The Comparison Between Linode & DigitalOcean on Cloud Hosting

The Cloud Hosting has brought the greatest benefits for all the companies that doing online businesses. The cloud hosting providers usually offer the hosting services on the cloud servers, or virtual server that run on the cloud computing environment and usually the cloud environment gives the users freedom and power to construct the optimal set of computing resources to meet their businesses’ need.

The resources can always be scaled vertically or horizontally (As load balancing) to meet the demand and the Cloud service employs advanced Cloud technology for high speed shared data storage and server management as a pool of computing power, so cloud hosting allows for a much higher degree of up-time performance compares to the conventional single server computing paradigm.

The comparison between Linode and DigitalOcean on SSD Cloud Hosting
~ The comparison between Linode and DigitalOcean on SSD Cloud Hosting ~

I would like briefly compare both Linode and DigitalOcean in term of the available plans to choose, virtualization technologies, network facility information, VPS features, performance benchmarks, backup options, available regions, available settings, billing methods, referrals, available features and much more. However, both Linode and DigitalOcean do have different distribution and users can use the Putty.exe tool and SSH direct access to the root of their Linode/ Droplet and setup the Apache, MYSQL, MSSQL, PHP, SFTP environments for their own choice.

The Available Plans

Linode & DigitalOcean Plans
~ Linode & DigitalOcean Plans ~

Linode offers the basic Linode 1024 plan, which only $10 per month (About $0.015 per hour) with 24GB of disk space; 1 CPU core; 2TB of bandwidth transfer. The extreme Linode 98304 plan, which cost $960 per month (About $1.44 per hour) with 1920GB disk space; 20 CPU cores, 20TB bandwidth transfer. DigitalOcean offers the basic Droplet starts from $5 per month (About $0.007 per hour) with 512MB memory; 1 CPU core, 20 SSD disk space, 1TB of bandwidth transfer. The most extreme plan from DigitalOcean is $640 per month (About $0.952 per hour) with 64GB of memory, 20 CPU cores, 640GB SSD disk space, 9TB of bandwidth transfer.

Users can always select the most basic Linode/ Droplet and upgradeable by resize the Linode/ Droplet in the future when their applications or websites need more storage, processing power, better speed and greatest performance. Linode offers some optional add-on services for their customers that including the additional IP for $1 per month, Linode Managed $100 per month, NodeBalancer $20 per month and so on. Users can request for a refund within the first 7 days if the service is not satisfied.

Question: After upgraded or resized the plan, can we downgrade to previous plan?
For the DigitalOcean, once you have upgraded the plan by using the resize feature, you cannot be downgraded. Unless you have to create another Droplet and migrate the data (files and database) from current Droplet to the new created/ low profile Droplet. The will cause the unique IP to be released. Some people have suggested to backup the content of the Droplet to Snaphost, then restore the Snapshot to the new deployed Droplet. (I have tried this but somehow the main unique IP address was released, maybe somewhere was wrong).

For the Linode, users can hassle free move their Linode from one plan to another by using the resize feature. During the process of the upgrade or downgrade the plan, the involved Linode will be powered off and migrate to a different host in the same data center. All the data, configuration profiles, and IP addresses will be moved to the new host. The migration will take about 1 minute for every 3 to 5 gigabytes of data.

Available Regions
The available regions for Linode including Newark, Fremont, Atlanta, Dallas, London, Singapore and Frankfurt. Whereas the available regions for DigitalOcean including New York, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, London, Frankfurt and Toronto.

Data Centers & Network Facility Information
Newark, NJ (NAC);
Fremont, CA (Hurricane Electric);
Atlanta, GA (Atlanta NAP);
Dallas, TX (SoftLayer);
Tokyo, Japan (KDDI);
London, UK (Telecity);
Singapore, SG;
Frankfurt for Linode.

San Francisco, CA (Telx);
New York City, NY1 (Equinix);
Amsterdam, Netherlands (Telecity);
Singapore, SG;
London, UK;
Toronto for DigitalOcean.

Virtualization Technologies
Linode has adopted Xen virtualization technology whereas DigitalOcean has using the open source KVM hypervisor. Xen has been around for a long time than the KVM and both of them provide similar features and benefits their hosts are better than OpenVZ in terms of resource guarantee and user control at the kernel level. Either with Xen or KVM, users can install a custom kernel, encrypt the file-system and do a lot of other useful things than cannot be done on the OpenVZ machines.

In term of the scalability, both Linode and DigitalOcean have extremely easy to way to scale up a VPS. All you need to do is to turn off their VPS, select a different system configuration and do a system boot up afterwards.

