From Amazon to Digital Ocean: Who is the host with the most?

By | June 30, 2017

from aws to doIf you’re shopping out a virtual private server (VPS) provider then it may be worth going over what each of them  have to offer in the year of 2017. There are a plethora of cloud services now and each provider has their own strong points. In this article I will cover what the behemoths have to offer (Amazon, Digital Ocean) but also the less known companies who are still establishing themselves.

Linodelinode

I’ve heard this name a lot in recent months, so I had to check them out. Linode isn’t exactly new to the scene. This provider has been around since 2003, and was actually involved in some coin controversy at one point. Nevertheless, according to this blogger’s benchmarks, Linode consistently outperforms most other providers (Digital Ocean, Lightsail, Vultr) and offers a little more RAM in most cases. If you listen to any techy podcasts, chances are you can use a promo code from their advertising campaign and get a free month or two worth of credit, which is always nice for giving something a try. When I signed up, it was simple enough. So simple, the UI on their website struct me a suspiciously minimalist – was their service lacking features and functionality that I had been taking for granted (hence the better deal) …? The answer is no, they are not lacking in any way that I can tell. The UI is sort of basic looking, but I have actually come to prefer its simplicity rather than having to hold my breath each time an Amazon page with 10 javascripts loads. Plus they generate some pretty nice monitoring graphs on the dashboard if you just scroll down a bit. Another thing that sold me was their StackScripts – free scripts written in Python that help with the initial requirements and install process for things like LAMP, WordPress, etc. You don’t need to sign up to get access to them, but it’s always to have good documentation and resources with your cloud provider (a thing DO has been excelling at).

Vikingsvikings

Described as “… the world’s first professional hosting company with a fully libre hosting platform stack.” They take the FLOSS philosophy to the extreme – each and every component of their service is free and open source. From the green electricity that powers their hardware to the bootloader and all the way up, their service embodies the conscientious spirit. Based out of Germany, they provide not only cloud services but physical hardware as well (minimalist workstations and server racks). If you’re going to use Linux anyway, they might be worth checking out.

Amazonamazon aws

Performance wise, I defer to the blog post I linked to earlier for the comparison – the author already did a fantastic job of benchmarking the services. What you get  for $20/month does not deviate too much from the norm:

  • 2 GB Memory
  • 1 Core Processor
  • 40 GB SSD Disk
  • 3 TB Transfer*

Pretty standard. Though their focus seems to be on the $5 VPS, which you can try for free for one month. I have not used Amazon Lightsail, but I do use AWS. My main complaint with Amazon is that you are limited to Ubuntu or Amazon Linux for the operating system. What about CentOS? Digital Ocean and Linode both have that image, you can be sure of that. The strong points of this service appear to be: many locations, ease and speed of deployment with application development in mind,  and scalable pricing options.

Digital Oceandigital ocean

You get the same specs as with Amazon, except 2 core CPU instead of 1. DO also offers pre-built images that come loaded with various tech stacks. I used DO for a while, and I can confirm that they have a wider range of system images, documentation, and support for app development. I planning on saying they are more pricey, but DO is fairly competitive with most other providers. They have a $5 per month instance now as well. The documentation and community goes a long way, so I would recommend DO to anyone who is just starting out.

Conclusion

Linode wins at raw performance per dollar, but may be less user friendly to those just starting out. Vikings is an interesting provider that takes the cake for working towards a free and open source world. Amazon stays just competitive enough while also providing a $5 option and their normal suite of development and deployment oriented solutions (RDS, Lambda,GameLift, I can’t even name them all here). Digital Ocean has the best documentation and community hands down – something invaluable to those who are just starting out.

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