The Great Big Cloud Speed Test 2017

Andy Heathershaw · 21st January 2018 · Software Development

2017 was an exciting year for the bigger players in the cloud hosting arena.

  • Both Linode and DigitalOcean upgraded their network capacity.
  • OVH opened new data centres in Germany and the UK.
  • Bytemark launched an automated backup service for their cloud server platform.
  • My own hosting provider, Memset, launched a new OpenStack region in their wholly-owned Dunsfold data centre. They also launched block storage for VPS and rebranded their product range to be more “cloud.”

With all these improvements, I thought it would be interesting to focus on a key metric of hosting providers that many overlook: network speed.

Most modern hosting providers give your dedicated server or VPS a 100Mbps or 1Gbps network connection. But how close can you actually get to that speed?


TL;DR

The results table is shown below, sorted by the fastest average speed. Read on for more details and how the test was executed.

The winning product based on network speed alone is: Memset OpenStack.

ProviderDownload speedDownload timeNetwork speed
Memset OpenStack - IPv4 only72.2 MB/s14 s577.6 Mbps
Linode - IPv465 MB/s15.33 s520 Mbps
DigitalOcean - IPv457.2 MB/s18.33 s457.6 Mbps
Linode - IPv655.95 MB/s17.5 s447.2 Mbps
Bytemark - IPv449.13 MB/s17.67 s393.04 Mbps
Memset VPS - IPv443.8 MB/s23 s350.4 Mbps
Memset VPS - IPv639.13 MB/s26 s313.04 Mbps
Bytemark - IPv635.4 MB/s28.67 s283.2 Mbps
Brightbox - IPv429.47 MB/s34.67 s235.76 Mbps
OVH Public Cloud - IPv429.0 MB/s35s232 Mbps
DigitalOcean - IPv622.47 MB/s45.67 s179.76 Mbps
Brightbox - IPv617.4 MB/s62 s139.2 Mbps
Google Cloud Platform - IPv4 only2966 KB/s372 s23.72 Mbps

The Test

I’ve conducted this test using the same specification virtual/cloud server (or as close as I can get to being equal) with the hosting providers below.

The hardware specifications are:

  • 4GB allocated RAM
  • 2 or 4 CPU cores
  • Ubuntu Server 16.04.3 LTS (fully patched, created using provider-supplied image)

The test is a simple one: use cURL to download a large file (1GB) from a location on the public Internet to the server. The output was redirected to /dev/null to prevent disk I/O from influencing the results.

Some of the providers, such as Linode and DigitalOcean, provide their own large file to test their network. To be fair to all providers, I have used an independent 1GB file provided by ThinkBroadband.

I repeated the test 3 times with a 1-minute gap between runs, and recorded each time. The average of all 3 runs gave the result.


Detailed Results

Brightbox

Brightbox is a small outfit that host in Manchester, UK. They split services across 2 data centres that are linked by dark fibre. Customers can choose which data centre (zone) their services are located in.

Brightbox operates both IPv4 and IPv6 capability, although IPv6 appeared consistently slower.

Website: www.brightbox.com

Data centre: Zone A

ProviderRun 1 - speedRun 1 - timeRun 2 - speedRun 2 - timeRun 3 - speedRun 3 - timeAverage speedAverage time
Brightbox - IPv434.1 MB/s29 s30.5 MB/s33 s23.8 MB/s42 s29.47 MB/s34.67 s
Brightbox - IPv619.7 MB/s51 s11.7 MB/s86 s20.8 MB/s49 s17.4 MB/s62 s

Bytemark

Bytemark are another small outfit, employing around 40 people in York. However their size hasn’t stopped them competing with the big players. In fact, it makes them more preferable because they are more attentive to customers.

Bytemark operate their own, purpose-built data centre in York. They are completely transparent about any fault or issue that may befall them.

They operate their own 10GB fibre “ring” between London, York, Leeds and Manchester. Their core network runs both IPv4 and IPv6 natively.

Website: www.bytemark.co.uk

Data centre: York (YO26)

ProviderRun 1 - speedRun 1 - timeRun 2 - speedRun 2 - timeRun 3 - speedRun 3 - timeAverage speedAverage time
Bytemark - IPv451.7 MB/s15 s52.7 MB/s15 s43.0 MB/s23 s49.13 MB/s17.67 s
Bytemark - IPv639.2 MB/s26 s33.1 MB/s30 s33.9 MB/s30 s35.4 MB/s28.67 s

DigitalOcean

DO are one of the bigger players in the market. Funded by venture capital, they have built a platform that matches or exceeds competitors who have been around for years.

