesting is that one of my three Vultr instances clocked in at around ~850 km away from the server I was benchmarking against.

I’m assuming this was an error, but does beg the question is Vultr sometimes spins up boxes outside of the region you rest. Yeah, I know, conspiracy theory, much?

I tend to recommend Linode as a solid overall provider, but I’m switching it up this Memorial Day weekend. DigitalOcean has edged themselves into being a more consistent offering in my eyes. Couple that with their more modern and easier to use hosting options, they definitely make a great choice for somebody starting out and wanting a WordPress blog up to an experienced server admin looking for something a bit more advanced.

As always though, YMMV and I recommend that you weigh out your needs and pick the provider that best suits your needs.

If you found this article helpful and end up planning to go with any of the aforementioned providers, please do me a solid and sign up with my referral codes.

Or if you’re feeling really generous, show off your favorite tech stack by picking up a shirt!

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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