Alibaba Cloud vs Amazon EC2

Alibaba
EC2
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We have tested 14 VPS plans from Alibaba Cloud and Amazon EC2. This page is a summary and 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

Amazon EC2

Amazon EC2 was founded in 2006.
It is headquartered in the USA.
It offers VPS, Database, Storage and Networking hosting products.

It has datacenters in:
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • UK
  • USA

This provider is related to Amazon Lightsail.

Lightsail is the low price, simple VPS offering from Amazon.


VPS Plans

Plan Name Monthly Price CPU cores Memory (GB) Disk Space (GB) Data Transfer (GB) Latest trial
1GB 1 core $4.50 1 1.0 40 1000 Feb 10 2019
t3.micro $7.49 2 1.0 20 0 Jun 03 2019
ecs.t5-lc1m1.small $11.96 1 1.0 40 10000 Nov 15 2019
ecs-t5-c1m1-large $14.13 2 2.0 20 10000 Sep 07 2019
t3.small $14.98 2 2.0 8 1000 Jan 29 2019
a1.medium $18.36 1 2.0 20 100 Nov 28 2018
t3a.medium $27.07 2 4.0 0 0 Nov 04 2019
ecs.n4.large $28.84 2 4.0 40 0 Jun 17 2019
t3-medium $29.95 2 4.0 8 200 Aug 22 2018
t2-medium $33.41 2 4.0 8 250 Jul 22 2018
ecs.c5.large $43.00 2 4.0 20 1000 Apr 08 2019
c5.large $61.20 2 4.0 0 0 Aug 20 2019
m5a.large $62.00 2 8.0 20 100 Mar 31 2019
m5.large $69.12 2 8.0 20 200 Nov 14 2018

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
1GB 1 core
$4.50
C E B E E
t3.micro
$7.49
C D E E B
ecs.t5-lc1m1.small
$11.96
B E D E E
ecs-t5-c1m1-large
$14.13
B C E D E
t3.small
$14.98
B C D D C
a1.medium
$18.36
- - - - -
t3a.medium
$27.07
E E E E C
ecs.n4.large
$28.84
B C B E E
t3-medium
$29.95
B D D C B
t2-medium
$33.41
B C D C D
ecs.c5.large
$43.00
B C B E E
c5.large
$61.20
B B C D B
m5a.large
$62.00
C D D D C
m5.large
$69.12
B C C C C
Show Price Weighted Grades   

VPS Instance Provisioning Time

This is the average time it took to create an instance for Alibaba Cloud and Amazon EC2 from instance order to instance accepting connections.

All VPS provisioning times

Alibaba Cloud Amazon EC2
Number of instance creations in sample 6 7
Provisioning time in seconds 68s 33s

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 Amazon EC2. This is the average response time measured locally on the VPS for each plan we tested.



Local Response Time per Plan

Lower is better

Provider Plan Average response time
EC2 t3.micro 72.0ms
EC2 t3.small 62.0ms
EC2 t3a.medium 103.0ms
EC2 t3-medium 55.0ms
EC2 t2-medium 52.0ms
EC2 c5.large 50.0ms
EC2 m5a.large 66.0ms
EC2 m5.large 50.0ms
Alibaba 1GB 1 core 84.0ms
Alibaba ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 66.0ms
Alibaba ecs-t5-c1m1-large 63.0ms
Alibaba ecs.n4.large 66.0ms
Alibaba ecs.c5.large 65.0ms

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 Performances

We ran the full suite of Sysbench tests on VPS plans of Alibaba Cloud and Amazon EC2. These are the Sysbench CPU test results:



Rate of operations

Higher is better

Provider Plan Operations per second
EC2 t3.micro 652.5
EC2 t3.small 604.7
EC2 a1.medium 897.3
EC2 t3a.medium 501.2
EC2 t3-medium 554.2
EC2 t2-medium 701.1
EC2 c5.large 695.0
EC2 m5a.large 540.7
EC2 m5.large 644.8
Alibaba 1GB 1 core 317.5
Alibaba ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 326.7
Alibaba ecs-t5-c1m1-large 654.2
Alibaba ecs.n4.large 759.2
Alibaba ecs.c5.large 556.0

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 Amazon EC2.


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

Provider Plan Average remote request duration
EC2 t3.micro 357.2ms
EC2 t3.small 359.8ms
EC2 t3a.medium 346.2ms
EC2 t3-medium 339.8ms
EC2 t2-medium 344.8ms
EC2 c5.large 352.0ms
EC2 m5a.large 353.2ms
EC2 m5.large 338.8ms
Alibaba 1GB 1 core 504.4ms
Alibaba ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 342.6ms
Alibaba ecs-t5-c1m1-large 350.8ms
Alibaba ecs.n4.large 495.6ms
Alibaba ecs.c5.large 508.0ms

Detailed remote timings measurements including connection time, TLS handshake time, and response time can be compared for Alibaba Cloud and Amazon EC2 on the Remote Timings Comparison page.


Network Transfers

We have performed large file transfers from the Alibaba Cloud and Amazon EC2 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

Provider Plan Network Download Speed
EC2 t3.micro 1673.2Mbps
EC2 t3.small 418.7Mbps
EC2 a1.medium 181.8Mbps
EC2 t3a.medium 691.7Mbps
EC2 t3-medium 1850.2Mbps
EC2 t2-medium 506.8Mbps
EC2 c5.large 1592.3Mbps
EC2 m5a.large 573.8Mbps
EC2 m5.large 629.0Mbps
Alibaba 1GB 1 core 317.7Mbps
Alibaba ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 100.5Mbps
Alibaba ecs-t5-c1m1-large 104.7Mbps
Alibaba ecs.n4.large 110.6Mbps
Alibaba ecs.c5.large 109.9Mbps

Network Transfers measurements including download and upload speeds can be compared for Alibaba Cloud and Amazon EC2 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

Provider Plan Average ops/hour
EC2 t3.micro 2150.7
EC2 t3.small 4280.3
EC2 t3a.medium 1350.0
EC2 t3-medium 1732.2
EC2 t2-medium 2184.5
EC2 c5.large 6196.8
EC2 m5a.large 1901.8
EC2 m5.large 4587.6
Alibaba 1GB 1 core 1435.6
Alibaba ecs.t5-lc1m1.small 2511.6
Alibaba ecs-t5-c1m1-large 3721.1
Alibaba ecs.n4.large 3189.7
Alibaba ecs.c5.large 4873.6

Review and compare endurance test results for Alibaba Cloud and Amazon EC2 on the Sustained CPU Endurance 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.

Amazon EC2 Review Alibaba Cloud Review
Hourly Billing  Yes Yes
DDOS Protection  No Yes
Backups  No Yes
Control Panel  Builtin Custom
SSH Keys Setup  Yes Yes
Total Number of Datacenters  22 19
Number of Datacenter Continents  4 4


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