We’ve compared and reviewed Digital Ocean to a handful of other providers like AWS, but DigitalOcean and Linode are arguably a much more similar comparison in terms of size and the types of offerings they provide, and who those servers are best suited for. This is especially true in recent years, as it seems like the success of both hosts has acted as motivation to keep each of them pushing forward.
If you’re a developer with an app, a website, or something else that requires some computing power, either one of these two choices is an excellent option where you’re getting some of the best performance per dollar available. But does one of the edge out the other in any of the categories we’re going to be looking at? Definitely.
So, keep in mind that they’re both good choices, but it’s also good that you’re taking a few minutes to compare them in case one of them is going to be better suited to your particular needs or preferences. If you aren’t sure what questions to ask or which criteria to be comparing, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered, so let’s dive right into our in-depth comparison of DigitalOcean vs Linode.
Once a scrappy underdog, DigitalOcean has secured hundreds of millions in venture capital funding and has grown to be one of the largest hosting companies in the world. DigitalOcean was founded in 2011 and has had what can only be described as a meteoric rise due to its simplicity and its core focus on developers with a fair and easy pricing structure.
Linode, on the other hand, was founded in 2003 and is among the pioneers of the type of on-demand hosting that’s commonly referred to as cloud hosting these days, or IaaS. Linode has also received some massive funding and been one of the fastest-growing hosts for multiple years, and that funding went towards positioning themselves as a leader in the IaaS world (Infrastructure as a service.)
DigitalOcean made a splash with its low entry price point and high quality of service, with plans starting at $5. Since then, Linode has lowered their lowest tier from $10 to $5 to match DigitalOcean, so it begs the comparison…
DigitalOcean vs Linode? Which Server to Choose in 2018:
First things first, we’re going to be comparing the most basic server, and a more robust $80 server, from each company. Both of their price points start at $5, so that seems like a good place to start our comparison. Next up, we’ll look at a higher-end server to see if the specs stay in line or if one of them takes the cake. It’s worth pointing out that there’s more to the story than just the server specs, however.
For example, we compared the speed of Vultr to DigitalOcean and even though Vultr had higher specs, out of the box their server was significantly slower than DigitalOcean was, so that’s just something to keep in mind. The best to tell is simply to take a few extra minutes and test them both out, it’s worth spending a couple of bucks to know definitively which host will give you the best performance for your particular usage.
As you can see from the above table, Linode is bringing better value to the table if you’re looking at just the specs on paper, but the real-world performance can vary depending on a number of things. The higher up you get at price, the bigger the disparity becomes between the additional resources that Linode is giving you for your money.
DigitalOcean SLA vs Linode SLA: Uptime Guarantees
The SLA (service level agreement) is a standard aspect of hosting, where companies will give you back in the form of monetary compensation if their sites are down for more than a set amount of time in any given month.
It’s kind of an odd gesture in the grand scheme of things since if you are counting on your site to be up, and it’s down a lot, you’re losing out on a lot more money than just the cost of hosting if you use your site for business purposes. None the less, a company’s policy on their SLA guarantee and where they set the bar can still be a telling trait.
- Here is DigitalOcean’s SLA: “DigitalOcean provides a 99.99% Uptime SLA for both Droplet and Block Storage. Lost time is refunded back to your account at the hourly rate incurred.”
- Here is Linode’s SLA: “Linode.com provides a 99.9% uptime guarantee on all Linode hardware, and on network connectivity. In any given month, if your Linode is down for more than 0.1%, you may request a pro-rated credit for the down-time.”
So, the difference here is 99.9% uptime guarantee from Linode, and 99.99% from DigitalOcean. Of course, they’re not guaranteeing that the servers will never be down for more than those amounts of time, but rather that if they are, that’s where you’ll start getting a refund based on how much time it has been down for.
