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

Josh Sherman
11 min read
VPS Showdown

With this month’s post being the final one of the year, I thought it was best to get back to a comparison that included all of the providers that I cover. The last few months have not included Lightsail or UpCloud since they didn’t offer the types of plans I was covering, but they are back for this “$5 Showdown”.

I did include a few additional things in the overview this month, including hourly pricing and which providers offer DNS, firewalls, Kubernetes and a container registry.

As this year is coming to a close, Linode has added a firewall offering, which is currently in beta and their managed database offering is still no where in sight.

Other than that, things have been fairly quiet on the VPS front. As per usual this month’s comparison features Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on all of the servers. I spun up 3 instances with each provider at the $5 per month price point ($6 for Vultr’s High Frequency plan), and averaged the results accordingly.

Also worth noting, I did omit the speed test metrics again this month. For some reason I can’t get the servers in / around New York to use the server here at University of Texas in Austin. I’m hoping to make some improvements to my benchmark script over the holidays that will allow me to easily bring those back next year.

Overview

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Location New York 1 Virginia, Zone A Newark, NJ US-NYC1 New York (NJ)
Base Price $5/month $5/month $5/month $5/month $6/month
Hourly Price $0.007/hour $0.007/hour $0.0075/hour $0.007/hour $0.015/hour
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
Backups $1/month N/A $2/month $1/month $1.20/month
Transfer Overage $0.01/GB $0.09/GB $0.01/GB $0.01/GB $0.01/GB
DNS Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Firewall Yes Yes In beta Yes Yes
Load Balancer $10/month $18/month $10/month No $10/month
Block Storage $0.10/GB $0.10/GB $0.10/GB $0.223/GB $0.10/GB
Object Storage Yes Yes Yes Yes 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
Kubernetes Yes Yes Yes No No
Container Registry Yes Yes No No No

CPU Info

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
CPU MHz 2098.20 2399.97 2500.00 2894.56 3696.03
Cache Size (KB) 4096.00 30720.00 11093.33 512.00 16384.00
BogoMips 2729.67 3200.33 3066.33 3859.67 4928.00

CPU

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Events per Second 764.09 762.39 1025.30 1631.18 1209.72
Minimum (ms) 1.30 1.19 1.10 0.58 0.82
Average (ms) 1.36 1.31 1.12 0.61 0.83
Maximum (ms) 5.61 4.77 4.29 3.73 2.43

Memory (Read)

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Ops per Second 3606218.50 524876.70 4074947.80 4977528.27 5807310.59
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) 0.29 0.71 2.93 0.28 0.24

Memory (Write)

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Ops per Second 3636284.01 523692.50 4114568.69 5007188.85 5752742.37
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) 0.43 0.18 2.22 2.10 0.25

File I/O

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Reads per Second 1512.88 1166.50 2082.46 2500.86 4870.70
Writes per Second 1008.57 777.69 1388.28 1667.24 3247.12
Fsyncs per Second 3232.86 2493.20 4449.97 5342.93 10395.89
Minimum (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Average (ms) 0.18 0.22 0.13 0.10 0.05
Maximum (ms) 8.12 21.84 15.12 11.60 2.91

MySQL

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Transactions per Second 1460.00 1297.33 2481.67 2614.67 4231.33
Queries per Second 29200.00 25946.67 49633.33 52293.33 84626.67
Minimum (ms) 4.27 4.78 2.89 2.48 1.81
Average (ms) 6.87 7.71 4.25 3.86 2.36
Maximum (ms) 31.35 39.16 26.66 22.47 12.11

Redis

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
PING_INLINE 34832.79 44898.95 54410.46 88034.55 57833.02
PING_BULK 34879.12 45028.39 51596.19 93340.43 57803.25
SET 36313.01 45481.71 55073.41 92756.39 59668.51
GET 35710.74 45491.09 54459.44 92400.28 58768.76
INCR 36483.82 45653.36 54901.39 94380.33 58914.81
LPUSH 39149.73 45679.13 52840.52 84920.41 60713.30
RPUSH 37526.57 45594.05 53131.75 94243.49 60156.89
LPOP 38377.70 45552.13 53942.96 89494.79 60564.54
RPOP 36109.04 45653.77 54303.31 94112.85 60213.34
SADD 35409.13 45452.01 55395.11 95689.68 59078.41
HSET 37140.64 45742.36 53343.39 91132.92 60898.79
SPOP 35433.20 45509.86 53939.87 88640.19 58735.34
LRANGE_100 (first 100 elements) 23437.21 29657.86 24618.10 38734.61 40824.53
LRANGE_300 (first 300 elements) 9943.91 13000.57 8700.84 17347.39 17294.47
LRANGE_500 (first 500 elements) 7062.33 9369.08 6884.12 12720.73 11942.01
LRANGE_600 (first 600 elements) 5434.69 7699.05 5629.31 9888.90 9741.73
MSET (10 keys) 29788.12 38190.69 39666.00 52331.61 49823.70

Apache Benchmark (against nginx on the servers)

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Requests per Second 248.20 203.19 1047.16 217.42 209.52
Time per Request (ms) (mean) 2039.90 2719.08 1672.95 2311.41 2539.84
Transfer Rate (Kbyte/sec) 208.21 170.44 878.43 182.39 175.75

Conclusion

Pretty consistent with previous months, Vultr’s High Frequency plan performed exceptionally well compared to the standard plans with the other providers.

It was interesting to see UpCloud process more CPU events as well as Vultr taking back one of the Redis metrics from them, as UpCloud tends to crush the Redis category otherwise.

Linode’s Apache ab benchmark was exceptional, but as always, I feel like that metric should be taken with a grain of salt, as it’s wholly dependent on my home ISP and is subject to any throttling they end up doing (and they definitely do throttle me from time to time while running ab.

Super excited for what 2021 has to offer. DigitalOcean seems to continually position themselves as an AWS alternative with a more robust offering of services. Hopefully Linode can get managed databases over the line and maybe some of the other providers have some tricks up their sleeves for next year too!

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