DigitalOcean vs AWS Comparison – Who is the Winner ?

DigitalOcean and AWS(Amazon Web Services) are cloud service platforms that offer database storage, computer power among other functionalities. DigitalOcean’s goal seems to be to sell very straight-forward servers to developers, whereas AWS seems to want to offer anything anyone could possibly want, covering the entire gamut of cloud computing and cloud storage. I’ve used both and have found that each have their pros and cons, and in this article I will make comparisons between DigitalOcean and AWS so get you an overview of both these vendors.DigitalOcean vs AWS Comparison – Who is the Winner ?


Range of Services

Digital Ocean focuses sells standard VPS servers with a very flexible provisioning and billing. They currently has 8 data centers positioned in New York City, Amstedam, San Francisco, Singapore, LonDon, Frankfurt, Toronto, Bangalore India. DigitalOcean concentrates on three key selling points to stand out: Simplicity, High-Performance virtual servers and pricing. Most of their customers are the developers who want to deploy ‘Servers’ and applications to test it out. DO focuses on selling cheap compute droplets, which is one of AWS’s many products.

In stark contrast to DigitalOcean is Amazon, Amazon’s AWS is the market’s leader by far, in fact it is estimated that Amazon has as much computing capacity as the next 11 competitors on the list combined. Since AWS has the ‘Everything for Everyone’ approach, it sells multiple products in multiple categories. You can choose various products ranging from storage, networking, to database and compute. They own the largest data centers in the world located strategically in 9 regions around the world.

The Pricing

You can pay a $5/mo droplet (1GB ram – 1 vCPU – 25GB storage – 1TB bandwidth) on DigitalOcean and go upto $920/mo (largest plan with 86GB ram – 46 vCPUs – 575GB storage – 10TB bandwidth).

AWS has wide range of pricing and most advanced configurations for VMs including GPU support and etc. Amazon EC2 has a large number of instance types, ranging from micro instances with less than a GB of memory to large, disk or memory optimized servers. Each of these instance types can be further enhanced with extra storage volumes with provisioned IOPs. In November 2016, AWS launched a dev-centric service called, Lightsail. Lightsail gives you a simple VPS offering, prices starting from 5$ with 512 MB Memory-1 Core Processor – 20 GB SSD Disk and 1 TB Transfer.


DigitalOcean Amazon Lightsail
Memory 1 GB 512MB
Processor 1 Core 1 Core
Storage 25GB SSD 20GB SSD
Transfer 1TB 1TB
Overage $0.02/GB $0.09/GB
Network In 1Gbps
Network Out 1Gbps
Price $5/month ($0.007/hour) $5/month ($0.007/hour)

Both companies are at the same price for the cheapest package but DigitalOcean is offering more storage than Amazon Lightsail and twice much of RAM.

DigitalOcean vs AWS Comparison – Who is the Winner ?

Performance Benchmarks

To known the performance of each VPS plan, we have runs some commands on the cheapest package – $5/mo – at both companies.

Memory Benchmarks

Memory ReadsMemory Writes
sysbench –test=memory run
DigitalOcean Amazon Lightsail
Number of Events 104,857,600 104,857,600
Total Time 84.3949s 71.4697s
Execution Time 67.3855s 56.8831s
Minimum Request 0.00ms 0.00ms
Average Request 0.00ms 0.00ms
Maximum Request 1.51ms 0.23ms
95th Percentile 0.00ms 0.00ms
Operations/sec 1,242,463.36 1,467,161.71
MB/sec 1,213.34 1,432.78
sysbench –test=memory –memory-oper=write run
DigitalOcean Amazon Lightsail
Number of Events 104,857,600 104,857,600
Total Time 81.5642s 71.3810s
Execution Time 64.9544s 56.8120s
Minimum Request 0.00ms 0.00ms
Average Request 0.00ms 0.00ms
Maximum Request 5.21ms 0.19ms
95th Percentile 0.00ms 0.00ms
Operations/sec 1,285,584.18 1,468,984.58
MB/sec 1,255.45 1,434.56

As you see, DigitalOcean offering more RAM ended up having faster speeds. If RAM is important to you, you’d get more bang for your buck with DigitalOcean.

CPU Benchmarks

sysbench –test=cpu run
DigitalOcean Amazon Lightsail
Number of Events 10,000 10,000
Total Time 13.0227s 11.3688s
Event Execution 13.0198s 11.3672s
Minimum Request 1.22ms 1.03ms
Average Request 1.30ms 1.14ms
Maximum Request 5.17ms 2.16ms
95th Percentile 1.34ms 1.21ms

Both companies performed about the same at the 9th percentile. Lightsail max requests weren’t nearly as high as DO.

