VPS Showdown – February 2020 – DigitalOcean vs. Lightsail vs. Linode vs. UpCloud vs. Vultr

Expanding upon last month, this month’s VPS Showdown features another, more
expensive plan, at the ~$40 mark (Vultr being the outlier as their High
Frequency plans are 20% more expensive, but seemingly worth it from the sheer
metrics perspective).

Notable changes since last month, Vultr introduced managed load balancers for
only $10 per month (comparable to most of the other providers). Also,
DigitalOcean had some restructuring / lay offs that were published as being
related to long term goals of the company and not because they are bleeding
money or anything.

Something else worth noting, since it always comes up. I tried out, OVH this
last month, well I tried at least. The thing is, I’m extremely accustomed to
ease of use of the providers in this post, even if some of them take a few more
clicks than others to spin up a new box. With OVH, I found myself so extremely
lost and confused, that I wasn’t even able to spin up a service.

Nothing about OVH felt familiar. Perhaps it’s just that I’m used to other
providers, but I’d like to think I’m a fairly smart and resourceful individual.
With that, nothing clicked for me with OVH, so I’m not entirely sure if they
will ever end up being included in these posts.

Also turns out that it was my second time giving them a shot, with the same
exact results. There’s something to be said about clicking a big ol’ plus sign
and being able to add a new server with ease.

That said, as per usual, this month’s post features server instances in or
around the New York area, running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Each provider (at the ~$40
price point / 8 GB product offering) had 3 instances spun up and the results
averaged, when applicable.

Overview

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Location New York 1 Virginia, Zone A Newark, NJ Chicago 1 New Jersey
RAM 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB
CPU 4 Cores 2 Cores 4 Cores 4 Cores 3 Cores
Storage 160 GB SSD 160 GB SSD 160 GB SSD 160 GB SSD 256GB NVMe
Transfer 5 TB 5 TB 5 TB 5 TB 4 TB
Base Price $40/month $40/month $40/month $40/month $48/month
Backups $8/month N/A $10/month $0.06/GB $9.60/month
Transfer Overage $0.01/GB $0.09/GB $0.02/GB $0.056/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

CPU Info

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
CPU MHz 2233.33 2299.96 2000.00 3000.00 3792.00
Cache Size (KB) 28928.00 46080.00 512.00 16384.00 16384.00
BogoMips 2933.00 3067.33 2666.67 4000.67 5057.00

CPU

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Events per Second 838.64 916.08 1177.68 1006.29 1332.05
Minimum (ms) 1.09 1.08 0.77 0.91 0.74
Average (ms) 1.22 1.09 0.85 1.00 0.75
Maximum (ms) 2.17 1.18 11.66 1.60 1.11

Memory (Read)

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Ops per Second 3228691.04 822917.78 3512792.59 4068911.78 5459523.04
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) 1.28 0.08 4.46 0.78 0.13

Memory (Write)

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Ops per Second 3257556.49 822642.39 3457147.38 4073065.08 5455638.01
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) 0.93 1.79 8.45 0.21 0.06

File I/O

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Reads per Second 2202.51 2323.39 1400.52 4289.07 9456.95
Writes per Second 1468.33 1548.93 933.69 2859.38 6304.63
Fsyncs per Second 4692.05 4952.41 2980.10 9142.32 20167.63
Minimum (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Average (ms) 0.14 0.11 0.32 0.06 0.03
Maximum (ms) 89.43 77.06 183.60 8.96 11.15

MySQL

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Transactions per Second 1834.67 2401.00 1531.33 3642.67 6213.67
Queries per Second 36693.33 48020.00 30626.67 72853.33 124273.33
Minimum (ms) 3.67 2.35 2.94 1.75 1.16
Average (ms) 6.53 4.18 8.70 2.82 1.61
Maximum (ms) 300.14 81.22 59.75 18.95 15.70