VPS Features

SSD VPS Performance Summary Chart
~ SSD VPS Performance Summary Chart ~

Both Linode and DigitalOcean use the robust servers and enable SSD storage for optimal performance, so their VPS infrastructure are well established. In general, they are able to perform around 450ms server response time. Of course, the VPS always has more stability and reliability for basic web hosting needs and they allows users to have more control compared to the shared hosting. Besides these, VPS is easy to scale and cost effective solutions for small/ medium websites and applications.

Performance Benchmarks
For the performance benchmarks, below are the roundup for the 512MB VPS. users can install sysbench and mysql-server to test the performance on the VPS server.

sudo apt-get install sysbench mysql-server,

sysbench –test=cpu run
Linode Digital Ocean
Number of Events 10000 10000
Execution Time 11.7520s 14.6590s
Min. Request 1.16ms 1.32ms
Avg. Request 1.18ms 1.47ms
Max. Request 1.80ms 2.92ms

Memory (Read)

sysbench –test=memory run
Linode Digital Ocean
Linode Digital Ocean
Number of Events 104857600 104857600
Execution Time 316.8781s 286.5839s
Min. Request 0.00ms 0.00ms
Avg. Request 0.00ms 0.00ms
Max. Request 1.18ms 1.07ms
MB/sec 241.71 265.55

Memory (Write)

sysbench –test=memory –memory-oper=write run
Linode Digital Ocean
Number of Events 104857600 104857600
Execution Time 327.8409s 303.7926s
Min. Request 0.00ms 0.00ms
Avg. Request 0.00ms 0.00ms
Max. Request 0.90ms 5.38ms
MB/sec 235.96 254.30

File I/O

sysbench –test=fileio –file-total-size=4G prepare
sysbench –test=fileio –file-total-size=4G –file-test-mode=rndrw run
sysbench –test=fileio –file-total-size=4G cleanup
Linode Digital Ocean
Number of Events 10000 10000
Execution Time 0.1041s 0.1583s
Min. Request 0.01ms 0.01ms
Avg. Request 0.01ms 0.02ms
Max. Request 0.06ms 0.21ms
Requests/sec 7144.83 3503.19

File I/O

sysbench –test=fileio –file-total-size=4G prepare
sysbench –test=fileio –file-total-size=4G –file-test-mode=rndrw run
sysbench –test=fileio –file-total-size=4G cleanup
Linode Digital Ocean
Number of Events 10000 10000
Execution Time 0.1041s 0.1583s
Min. Request 0.01ms 0.01ms
Avg. Request 0.01ms 0.02ms
Max. Request 0.06ms 0.21ms
Requests/sec 7144.83 3503.19


sysbench –test=oltp –oltp-table-size=1000000 –mysql-db=test –mysql-user=root –mysql-password=password prepare
sysbench –test=oltp –oltp-table-size=1000000 –mysql-db=test –mysql-user=root –mysql-password=password run
sysbench –test=oltp –oltp-table-size=1000000 –mysql-db=test –mysql-user=root –mysql-password=password cleanup
Linode Digital Ocean
Number of Events 10000 10000
Execution Time 29.5509s 57.0191s
Min. Request 2.21ms 2.97ms
Avg. Request 2.96ms 5.70ms
Max. Request 87.60ms 1003.54ms
Read/write Requests/sec 6417.08 3326.50

Basically, the Linode performs better in nearly every category and DigitalOcean is better in both reading and writing from memory.

Backup Options
Linode offers a full backup services with a fixed price of $2.50 for the Linode 1024; $5 for the Linode 2048 and so on. Whereas the DigitalOcean backups is priced at the 20% of the droplet’s price. Example for the $5 droplet, the backup is $1 per month; $4 for the $20 droplet. Alternatively, users manually create as many Snapshots from Linode or DigitalOcean and users can restore a backup to any Linode or Droplet in the same data center.

Available Settings
For the Linode, users can set the Shutdown watchdog that monitors their Linode and will reboot it if it powers off unexpectedly and it works by issuing a boot job when the Linode powers off without a shutdown job being responsible. To prevent a loop, this feature will give up if there have more than 5 boot jobs issued within 15 minutes. Also, users can setup the email alerts when the CPU Usage is reached in how many percent; Disk IO Rate reached how many IO Ops per second; Incoming Traffic/ Outbound Traffic reached how many Mbit per second; And the Transfer Quote reached how many percent. Also, in the Linodes -> (Your Linode) -> Graphs, users can overview the CPU Usage, Network, Network IPv6 and Disk IO usages.