DO operate 12 data centres across the globe, which are now inter-connected using their own backbone network.

Website: www.digitalocean.com

Data centre: London

ProviderRun 1 - speedRun 1 - timeRun 2 - speedRun 2 - timeRun 3 - speedRun 3 - timeAverage speedAverage time
Digital Ocean - IPv450.6 MB/s20 s48.1 MB/s21 s72.9 MB/s14 s57.2 MB/s18.33 s
Digital Ocean - IPv625.5 MB/s40 s22.9 MB/s44 s19.0 MB/s53 s22.47 MB/s45.67 s

Google Cloud Platform

The most surprising result in the test came from Google. GCP is advertised as the cloud platform that utilises Google’s core infrastructure.

With Google being such a giant in the tech industry, it is particularly surprising they don’t yet fully support IPv6. GCP supports IPv6 terminated on load balancers, but not full IPv6 to and from the servers.

Additionally, the download speed of the servers is severely crippled, leaving GCP firmly at the bottom of the list.

Website: cloud.google.com

Data centre: London (europe-west2)

ProviderRun 1 - speedRun 1 - timeRun 2 - speedRun 2 - timeRun 3 - speedRun 3 - timeAverage speedAverage time
GCP - IPv42263 KB/s7m 43 s3921 KB/s4m 27s2715 KB/s6m 26s2966 KB/s6m 12s

Linode

Linode were one of the first companies specialising in Linux-only virtualisation. Since launching in 2003, they have expanded to 9 data centres across 3 continents.

In 2015, Linode were the subject of a massive DDoS attack. Following the attacks, Linode have overhauled their global network to give them more control of their bandwidth. The results are evident – Linode hold 2nd and 3rd place in my speed test.

Note: the third IPv6 download failed with a network time out, therefore the average is based on 2 results.

Website: www.linode.com

Data centre: London

ProviderRun 1 - speedRun 1 - timeRun 2 - speedRun 2 - timeRun 3 - speedRun 3 - timeAverage speedAverage time
Linode - IPv461.7 MB/s15 s64.3 MB/s15 s63.6 MB/s16 s65 MB/s15.33 s
Linode - IPv658.0 MB/s17 s53.9 MB/s18 sN/AN/A55.95 MB/s17.5 s

Memset

Memset have 2 hosting products in this speed test – Cloud VPS and Cloud IaaS (OpenStack.)

They are a small business based in Cranleigh, Surrey, set up in 2002.  They were one of the first UK providers to bring VPS to the mass-market with their “miniserver” product.

I chose Memset as my preferred hosting provider in 2016 because of their forward-thinking and small-business approach.

Website: www.memset.com

Data centre: Dunsfold

ProviderRun 1 - speedRun 1 - timeRun 2 - speedRun 2 - timeRun 3 - speedRun 3 - timeAverage speedAverage time
Memset VPS - IPv450.0 MB/s20s41.4 MB/s24s40.0 MB/s25s43.8 MB/s23s
Memset VPS - IPv632.5 MB/s31s41.6 MB/s24s43.3 MB/s23s39.13 MB/s26s
Memset OpenStack - IPv480.2 MB/s12 59.3 MB/s17s77.1 MB/s13s72.2 MB/s14s

OVH

If you’re looking for hosting on a budget, look no further than OVH.

Using innovative solutions such as containerised data centres (“a data centre in a box”), OVH are able to offer significantly lower prices. My personal experience however, is that customer support isn’t always top of their priority list.

OVH offers a public cloud built on OpenStack. Choose between France, Canada and now Germany, Poland or the UK.

Website: www.ovh.com

Data centre: UK

ProviderRun 1 - speedRun 1 - timeRun 2 - speedRun 2 - timeRun 3 - speedRun 3 - timeAverage speedAverage time
OVH Public Cloud - IPv428.9 MB/s35s 29.0 MB/s35s29.1 MB/s35s29.0 MB/s35s

Want to see another provider featured in the Great Big Cloud Speed Test? Get in touch and I’ll see what I can do!

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