VPS Showdown - June 2020 - DigitalOcean vs. Lightsail vs. Linode vs. UpCloud vs. Vultr

Josh Sherman
11 min read
VPS Showdown
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After a few months of without Lightsail and UpCloud, it’s time to bring them back into the fold and subsequently roll back to benchmarking on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS instead of 20.04 LTS.

That said, the only provide that doesn’t support the latest and greatest version of Ubuntu is Amazon Lightsail as UpCloud did start to include it recently.

This past month also saw the introduction of the 3rd San Francisco-based data center from DigitalOcean, so it seemed fitting to do a west coast showdown to see how the new data center stacks up against the rest.

Usual deal, I’ve spun up 3 server instances with each provider, running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, ran my benchmarks and averaged the results.

Unfortunately the data center locations are a bit all over the place since not everybody has a data center in San Francisco, but I did pick locations that were fairly close together.

Overview

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Location San Francisco 3 Oregon, Zone A Fremont, CA San Jose 1 Silicon Valley
RAM 1 GB 1 GB 1 GB 1 GB 1 GB
CPU 1 Core 1 Core 1 Core 1 Core 1 Core
Storage 25 GB SSD 40 GB SSD 25 GB SSD 25 GB SSD 32 GB NVMe SSD
Transfer 1 TB 2 TB 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB
Base Price $5/month $5/month $5/month $5/month $6/month
Backups $1/month N/A $2/month $2/month $1.20/month
Transfer Overage $0.01/GB $0.09/GB $0.01/GB $0.01/GB $0.01/GB
Load Balancer $10/month $18/month $10/month N/A $10/month
Block Storage $0.10/GB $0.10/GB $0.10/GB $0.223/GB $0.10/GB
Object Storage Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Managed Databases Yes Yes On 2020 Roadmap No No
2FA/MFA Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
One-click Apps Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Custom Images Yes No Yes Yes Yes

Something to note this month, I attempted to “normalize” UpCloud’s backup pricing a bit instead of listing it’s per gigabyte price. After some digging around, it does seem like UpCloud offers a ton of different backup options that vary in price based on data retention periods and even offer a rate for one time backups.

For the most part, it seemed like you could take a snapshot which would cost you $1.40 per month and for automatic backups, the prices start at $2 per month which is actually broken up into 20% of your instance cost (like most providers) plus an additional $1 for the “week” plan with 7 days of data retention.

UpCloud touts their “simply pricing” but given their “unlimited flexibility”, I feel like their pricing ends up being about as confusing as AWS in a lot of ways.

CPU Info

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
CPU MHz 2294.61 2400.12 2300.00 2992.97 3792.02
Cache Size (KB) 4096.00 30720.00 16384.00 16384.00 16384.00
BogoMips 3059.67 3200.33 3066.33 3990.33 5056.33

A bit different than other months, but every instance for a given provider actually reported a clock speed within 1 MHz of each other.

I still recommend spinning up multiple systems to help ensure you’re getting the best server specs available with a provider, but definitely nice to see a bit more consistency than I have in the past.

CPU

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Events per Second 987.67 861.63 772.05 1242.44 1268.67
Minimum (ms) 0.92 1.04 1.28 0.78 0.74
Average (ms) 1.01 1.16 1.29 0.80 0.79
Maximum (ms) 1.70 1.34 3.59 1.94 1.90

Memory (Read)

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Ops per Second 3850846.60 821539.13 3297194.89 4852790.31 5091482.00
Minimum (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Average (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Maximum (ms) 0.46 5.70 2.33 1.50 4.13

Memory (Write)

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Ops per Second 3867968.93 826381.11 3298685.44 4869077.86 5076823.86
Minimum (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Average (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Maximum (ms) 1.14 0.39 2.46 0.50 0.38

File I/O

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Reads per Second 933.49 1424.70 2084.80 3699.99 4450.29
Writes per Second 622.33 949.78 1389.88 2466.67 2966.84
Fsyncs per Second 1984.46 3029.11 4439.30 7888.29 9486.68
Minimum (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Average (ms) 0.33 0.19 0.13 0.07 0.06
Maximum (ms) 25.29 8.66 10.34 11.43 4.37

MySQL

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Transactions per Second 1525.67 2257.33 3496.33 5468.67 5520.33
Queries per Second 30513.33 45146.67 69926.67 109373.33 110406.67
Minimum (ms) 2.40 2.31 2.09 1.24 1.30
Average (ms) 6.81 4.43 2.86 1.84 1.82
Maximum (ms) 110.78 30.62 29.70 19.17 13.88

Redis

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
PING_INLINE 51499.97 56226.05 39485.47 73155.85 57564.65
PING_BULK 46478.72 55561.90 39490.78 72240.04 56206.80
SET 45086.00 54896.07 39720.27 73056.23 57332.73
GET 47626.46 53976.69 39204.95 71985.87 57240.24
INCR 47932.64 56787.03 39591.47 71900.84 57757.26
LPUSH 49315.35 52294.15 39840.92 69294.05 58883.22
RPUSH 47034.03 56107.43 39817.10 70383.56 58646.15
LPOP 49073.48 52519.40 39751.02 71351.18 56782.88
RPOP 48198.61 56310.15 39724.60 71490.44 55947.17
SADD 47452.21 56743.83 39677.42 70500.08 56937.49
HSET 47491.04 55033.47 40010.87 72774.86 56730.64
SPOP 47644.53 56911.96 39677.77 72793.17 54955.73
LRANGE_100 (first 100 elements) 24336.19 30223.93 19877.37 36627.44 32359.22
LRANGE_300 (first 300 elements) 10439.72 11839.68 8635.56 15764.84 13936.57
LRANGE_500 (first 500 elements) 7175.95 8369.94 5892.90 10753.62 10342.99
LRANGE_600 (first 600 elements) 5810.69 6657.73 4635.87 8642.34 8305.88
MSET (10 keys) 38996.94 40765.83 37294.96 63455.52 46973.91

Speed Test

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Distance (km) 1360.68 2573.93 2372.79 1515.67 2357.97
Latency (ms) 56.973 63.736 60.953 81.759 47.812
Download (Mbit/s) 995.59 136.99 713.76 53.29 952.32
Upload (Mbit/s) 371.19 92.85 240.91 128.89 453.20

Apache Benchmark (against nginx on the servers)

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Requests per Second 213.19 250.77 2037518.96 220.18 2038895.83
Time per Request (ms) (mean) 2583.59 2001.27 1340.80 2602.90 2029.45
Transfer Rate (Kbyte/sec) 178.84 210.37 146.86 184.70 103.39

Conclusion

I went into this with high hopes for DigitalOcean as I would have assumed that “new data center” could potentially mean “new hardware” as well. Seems like that wasn’t necessarily the case, as they did perform fairly in line with previous benchmarks.

Vultr’s High Frequency plan continues to impress me at this particular price point, since a buck per month extra is pretty trivial. Lightsail still rules the day if you’re in need of extra storage or bandwidth for the same price as the rest.

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