In my personal opinion, Linode is better than Vultr…and Vultr is better than Digital Ocean.
I’ve used Linode in 3 continents for over 10 years. Used Vultr in 2 continents for several years. I haven’t done exact fair-comparison testing but through just firing up servers for clients using the same stack and “feeling it” (however you trust my feel for it, haha)….I feel Linode is better.
When I run a quick hdparm, Linode is definitely faster. It goes in order of this Linode > Vultr > Digital Ocean. I think DO is the biggest “hype” of all 3. Vultr probably used to be the weakest of them but then got better with their recent upgrade (in the hypervisor or stack, I believe?).
I feel Linode just has consistently better hardware to begin with. They seem like a much bigger company with uniform hardware. Vultr seems more like hodgepodge of different hardware (and also depending on which datacenter)…and I could be totally wrong.
Linode interface is kind of ugly but I like it a lot. Very clean and efficient for me (kinda like the Craigslist of VPS-UI). I used to think DO is sexy but it’s actually annoying to use. Vultr is probably the best mix between sexy & functional.
Any room for variability?
Absolutely. Some people feel Vultr is the fastest (faster than Linode). I do like their interface and also that they sell bare metal servers and DDOS filtering. But for sure, I think we all agree Digital Ocean is the slowest and gimmicky/over-hyped of the 3.
Performance (and reliability)
Some people feel Vultr (especially their high-frequency instances) are super fast. And indeed they are. My biggest qualm with Vultr is that some of their datacenters have had dropped network packets. And it seems to be a constant issue. Maybe you’ll never have that issue. I experienced it as much as 3-5 times within two months within the same datacenter. For that reason, I prefer not to have any servers with Vultr unless clients specifically request.
In my opinion, Linode and Vultr are true server companies with a tech culture that I respect. True history in managing datacenters, and providing tech solutions for tech clients. Basically…run by geeks for geeks.
Digital Ocean on the other hand, just seems like some tech start-up that got funding and tried to take over what they saw was a “weak and overly-technical market”. They figured if they could just do a cuter UI and more personality, they can dominate the VPS industry (and win over the rapidly growing casual market). Just like how Mailchimp took over email marketing from Aweber, ConstantContact, etc. It makes sense since so many everyday people are switching to VPS now…back then, it was only for the most tech-savvy and demanding websites that needed it.
But reality in the tech world…techies still care about performance. You can have a nice UI, but your numbers still need to add up well or else you won’t win over the influencers (devs, admins, etc). Also, too…DO has done some things that really pissed customers off. (Like suddenly shutting off people’s accounts and such.)