How Akamai Linode helped me find a better hosting deal

Posted by Orville Bennett on 16 February 2024
Read time: about 6 minutes

While writing up my previous post on fixing a terrible Apple Mail bug, I stumbled into a rant. It blossomed from a throwaway line, to become a reference, which turned into a paragraph, and finally birthed a full blown post. So here it is. My explanation of why I moved on from Linode's really quite good hosting, and why, perhaps, you should too.

To start, this is not a story about how terrible Linode as a company is, or how horrible their service has become under Akamai stewardship. What's that you say? You didn't know that Akamai acquired Linode a few years ago? Yeah man, for almost a whole Instagram. Congrats to caker on the exit1 by the way.

Akamai acquired Linode in early 2022 and the quality of their service has largely remained the same. Which is good, because it was great. Linode still has great customer service. For me though, moving to another hosting provider was all about the Benjamins. As a small business owner I am determined to not pay more than I need to for cloud services. Partly because I resell those services to others, but also because I actually pride myself on offering customers great value for the money they pay.

The Problem

Unfortunately, Linode raised their prices on all their plans, except for the cheapest at $5 per month ($5/mo). I was using their $10/mo (2 GB RAM/1 CPU) plan, but went to two $5/mo plans (1 GB RAM/1 CPU). This worked fine for a while until I noticed that my mail stack actually used up > 1GB of RAM. Not a whole lot more, but enough that it was consistently hitting up against to new limit. That's when I decided to see what else was on offer in the hosting space.

Turns out, not a lot, unless you're willing to look overseas. And then, you'll be spoiled for choice. Another one of my reasons for switching is that the operating system I had been using with Linode wasn't directly supported. I used FreeBSD via custom image installations and, while it still worked, I'd been nervous about Linode getting rid of that functionality since the Akamai acquisition. Worried that business streamlining would not bode well for my chosen operating system, I decided that I should come up with a plan B, just in case, after the acquisition.

Then a year later, the price increases were announced. After the increases, instead of paying $120/year for a 2GB RAM/ 1 CPU linode, I would have payed $144/year. $24 more, per year, for no appreciable increase in value is not how I role. I get that you're a business, but so am I, and now you're cutting into my margins. In addition to raising prices,2 they only gave 30 days notice about the change. That definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.

30 days is not nearly enough time to vet a new provider (if you decided that moving is something you wanted to do) and test their service. The price increase, my use of non-standard images, and the short amount of time they were giving loyal users3 to transition to the new pricing, led me to actively look elsewhere. That's not the Linode service I had come to know and love. That more than anything (one year later) let me know the guard had changed.

Now, we were no longer partners at different levels of the tech stack, trying to provide customers with great value. We were two companies in a business relationship, so I made a business move (no hard feelings).

Having decided to go looking earnestly at other providers I ended up testing a German company - Hetzner.4 I chose a plan from them that offered 2 GB RAM/2 CPUs for €4.35 (let's call it ~ $4.70). That's a great value! A whole other Gig of RAM and extra CPU at less than the price Linode's cheapest plan. And that wasn't even their cheapest plan. In fact, if I wasn't so attached to my IPv4 addresses I could have gotten that plan for less. I evaluated Hetzner for about 3 months, shutting down one of my $5/mo linodes and instead managing that infrastructure on Hetnzer. And honestly, it was great. No complaints about the service really.

They have a good UI for their control panel, good account security via support for time-based one time passwords (TOTP), servers located in the US, and FreeBSD (after jumping through some hoops). I didn't stop looking there though. I kept looking. Because I'm cheap resourceful.

I found another (German) company that was even cheaper! I'm not ready to say who yet, as their customer service has been terrible thus far, their control panel has a poor UI, and I'm not sure if I'll be staying with them, or switching back to Hetzner. Their actual cloud service though: they set them up quickly and have good network speeds and, unlike Hetzner have FreeBSD images available. I'm still in the evaluation phase, but I'm committed to using them for at least a year, which is how I got the awesome numbers I'm about to share below.

The One

Let's talk numbers then. Remember how I would be paying $144/year with Linode for 2 GB RAM/1 CPU. With the new hosting provider I now have two separate VPS's. One Linux and the other FreeBSD, both with 8 GB RAM. Total cost: $143.76/year. For that price I get (8x) more RAM, and (4x) more CPU cores. Give me more value, and I have no problem paying more money.

This is the way.

Should you go looking to switch hosting providers from Linode? I think so. It took me about 9 months to be sure, but I wondered if there were better deals out there and there sure were. If you have an aspect of Linode's service that you are unsatisfied with it only makes sense to see what else is available. But one thing I have not seen in all my travels is anything that beats Linode's customer service. If that is your primary concern and you don't want to compromise on it by all means: pay for it. That is the value Linode brings.


Although technically this isn't an exit because Linode has never taken any venture capital funding.


Raising prices is actually counter to how Linode operated beforehand. Instead they used to announce upgrading plans.


I have invoices going back to March 2012, when I happily paid $20/mo for a 512MB linode. The value was there.


That is a referral link.