VPS Showdown – Distro Edition – September 2018 – DigitalOcean vs. Lightsail vs. Linode vs. Vultr

As I sat down to research which distro I would have to use to be able to start
including Amazon’s Lightsail service back into these reviews, I thought “ya
know Josh, you never did do a distro showdown post like you’ve been talking

And here we are. The following table shows which distributions (and versions)
are currently available on DigitalOcean, Lightsail, Linode and Vultr.

I took some liberties to combine the trivial version differences and completely
omitted the available architectures as I would have had to spin up quite a few
boxes to actually verify things.

Distro Version DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode Vultr
Amazon Linux 2018.03.0      
Arch Linux Rolling Release      
CentOS 6.8      
CoreOS Stable  
Debian 8.7      
Fedora 26      
Fedora Atomic 28      
FreeBSD 10.3      
Gentoo Rolling Release      
OpenBSD 6.3      
openSUSE Leap 15.0      
RancherOS 1.4.0      
Slackware 14.1      
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS  
  16.04 LTS
  18.04 LTS  
Windows Server 2012 R2    

Worth noting that Vultr actually lets you upload your own ISO so you really
could run ANY distribution of your choosing. In fact, they even have an ISO
library that is pretty loaded up!

Lightsail offered the least amount of options and some of the available versions
were somewhat dated (hence why I had dropped them from this comparison once
newer Debian and Ubuntu had been released).

Linode offered a handful of distributions that nobody else offered, but at the
same time doesn’t support FreeBSD (which I know is a deal breaker for some

Ubuntu was hands down one of the most widely supported distributions making it a
great choice if you like to hop between hosts regularly.

Windows isn’t really my cup of tea but if it’s your jam, Lightsail and Vultr
both offer a couple of Windows Server versions.

All that said, I would have to say that Vultr’s availability of both Linux, *BSD
and Windows editions coupled with the fact that you can bring your own ISO makes
it the clear winner for me if solely shopping for a host based on OS

As always, if this post swayed your decision in any way, it would be great if
you signed up with my referral links.

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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