Linode vs DigitalOcean
Published on October 28, 2022 by Kevin Graham
Virtual private servers (VPSs) are cost-effective solutions for developers and businesses alike that offer superb performances, security, backups, and overall reliability. The fact that they provide hourly pricing and that regular people can also afford to use the services of big companies, also adds to their popularity.
That being said, in this article I’ll be doing a comparison of two popular cloud platforms beloved by developers, and putting them head to head – Linode vs DigitalOcean. I’ll take a look at their most attractive features, their usability, and scalability, and their tech support options.
What is Linode?
Linode started in 2003; back then they were considered leaders in their field and were hailed as being “ahead of their time” when it came to their virtual hosting options. Fast forward to 2022, with one million customers worldwide, and voted top IaaS provider for this year, Linode is still among the best cloud platforms on the market.
Now, of course, competition is much larger in the 2020s than it was in the 2000s. Nowadays there are huge and ultra-rich companies such as Microsoft and Amazon that also take a piece of the market (albeit usually oriented towards a different audience, such as large-scale enterprises and cutting-edge tech innovations). There, are, however, other competitors that can put a dent in Linode’s client pool, companies like DigitalOcean, and ones like Vultr and UpCloud.
To compete better, Linode has made their services more user-friendly, they’ve integrated great control panel support, and they’ve built a very robust API. What’s more, they’ve introduced more price tiers – from their shared CPU Linode plans to dedicated CPU and high memory plans, there are enough options for everybody’s budget.
What is DigitalOcean?
DigitalOcean was founded in 2011, some 8 years later than Linode, although it’s done a pretty good job of catching up. At the beginning of 2013, DigitalOcean was one of the few companies out there that offered SSD-based virtual machines, which helped to substantially increase their popularity. Also, expanding their data centers across the world (Singapore, Toronto, New York, and San Francisco, to name some) didn’t hurt either. Another big reason for their success was their focus on developers – DigitalOcean’s primary target is devs and that’s how it has remained to this very day.
Nowadays they boast a customer base in 185 countries and more than 600 000 people that use their cloud services, such as their flagship Droplet scalable virtual machines and managed Kubernetes clusters, among others.
Linode is committed to delivering a top-notch Linux server cloud experience, and it’s something that they do really well.
Linode’s computing services include loads of shared and dedicated CPU plans, as well as high-memory plans (best for very demanding apps), GPU processors, bare metal plans that allow you more control and customization within the cloud servers, and, of course, managed Kubernetes.
They provide regular backups, scalable and reliable block storage, and also object storage where you can store and deliver large chunks of data.
You can use their fully managed database services for these three database engines: MongoDB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.
Linode has 11 data centers around the world, five of which are located in North America (Newark, Atlanta, Toronto, Dallas, Fremont), two in Europe (London and Frankfurt), and three in Asia (Mumbai, Singapore, and Tokyo), and one in Australia (Sydney). Spread out across four continents, they enable support for users around the globe.
Basically, users who need low-key or moderately powered capacities will find both Linode and DigitalOcean satisfactory. When it comes to the big guns, though, Linode seems to offer more options and more capacity than DigitalOcean.
However, what’s most important is to choose the right plan for your needs.
As I mentioned earlier, DigitalOcean is focused on developers as it enables them to develop faster and more efficient applications. It offers plenty of options for scalability and customization through its Droplets services, aka its virtual private servers. Each Droplet that you create will make a new server that you can then use on its own or as a part of a larger cloud infrastructure.
The Droplets can be customized by changing their RAM, CPU, and disk power and storage, depending on how many resources you need for the development of your project. The managed Kubernetes also have the option to enable automatic scalability.
DigitalOcean offers managed database services for MongoDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Redis™ (this last one was not supported by Linode).
Is DigitalOcean or Linode Easier to Use?
Both Linode and DigitalOcean have worked on improving their usability over the years. Nonetheless, both platforms continue to make their cloud products easier for beginners to use. For example, Linode now offers one-click install for the following popular cloud applications. Linode makes it possible to do one-click installs for popular cloud apps like WordPress, Lamp, Drupal, GitLab, Minecraft, MERN.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that both of them are also primarily developer-oriented hosting services. This means that usually, a certain level of technical knowledge will come in handy when operating most of their services.
Both cloud hosts offer unmanaged hosting plans with downtime mitigation, block storage, high availability features of the likes of load balancers, as well as other powerful features that can sustain more complex, enterprise grade infrastructures, as well as individual developers’ projects and app development.
People and teams who have more tech knowledge usually find these platforms easier to use than other, bulkier and more complex cloud platforms like Azure and AWS. Linode, in particular, has a great support network – they offer 24/7 availability through phone, support tickets, IRC channel, and they also have a community Q&A database, alongside a comprehensive and detailed “Getting Started Guide”.
DigitalOcean has less options than Linode when it comes to support; they mostly offer support for developers with their community tutorials, knowledge bases and guides.
Which One Scales Better – Linode or DigitalOcean?
When it comes to application scaling with the help of more cloud servers or more powerful ones, both Linode and DigitalOcean do a great job.
If you use Linode, all you need to do in order to scale is to select the RAM size you want and click the “Resize this Linode Now!” button, after which Linode will migrate your servers following this new configuration.
DigitalOcean is a fan of horizontal scaling, and that’s what they recommend. According to them, vertical scaling causes more problems and is likely to use a ‘low ceiling’ tactic reducing valuable performance gains. What this means is that several cheaper servers can outperform a more expensive one, provided the conditions are right.
Be that as it may, both platforms make sure that they have powerful servers at bay whenever the opportunity strikes for you to upgrade.
Linode and DigitalOcean are competitors which offer great services each in their own similar way. Granted, Linode also tries to expand its market to larger and potentially even more hostile waters, the ones frequented by Amazon (AWS) and other big fish. But they’re still doing a great job within their niche by offering easy usability, great tech support, lots of server options, and a love for Linux users.
DigitalOcean also doesn’t fall short when it comes to its developer’s niche with their Droplets and managed Kubernetes.
In any event, you can try both of them for one month and see which fits best. After all, the basic offers are pretty cheap, and you’ll gain plenty of insight into their services and interface.
And last but not least, I just wanted to say that both Linode and DigitalOcean are available through WP Bolt with which you get managed WordPress VPS hosting, if you want to harness the power of these platforms without needing to manage the servers yourself.