Linode vs. DigitalOcean
We’ve compared DigitalOcean to a handful of other providers in the past, but Linode vs. DigitalOcean is 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 DigitalOcean and Linode 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 edge out the other in any of the categories we’re going to be looking at? Definitely.
Update January 2020: After we did an in-depth analysis of the best VPS providers, we found out that neither DigitalOcean nor Linode are the #1 pick of our readers; They are good providers, that's for sure, each one has their strengths and weaknesses, but when compared to our users #1 choice, they both lack something crucial: Customer Support. We at MamboServer, advise our readers to check out Kamatera, a less known provider that's by far better than DigitalOcean or Linode. In terms of performance, it's rather the same as them, but it managed to win the race for the #1 VPS Provider because of their great support and also because of their pricing.
So yeah, if you're on the market for the best provider, and want to get the most out of your money, Kamatera is the right choice for you, and they come with a 30-days free trial so you can test them risk-free and see for yourself! Feel free to click here to check out their offers or if you want to read more about them, check out our DigitalOcean alternatives article, where Kamatera comfortably sits as the #1 choice.
Linode does not manage to win the battle for cloud hosting or VPS when we compare it to DigitalOcean. While DigitalOcean also offers a lower initial pricing plan, Linode's overall performance, reliability (uptime), speed and ease of use is far behind anything DigtitalOcean offers. That does not mean DigitalOcean excels in every aspect, or that they are the best choice for every user. The best thing to do is to check out each aspect of our comparison and decide for yourself, using the data from our tests.
DigitalOcean vs. Linode Main Differences
Linode managed to make a name in the cloud hosting industry with its high-performance SSD Linux based servers. DigitalOcean is popular for its pricing and world-wide data centers. Compared to Linode they are quite cheap especially for the quality DigitalOcean provides in terms of reliability.
DigitalOcean Popularity Compared to Linode
With 12 Data Centers across 195 countries, DigitalOcean has +1MM Developers and 78MM Droplets.
On the contrary, Linode has 10 Data Centers in three continents – North America, Asia, and Europe which satisfy the needs of over 800,000 customers across the globe.
Linode has been in the game for over 15 years. Their perspective of VPS is slightly different from DigitalOcean – which falls in the full-featured cloud service provider category such as AWS or Azure. However, when it comes to the range of services, Linode has an upper hand on DigitalOcean.
With its recent $45 million funding to switch to SSDs and Double RAMs, Linode has undergone some serious makeover and is now actively setting sights on the competition with Amazon and other big boys.
DigitalOcean, on the other hand, just a few miles away in NY, SF, and London, DO is responsible for kickstarting, what we know today as the Great Price War and SSD Revolution.
Linode might not realize this but their biggest competitor is in fact, DigitalOcean, lurking right in the backyard.
And if they don’t agree with that, they can watch the Google Trend graph above. DigitalOcean’s extensive marketing effort has been paying off and since the last 5 years, they seem to have an edge over Linode.
Ease of Use and Beginner Friendliness
For a first-time user, both DigitalOcean and Linode can be overwhelming since they are unmanaged VPS hosts – which implies that you have to set-up everything by yourself.
No doubt, both these networks provide fast hardware and network. But when it comes to overall functionality and ease of usage, that’s where things go south.
For instance, in 2014, Linode announced that its customers can get installation and use cPanel & WHM i.e. the most popular CP software. However, their cPanel is nowhere near what you see in SiteGround or GoDaddy, which offers managed shared hosting at an affordable price.
At the end of the day, we are comparing apples with apples here, but between DigitalOcean and Linode, DO seems to be the slightly better choice for ease of use, as their dashboard is better structured in our opinion and will require less time to get used to it.
The only problem that arises with both contestants is in case you can't find your way around, in that case there is no available customer support to help you figure things out. If you are not so experienced, and ease of use is very important for you we recommend you checking out Kamatera, as they are as good as DigitalOcean or Linode when it comes to performance, but have a lower price and also offer live chat support and phone support to assist you in every need.
