Cloud hosting: Linode vs Vultr vs Digital Ocean

In this VPS review, I compare some of the best virtual private servers. We’ve been using Linode, Vultr, Amazon Lightsail, and DigitalOcean, for a couple of years. We love most of them, if not all. These are high end quality cloud service providers in the market for WordPress web developers.

In this review, I will focus on the starter packages, which include: prices, features, performance, and infrastructure of the top best VPSs. To begin with, I’m going to list down a number of things you can do. After that, we’ll also look into the basic infrastructure (WordPress server and configurations).

A Comparison: Vultr vs Lightsail vs Linode, Digital Ocean

Now let’s find out a bit more about each VSP provider as I compare features and pros and cons. With proper configurations, you’ll be certain that these small VPSs can handle high amount, spike traffic.

I use SpinupWP to setup multiple WordPress sites on each instance. SpinupWp is simply a modern cloud-based server control panel (you’ll learn more about later in this post). You can read my Spinupwp review here to learn more about using modern cloud-based server control panel to manage WordPress sites.

Which modern cloud-based provider is better, Digital Ocean, Vultr, Lightsail, or Linode?

Linode
Linode is no stranger. It’s one of the pioneers of the cloud provider. What I love: reliable and stable. We believe Linode beats others in this review. Why? Linode can handle many small WordPress blogs well. Its RAM handling is pretty good.

Its user interface is simple and enough to navigate.

Using h2load – HTTP/2 bench-marking tool, I found these:

Linode (with 3 small WordPress sites), it cannot stand total 100000 requests, 100 concurrent clients and 10 max concurrent streams. The CPU will explode if you want to give it a try. Yet, it’s safer when using this same load test after configuring the cache (as configured with SpinupWP setup).

Vultr
Vultr compute features 100% local SSD and high performance Intel CPUs.
With $5 per month, Amazon Lightsail offers better specifications for its cloud service. You can get more bandwidth and more storage for the same price that Vultr offers.

Infrastructure locations: For Vultr, we chose Atlanta for our hosting. Currently, Vultr has more than 16 locations worldwide. Oregon is our location when using Lightsail, which has many regions across the continents. Both providers offer cloud server location you prefer. Vultr supports DNSSEC, which is quite essential.

The control panels of both Vultr and Lightsail don’t give you much information about the usage. You may need a third-party service to visualize or extract detailed information.

Vultr’s smallest plan starts at $2.5 per month (512MB memory), which is probably the cheapest plan for a VPS.

Digital Ocean
It’s a familiar name for most tech startup people. It’s a new comer among all reviewed here. But it has taken the startup world by storm.

Recently, Digital Ocean introduced something new to its basic Droplet. Instead of a normal vCPU and SSD, it claims to have Premium Intel and Premium AMD Droplets with NVMe SSDs for an extra $1 to its $5.

DO advertises its Basic Droplet for “simple or bursty applications such as low traffic web servers, blogs, discussion forums, CMS, small databases, dev/test servers, microservices, and repository hosting.”

DigitalOcean Referral Badge

Amazon Lightsail
A mini version of the giant AWS, Lightsail is an easy-to-use cloud platform that offers you everything needed to build an application or website, plus a cost-effective, monthly plan. It’s designed to help you start small, and then scale as you grow. We love this built-in Alarms feature as we can add two alarms per metric, and choose to be notified by email, SMS text message, or both.

A WordPress site we manage (hosted on Lightsail) get great results on Google Console’s Core Web Vitals

Lightsail is generous with its storage. However, if you want to create snapshot, you’ll have to pay for the snapshot storage. Vultr also started charging for this feature.

On Lightsail, you CANNOT create more than 3 DNS zones. This means that Lightsail limits you to host more than 3 sites (different domain names).

AWS Lightsail CPU spikes are more frequent than Vultr (leads to more down times).

You can avoid Lightsail. We didn’t really have a good experience its unpredictable memory spike that cause constant reboot.

Hosting WordPress on a VPS: Recommended
WordPress is software with performance, security, and ease of use. The basic WordPress software is simple and powerful. Hosting a high traffic WordPress requires some great setup and configurations ahead.

As we discussed since the beginning of this post, for VPS we highly recommend either Linode or Vultr. These are more than great enough for hosting personal blogs, small and medium business websites, or even affiliated websites. Although it’s not easy setup a new, clean WordPress site for most beginners, there are also simplified ways to do with just some clicks.

VPS Server Settings: Best WordPress Configurations
At the time of writing, we suggest that you should consider this setups for your periodical traffic spike WordPress sites:

  • MariaDB over MySQL (more on this later)
  • Nginx, PHP-FPM (not just the best, but perfect for most WordPress sites)
  • Nginx FastCGI caching
  • HTTPS (is the best free Let’s Encrypt certificate)

After launching my first WordPress blog more than ten years ago, I realize that WordPress is no lightweight and compact as it used to be. It’s both great and not. Whatever it is, now is the time to see what we can do to improve our WordPress sites. There are quick tips and tricks to improve the overall performance of a site.

Manage Your VPSs and WordPress with SpinupWP as your Cloud-based VPS Control Panel

Setting up a new WordPress site or blog on a VPS like Vultr or Amazon Lightsail can be time consuming. If you planning to run a number of blogs on a single VPS, there is a better way to do that. We’ve just started rolling out a few websites and blogs running Vultr. To make things easier, we also deployed SpinupWP.

What’s SpinupWP? It’s a control panel to easily host WordPress websites on a cloud provider of your preference.