Redis

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
PING_INLINE 66028.23 99901.50 93659.80 88174.40 122300.36
PING_BULK 67399.15 100269.42 88608.25 95086.97 122262.94
SET 67855.40 99966.76 102941.73 94242.95 123643.40
GET 67525.31 99701.36 97970.78 89797.37 124187.56
INCR 69142.36 100571.41 102295.94 92523.85 124456.76
LPUSH 66408.19 100543.08 100697.83 92061.43 126484.38
RPUSH 68734.75 100709.90 100086.25 94955.96 125471.04
LPOP 69178.83 100370.81 101888.10 95809.90 125002.08
RPOP 70051.65 99735.12 105272.28 93058.78 125228.13
SADD 67290.87 100170.72 109398.23 92614.04 124802.56
HSET 71790.43 100741.56 98682.99 88122.89 125471.44
SPOP 68397.49 100375.01 99317.44 91477.84 123716.68
LRANGE_100 (first 100 elements) 39569.56 58241.63 52542.99 52789.14 73853.01
LRANGE_300 (first 300 elements) 15864.63 21560.92 16117.05 20785.04 29271.86
LRANGE_500 (first 500 elements) 10186.38 14099.91 10557.57 14106.24 19348.60
LRANGE_600 (first 600 elements) 8125.10 10898.76 8091.21 10851.14 15163.52
MSET (10 keys) 60294.77 78604.45 78092.78 85055.04 119332.53

Speed Test

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Distance (km) 2435.00 2090.30 2386.06 1574.62 1353.06
Latency (ms) 43.921 41.340 47.255 34.316 42.202
Download (Mbit/s) 1090.76 169.98 71.06 134.97 423.33
Upload (Mbit/s) 498.78 61.38 254.13 183.79 391.64

Apache Benchmark (against nginx on the servers)

  DigitalOcean Lightsail Linode UpCloud Vultr
Requests per Second 202.90 260.69 261.88 254.73 270.27
Time per Request (ms) (mean) 2698.88 2003.97 1919.50 1979.21 1870.44
Transfer Rate (Kbyte/sec) 170.20 218.68 219.68 213.68 226.72

Conclusion

I think what was really interesting with this particular price point, is that
there were some commonalities in regard to the number of cores, but then also
some outliers with Lightsail providing half the cores, and Vultr offering 3, in
contrast to everybody else providing 4 cores.

Even with one core shy of the norm, Vultr’s High Frequency instances (at $48,
20% more the rest of the pack) performed extremely well, taking the top slot
across nearly every category, with the exception of the Speed Test.

Vultr has traditionally touted the fastest network, but in recently month’s that
hasn’t necessarily been the case, with DigitalOcean starting to shine there more
and more (even though they’ve been somewhat middle of the road in regard to
other metrics).

Something also worth noting, as it’s not really covered by these benchmarks,
Vultr has been experiencing a bit of downtime recently (as reported by one of my
faithful readers).

Downtime sucks, but shit does happen, and not a single provider in these
reviews advertises, or achieves 100% uptime. Sadly, when issues do arise, the
events tend to be clustered up, so looking at a 30 day window can seem like the
provider is crashing and burning, when in reality, they are pushing quite a few
nines across years of service.

With that, if you are attempting to build a four or five nines architecture,
putting all of your eggs into a single server instance is not going to get you
there. Spreading your servers out across data centers, or even across providers
is your best bet to combat the “unexpected” downtime which you should expect
from time to time.

Because all providers have the potential to go down for any number of reasons,
building resiliency into your infrastructure and assuming that at any given
time, some or all of your cloud infrastructure may become unavailable is just as
important (if not, more important) than picking the “best provider”.

As always, these benchmarks are my own and it’s always encouraged to run your
own benchmarks. Obviously your mileage may vary, so taking your own
application’s needs into consideration is your best bet when going over these
metrics.

That all said, if you’ve found these posts helpful and are planning on signing
up for one of the providers listed, please take a moment to use my referral
links below.

Next month I’m hoping to get a new provider into the mix. I doubt it will be OVH
since I can’t seem to make heads or tails of their UI, but I’m always open to
suggestions. I have a shortlist of providers I want to cover, but I’d still love
it if the comments box blew up with recommendations 🙂

  • DigitalOcean, new accounts receive $10 in credit.
  • Lightsail, no promotion for $5 plans, but you can snag the $3.50 plan for 1
    month free (up to 750 hours)
  • Linode, use code LINODE10 for $10 in credit.
  • UpCloud, new accounts receive $25 in credit.
  • Vultr, new accounts receive $100 in credit.

Source: Josh Sherman