Update January 2020: Kamatera is stepping up their game and it's offering a 30-days free trial, we strongly recommend you to set up your server with them, and take advantage of their amazing support in the process. At the end of the day, you have absolutely nothing to lose, you can only learn how to work with such a service in the process.
When it comes to this kind of services, ease of use is not really their strength, but DigitalOcean gets the slight advantage here due to their well structured user interface
You simply cannot choose a hosting plan without understanding the storage. The primary question you need to ask yourself is, ‘does this hosting plan offer enough storage if not more for my project?’
At an entry-level, DigitalOcean and Linode offer 25GB SSD Storage with 1GB RAM and 1 CPU Core. Both these providers are offering a complete bang for your buck in fiercely competitive entry-level plans. And both of them seem to do well.
|RAM||1 GB||1 GB|
|CPU||1 Core||1 Core|
|SSD||25 GB||25 GB|
|Bandwidth||1 TB||1 TB|
However, it’s the premium end where things get one-sided. Now, if you’re just starting out with little to no experience, Linode might be a considerable option. However, as soon as we talk big, DigitalOcean scrapes off Linode with its premium offerings.
|RAM||192 GB||128 GB|
|CPU||32 Core||24 Core|
|SSD||3.8 TB||2.56 TB|
|Bandwidth||12 TB||20 TB|
On the premium end, DigitalOcean offers 3.8TB SSD Storage with 192 GB RAM and 32 CPU Cores with 12TB of the transfer. Conversely, Linode in its Dedicated 128GB GPU Plan offers 2.56TB SSD Storage with 128GB RAM and 24 CPU Cores with 20 TB transfer.
From my personal experience, I feel that 10-15 GB space is enough for the majority of the projects unless you’re uploading HD Videos or Images.
Extremely close contest at a beginner level. However, DigitalOcean wins this segment in the premium end.
In layman’s terms, bandwidth refers to the maximum traffic your website can receive. Hosting providers limit your visitors and thus when your website begins to grow, you’ve to upgrade.
For instance, if your website is attracting less than 10,000 users per month, DigitalOcean’s entry-level plan with 1GB memory and 25GB SSD space are capable of handling the operations.
Similarly, Linode’s plan with a similar value proposition is equally capable of handling your traffic.
Even at an intermediate level, their plans are quite competitively priced, thereby making it difficult for the user to choose one over the other.
For instance, if you’re generating over monthly traffic between 100,000-500,000, DigitalOcean’s 4GB Standard plan can take care of the proceedings.
Similarly, Linode’s 4GB plan can do the same quite effectively.
Like I said earlier, the competition is fierce and thus it is really hard to segregate these two with regards to bandwidth. Both these hosting providers are offering enough bandwidth at an entry or an intermediate level which can easily meet your needs.
Linode’s cPanel is quite straightforward and its interface allows you to boot, deploy, clone and resize within a few clicks. Its clean interface makes it extremely easy to operate.
On the other hand, DigitalOcean doesn’t have a cPanel and thus, you need to buy a license for different open-source control panels.
However, cPanel has its own shortcomings. For beginners, it might be a boon but mind you, it comes with its own restrictions.
For instance, a minimum system requirement for a cPanel is 2GB along with large HDD space. With DigitalOcean, you can do without these extra requirements as you can go ahead and run 3-4 websites in a single 512MB VPS without any hassle.
With regards to cPanel integration, Linode is a clear winner. Many users plying their trade with their current hosting company offering a free of charge cPanel, find it really hard to switch to DigitalOcean.
Before I share the numbers with you. I’d like you to know that backup procedures in cloud-based servers are extremely different. And thus, to understand the numbers, we must first understand how backups in cloud-based servers work.
DigitalOcean uses a snapshot-based backup system that considers the current state of Droplet to create an image. This process takes place automatically with a pre-determined scheduling window. Thus, the backup is constantly taking place in the background whilst the Droplet is running.
- Snapshot of the system is taken to create an image
- Snapshot is backed up off-disk
- Snapshot is deleted once the backup is complete
DigitalOcean’s backup plan is simple. Though the company claims it’s free of cost, when you enable backups for a Droplet, it adds 20% to the cost of the Droplet. For instance, if you choose $5/month droplet, your backup will cost $1/month.