Just to put that in perspective, if you have a $5/mo server plan, that works out to $0.007 per hour. So, for each additional hour, a server is down after hitting the threshold for the SLA guarantee, you’ll get $0.007. So, at the end of the day, this alone isn’t something that you should base your purchase decision on, but it’s still good to know.
Which Host Has Better Support?
In both cases, it’s worth pointing out that support for these types of servers generally covers the physical hardware itself, and keeping it up and running, and beyond that, you’re usually more or less on your own. You may get lucky in a support ticket and get some help with software, but it’s definitely not something to be expected.
Generally, we’ve gotten quick responses from Linode than DigitalOcean to general inquiries, but DigitalOcean’s support has still been very friendly and helpful and sincere. They’ve also told us specifically that they’re working very hard on improving the speed of ticket times, and we believe them.
DigitalOcean mentioned that emergencies and outages take precedence, which explained why a clarification on one of their policies took a little longer to get a response. All in all, we’re very pleased with the levels of support offered by both companies. They’re both clear on what’s covered and what isn’t and offer ample documentation so that you can get yourself up and running.
It’s also worth mentioning that Linode offers managed solutions, and their team has gotten some very high praise over the years. They will import your site with free migration, they include free data protection, free cPanel, a dashboard with a number of viral metrics, and they keep track of any incidents so that they can report it to you. They’re actively ensuring that everything is running smoothly, which is a lot further than many “managed” VPS companies are willing to go. This level of managed service does cost a premium price, however, DigitalOcean doesn’t even offer it as an option at all, so for the sake of this metric we’ve got to give the nod to Linode.
Other Add-Ons and Additional Features
Both services have a variety of other offerings, and before we wrap things up, we’re going to go over them quickly. Here’s a look at some of the additional services offered by both of these exceptional hosting companies:
Linode’s Additional Features
- Managed Servers: We’ve already discussed Linode’s managed servers, but they are a big differentiator between both choices. If this is something you want, and you’re choosing between Linode and DigitalOcean, then it’s a no brainer – go with Linode.
- Longview: This is the name of Linode’s dashboard where you can track your network usage, analytics, CPU usage, available memory, and more.
- NodeBalancers: If you’re running additional servers with Linode, a NodeBalancer will help distribute traffic among them in order to ensure that your site is performing at its peak.
- Backups: Linode offers a backup service where your files are stored on-site. This is good if you ever need to roll back your site to a previous version, however, we also strongly recommend that you look at an option to backup off-site, too. If something catastrophic happens in their data center, and you don’t have any off-site backups, you could be out of luck. This isn’t specific to Linode, it applies to any server you’d want to back up from any company, but it’s something we like to bring up as a reminder as often as we can.
- Intel E5 Processors: Linode has dubbed these the fastest processors in the cloud market. Speed is important, it’s the difference between somebody waiting for your site to load, or clicking away first.
DigitalOcean’s Additional Features
- Block Storage: DO offer a very easy block storage option where you can add additional storage to your server at a rate of $0.10 per GB per month.
- Spaces: They also offer intuitive object storage in their newly launched service called Spaces, which is great for web content like videos, images, and other media and things that are often called upon by websites or apps.
- Backups: DigitalOcean also offers backups, and the price is simply to add an additional 20% on whatever you’re paying for your Droplet (Their name for a virtual machine.)
- Load Balancers: They also offer a similar service to what Linode has when it comes to balancing the traffic across multiple nodes.
- Firewalls: DO offers cloud firewalls for free.
And the winner is…
YOU! There are so many great choices to accommodate whatever type of hosting you need, and in some cases it’s just too close to call. Both of these are great, established companies that are going to be around for a long time. Sometimes, with newer hosts, you have to worry about them disappearing overnight, but with DigitalOcean vs Linode – you really can’t go wrong with either one.
If you’re currently using one of these or the other, we’d love to hear what you think of it. If you’re thinking of switching away, let us know what either host could improve, too! And finally, if you’ve tried both of them, we definitely want to know which one you prefer overall and why.