$5 VPS Showdown – July 2018 – DigitalOcean vs. Linode vs. Vultr

Bit late with this month’s post, been an off the rails month for me!

Since last month, DigitalOcean has released Projects which doesn’t really affect
these benchmarks, but is notable because the concept of grouping servers has
been something that both Linode and Vultr have had in some capacity for a while now.

Also quite notable, DigitalOcean’s UI has seemed to have received a bit of an
upgrade. It’s been the better looking of the bunch for a while now and they just
keep pushing the visual appeal way ahead of the rest.

For these benchmarks I spun up 3 boxes on each provider at the $5 price point
running Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS in the New York / New Jersey data centers. The
results are then averaged and presented to you.

Worth noting, because people keep asking. I originally dumped Lightsail because it seemed like nobody was all that into it but since people have been asking about it more, I was going to include it in this month’s results.

Sadly, Amazon’s currently only offering older Linux distros, specifically Ubuntu
16.04 LTS. They tend to be slow to roll out support for things like that and
since I like to run my benchmarks on the latest version of Ubuntu (perhaps
moving to Debian soon 😉 I am most likely going to continue to omit Lightsail
from these reviews.

Another request I get from time to time is that I should include some sort of
metric about each company’s support. I get it, support is important but I do
feel that bogging down each company’s support team with erroneous requests just for the sake of these posts isn’t very cool.

That said, I’ve had to interact with each company’s support team in a legitimate
capacity in the past and I found Linode and DigitalOcean’s support to be top
notch (quick turn around, very friendly).

Couple more notes, I’m still omitting the database metrics as I haven’t had the
time to research the issues I’ve been having with sysbench and I also adjusted
the ab tests to run 500 concurrent instead of 1000. The reason for that change
is that for whatever reason running ab today was throwing connection reset
errors (regardless of the site / server).

Suspect perhaps Spectrum (or my router) has decided to throttle connections
and/or running ab was looking like some sort of brute force attack.

Enough about my day, how about those benchmarks??!?


LocationNew York 1Newark, NJNew York (NJ)
CPU1 Core1 Core1 Core
SSD25 GB25 GB25 GB
Transfer1 TB1 TB1 TB

CPU Info

CPU MHz2231.532433.322398.15
Cache Size (KB)28928.0016384.0016384.00


Events per Second883.78770.61771.06
Minimum (ms)
Average (ms)1.141.301.30
Maximum (ms)1.703.9012.35

Memory (Read)

Ops per Second3581264.203295047.663233764.98
Minimum (ms)
Average (ms)
Maximum (ms)0.231.806.13

Memory (Write)

Ops per Second3578008.753307136.493212908.55
Minimum (ms)
Average (ms)
Maximum (ms)0.620.844.83

File I/O

Reads per Second2023.051936.461219.23
Writes per Second1348.691290.98812.82
Fsyncs per Second4308.024124.132591.94
Minimum (ms)
Average (ms)
Maximum (ms)127.8621.0120.27

Speed Test

Distance (km)2433.962349.242395.74
Latency (ms)49.08749.85688.696
Download (Mbit/s)1332.87555.841391.16
Upload (Mbit/s)507.36449.65532.28

Apache Benchmark (against nginx on the servers)

Requests per Second213.85215.15188.86
Time per Request (ms) (mean)2349.072333.172649.64
Transfer Rate (Kbytes/sec)179.39180.48158.43


Aside from having the slowest CPU speeds, DigitalOcean crushed the competition in CPU cycles and memory reads and writes. File I/O was also favorable for DigitalOcean but their maximum event time was 6 times as long as that of Linode and Vultr.

What I found to be quite interesting is that Vultr, who touts having the fastest
network, was only trivially faster than DigitalOcean. Linode, being the closest
to the test speed test server reported very poor download results.

As always, YMMV but looking at the benchmark results and factoring in UI and
platform improvements seemingly every month or so, DigitalOcean seems to be the best bet these days.

If you found this comparison helpful in making your host decision, I’d be quite
thankful if you used one of my referral links below.

Until next month, happy hosting!

If you have found these posts informative and helpful in searching for a new hosting provider, please consider using one of the links below when signing up:

  • DigitalOcean, new accounts receive $200 in credit (good for 60 days)
  • Linode, new accounts receive $100 in credit (also good for 60 days)
  • Vultr, new accounts also receive $100 in credit (good for only 14 days)
  • UpCloud, new accounts receive €25 in credit (yes, that’s in Euros)
Josh Sherman - The Man, The Myth, The Avatar

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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