For the DigitalOcean, users can also enable the private networking, public IPv6 network, change the Kernel, perform recovery and rename their host name. In the Graphs section, users can overview the overall bandwidth, Disk, CPU usage and the History section to check the initiated of the Droplet Power On/ Off as well as the executive time of the activities.

Billing Methods
For the Linode, users must make an initial deposit before they can create a Linode. Linode only accept credit card payment but not PayPal at this moment.

For the DigitalOcean, users can make a one-time payment via PayPal to pay off their hosting fees. The minimum payment is $5 and they can enter their credit card for the recurring charge on their hosting fees.

Referrals Programs
For the Linode, they call it as Referral System. If anyone signed up using the referral code, you will receive a credit of $20, as long as the person you referral remains an active customer for 90 days. You can get the referral code at My Profile -> Referrals -> Your referral code/ URL

For the DigitalOcean, they call it Referral Program, which allows their existing customer to refer their friends via a unique referral link. An existing user from DigitalOcean can tell their friends about the DigitalOcean store, if one of their friend sign up and receives $10 in DO credit, then the existing user will earn $25 after their friend reaches $25 in billings. You can get the referral code at Settings -> Referrals -> Share Your Link.

Security is the most critical and important aspect that users will more concern about. Linode and DigitalOcean offer Two-Step Authentication. This security method means after users entered their username and password with two-factor authentication enabled, they will also require to supply an additional one-time use token that is updated every 30 seconds automatically. It is recommended using Google Authenticator, which is available for both iOS and Android devices as the preferred app for generating these tokens for the access to the Linode or DigitalOcean account without any Internet connection is required for the tokens to be generated. As part of the process, users will require an SMS enabled phone number that allows to use to unlock their account when they misplace their two-factor authentication app.

Technical Specifications

Virtualization Technology KVM Xen
Hard Disk Type SSD SSD, previously Spinning Metal
RAID Setup Hardware RAID 10 Hardware RAID 10
Memory Dedicated ECC Dedicated ECC
Processors Intel Hex-Core CPUs Intel Sandy Bridge E5-2670
Cloud Hosting Yes Yes
VPS Scalability and Upgrades Plan upgrades and DigitalOcean “Fast-Resize” instant scaling Plan upgrades and Linode “Extras” instant scaling
Backup Options Automatic Backups and Snapshots Automatic Backups. Disk Cloning on user’s own disk.
Control Panel DigitalOcean Control Panel, custom built Linode Manager, custom built
Distributions Offered Arch Linux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, CoreOS;Ubuntu desktop, Fedora desktop Arch Linux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Gento, openSUSE, Slackware, Ubuntu.
One-Click Installations LAMP, WordPress, Ruby on Rails, Docker, Redmine, Ghost StackScripts
DNS Service Available Available
Console Access HTML5, commands and GUI Ajax, commands only
Developer API Available Available
Private Networking Available Available
IPv6 Available Available

Others Available Features
In term of DNS, both Linode and DigitalOcean have the same options. For the Linode, just browse to the DNS Manager, then add a domain zone, from the domain zone users can get their primary DNS with the Name Server information attached to. Users can easily setup the MX Records; A/ AAAA Records; CNAME Records, TXT Records and SRV Records.

For the DigitalOcean, just browse to the Networking, Add a Domain and then click on the the “View” icon to setup all the DNS records.

For the comparison of load balancing and multiple servers between Linode and DigitalOcean, Linode allows their customers to use multiple servers in the same data-center to server the data and uses a private network within the data-center to transfer data between servers. But for the DigitalOcean, it does not offers this flexibility yet.

Database gone away issue?
Be Frankly, I have been using DigitalOcean for about 1 to 2 months and I was facing the “Error establishing a database connection” issue for the whole past month due to the memory peak and caused the connection to the MySQL was lost. This happened at least one each day and once the connection to database was lost, it did not reconnect the database connectivity back automatically and I had to SSH access to the server to start the mariadb database manually. So this was my bigger problem when I was migrated all my content and database from shared hosting to DigitalOcean. When complained to their technical support, they advised to upgrade the Droplet from $5 per month to $10 per month, but this was not solve the problem as the “Error establishing a database connection” issue still persist. Recently, I have migrated my website and few projects to Linode (Linode 1024). No problem at this moment, the speed and connectivity are extremely fast compared to previous shared hosting and DigitalOcean.

More Information Linode, DigitalOcean.


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