If there's one thing that pisses me off, it's reviews. God only knows how much I hate them. Especially hosting reviews because so many of them are fake.
Most bloggers write them in an attempt to beat everyone else out and get to the number one spot in search results in the hopes of swindling as much money as they can from sales generated through their affiliate links.
This isn't a review. It's just an honest look at Vultr vs DigitalOcean cloud infrastructures on the Cloudways platform from a speed perspective. And it's based purely on my own perception. Capisce?
I'm about the furthest thing from a cloud engineer so please understand that I know sweet f*** all about server configuration.
There are people out there that know far more about setting up and maintaining servers than I could ever hope to know. People like Johnny Nguyen for example.
Well that's why Cloudways exists and good on them for finding that niche. It's exactly the reason I leave that kind of stuff to them, at least for the time being.
Heck, I could go direct to DigitalOcean and spin up a droplet for half of what I'm paying Cloudways. But I'd be lost after that. And don't get me wrong here, Cloudways is so cheap, it's stupid!
Now unless you live in New Zealand or surrounds (whaahaha! there are no surrounds) it would be safe to assume that you're a darn site closer to New York than I am, which is where my server lives.
The reason I'm telling you this is because I want you understand that because of our locations, we're going to get slightly different results when it comes to site speed.
But I'm guessing that because I'm over 8900 miles away from my server which is in all likelihood a darn site further than you are, or will be, from yours' that this doesn't really come into play. The only other factor that could have a positive influence on my results is that I use Cloudflare, which I recommend for all sites. Check out their data center map to see how vast their network spans.
When I first migrated from Siteground to Cloudways I decided to host my site on a Vultr server in Seattle.
Compared to Siteground's GoGeek plan it was way faster and ultra responsive. But being the speed freak that I am, I always wondered how my site would perform on a DigitalOcean server.
With that in mind, I was going to give it a go. But when I got to cloning my server and looking at server locations I realized that, within the USA, I only had a choice of San Francisco and New York.
Why I thought that neither of those would serve me, I don't know, so I chose to clone another Vultr server, this time located in Dallas.
Anyone with half a brain would have said that I was bored.
Nonetheless, I did what I did. But in the back of my mind I still had that same niggling need to know - is Vultr faster than DigitalOcean or is DigitalOcean faster than Vultr?
Then one day I had to initiate a live chat with support. I can't remember exactly why but it's irrelevant.
In passing I obviously said something and the cloud engineer told me that he had a preference for DigitalOcean. Something to do with the way their droplet is optimized.
That was all I needed to hear.
OK. I did it. I cloned my server to a DigitalOcean server in New York.
Then I monitored the traffic on my site using my Google Analytics app on my smartphone and when there was none, I switched the IP in my DNS settings.
Lucky I use Cloudflare for DNS hosting so my site wasn't down for long at all.
So, is DigitalOcean good?
Vultr High Frequency - Another Mindf**k
So there had been calls for Cloudways to include the Vultr High Frequency servers in its offerings.
And like I said earlier, I'm a speed freak so I naturally became curious. And a couple days ago I cloned my server, creating a Vultr High Frequency server in New Jersey so the physical location was pretty much the same as my DO server in New York.
Now I ran tests using Google Pagespeed Insights and GTMetrix.
Just to be clear, I'm using Pagespeed Insights quite a bit now because of Google's new Core Web Vitals. Because LCP (largest contentful paint) and CLS (cumulative layout shift) are going to become ranking factors in 2021 it's important to get these metrics in line with what Google wants.
If you follow my site you'll know that I don't judge speed based on full load time. I'm only concerned with user experience so time to first byte (TTFB), first paint and contentful paint times are all that count. And now with the Core Web Vitals metrics, LCP is what Google places emphasis on.
The results were reasonably close but but DigitalOcean was clearly the better of the two in every respect. We're talking maybe 200ms better. Some would have it that this is not perceivable to the eye but I'm going to differ.
In terms of how the site was loading to my own eye, again DigitalOcean was the better performer. On the DigitalOcean server, my site was snappier, more responsive and pages and posts were loading almost instantly - just the way I like it.
And don't forget, I'm a few miles / kilometers away from my server!!