File I/O Benchmarks

sysbench –test=fileio prepare sysbench –test=fileio –file-test-mode=rndrw run sysbench –test=fileio cleanup
DigitalOcean Amazon Lightsail
Number of Events 10,000 10,000
Total Time 1.4641s 6.6209s
Execution Time 0.5873s 1.9269s
Minimum Request 0.00ms 0.00ms
Average Request 0.06ms 0.19ms
Maximum Request 1.80ms 1.82ms
95th Percentile 0.10ms 0.37ms
Requests/sec 6,929.91 1,510.36
MB/sec 106.72 23.599

DigitalOcean performed a over 4x the requests per second of Lightsail. DO totally faster than Amazon on this test.

MYSQL Benchmarks

mysql -uroot -e “CREATE DATABASE newcoupons;”
sysbench –test=oltp –oltp-table-size=1000000 –mysql-user=root prepare
sysbench –test=oltp –oltp-table-size=1000000 –mysql-user=root run
sysbench –test=oltp –oltp-table-size=1000000 –mysql-user=root cl
DigitalOcean Amazon Lightsail
Number of Events 10,000 10,000
Total Time 43.8152s 52.5180s
Execution Time 43.7459s 52.4601s
Minimum Request 2.53ms 2.37ms
Average Request 4.37ms 5.25ms
Maximum Request 325.37ms 171.01ms
95th Percentile 8.45ms 13.58ms
Read/write Requests/sec 4,336.39 3,617.80

DigitalOcean had the best performance at the 95th percentile and the most reads/write requests per second but the maximum request time was nearly a second. Lightsail was second in read/writes but also had a significantly better maximum request time.

Apache Benchmarks

ab -kc 1000 -n 10000
DigitalOcean Amazon Lightsail
Concurrency Level 1,000 1,000
Time taken 1.991s 1.285s
Completed Requests 10,000 10,000
Failed Requests 11 4
Requests/sec 5,023.11 7,784.84
Time per request 199.080ms 128.455ms
Transfer rate Kbyte/sec 56,990.74 88,386.49

Amazon Lightsail win with this test, they faster on all cases.

Network Benchmarks

./speedtest-cli –server=7340
DigitalOcean Amazon Lightsail
Distance 2,282.16km 1,933.53km
Ping 75.602ms 65.945ms
Download Mbit/sec 329.19 197.72
Upload Mbit/sec 112.22 106.61

DigitalOcean is the winner of this test although the speed results do not make a significant difference.

DigitalOcean vs AWS Comparison – Who is the Winner ?

Features and Usability

Amazon DigitalOcean
Compute EC2 Droplets
Storage EBS Volumes
IP Public IP Elastic IP
Windows VM Yes No
Cloud Init Support Yes Yes
Security Groups Yes Firewall
Load Balancer ELB Load Balancer
Autoscaling Autoscaler Not Available
APIs Yes Yes
Developer Friendly Medium Super Easy
SSD Backed Storage Yes Yes
Object Storage S3 Yes
Single Click Installs Yes Yes
Marketplace Partner Eco System Community Projects
Simplicity Requires decent knowledge on cloud Super powerful
IoT Services Yes No
Analytics Services Yes No
Monitoring Services Yes Yes (Graphs)
Backups Yes Yes
Global Datacenters Yes Yes
Hybrid Cloud Support Yes No
Upgrade VPS from admin console No Yes
Mobile Friendly UI No Yes
Accepted Forms of Payment Credit cards Credit cards, Paypal
Hidden CPU Model No No
SSH Keys Setup Yes Yes
DDOS Protection No No
Hourly Billing Yes Yes

Both companies offer a lot of features to users. DigitalOcean doesn’t have as many features, but available features are nicely organized, whereas in AWS feature organization is a whole mess, but AWS has a tremendous amount of features which are difficult to be reviewed in this small article.DigitalOcean and AWS both are extraordinary cloud computing services that provide sophisticated features which help in creating complex web applications at a decent price.

The support system provided by DigitalOcean is far more superior than Amazon when you are new to the cloud. They have a huge community of developers and users, tutorials, how-to guides, and everything you need answers to. But if you are using Microsoft Windows operating system, then DigitalOcean isn’t an optimum choice, you can deploy servers using predefined Linux installation only. Basically, DigitalOcean is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), where you have to manage almost everything (like security, operating system, databases, and more).

Amazon’s process is a bit mechanical which is fine considering their platform and scale. Amazon EC2 is compatible with any OS. So, a plus to EC2 in DigitalOcean vs AWS match. Basically, AWS offers managed services (Platform as a Service or PaaS), which manages everything on its own except applications.

DigitalOcean vs AWS Comparison – Who is the Winner ?


DigitalOcean is not really an Amazon competitor. Its target market is small developers who need to quickly start up a small high-performance instance. Still, Amazon is getting shown up by the newcomer when it comes to VM performance on the two platforms. DigitalOcean also gives the user a clean, easy-to-use interface with few features and one-click deployments. Amazon, on the other hand, offers a IaaS/ PaaS cloud supermarket where you can pick nearly any cloud service you could possibly want, and some that you didn’t even know existed, such as mobile analytics and cloud workflows.

You should only compare DigitalOcean with Linode and Vultr or any other cloud hosting company. With AWS, comparing it to the Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform is more accurate.

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