Linode, on the other hand, provides backup through a simple web interface in its Cloud Manager. You don’t need to install any software or run any command. Simply visit the backups tab and click on the backup.
It offers a subscription back-up service which performs daily, weekly or biweekly backups. It’s affordable and quite convenient.
Winner: For me, simplicity is the key and thus Linode wins this battle. I’m not saying DigitalOcean is not good. It’s just too complicated for a user to understand at first, and could get quite expensive once you plan to scale-up.
For me, simplicity is the key and thus Linode wins this battle. I’m not saying DigitalOcean is not good. It’s just too complicated for a user to understand at first, and could get quite expensive once you plan to scale-up.
In present times, simple drag and drop features and the easy-website building have opened new avenues of website developers, bloggers, and SMEs to start their venture without any hassle. A Content Management System does have a huge role to play in easing the operation.
When it comes to CMS Support, DigitalOcean offers it for WordPress, Joomla, Magento, and Drupal. Linode, on the other hand, does not offer CMS Support at all.
DigitalOcean wins this section easily as Linode has nothing to offer.
A slow host is more than just boring. It’s extremely frustrating. However, since both DigitalOcean and Linode use SSDs, there’s not much room to complain here. Both these hosting services are capable of handling websites with less to no-load spikes. Also, you don’t have to worry about IOWaits.
With their datacentres present in multiple locations across the globe. You can expect to achieve a better latency in your region.
Here’s a snippet of a latency test we conducted between DigitalOcean and Linode.
|Distance||1513 Mi||1472 Mi|
|Latency||47 ms||51 ms|
|Download||1319 Mbit/s||265 Mbit/s|
|Upload||503 Mbit/s||339 Mbit/s|
In the test above, you can see sight discrepancies from DigitalOcean and Linode, making DigitalOcean our winner.
If you’re new to hosting, understanding the Service Legal Agreement (SLA) is a great place to understand uptime. Herein, the companies provide you monetary compensation if their servers are down for more than a particular period of time.
However, there’s a loophole as no company claims to provider 0% downtime. i.e. No Server Issues at all. All of us can agree that it’s quite hard to imagine absolutely zero problems. And for any provider to claim it would be highly unrealistic of them.
With regards to uptime, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than 99.95%. And thus, there’s nothing disappointing when it comes to uptime from either DigitalOcean or Linode.
DigitalOcean offers an impressive 99.99% uptime SLA for its Block storage and Droplet. If it’s below that, the lost time will be refunded to your account based on an hourly rate.
Linode, as opposed to DigitalOcean, offers 99.9% uptime on its hardware and all network connectivity. Thus, if at any given time, you find Linode down for more than 0.1%, you can request a credit against the lost time.
To put everything in perspective. Imagine, you have a $5/month server plan with Linode which accounts to $0.007/per hour. Thus, for each hour that your server is down after the proposed 0.1% limit, you’ll receive $0.007/per hour. Learning about this simply adds confidence and builds trust between users and these companies.
Yet again, it’s an extremely close fight. However, DigitalOcean gets a nick over Linode in this one.
For a first-timer, migrating a website from one host to the other can be an excruciatingly frustrating affair.
DigitalOcean with its live migration allows you to transfer a running Droplet from one machine to its other datacentre without rebooting. Live migration allows the users to minimize disruption and downtime in the time when there’s network or infrastructure maintenance along with events such as hardware failures or software upgrades.
Site migration on Linode is fairly complicated. You can migrate to Linode in either of the two ways – Install Each Service Individually (Recommended) or Full Clone. If you decide to do it individually, you need to install the software, backup your data, use resync to transfer your data to Linode, migrate your DNS Records, prepare your domain name for the switch.
As a conventional developer, switching to Linode wouldn’t be much of a hassle for you either. However, due to its simplicity, DigitalOcean wins at site migration.
Everyone starts small, but only with the intention of growing big. Your server, similar to your standards, should be capable of handling your growth. What I’m saying is that when you’re experiencing a tremendous increase in traffic, your server should be more than capable of handling it. Here’s where the diversity in plan comes in handy.
