Alibaba Cloud vs DigitalOcean

Alibaba
DOcean
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We have tested 13 VPS plans from Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean. This page is a summary and a comparison of all test results for those 2 providers.


Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud was founded in 2009.
It is headquartered in China.
It offers VPS, Database, Storage and Networking hosting products.

It has datacenters in:
  • Australia
  • China
  • Germany
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • SIngapore
  • UK

DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean was founded in 2012.
It is headquartered in the USA.
It offers VPS, Database, Storage and Networking hosting products.

It has datacenters in:
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • India
  • Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • UK
  • USA

VPS Plans

Plan Name Monthly Price CPU cores Memory (GB) Disk Space (GB) Data Transfer (GB) Latest trial
Starter 1GB 1 core $4.50 1 1.0 25 2000 Mar 15 2020
Standard 1GB 1 core $5.00 1 1.0 25 1000 Jan 06 2020
Standard 2GB 1 core $10.00 1 2.0 50 2000 Apr 19 2020
ecs.t5-lc1m1.small $11.96 1 1.0 40 10000 Nov 15 2019
ecs.n4.small $13.66 1 2.0 20 0 Jun 30 2020
ecs-t5-c1m1-large $14.13 2 2.0 20 10000 Sep 07 2019
Standard 1GB 3 cores $15.00 3 1.0 60 3000 Aug 26 2019
Standard 4GB 2 cores $20.00 2 4.0 80 4000 Nov 06 2019
ecs.n4.large $28.84 2 4.0 40 0 Jun 17 2019
ecs.c5.large $37.52 2 4.0 40 1000 May 07 2020
CPU Optimized 4GB $40.00 2 4.0 25 4000 Feb 29 2020
ecs.g6.large $43.19 2 8.0 0 0 Jan 15 2020
General Purpose 2 cores $60.00 2 8.0 25 4000 Jun 08 2020

Performance Grades

To summarize the performance of each VPS plan, we generated grades based on the various tests that were run: web, sysbench, endurance and remote timing tests. Each grade focuses on one aspect of the VPS speed or stability (cpu, disk IO, network IO...) and is made of one or more metrics measured during the tests.

Grades are evenly distributed between A and F. A is best, F is worst.

Follow the letter links to find the test results backing the grade.

How are grades calculated?

Plan Name Web Perf Raw CPU Power Perf Stability Disk IO Perf Network Perf
Starter 1GB 1 core
$4.50
E E E D F
Standard 1GB 1 core
$5.00
E E C B B
Standard 2GB 1 core
$10.00
E F C C B
ecs.t5-lc1m1.small
$11.96
D E D D F
ecs.n4.small
$13.66
E E D E F
ecs-t5-c1m1-large
$14.13
B C E D E
Standard 1GB 3 cores
$15.00
D B D D D
Standard 4GB 2 cores
$20.00
D C C C C
ecs.n4.large
$28.84
B C B E E
ecs.c5.large
$37.52
C C B E F
CPU Optimized 4GB
$40.00
C D D B A
ecs.g6.large
$43.19
B B B D F
General Purpose 2 cores
$60.00
C B C B A
Show Price Weighted Grades   

VPS Instance Provisioning Time

This is the average time it took to create an instance for Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean from instance order to instance accepting connections.

All VPS provisioning times

Alibaba Cloud DigitalOcean
Number of instance creations in sample 9 9
Provisioning time in seconds 55s 22s

In Depth...

The grades above are based on the following test results.


Web Response Times

We ran a database intensive web application with ~100,000 hits per day for several days on cloud servers from Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean. This is the average response time measured locally on the VPS for each plan we tested.



Local Response Time per Plan

Lower is better

Plan Average response time
DOcean
CPU Optimized 4GB 71.0ms
Standard 4GB 2 cores 73.0ms
Standard 1GB 1 core 78.0ms
Standard 2GB 1 core 83.0ms
Standard 1GB 3 cores 83.0ms
Alibaba
ecs.g6.large 47.0ms
ecs.c5.large 61.0ms
ecs-t5-c1m1-large 63.0ms
ecs.n4.large 66.0ms
ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 66.0ms
Starter 1GB 1 core 75.0ms

During the Web Test, we collect response time metrics, CPU metrics and database performance metrics. All of those are measured locally on the VPS running the web server. All metrics can be compared on the Web Performance Comparison page.


