China Cloud Server Speed Test: DigitalOcean vs Linode vs Vultr!

I have tested three of the leading low-cost cloud server providers (DigitalOcean, Linode & Vultr) and their suitability for Mainland China web hosting.

Read on for the speed test results, and fastest VPS for China.

Mainland China Server Test

Please note, these are unmanaged servers. Check Cloudways for a fully managed cloud hosting portal with easy server deployment to any of these providers.

Preliminary speed test results;

Total of 8 VPS cloud servers were tested over a period of 4 days, to count the average website load time of all major Chinese provinces (more below).

  • DigitalOcean — Test winner on San Francisco server locations
  • Linode — Slow with no suitable server locations found
  • Vultr — Good, cheaper alternative in Tokyo or Los Angeles

Total average page load time;

A basic WordPress blog with a page size of 810.8 kB and 15 requests was used for this test — anything below 4 seconds is considered a good nationwide average.

  1. DigitalOcean, San Francisco (SFO1) — 3.27575s
  2. Vultr, Japan Tokyo — 3.63225s
  3. DigitalOcean, San Francisco (SFO2) — 3.66325
  4. Vultr, Los Angeles USA — 3.7275s
  5. Vultr, Singapore — 4.63775s
  6. Linode, Fremont California (US West) — 5.30525s
  7. DigitalOcean, Singapore (SGP1) — 5.9295s
  8. Linode, Japan Tokyo 2 — 8.755s

Note, difference between SFO1 & SFO2 servers CAN be purely coincidental so I wouldn’t draw any conclusions if either VPS was actually faster from China.

Speed testing in Mainland China;

The test was done with 百度云观测 — Baidu’s website cloud monitoring platform. It uses Baidu’s extensive Mainland China CDN network to conduct frequent speed testing from all major Chinese provinces throughout the day.

With this data, it counts the average website & server performance to measure Mainland China reliability for web hosting purposes.

Baidu China Cloud Monitoring

This is by far the most reliable way to conduct speed testing in China but still results vary per day, which is why the data should be used as reference only.

Please note (1), speed testing using other tools without such extensive data collection is extremely unreliable. Also final testing is best done, with real users and while physically located within the Great Firewall of China.

Please note (2), this is not reliable data for planning VPN use. However I want to mention that conventional VPN is not reliable, and can result in getting both your IP banned and others on the same IP range. Please stop this silliness.

Cisco, Ssocks, Spdy, ShadowSocks, etc. are much better for circumvention.

Extensive speed test results;

Each VPS was running with a fresh install of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 64bit and hosted exactly the same WordPress blog, for a period of 4 days — website shown below.China Optimized WordPress

Here are the full results for each cloud server VPS provider.

Test 1; Cloud provider: Vultr

  • Data center & location: Singapore
  • Server specs: 1 CPU, 2048MB Memory, 40 GB SSD, $10/month

China Speed Test - Vultr Singapore

  • Day 1: 5.858s
  • Day 2: 2.045s
  • Day 3: 8.64s
  • Day 4: 2.008s
  • Total average load time: 4.63775s

Test 2; Cloud provider: Vultr

  • Data center & location: Tokyo
  • Server specs: 1 CPU, 2048MB Memory, 40 GB SSD, $10/month

China Speed Test - Vultr Tokyo

  • Day 1: 4.09s
  • Day 2: 2.759s
  • Day 3: 2.924s
  • Day 4: 4.756s
  • Total average load time: 3.63225s

Test 3; Cloud provider: Vultr

  • Data center & location: Los Angeles
  • Server specs: 1 CPU, 2048MB Memory, 40 GB SSD, $10/month

China Speed Test - Vultr Los Angeles

  • Day 1: 3.819s
  • Day 2: 3.259s
  • Day 3: 1.99s
  • Day 4: 5.842s
  • Total average load time: 3.7275s

Test 4; Cloud provider: Linode

Data center & location: Fremont, CA (US West)

Server specs: Linode 2048, 1 CPU Core, $10/month

China Speed Test - Linode Fremont, CA

  • Day 1: 2.379s
  • Day 2: 3.243s
  • Day 3: 7.685s
  • Dat 4: 7.914s
  • Total average load time: 5.30525s

Test 5; Cloud provider: Linode

  • Data center & location: Tokyo 2
  • Server specs: Linode 2048, 1 CPU Core, $10/month

China Speed Test - Linode Tokyo 2

  • Day 2: 7.94s
  • Day 2: 16.751s
  • Day 3: 3.77s
  • Day 4: 6.559s
  • Total average load time: 8.755s

Test 6; Cloud provider: Digital Ocean

  • Data center & location: San Francisco 1
  • Server specs: 2 CPUs, 2 GB RAM, 40 GB SSD disk, $20/month

China Speed Test - DigitalOcean San Francisco 1

  • Day 1: 4.56s
  • Day 2: 2.406s
  • Day 3: 2.16s
  • Day 4: 3.977s
  • Total average load time: 3.27575s

Test 7; Cloud provider: Digital Ocean

  • Data center & location: San Francisco 2
  • Server specs: 2 CPUs, 2 GB RAM, 40 GB SSD disk, $20/month

China Speed Test - DigitalOcean San Francisco 2

  • Day 1: 3.318s
  • Day 2: 2.248s
  • Day 3: 3.79s
  • Day 4: 5.297s
  • Total average load time: 3.66325s

Test 8; Cloud provider: Digital Ocean

  • Data center & location: Singapore
  • Server specs: 2 CPUs, 2 GB RAM, 40 GB SSD disk, $20/month

China Speed Test - DigitalOcean Singapore

  • Day 1: 8.011s
  • Day 2: 5.302s
  • Day 3: 4.286s
  • Day 4: 6.119s
  • Total average load time: 5.9295s

And that’s pretty much it!

I was not that surprised that DigitalOcean excelled in these tests, since they are the only ones that actually advertise good mainland connection through their San Francisco server. The poor Linode performance was a surprise however, and that Vultr added great competition to the mix.

And hope you enjoyed the post as much as I did making it.

It would be great to hear of your experiences of web hosting for Mainland China, and your favorite VPS cloud server setups. Comment, questions welcome.

Last note; the contents on this blog may contain affiliate links. This is to support the author and the work put into these posts for mutual benefit. Huge thanks if you choose to click through these links when making purchases!

Sincere regards, Tim.

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