The popular options for VPS hosting for the past few years have been the venerable Linode, VPS.net (my provider of choice since 2009), the late SliceHost, Rackspace and Amazon EC2. A new name has been cropping up more and more lately, though: DigitalOcean. After seeing it mentioned yet again recently, I decided to check out their web site and see what all the fuss about. Apparently, they’re very competitively priced, charging about one quarter the price for a comparable offering for Linode. There are pros and cons for each (Linode offers more CPU cores, DigitalOcean has SSDs, for instance) but the price is very attractive. Heck, shared hosting from reputable providers tends to cost around that.
Fast forwarding a bit to spare you the gritty details, I went looking for benchmarks to see how DigitalOcean stacks up against the major competitors. In doing so, I found a new Interesting Thing.
ServerBear provides “a no hassle all-in-one UnixBench, IO, IOPS & Network performance test for Linux Servers,” and compiles an index of benchmarks for the different price points offered by dozens of web hosts. You can look up a service, such as DigitalOcean in this case, and view benchmarks for each plan purveyed by the host.
They also rank the hosts with a “BearScore” that represents the performance and specs vs. the monetary cost. Of course, there’s more to choosing a host than just raw performance. Reliability, knowledgeable staff, and quality support when something goes wrong are also very important. Unfortunately, those things are harder to quantify statistically.
Looking at the statistics, this up-and-coming DigitalOcean seems pretty good. Their $10/month offering seems to outperform my two-node VM from VPS.net (which is currently priced at $38/month for new customers…) in most areas, except for network speed. DigitalOcean, according to other sources as well, seems to have slower internet connectivity than Linode and VPS.net. But at a fraction of the price, it’s a very attractive option.
ServerBear: Performance Benchmarking For Linux Servers [serverbear.com]