Digital ocean vs Hostgator speed test. Am I missing something?

June 24, 2015 3.8k views


I have just migrated over one of my WP sites and have done a speed test.
Digital Ocean seems to be a lot slow than Hostgator. Any reason for this? Am I missing something?

  • Results

    Hostgator - baby plan
    (shared with 351 other sites)
    load time seconds:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands 4.62
    Dallas, Texas, USA 2.28
    Melbourne, Australia 5.05
    New York City, New York, USA 2.45
    San Jose, California, USA 1.56
    Stockholm, Sweden 5.75
    Average 3.618333333

    Digital ocean droplet
    size: $10 plan - 1gb ram, etc
    load time seconds
    Amsterdam, Netherlands 5.5
    Dallas, Texas, USA 4.67
    Melbourne, Australia 3.86
    New York City, New York, USA 4.13
    San Jose, California, USA 4.31
    Stockholm, Sweden 5.12
    Average 4.598333333

    Tool used
    Yes I used pingdom tools.


    HTTP Server
    no idea whether nginx or apache.
    serverpilot.io used to install the server

    Server optimisation
    I have not done any. But aren’t I comparing apples to apples here?
    I am assuming that hostgator and digital ocean are setup the same.
    If I go an optimise DO, I may as well optimise HG and get even better load times.

    Conclusions I have made:
    I think Singapore is all round a bad choice for a droplet. I chose it as I have a few other domains that are Australian but I think bulk majority of traffic will come from the US, so I will just delete my droplet and remigrate to NY I think. I will then retest.

  • Update:
    after creating a droplet in singapore anf getting poor load times I switched to California. here are the results:

    digital ocean droplet
    size: $10 plan - 1gb ram, etc
    load time seconds

    Amsterdam, Netherlands 3.48
    Dallas, Texas, USA 1.54
    Melbourne, Australia 5.43
    New York City, New York, USA 1.5
    San Jose, California, USA 0.682
    Stockholm, Sweden 3.39
    Average 2.670333333

5 Answers

Hi Ryan, ok - let's see:

  • you are on a shared server with hostgator and renting a VPS at DO is basically the same. You have just one of many droplets running on the same server. However, hostgator optimized their servers already for end customers which is good for "one-size-fits-all" performance but here at DO you are the developer, meaning you not only "have to" optimize the server yourself - you can also do it much better. You can follow some tutorials here to pull this off - I'd recommend a LEMP stack with Ubuntu 14.04 since most tutorials seem to cover ubuntu. Once you managed that, look into "memcached" and "varnish" - it takes some effort to read up on all of this but it's well worth the effort (on a low budget). If you want the best performance possible, don't do any work yourself and don't mind spending $30/month stop reading and go straight to wpengine.com (currently regarded as the best)

  • I also started out with serverpilot but quickly outgrew it. if you want to do things yourself then it's hard to follow most tutorials since serverpilot changes where certain files are located and how to manipulate them. since SSL integration also cost extra I wouldn't recommend them (except for total beginners). The only upside is that they keep your server secure - they don't make it noticably faster (last time I checked). bottom line, if you're serious about performance ditch them

  • you are right about singapore. I've read some other reports from DO customers who complained about performance in this datacenter. I think this is the main reason for your bad speed results. once you're back in NY things should look brighter

But wait - I saved the best for last - here's a shameless copy of the secret sauce formula wpengine (mentioned above) uses: go to github.com/zach-adams/hgv-deploy-full and follow the instructions.
If you manage to install this, your server should be superfast and capable of handling lots of traffic

have a nice one :)

  • hey thanks for the in-depth and awesome response @sugarhill!
    I greatly appreciate it.

    I migrated my droplet to California and it seems to be performing much better than Singapore on average. It also now beats HostGator with no optimisation, so I am excited to see how far I can push it. Right now though, as long as it is quicker I am happy with that.

    Once i am getting over 10k clicks I will optimise the server. Right now I need traffic, cash and time, so server pilot will do. Just like you I will outgrow serverpilot and optimise in 6 or 12 months I think.

    None the less, I am glad digital ocean pulled through with faster load times, even without optimisation. It means its going to be blazingly fast when I get round to optimising it.

    Thanks for the help and time you put into your response.

    ... and good luck to all those other webmasters out there who are migrating across. It's worth it!

You need to provide more details to get an answer:

  1. what service did you use to do the speed test? pingdom tools?
  2. where is the speed test server located?
  3. where is your hostgator server located?
  4. what kind of server did you rent at hostgator? dedicated or shared server with x sites on it?
  5. where is your digitalocean droplet located?
  6. what size is your digitalocean droplet?
  7. what kind of app is running on your droplet? wordpress?
  8. are you using nginx or apache?
  9. did you do any server optimization on your droplet at all?
  10. ...I could go on but if you know the answers to most of these questions we should get a better idea what exactly seems to slow you down

best regards

hey @sugarhill, I have updated the thread with the details you requested.

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