For instance, DigitalOcean has three separate tiers – Standard, General Purpose and CPU Optimized with a wide variety of options to meet your needs. If you started at $5/month plan which isn’t capable of handling your traffic, you can easily upgrade to $40/month plan. Not just that, you can choose to switch from a Standard plan to a CPU Optimized plan if that suits your needs better.
|1 GB||1 vCPU||25 GB||1 TB||$5/mo|
|2 GB||1 vCPU||50 GB||2 TB||$10/mo|
|3 GB||1 vCPU||60 GB||3 TB||$15/mo|
|2 GB||2 vCPUs||60 GB||3 TB||$15/mo|
|1 GB||3 vCPUs||60 GB||3 TB||$15/mo|
|4 GB||2 vCPUs||80 GB||4 TB||$20/mo|
|8 GB||4 vCPUs||160 GB||5 TB||$40/mo|
|16 GB||6 vCPUs||320 GB||6 TB||$80/mo|
|32 GB||8 vCPUs||640 GB||7 TB||$160/mo|
Linode has more to offer in terms of scalability as compared to DigitalOcean. It has 4-tiers, Standard, Dedicated CPU, GPU, and high memory plans. As the name suggests, each of these plans has a specific purpose. Say, you started at $5/month plan and now you want a Dedicated CPU for better functioning. Thus, instead of upgrading from the $5/month to $40/month in the same tier, you can move to the Dedicated CPU tier.
|RAM||1 GB||2 GB||4 GB||8 GB|
|CPU||1 x Cores||1 x Cores||2 x Cores||4 x Cores|
|SSD||25 GB||50 GB||80 GB||160 GB|
|Transfer||1 TB||2 TB||4 TB||5 TB|
|Network In||40 Mbps||40 Mbps||40 Mbps||40 Mbps|
|Network Out||1000 Mbps||2000 Mbps||4000 Mbps||5000 Mbps|
Hands down, both these hosting services rock at Scalability. With DigitalOcean, you can easily spin up a droplet an achieve root access within 55 seconds. Thanks to its simple and intuitive API, you can easily scale your production workload. Its overall infrastructure and lightning-fast network make up for a worthwhile experience.
Linode due to its additional tier wins this one against DigitalOcean.
It’s crazy to see that many beginners often overlook this aspect as if it doesn’t matter at all. I’m not a professional but without great security, you might see lose everything you worked for. Now, as compared to Shared Hosting, these two have major differences. Thus, let’s study security features individually.
DigitalOcean uses Cloud Firewalls to secure your infrastructure and define a proper course of action. These firewalls are free of costs and their security emphasis can be pinned down to the following points:
- Physical Security
- Infrastructure Security
- Access Logging
- Security Monitoring
- Droplet Security
- Snapshot and Backup Security
Amongst these 6-layers of security, as a user, the access logging element matters the most. With multi-factor authentication points, DigitalOcean seems to have that covered comprehensively.
Linode offers two-factor authentication which increases the overall security of your hosting and its backend. It requires two forms of authentication which make it secure. Apart from security features, it also offers Rescue mode to recover data from critical errors.
Honestly, it’s really hard to compare this segment, as both these hosting services do a great job of securing their users’ data.
Personally, customer support really makes a difference. It’s by far the first thing I look for when I’m choosing between two hosting providers. Though most of the shared servers do offer decent support, it’s a whole new ball game with Cloud Servers.
Herein, these servers only cover the physical hardware and ensure they are running fine. Everything beyond that falls into your own hand.
DigitalOcean, in fact, has three-tier Customer Support – Developer, Business and Premier. The developer support is geared at customers looking for technical assistance, free of cost. Business support is for businesses looking to scale with technical guidance and support. Premier as the name suggests with for multi-national corporations who want instant response and communication from the support team.
We tried the customer support for both providers and found that Linode’s response time is much better than DigitalOcean. However, DigitalOcean’s support is helpful, sincere and goes to length in order to solve your problems. I even got told by their representative that they’re working hard on improvising the ticket speed.
