Author note: Since writing this, Linode has stepped its game up quite a bit and actually offers comparable pricing.
This is a somewhat biased review, but I tried not to judge too harshly against the other two. Two of the services I have never actually tried, but I have watched videos and tutorials on the things they do and can make conclusions. While this is not really data-based, it is just comparing the numbers for each of the services.
All of the services offer:
- The cheapest plans on the Internet
- The most bang for your buck
- Reasonable and fair pricing for what you actually get
In terms of ranking them in regards to my personal opinion. I have ranked all three with comparisons for the lower-range plans. The more you spend, the more you can get.
- Free Bandwidth (at time of this writing)
- 1 vCPU
- 80 GB SSD
- 100 GB Block Storage Free ($10.00 for every 100 GB additional)
- $4.50 - 512 MB
- $6.00 - 1 GB
- $12.00 - 2 GB
- 1 CPU
- $10 - 100 GB Block Storage
- $2.50 - 20 GB SSD, 512 MB, 500 GB Bandwidth (limited to 1 or 2 instances)
- $5.00 - 25 GB SSD, 1 GB, 1 TB Bandwidth
- $10.00 - 40 GB SSD, 2 GB, 2 TB Bandwidth
- $10 - 100 GB Block Storage
- $5.00 - 1 Core, 20 GB SSD, 512 MB, 1 TB Bandwidth
- $10.00 - 1 Core, 30 GB SSD, 1 GB, 2 TB Bandwidth
- $20.00 - 2 Core, 40 GB SSD, 2 GB, 3 TB Bandwidth
All of these plans have their own benefits and shortcomings. Lets review:
DreamCompute seems to offer the best deal so far because of its free bandwidth (at time of this writing), 80 GB SSD, and 100 GB Block Storage, counting towards your bill. The first two plans are very reasonably priced, and amazing for small websites and businesses or web apps, but there is quite a big increase for 2 GB of RAM. One of the best features I love about DreamCompute is that if you need more RAM, you can resize the instance, and in less than a minute, your website is good to go and you have more RAM! If you need more space, DreamCompute offers upgrades for additional monies. DreamCompute lacks in giving the user an ability to choose where server will be, as well as servers located outside of the United States.
Vultr ranks best because of its cheapest plan and if you are looking at a development area or a very small website with little traffic, it is probably the most amazing price for what you get with it and the most ideal web host. Vultr is lacking a feature that it should have incorporated, like DreamCompute, and that is the ability to upgrade easily if you need more RAM, but instead you have to make a snapshot of the instance and deploy it to the new server. While I have not personally used Vultr and cannot say whether they have since changed that feature, I can only go upon what I've researched. Vultr also could be slightly more generous with the bandwidth. However, Vultr certainly remains the most ideal for those who are just starting out and prefer to spend as little money as possible, for testing purposes, or whatever the case may be. Vultr also has the best pricing system of its competition. Vultr offers the opportunity for the user to choose where the server will be, available only on creation. An upside is that it does offer coupons (if you have not signed up yet via Google Ads for $100ish credit)
DigitalOcean is one of the more popular VPS and certainly ranks because of its very generous bandwidth and more powerful system upon with higher plans. Its cheapest plan, however, is beat out by its competition, so DO could figure out ways to offer more competitive plans. While I have not personally used DigitalOcean, it is said that it does have the better dashboard for a better and more friendlier user-interface than its competition. DigitalOcean also offers an extremely powerful system at just $20, with 2 core processors, for those with an app or website that needs power. DigitalOcean also offers the option to increase your disk size, but once you increase it, there is no going back, however, its CPU and RAM are scalable. It does allow you to choose where your server will be, available only on creation.
DigitalOcean and Vultr both win for number of servers to choose from and also get brownie points for having servers outside of the United States (sometimes, you just have to give your European audience a faster server). They also fair slightly better for less experienced users, who like the idea of semi-managed hosting, with some assistance along the way, such as one-click solutions for installing WordPress, MySQL, phpmyadmin, etc. While this may be appealing to some, DreamCompute is for those who prefer an absolutely DIY platform. There is very little help or support from DreamCompute, as the OpenStack truly belongs to you.
All three of these hosting companies come with their own support community so you do not have to feel you are alone if you get lost, as there is plenty of help and advice to be found.
All three, in my opinion, are the top competitors in the field. AWS (Amazon) and Google rank up there as well, but sometimes, especially in offering something that is already complicated to so many, less is more and less is better. AWS and Google specialize in a vast network system for small developers and huge software network corporations that it can just be overwhelming. In having to try and understand their dashboards probably require AWS and Google to hire full-time employees dedicated to just teaching people how to actually use the dashboard, while the other three are relatively straightforward.