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A Light Benchmark of Hetzner's 512MB VPS

Virtual Private Servers are always a trade-off as you're never getting access to the raw metal.

The Hetzner VPS

The Hetzner VPS range has a few key advantages to consider over other VPS providers such as Linode or Amazon EC2.

  • Competitive pricing (especially if you're not European and don't need to pay the 19% VAT)
  • Memory, disk and transfer well above the competition
  • Transfer is 100Mbit/s until you hit your bandwidth cap at which point it falls to 10Mbit/s

For the benchmarks below, I'm testing on the vServer VQ 7 which features:

  • 512MB of RAM
  • 20GB hard drive
  • 1TB of transfer (incoming / internal traffic not counted)
  • Single CPU (3074Mhz according to /proc/cpuinfo)
  • Price tag of 7,90 Euro (including 19% VAT)

The benchmarks below are to give you a general idea of the performance of the VPS. Noisy neighbors can have a significant impact on performance and these tests do not run long enough to show their possible impact.


Activation all occurred fairly quickly and cleanly, especially when you factor in the difference in time between Sydney, Australia and Nuremberg, Germany (-8 hours). Strangely though, they did request a passport scan at the start of the sign-up process. If you're a maniacal super-villain you'd best have your fake passport handy.

  • Order request made: (13:16 Sydney → 5:16 Nuremberg)
  • Request for passport: (17:31 Sydney → 9:31 Nuremberg)
  • Sent passport scan to Hetzner (18:24 Sydney → 10:24 Nuremberg)
  • Server access details received (20:33 Sydney → 12:33 Nuremberg)

Bandwidth Test

The bandwidth test from cachefly indicates it can essentially max out the 100Mbit/s network card (10.9M/s → 87 megabits/s).

smerity@Ubuntu-1110-oneiric-64-minimal:~$ wget http://cachefly.cachefly.net/100mb.test
--2012-04-12 15:56:29--  http://cachefly.cachefly.net/100mb.test
Resolving cachefly.cachefly.net...
Connecting to cachefly.cachefly.net||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 104857600 (100M) [application/octet-stream]
Saving to: `100mb.test'
100%[================================================>] 104,857,600 10.8M/s in 9.4s
2012-04-12 15:56:38 (10.9 MB/s) - `100mb.test' saved [104857600/104857600]

Redis Benchmark

When viewing these benchmarks, note that the Hetzner VPS only has a single CPU. Whilst Redis only takes advantage of a single core, it needs to share that with the Redis benchmarking program as well, which will likely severly impede the benchmark results.

smerity@Ubuntu-1110-oneiric-64-minimal:~/redis-2.4.10/src$ ./redis-benchmark -q -n 100000
PING_INLINE: 52056.22 requests per second
PING_BULK: 51948.05 requests per second
SET: 61462.82 requests per second
GET: 57903.88 requests per second
INCR: 64102.57 requests per second
LPUSH: 66050.20 requests per second
LPOP: 60532.69 requests per second
SADD: 60204.70 requests per second
SPOP: 49091.80 requests per second
LPUSH (needed to benchmark LRANGE): 59453.03 requests per second
LRANGE_100 (first 100 elements): 18433.18 requests per second
LRANGE_300 (first 300 elements): 9101.67 requests per second
LRANGE_500 (first 450 elements): 8402.66 requests per second
LRANGE_600 (first 600 elements): 6651.59 requests per second
MSET (10 keys): 37907.50 requests per second

Hard drive speed tests

smerity@Ubuntu-1110-oneiric-64-minimal:~$ dd if=/dev/zero of=test bs=64k count=16k conv=fdatasync
16384+0 records in
16384+0 records out
1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 12.6352 s, 85.0 MB/s

smerity@Ubuntu-1110-oneiric-64-minimal:~/redis-2.4.10/src$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda
 Timing cached reads:   17996 MB in  2.00 seconds = 9007.04 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads: 514 MB in  3.02 seconds = 170.12 MB/sec


I'm happy with the VPS as it currently stands. The price is low enough to be an "impulse buy" and as long as you can live with a slightly hindered CPU it will do everything you need of it. Hetzner is especially tempting if you can use RAM to achieve reasonable performance (Linode's 512MB VPS is around the same price as Hetzner's 2GB VPS) but it really depends on your machine's workload.