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

Bit late with this month’s post, been a crazy 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

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??!?


  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 25 GB 25 GB
Transfer 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB

CPU Info

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
CPU MHz 2231.53 2433.32 2398.15
Cache Size (KB) 28928.00 16384.00 16384.00
BogoMips 2996.33 3199.67 3199.67


  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Events per Second 883.78 770.61 771.06
Minimum (ms) 1.09 1.25 1.13
Average (ms) 1.14 1.30 1.30
Maximum (ms) 1.70 3.90 12.35

Memory (Read)

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Ops per Second 3581264.20 3295047.66 3233764.98
Minimum (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00
Average (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00
Maximum (ms) 0.23 1.80 6.13

Memory (Write)

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Ops per Second 3578008.75 3307136.49 3212908.55
Minimum (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00
Average (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00
Maximum (ms) 0.62 0.84 4.83

File I/O

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Reads per Second 2023.05 1936.46 1219.23
Writes per Second 1348.69 1290.98 812.82
Fsyncs per Second 4308.02 4124.13 2591.94
Minimum (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00
Average (ms) 0.13 0.14 0.23
Maximum (ms) 127.86 21.01 20.27

Speed Test

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Distance (km) 2433.96 2349.24 2395.74
Latency (ms) 49.087 49.856 88.696
Download (Mbit/s) 1332.87 555.84 1391.16
Upload (Mbit/s) 507.36 449.65 532.28

Apache Benchmark (against nginx on the servers)

  DigitalOcean Linode Vultr
Requests per Second 213.85 215.15 188.86
Time per Request (ms) (mean) 2349.07 2333.17 2649.64
Transfer Rate (Kbytes/sec) 179.39 180.48 158.43


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!

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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