DigitalOcean vs AWS Comparison of Performance, Benchmarks & Security for 2017

digitalocean vs aws comparison

Not everybody realizes that a huge amount of Amazon’s income doesn’t actually come from running their popular online marketplace, but rather by running a good chunk of the internet’s infrastructure behind the scenes. Many top sites are hosted by Amazon and they provide tons of servers, even to a lot of other hosting companies. DigitalOcean is big, too, but not on the same scale as Amazon.

But bigger isn’t always better, and these two services aren’t quite doing exactly the same thing, so we wanted to compare DigitalOcean vs AWS performance, price, and everything else you could imagine to help you decide specifically which company is the best fit for your business, your projects, or whatever else you might have in mind.

DigitaOcean vs Amazon AWS

Just because AWS is a lot bigger and more widely used, that definitely doesn’t mean DigitalOcean isn’t doing a lot of things very well, and beating them out in certain cases. Some estimates say that if you list the top cloud companies, Amazon’s AWS has as much computing power as the next 10 or 11 companies on the list combined. They’re truly a powerhouse. Sometimes, however, developers and webmasters prefer the more nimble feeling that you get from DigitalOcean.

We’re going to compare the two more in-depth so that you can make up your own mind about which to use for your next project.

DigitalOcean vs AWS in 2017: Which One Is The Best Choice for Hosting?

We’ve looked through some older comparisons of AWS vs. DigitalOcean around the web, and it’s easy to see that both companies have grown exponentially and added a lot of new features over the years, so a lot of the other comparisons out there are out of date now, they’re working with old information that isn’t relevant anymore. We realized there needs to be a newer, more comprehensive comparison, and that’s what we’ve put together right here.

DigitalOcean is a fraction the size of Amazon, but where they excel is in being nimble, having very straightforward and easy billing, and making it super simple to upgrade or downgrade your server on the fly as your needs change. DO’s goal seems to be to sell very straight-forward servers to developers, whereas AWS seems to want to offer anything anyone could possibly want, covering the entire gamut of cloud computing and cloud storage.

It comes down to which environment you’d rather work in, ultimately. Both are totally capable, and can absolutely handle just about anything you could throw at them. Even though DigitalOcean’s total size is a drop in the bucket compared to Amazon, that’s not something that you’ll really notice.

Performance Benchmarks

HostCPU Benchmark Execution TimeMySQL Benchmark (Transactions:)300 Second File Transfer Test
AWS Lightsail29.7144/0.0062947 (1049.02 per sec.)Total transferred 7.7749Gb (26.538Mb/sec)
DigitalOcean33.3628/0.0025906 (431.70 per sec.)Total transferred 10.069Gb (34.37Mb/sec)

Those benchmarks are based on data collected by orangehilldev and it shows that in some areas, DigitalOcean excels, in other areas you’ll get better performance from AWS. This reinforces why we always recommend trying two or even three different servers for a new project and going with the one that works best for your site. You can even do this if your site is already established, just upload a second copy on the new server and see which one is the better fit.

Customer Support

In terms of support, some have described Amazon as being more “mechanical”, and not as supportive for smaller users all the time, especially compared to DigitalOcean. For larger users, we’ve heard Amazon has perfectly good support. Over the years, Amazon has frequently expanded their product offerings and recently launched a service called Amazon Lightsail that has been dubbed as a “DigitalOcean killer”. The features and ease of use are very similar to DigitalOcean.

Out of all the different AWS offerings, Lightsail is the most similar to DigitalOcean, so that makes the most fair comparison. Let’s compare some of the key differences between…

DigitalOcean vs Amazon Lightsail:

The old question of which host is better, AWS or DigitalOcean, has changed up recently with the launch of Lightsail, since Amazon recognized the popularity of hosts like DO and decided to take them head-on with a very similar service, along with Amazon’s advantage of having the largest infrastructure and data centers out of any provider in the world. As such, we’ve seen numerous speed and performance tests where AWS Lightsail has edges out DigitalOcean. We’ve put together the following table to compare key metrics about both options to give you an overview that will help make up your mind for which cloud hosting to buy.

CompanyPriceRAMCPUBandwidthStorage
DigitalOcean$5512 MB1 core1 TB20 GB SSD
Amazon Lightsail$5512 MB1 core1 TB20 GB AAS
DigitalOcean$808 GB4 cores5 GB80 GB SSD
Amazon Lightsail$808 GB2 cores5 GB80 GB SSD

Do both hosts look familiar in this table? On paper, it’s pretty close, with only a couple of minor differences when comparing DigitalOcean and Amazon Lightsail.

If there’s any additional data you would like us to include, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll collect the data you’re looking for, or if you have any additional questions, or would simply like to explain your server needs so that we can help point you in the right direction if you’re still unsure after browsing our site. Our goal is to help everybody out there find the server that is the best fit for them, whether that’s a basic shraed host for a low-traffic website, a managed VPS, or a cloud server like you’d get from Amazon, Digital Ocean, Linode, and any number of other providers.

 

Which Is Easier for Developers?

One of the nice things about AWS EC2 is that they offer a free tier for people who want to learn the ropes without having to invest anything yet. Granted, servers start at around $5-$6 on most cloud platforms anyways, but free is still cheaper so it’s great for students and a good way for Amazon to integrate students and new users into their platform.

But we’re not going to worry too much about price right now, it was just worth mentioning because a free tier definitely makes it easier for some people to access. But beyond that, both services are quite similar when it comes to spinning up a webserver for WordPress, for example.

DigitalOcean offers “one-click” installations. In reality, it’s more than one click, but it’s still really straight forward and makes the whole process about as easy as it could possibly be. It takes care of installing an operating system on your server, and the necessary stack to run WordPress.

AWS has the AWS Marketplace which lists all sorts of different software and apps, and you can also install WordPress through there. Their guide to setting it up is still pretty straight forward and easy to use, but it’s about 12 steps, which leaves more room for error if you’re not familiar with this.

AWS does so much, and caters to massive companies who need huge infrastructure and all sorts of different services and features which can get overly confusing for ‘regular’ users, so if you’re just someone looking to pop up a website for your projects or business, we’d have to point you towards DigitalOcean vs AWS in terms of which is easier overall. DigitalOcean’s admin panels are more intuitive and it’s quicker to find what you’re looking for since it’s less convoluted. However, if you’re a power user who needs to build huge networks and really wants to dig in behind the scenes, AWS may be more suited to your needs.