With regards to response time, Linode’s better, however, that’s only because DigitalOcean’s query solution is quite detailed oriented. Not saying that Linode’s wasn’t. It was just from a couple of instances and thus generalizing results won’t be right.
Nonetheless, I was satisfied with the customer service offered by both these companies and they made the process of problem-solving seamless.
An interesting aspect is that Linode does offer a managed solution for which they have garnered huge praises. However, I haven’t tried that yet, so wouldn’t go in that direction.
I’d like to stress that one of my close pals got a managed solution from Linode and he seemed jubilant while sharing his experience. He explained how they imported his site with free migration, set up a free cPanel along with other important elements ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
With that said, that kind of service does come at a premium cost. So, make sure you check out for that before opting for Linode’s managed solution.
Based upon my personal experience, I’ll give Linode a nod over DigitalOcean in this segment. Like I said earlier, cannot be extremely judgemental between the two with regards to customer support as both were equally impressive.
DigitalOcean vs. Linode: Plans and Pricing
Started from the top, now we here. For most of you, this aspect can be a deal-breaker. However, I see it from a different perspective. You see, pricing is directly related to your personal needs. I don’t mind paying an extra $2 a month if I’m getting quality in return. At the same time, I’ve been in situations where every dollar mattered and thus, the lower the price the better it was. From my personal experience, I’d just say that don’t compromise your hosting in terms of price. IT’S ALWAYS A BAD IDEA.
In order to understand DigitalOcean’s and Linode’s pricing strategy, let’s check out three plans from their different tiers.
Entry-level Plan Comparison
At an entry-level, DigitalOcean pricing starts at $5/month. And as we’ve already seen in our blog, both these hosting companies have priced their products quite competitively.
|RAM||1 GB||1 GB|
|CPU||1 Core||1 Core|
|SSD||25 GB||25 GB|
DigitalOcean offers 1GB Memory with 1 CPU core, 25GB space and 1 TB transfer capabilities at just $5/month. Though not the cheapest service in the market as compared to CloudWays or other hosts, it’s still extremely affordable.
Linode with its Nanocode 1GB plan offers 1GB Memory with 1 CPU core, 25GB space and 1 TB transfer capabilities at just $5/month. It’s extremely similar to DigitalOcean except they provide a network in and out details which clocks in at 40 Gbps and 1000 Mbps respectively.
Intermediate Plan Comparison
An intermediate plan is perfect if you’re attracting traffic in excess of 100,000 users per month. Let’s assume your traffic is between the range of 70,000 to 150,000 per month. In that case, your best bet would be to go with 4GB or 8GB plan.
|RAM||4 GB||4 GB|
|CPU||2 Core||2 Core|
|SSD||80 GB||80 GB|
DigitalOcean’s 4GB plan offers Two Core CPUs with 80GB SSD Storage space and 4TB transfer capabilities at $20/month. Its 8GB plan offers Four Core CPUs with 160GB SSD Storage space and 5TB transfer capabilities at $40/month.
Linode’s 4GB plan offers Two Core CPUs with 80GB SSD Storage space and 4TB transfer capabilities at $20/month. Just as you thought it couldn’t get more competitive check the $40/month plan, wherein, Linode offers 8GB with Four Core CPU, 160GB SSD Storage space and 5TB transfer capabilities at $40/month. NOT CLOSE, IT’S IDENTICAL.
Premium Plan Comparison
A premium plan is perfect if you’re attracting over a million monthly users per month. In the premium section, we’ll be comparing two plans – 128GB and 192GB.
|RAM||192 GB||300 GB|
|CPU||32 Core||16 Core|
|SSD||340 GB||840 GB|
DigitalOcean’s 128GB plan offers 24 Core CPUs with 2.56TB SSD storage capacity and 11 TB of transfer capabilities at $640/month. Its 192GB plan offers 32 Core CPUs with 3.84TB SSD storage capacity and 12TB of transfer capabilities at $960/month.
Surprisingly, Linode does not have an exact similar plan this time around. The two most premium plans apart from GPU tier come from its High Memory plans. Linode’s 150GB plan offers 8 Core CPUs with 200GB SSD storage capacity and 8TB of transfer capabilities at $480/month. Its 300GB plan offers 16 Core CPUs with 340GB SSD storage capacity and 9TB of transfer capabilities at $960/month
Linode might have more impressive options when you look at their products. However, I found DigitalOcean to be the least expensive of these two services when I considered all the tiers.