Here’s a note as we’re taking on this combination of the best of Vultr’s VPS (simple, fast, and scalable SSD cloud hosting provider) and SpinupWP, an app aimed at developers, that makes it so much easier to host WordPress sites yourself. It’s a simple control panel for Vultr.

SpinupWP makes it easy to spin up an optimized, multiple WordPress website on your VPS in a few minutes.

How to get started with SpinupWP

First thing first, you register a new account at SpinupWP. After that, you sign up for a Virtual Private Server at a cloud provider. There are many VPS providers (in our case, we’ve got both Lightsail and Vultr). Lastly, you connect your Virtual Private Server to SpinupWP.

With SpinupWP and your VPS up and running, you can start running op`timized WordPress websites on your own VPS. What we love and the most at this stage is that Spinup is here to take care of all the software patches, security and other things. Overall, it saves so much of your time.

Essential SpinupWP features

  • Automatic VPS security updates
  • Access and login disabled for the Root user
  • Free SSL certificates (with Let’s Encrypt)
  • Firewall which limits access to NGINX and SSH
  • Optimal settings for Nginx security
  • Each site is isolated through its own user. Therefore, if one site gets compromised, other sites on the server are safe.
  • SFTP/SSH access for each site.
  • Two-factor authentication for platform logins.

Usability

  • Interface Usability: Great
  • WordPress Installer One-Click
  • Domain Management: Application Level
  • Server Management: So so
  • Application Management: So so
  • Team Manager: Yes
  • Application Monitoring: Absent
  • Server Monitoring: Absent
  • Server Transfers: No
  • Project Manager: No
  • Development Environments: Live

Why we love SpinupWP?

  • Connect your Vultr API with SpinupWP in just a second.
  • Without much hassle for DIY configuration, we can launch a new site in a few minutes. This saves us a lot of time to launch sites fast. Install the latest stable versions of Nginx, PHP, MySQL/MariaDB, and Redis from the standard apt-get repos with no pain (but gain).
  • Performance: it’s very fast. It’s what we’re embracing these day for better site speed (see the screen shot above as tested on Gtmetrix). Set up with Redis object caching for improved database requests.
  • SpinupWP has all the key features most WordPress developers need. For instance, having Let’s Encrypt certificate and Nginx installed is a just a few clicks (without typing any command).
  • Automatic Security Updates: You’re going to get free Let’s Encrypt HTTPS (automatic renewal) with ease. Another example is that the app disables some critical PHP functions by default.
  • SpinupWP works with Vultr, DigitalOcean, Linode, AWS, and any other provider

Previously, we looked into using EasyEngine to install WordPress Nginx Setup & Management. However, we ended up setting up Nginx with HTTP/2 Support using this mini guide.

As it’s trying to live up to its tagline, SpinupWP is “your own flawless WordPress server, spun up in minutes.”

SpinupWP is a Modern Cloud-Based Server Control Panel. It’s here to help you implement best practices for every server you spin up. Designed for WordPress. SpinupWP is a company of Delicious Brains Inc., a small company of expert WordPress developers, the brains behind the popular WP Migrate DB Pro and WP Offload Media plugins, WordPress core contributors.

There are something that should have been ever better. The documentation section is not much to offer yet. For example, when you want to see how the service works well with any VPS provider or not, it’s not easy to get more details.

There are similar services in this category that you may have heard of like GridPane, ServerPilot, Laravel Forge, Cloudways, and RunCloud.

Migrating from One Server to Another

Cloning your WordPress site is easy. It’s quick way to move your site to a better, newly-spun VPS with little down-time.

SpinupWP Packages

Currently, Spinup WP offers the plans listed below. If you sign-up through this review, you get $50 in Spinup WP credit for free.

How to Speed up and Optimize Your WordPress Sites for Lightning Speed

Here’s a mini guide and how-to to help you optimize your WordPress blogs and sites to load fast and serve high traffic. How? We’re basing this on our years of experiments and work to help our clients’ sites.

First thing first, choosing the best WordPress is everything for today and tomorrow. After all, it’s your website infrastructure. You make it or break it.

There are two key things to consider. Like it or not, Google keeps up with its optimization requirements for web masters and developers. The latest out of the giant search engine’s pipeline is Core Web Vitals.

Everything in this is all about site speed and performance. Just deeper and detailed.

What to measure in the Google’s Core Web Vitals:

  • Poor URLs
  • URLs need improvement
  • Good URLs

How to achieve the Good URLs for Google? This is one of the toughest questions. However, there are some fixes and tricks we should use to improve the WordPress site load speed.

Aside from this, speed analysis tool like GTmetrix provides comprehensive information to help you boost your site speed. For example, Page Load Details (time, size, number of requests) is an essential factor to consider when you want to improve WordPress site performance.

Overall, SpinupWP is quick and easy to setup. Our cloud servers (Vultr and Lightsail) are blazing fast, and the user interface is a delight to work with.

Ideally, it’s one of the subscription-based control panels for experienced WordPress developers and professionals.

Want to see how it works on a small WordPress site? Take a look at this https://smallsweethome.com/

Top tips to make your WordPress sites load faster

  • Less is more: less plugins is better. Much of the time, most WordPress site owners tend to need more functionalities and features they don’t need. So they just keep adding useless plugins to their sites. What’s the downsize? Well, these plugins, many of them, take much of the web server resource.
  • You should consider using MariaDB as your WordPress instead of MySQL. Here’s a good comparison of MySQL vs MariaDB vs Percona.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this review will help you select one of the best VPS for your WordPress site. These are the best VPS for most people who need to launch small and medium WordPress sites. Our top recommendation is Linode and followed by Vultr. DigitalOcean and Lightsail are also good alternatives.

Links to sign up:

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