Sysbench CPU Performance

We ran the full suite of Sysbench tests on VPS plans of Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean. These are the Sysbench CPU test results:



Rate of operations

Higher is better

Plan Operations per second
DOcean
Standard 2GB 1 core 279.8
Standard 1GB 1 core 363.2
CPU Optimized 4GB 605.5
General Purpose 2 cores 744.5
Standard 4GB 2 cores 761.8
Standard 1GB 3 cores 1012.5
Alibaba
Starter 1GB 1 core 289.8
ecs.n4.small 319.7
ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 326.7
ecs.c5.large 554.2
ecs-t5-c1m1-large 654.2
ecs.g6.large 663.7
ecs.n4.large 759.2

Sysbench Disk IO Performance

We ran the full suite of Sysbench tests on VPS plans of Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean. These are the Sysbench Disk IO Random Read test results:



Rate of operations

Higher is better

Plan MiB per second
DOcean
Standard 1GB 3 cores 49.9
Standard 4GB 2 cores 73.2
Standard 2GB 1 core 74.1
Standard 1GB 1 core 77.3
CPU Optimized 4GB 98.7
General Purpose 2 cores 174.7
Alibaba
ecs-t5-c1m1-large 8.3
ecs.n4.small 8.6
Starter 1GB 1 core 10.3
ecs.c5.large 10.9
ecs.n4.large 11.2
ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 12.1
ecs.g6.large 18.0

Sysbench test results are also available for random disk IO tests, sequential disk IO tests and memory tests.

Review and compare all Sysbench numbers on the Sysbench Comparison page for Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean.


Network Transfers

We have performed large file transfers from the Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean VPS and we measured the speed of downloads and uploads.

The transfers involve multiple files, 10 threads and last for at least 10 seconds at maximum speed. The transfers are repeated 3 times from different servers and only the fastest transfer is reported here.


Download Speed per Plan

Higher is better

Plan Network Download Speed
DOcean
Standard 1GB 3 cores 211.8Mbps
Standard 4GB 2 cores 758.5Mbps
Standard 2GB 1 core 834.5Mbps
Standard 1GB 1 core 899.9Mbps
CPU Optimized 4GB 1447.7Mbps
General Purpose 2 cores 2802.4Mbps
Alibaba
ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 100.5Mbps
ecs-t5-c1m1-large 104.7Mbps
ecs.n4.small 105.9Mbps
ecs.c5.large 106.8Mbps
Starter 1GB 1 core 108.8Mbps
ecs.n4.large 110.6Mbps
ecs.g6.large 111.0Mbps

Network Transfers measurements including download and upload speeds can be compared for Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean on the Network Transfers Comparison page.


Sustained CPU Endurance Tests

We pushed the CPU of those VPS plans hard for 24 hours straight.

This test shows how fast the VPS can go for long periods of time, how stable the performance is and it also gives clues on how overallocated the VPSs may be.


Average number of operations per hour

Higher is better

Plan Average ops/hour
DOcean
Standard 2GB 1 core 1377.6
CPU Optimized 4GB 2065.6
Standard 1GB 1 core 3059.2
Standard 4GB 2 cores 4153.1
General Purpose 2 cores 5374.5
Standard 1GB 3 cores 5835.2
Alibaba
Starter 1GB 1 core 2293.4
ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 2511.6
ecs.n4.small 3082.4
ecs.n4.large 3189.7
ecs-t5-c1m1-large 3721.1
ecs.c5.large 4959.2
ecs.g6.large 5655.6

Review and compare endurance test results for Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean on the Sustained CPU Endurance Comparison page.


Remote Timings

During the entire duration of the web performance test, we collected web response times from 5 different locations in the world. The chart below reports the connection establishment time + TLS handshake latency from all 5 locations. (That excludes the time spent on the server that is already measured in web response times above and it also excludes the DNS resolution time since it is not dependent on the provider).


Remote Latency per Plan

Lower is better

Plan Average remote request duration
DOcean
Standard 1GB 3 cores 326.0ms
Standard 1GB 1 core 327.6ms
CPU Optimized 4GB 333.2ms
Standard 4GB 2 cores 334.0ms
Standard 2GB 1 core 340.6ms
Alibaba
ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 342.6ms
ecs-t5-c1m1-large 350.8ms
Starter 1GB 1 core 353.0ms
ecs.c5.large 353.8ms
ecs.g6.large 356.4ms
ecs.n4.large 495.6ms

Detailed remote timings measurements including connection time, TLS handshake time, and response time can be compared for Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean on the Remote Timings Comparison page.


Features and Usability

Features not included in the VPS price of the plan will be marked as missing but they may be available for the fee.

DigitalOcean Review Alibaba Cloud Review
Hourly Billing  Yes Mixed
DDOS Protection  No Yes
Backups  No Yes
Control Panel  Builtin Custom
SSH Keys Setup  Yes Yes
Total Number of Datacenters  12 19
Number of Datacenter Continents  3 4
Compare more Alibaba Cloud and DigitalOcean Features

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