Apart from these standard plans, both the companies have something extra to offer to their customers. DigitalOcean offers a CPU Optimized tier in contrast to Linode’s GPU plans.
DigitalOcean – CPU Optimized Tier Plans
|vCPU 2||vCPU 4||vCPU 8||vCPU 16|
|Memory||4 GB||8 GB||16 GB||32 GB|
|vCPUs||2 x CPUs||4 x CPUs||8 x CPUs||16 x CPUs|
|SSD||25 GB||50 GB||100 GB||200 GB|
|Transfer||4 TB||5 TB||6 TB||7 TB|
As you can see in the image below, DigitalOcean offers between 4GB to 64GB Memory with dedicated VCPUs between 2 to 32. Apart from that, you get SSD Disk Capacity ranging from 25GB to 400GB and the transfer capability of 4TB to 9TB. All of these can be reflected in their price respectively as the entry-level CPU Optimized Plan starts at $40/month whereas the flagship offering in this tier sits at $640/month.
Linode – GPU Plans
|RTX6000||1x GPU||2x GPU||3x GPU||4x GPU|
|RAM||32 GB||64 GB||96 GB||128 GB|
|CPU||8 Cores||16 Cores||20 Cores||24 Cores|
|SSD||640 GB||1280 GB||1920 GB||2560 GB|
|Transfer||16 TB||20 TB||20 TB||20 TB|
|Network in||40 Gbps||40 Gbps||40 Gbps||40 Gbps|
|Network Out||10000 Mbps||10000 Mbps||10000 Mbps||10000 Mbps|
In its premium GPU tier, Linode offers between 32GB to 128GB Memory with dedicated VCPUs between 8 to 24. Apart from that, you get SSD Disk Capacity ranging from 640GB to 2560GB and the transfer capability of 16TB to 20TB. All of these can be reflected in their price respectively as the entry-level CPU Optimized Plan starts at $1000/month whereas the flagship offering in this tier sits at $4000/month.
No doubt, that Linode has extensive plans as compared to DigitalOcean. However, when it comes to cost-effectiveness, DigitalOcean seems to have an edge over it.
Linode vs. DigitalOcean: Our Winner
I’ve been doing the comparison for quite a long time. However, I’ve never seen such cut-throat competition in cloud hosting before. Whatever Linode seems to offer, DigitalOcean has a counter to it. Saying that one service is better than the other holistically, simply wouldn’t make sense.
A fairway to judge as to whether DigitalOcean or Linode’s better is based upon what we learned above. Many of those points boil down to my personal experience and thus I wouldn’t generalize the idea or endorse that one is significantly better than the other. All I can do is present to you my findings in a simplified format.
Update January 2020: Before I announce the clear winner if you’re looking for managed VPS, I’d honestly suggest you to not dwell in either of these hosting companies, as Kamatera offers a much better overall solution with regards to management and a FREE trial, you can read more about that here. Having said that, if you still want to choose between DigitalOcean and Linode, here’s my verdict:
When should you choose DigitalOcean?
- If you’re fairly experienced with how to self-manage a hosting and familiar with setting up a hosting
- You’re open to spending money on managed services, given you don’t have enough experience
- You’re looking for a slightly cheaper option, to begin with
- Nearly perfect Uptime
- Great Customer Support
- Extremely Secured Service
- Better CMS Integration
- Better Storage Plans
- Hosting Service with more popularity
When should you choose Linode?
- If you want to work with cPanel and can’t do without it
- User-friendly interface with less complexity
- Excellent customer support with quick response
- Variety of products and plans to meet your needs perfectly
- Ease of backup
- Hosting Service with more experience
After this cut-throat battle, based upon my own findings, I can conclude that between DigitalOcean vs Linode, DigitalOcean wins the contest. However, it’s not a clean slate victory, it’s just marginal. And for me, DigitalOcean seems to have a slight edge over Linode.