DigitalOcean vs. Linode vs. Vultr vs. UpCloud (2020): Who’s the Boss?

There has been a lot of talk in the several hosting-related Facebook groups I’m currently in. The same question always is there “Which one is better? DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, or UpCloud?

Because of this, I’ve decided to put to the test (performance-wise) and do several tests. Here is the DigitalOcean vs Linode vs Vultr vs UpCloud for 2020.

DigitalOcean vs. Linode vs. Vultr vs. UpCloud

All of these cloud providers have been around for quite a bit, the oldest being Linode (2003), followed by DigitalOcean (2011), UpCloud (2011), and, Vultr (2014) respectively.

All of them have had quite a good reputation with some exceptions:

No provider is perfect, the one I have not gotten any problems with or any drama with is UpCloud.

Plans and Pricing

All of these cloud providers have identical pricing (in this plan), we are going to be testing the base pricing of each provider, the $5 plan.

We are going to be focusing on the basics, each provider, not all of them offer a lot more services.

CPU1 vCPU 1 vCPU 1 vCPU 1 vCPU
RAM1 GB 1 GB 1 GB 1 GB
Storage 25 GB SSD 25 GB SSD 25 GB SSD 25 GB SSD
Bandwidth1000GB 1000GB 1000GB 1000GB
LocationSan FranciscoFremontSan JoseLos Angeles
Price$5 $5 $5 $5

CPU Benchmark

The script used to test the capabilities of each CPU was Sysbench.

CPU Info

ModelIntel Xeon(R) E5-2650 v4AMD Epyc 7601Intel Xeon(R) Gold 6136Intel Haswell (Vultr hides the model)
CPU Mhz2199.9982199.9982992.9682399.996
Cache Size30,720K16,384K16,384K16,384K
Raw data Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here

Right now based on the table above, I’m not going to make any assumptions but it’s quite interesting seeing Linode using AMD.

sysbench cpu --cpu-max-prime=10000 run
DigitalOcean LinodeUpCloudVultr
Events per Second640.531261.681225.48763.05
Time Average (ms)1.560.790.821.31

Linode and UpCloud were really close, not surprised, they are both using high-end CPUs. Vultr did a tad bit better than DO but, overall, not bad for being $5 (I’ve seen the worse performance on $10 VPS’s from other providers).

Memory Benchmark

Once again, we are using sysbench to benchmark memory performance.

sysbench memory --num-threads=4 run
DigitalOcean LinodeUpCloudVultr
Time Average (ms) 0.00 0.00 0.000.00
Max Time (ms)35.8716.0716.3120.04

UpCloud was able to take quite a lead with comparison to the other three, quite surprised.

Disk Benchmark

In this case, we are going to be using YABS (Yet Another Bench Script)

curl -sL | bash

Read and Write

DigitalOcean LinodeUpCloudVultr
Read (512kb File)370.15 MB/s1.83 GB/s391.43 MB/s 218.27 MB/s
Write (512kb File) 389.82 MB/s1.93 GB/s412.22 MB/s 229.87 MB/s
Total759.97 MB/s3.77 GB/s803.66 MB/s448.15 MB/s

Without any thought, Linode is using NVME drives on their cheapest plan. I also know for a fact that Vultr uses NVME on their High-Performance VPS which costs an extra 20%, in this case, $6.

Second, comes UpCloud, they have somewhat average disk reads and writes, not bad. Similarly, DigitalOcean did just a bit worse than UpCloud, but it isn’t that noticeable.

Lastly, Vultr… They did pretty bad considering that UpCloud almost doubles the total read/write speeds… They gotta step up their game.

File I/O

Once again, Sysbench was used to get the following numbers:

DigitalOcean LinodeUpCloudVultr

UpCloud crushed all of them, specially DigitalOcean, which was able to read/write/fsync 6.3x, 6.3x, and, 6.4x, respectively, times more than DO.

Network Benchmark

This time I’m going to be using the Speedtest-CLI by Ookla. (Server ID=6468)

speedtest --server-id=6468
DigitalOcean LinodeUpCloudVultr
Upload609.94 Mbps 809.25 Mbps 877.68 Mbps863.94 Mbps
Download709.33 Mbps 833.63 Mbps 639.41 Mbps898.37 Mbps
Latency1.72 ms0.42ms 3.02ms9.71ms
Speedtest Server LocationFremontFremontFremontFremont

The table says it all, UpCloud had the fastest upload speed, meanwhile, Vultr had the fastest download speed. Linode (since their servers are in Fremont) had the lowest latency (ping). Unfortunately, DigitalOcean speeds weren’t on par with the rest, falling in 4th.

Bottom Line

Alright, so… Let’s make a quick overview of the tests:

  • CPU Benchmark: Linode
  • Memory Benchmark: UpCloud
  • Disk Benchmark: Linode
  • File I/O: UpCloud
  • Network: Vultr/UpCloud

Personally, all of my sites and client sites are hosted on Vultr’s new high-performance VPS’s, which they are not being tested here, but soon I’ll compare Linode and Vultr’s new high-performance instances.

So… Based on these results, who would I pick?

Personally I like Linode and Vultr the most, but that’s only because I have used them the most. Now, I’m going to be experimenting with UpCloud a bit more, based on these results, they don’t play around. For the DigitalOcean fans, I just believe they aren’t the best, they used to, but (in my opinion) not anymore.

Now, if I had to choose between Linode and Vultr, Vultr would be my choice. They have a solid network, their servers are rock solid. Please note that’s just my opinion, based on my experience (personally, not the client’s experiences).

Regardless of my opinion, you cannot go wrong with any of them. I have clients that prefer to have their sites on DigitalOcean, others on Vultr, Linode, etc.

Free Credits

Get FREE $100 Credit on Vultr. Visit Vultr
Get FREE $20 Credit on Linode. Visit Linode
Get FREE $25 Credit on UpCloud. Visit UpCloud
Get FREE $100 Credit on DigitalOcean. Visit DigitalOcean

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