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Mid Market Hosts Compared: DigitalOcean vs. Vultr vs. Linode

There’s three companies that I think of as mid-market hosts:

What do I mean by mid market?  They’re between two extremes:

  • Tech behemoths like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google with their big public clouds.
  • Smaller companies which don’t have 9-digit revenues and hundreds of employees.

For example, DigitalOcean in 2019 had $250 million in revenue and 530 employees.  Linode has about $100 million in revenue and 200+ employees.  This doesn’t make them necessarily better than many of the hosts we feature here, just bigger.

Some other distinguishing characteristics:

  • Big, by hosting company standards
  • APIs and features that are custom to their platform, though not as extensive as AWS.
  • Hourly billing
  • Bundled bandwidth (unlike public cloud)
  • Backups/snapshots and similar features
  • Custom control panel that’s much more sophisticated than Solus but maybe not as wildly dense as big public cloud choices
  • Many locations

The interesting thing is that they’re converging on the same point, both in terms of features and pricing.  The pricing between DO, Linode, and Vultr changes year to year but it’s not that different.

Your choice between these three is probably going to come down to which service attribute they emphasize, the network location, and if they have the specific feature you want.  Speaking of features…

Feature Comparison

Block Volume/Addon Disk✔︎✔︎✔︎
Custom ISO✖︎✖︎✔︎
DDOS Protection✔︎✔︎✔︎
Floating IP✔︎✖︎✔︎
Hourly Billing✔︎✔︎✔︎
Load Balancer✔︎✔︎✔︎
Scripts on Installation✔︎✔︎✔︎
SSH Keys on Installation✔︎✖︎1✔︎
Object Storage✔︎✔︎✔︎
One-Click Apps✔︎✔︎✔︎

1 Possible with “StackScripts” (scripts run at install time).

Digital Ocean

DigitalOcean was famous for throwing around crazy promos, and that seems to have settled down.  But yeah, they’ve got venture capital money (and have filed for an IPO).  I like DO a lot, as I’ve always found performance excellent and their API to be easy to use.  I’ve just never gotten stuck or seen glitchiness with DO.  Every quarter or two, they roll out new features: load balancers, block storage, etc.







Vultr is just like DO only different.  Well, that’s the feeling anyway.  Slightly different network locations, slightly different feature set.  I’ve had a very good experience there and they are a bit more feature-ful than DO.

And unlike DO they advertise on LEB and have participated on LET, so what’s not to love!







Linode has been around a very long time, and to some extent they have benefitted from being early.  I don’t find their offerings as good as DO or Vultr, to be honest, because they’re not as feature rich.  For a long time if someone said “I just need a basic Linux VPS that is really reliable and I’ll pay a little more for that” I’d suggest Linode, but now they’re not really special any more and have somewhat fallen behind the better funded DO and Vultr.  That’s not to say Linode is bad – by no means.  They’re still a good provider, and continue to fight aggressively in the marketplace, but they don’t have all the features.





  1. ev0n:

    you need a category “adds Black Lives Matter propaganda to their UI and account emails” which is only from Linode and no other sensible infra provider…. they also demanded we delete certain pages from our websites they didn’t agree with… crazy activism in my cloud infra stack??? NO THANKS

    If Vultr adds account sharing and better billing they can easily keep giving DO a run for the money

    March 12, 2021 @ 3:08 am | Reply
  2. Denis:

    DigitalOcean has ability to upload custom ISO image, like Vultr.

    March 12, 2021 @ 6:16 am | Reply
  3. Skims over too much. DO has Custom ISO ability, Vultr only has block storage in 2 USA locations whilst DO and Linode have it all locations, Linode does have DDoS protection. Do has managed databases and there is much more that could have been covered.

    March 12, 2021 @ 11:17 am | Reply
    • I thought DO only allowed custom images, not custom ISOs.

      I’ll correct Linode.

      March 12, 2021 @ 12:43 pm | Reply
  4. Kerstin:

    Andrew, what do you think of Scaleway and Hetzner Cloud?

    March 13, 2021 @ 4:11 am | Reply
    • Kris:

      Scaleway been unstable for some years and focused on ARM servers but now seems getting a bit better but people complained about customer service and UI bugs etc….

      Hetzner is like German police who need your passport before you can open an account and very picky about their policy and GDPR stuff… well any Europe cloud is going to be the same thing eventually

      US (and now UK) clouds can now avoid GDPR, I never use hosting if HQ is located in the E.U. zone IMO but if you enjoy E.U. mafia well Hetzner and Upcloud has good hardware anyways

      March 13, 2021 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

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