AWS vs DigitalOcean vs Vultr 2019

So it is been a while since I’ve published a post on this platform, nevertheless, I’ll try to really pick it up this time.  This will be my view on different VPS providers, the first subject I chose back in February this year to shine my light on.

This is a subject that could be a lot bigger than just about private servers but at this point, I’m not interested in going that deep. The reason why this is interesting to me is that daily I regularly work with Amazon Web Services to provide infrastructure for projects. Even though I like AWS and its functionalities the interface is way too complex.

In professional situations, I understand why most of us choose for the Microsofts and Amazons for our application structures. But when I’m looking into deploying applications in a personal environment that is not the case. For example, this website runs on a DigitalOcean droplet for the simple reason that the interface of DigitalOcean is such a breeze to work with. No complex UX, easy to find pricing (!) and no hidden costs whatsoever.

One of my big issues with AWS, for example, is that every time I’m looking into deploying another server, or looking into /any/ other service the first thing I’ll be looking for is the pricing, which is never directly clear to me. For business it’s, “less” of a problem, but for private use, I want to see what I’ll be spending upfront.

Another good example of a clear VPS provider in my honest opinion is Vultr. It is very clear to me that a provider like this doesn’t come close to what AWS provides, but the products they do provide they do very well, to mention that you can boost up a VPS at low as $5 a month. (A while ago it was possible for $2.50 a month, can’t find that right now but still, that’s amazing). Stating this price it’s worth to mention that also DigitalOcean starts at $5 a month. With pricing as low as this for a private server, it makes it attractive to boot one up and start developing your ideas.

Comparison between AWS, Digital Ocean and Vultr

Comparing to AWS I’m using calculator.aws to see the pricing for an EC2 instance with 1GiB of memory and 1vCPU (t2.micro). I chose these specs because Vultr and DigitalOcean have these specs for the cheapest VPS for both $5 a month. It took me a little while, but after choosing the t2.micro and disabling at the Amazon Elastic Block storage as well as making sure nothing else was there the final price of the Amazon EC2 comes down at $5.26. This is comparable to both Vultr and DigitalOcean but this is only for the “Standard Reserved Instances” which means you need to lock it down for a year at least.

For a real comparison, It’s necessary to switch the Pricing Strategy of AWS to “On-Demand Instances” because that’s what both Vultr and DigitalOcean provide as well. When modifying this option the price changes to $9.78 a month, which means that AWS is almost twice as expensive as the others.

Conclusion

For the simple reason of pricing being unclear at AWS, I wouldn’t use it in a private situation unless I’d have to (when needing other AWS services as well). Comparing Vultr and DigitalOcean on the VPS level I’d say they’re pretty much the same and wouldn’t matter with which one you’d go. My personal preference is DigitalOcean but have used Vultr as well and is comparably the same.

This is only based on VPS usage as I said at the start this could be about a lot more than just private servers but that would make it a bit unfair.

I do like to make a final note about AWS if you are not a member yet and in need of a small server to test on. AWS provides a free tier which includes free EC2 t2.micro usage for the first 750 hours each month for a year.

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