A few months ago I moved most of my web presence to Digital Ocean. With the cheapest instance costing $5 a month, this beat my former provider dreamhost.com (at about $9 a month for shared hosting), while offering much better performance.
Digtal Ocean (and VPS hosting in general) doesn't offer the "unlimited everything" of dreamhost's shared hosting plans, but the $5/month VPS has more available CPU power (which means pages get served faster) and it has enough space to host all the photos and blogging I've posted online for about 13 years.
When I chose Digital Ocean, one of the main reasons I picked them over hosts like linode.com was that their cheapest hosting plan was lower in price. For price points where Digital Ocean and Linode overlapped, their offerings were about the same in CPU, memory, and storage.
Enter Atlantic.Net. They offer a VPS at the $0.99/month price level. It has less RAM and less disk than Digital Ocean's $5/month instance, but it's still enough to run a substantial website (256MB RAM, 10GiB disk). I decided to try it out, because one of the websites I run is a moinmoin wiki, and that software is perhaps high-profile enough to see security exploits (as opposed to my blogging platform, which nobody's heard of or uses). So yesterday I moved that website from Digital Ocean to Atlantic.net.
I decided to run some tests using the simple 'ab' benchmarking program. All tests reported below were run with '-n 100 -c 4', and I report the 95th percentile time in milliseconds (so smaller is better).
My Digital Ocean instance is in the nyc2 region, and my Atlantic.net instance is in the USA-Central-1 region. I ran tests from each cloud server as well as from windstream and roadrunner in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
|Static content||Dynamic content||Static Content||Dynamic Content|
|Digital Ocean||1 ms||124 ms||100 ms||1093 ms|
|Atlantic.net||100 ms||2091 ms||1 ms||59 ms|
|windstream||104 ms||1823 ms||46 ms||1133 ms|
|roadrunner||415 ms||2154 ms||73 ms||1158 ms|
While there's probably a great deal of measurement error in there, it looks like overall Atlantic.net's faster—both in CPU speed, which is why locally generating dynamic content is faster than on Digital Ocean; and in connection speed to where I am. But that may well just be a matter of where the datacenters are, as Lincoln Nebraska sounds closer to "USA-Central" than "NYC".
Other differences that could influence performance: the Digital Ocean instance is running Debian Wheezy and the Atlantic.net instance is running Debian Jessie.
Other points of comparison between Digital Ocean and Atlantic.net:
- I like the Digital Ocean control panel better
- Digital Ocean has a referral program so I've gotten several months of service free.
- My tests were very simplistic, and done at one time of day, with no control over the other load on the systems in question
- Unintentionally, some of the Digital Ocean tests from roadrunner went via an IPv6 tunnel which can negatively affect performance
Which hosting should you choose for modest hosting needs? Start by trying Digital Ocean with my referral code—you are receive a $10 credit, enough to run their smallest instance for two months, and I get a credit too. If you're incredibly budget minded, or want the slight edge in performance that I am measuring, try Atlantic.net instead and get VPS hosting for as low as $0.99 a month.
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