After 2 months of searching and comparing GoDaddy vs Synthesis vs Digital Ocean, my quest to find a web host that meets my needs has officially ended, at least for now. With the redesign and re-branding of htpcBeginner, I have been looking for a web host that is not only reliable and fast but also allows me to do more than just hosting my site.
Currently (soon to be previously) Previously, htpcBeginner is was hosted on GoDaddy's Deluxe Linux hosting plan. I was confused on whether to go with a VPS solution or a manage WP hosting site such as Synthesis or WPEngine. My first test was with Synthesis. But then I stumbled upon Digital Ocean and was wowed in a matter of minutes. In this post, I present a simple comparison of GoDaddy vs Synthesis vs Digital Ocean that I made to help myself choose hosting company.
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GoDaddy vs Synthesis vs Digital Ocean Test Setup
For this comparison I used my WordPress 3.9 setup with 26 plugins enabled. W3 Total Cache was active with Page, Browser, and Object Cache enabled. Google Adsense ads were disabled for this comparison. The hosting environments I compared were:
- GoDaddy Deluxe Linux Hosting - ~$5 per month
- WebSynthesis Starter - $27 per month
- Digital Ocean's $5 Plan - $5 per month
In terms of price, its obvious that both GoDaddy and Digital Ocean are unbeatable. But with htpcBeginner getting more and more visitors, will Synthesis offer the speed and reliability for the price? That was the question I wanted to find the answer for.
Pingdom Speed Test Results
Now, one thing to keep in mind is that I have no clue where GoDaddy's and Synthesis's servers are located. But my Digital Ocean server was located in New York and the Pingdom tests below were from a New York based server. Assuming that both GoDaddy and Synthesis servers are located outside New York, this gives an edge to Digital Ocean in GoDaddy vs Synthesis vs Digital Ocean speed comparison.
After several hours of tweaking and half-heartedly removing/replacing some of my favorite WordPress plugin, I was able to achieve a close to 1 second page load speed for my homepage on GoDaddy. The load speed for posts were about 500 ms more. Even then, for a shared hosting account a 1 second load time is amazing. [Read: 5 blogging mistakes I made when I started this blog]
Synthesis offers a 30 day trial with money back. So I decided to try it and see if managed WordPress would work for me. I have to say, I was extremely impressed with Synthesis's support. If you do not know much about hosting and servers and would like to just focus on producing content, and let them manage the server issues then one should definitely consider Synthesis. It was obviously faster than GoDaddy with only Page Cache and Browser cache enabled on W3 Total Cache.
Synthesis's moto is content origin optimization instead of edge caching techniques such as CDN. But they do not recommend minification, object cache, or a CDN. In my opinion, while this is a good moto, in the end what counts is how fast your page loads. For me the 400% higher hosting cost with limited flexibility as to what I could or could not do with my hosting space and only decent increase in page load speed did not feel so good at this point.
I was seriously considering a VPS solution from Linode until I accidentally stumbled upon Digital Ocean. It is safe to say that I
will be moving moved to Digital Ocean very shortly - Digital Ocean vs Synthesis – 10 reasons why I chose Digital Ocean VPS . The most impressive part for me what I got for just $5 month - basically unlimited possibilities. Even better, register here and get $10 credit - that is 2 months free to test them out. (Alternatively, try Vultr - better hardware and performance (for $5 per month) and get $20 credit).
In less than 5 min after opening account I had a Ubuntu Server 14.04 with LAMP setup and ready to go. That is impressive. The same WordPress blog loaded in just about 600 ms on Digital Ocean.
I could achieve this with their very basic plan without any major dent in resource usage (512 MB RAM and 1 CPU). Again, with minification and CDN I could possibly reduce the load time a little bit more.
Digital Ocean It Is
So for me, at this point, Digital Ocean is the clear winner. And if you are a Linux enthusiast like me, I bet that you will enjoy the flexibility a VPS offers more than a regular hosting plan or a managed WordPress hosting. Apart from the noticeably higher page load speed, I now have a fully functional Virtual Private Server with Ubuntu 14.04 that I could use to host unlimited websites, run a VPN server, run my own anonymous proxy server, backup my files how I want and when I want, etc...the possibilities are endless. I could even run CouchPotato and SickBeard and pass the NZBs and Torrents to my download station at home. And all for $5 a month. Here is the another tidbit, you are only charged for the hours you use. So you could end up paying less than $5 a month. And if my needs grows its as simple as resizing my "droplet". So for now, my quest for a better hosting space to accommodate my growing needs lead to a comparison of GoDaddy vs Synthesis vs Digital Ocean and ended with me drooling all over Digital Ocean. Hope my experience helps you in your quest.