Cloud-based hosting services have become a popular choice for businesses as they offer multiple hosting configurations and affordable pricing to suit various needs. Among the top providers is DigitalOcean, who were named to the Forbes 2017 Cloud 100 List. As one of the fastest-growing and highest-ranking cloud providers, DigitalOcean’s main focus is on developer’s needs. They stand out on price, simplicity and performance.
Having said that, many users prefer one provider over another depending on their needs. For this reason, we are going to suggest five DigitalOcean alternatives that offer a similar platform.
DigitalOcean Alternativesfor Cloud Hosting
23 February 2018
Cloud-based Hosting Services
If you’re not familiar with cloud hosting, this service uses a virtual interface to host your website or app on a cluster of servers. Basically, this means that your hosting provider pulls resources from a network of servers instead of just hosting your data on one single server. This can be beneficial for the following reasons:
- Reliability – Limited downtime due to multiple servers.
- Scalability – Resources are available in real-time. If you experience a spike in website traffic, the resources are easily added to accommodate this. Furthermore, you only pay for what you use.
- Security – The service has clamped down on security threats.
What is DigitalOcean and what we are going to compare it with
DigitalOcean is a cloud hosting provider that offers simple cloud server configurations which they call “Droplets”. With its main target market being developers, each droplet comes at an affordable price and users can choose to pay by the hour or via a monthly subscription.
Nonetheless, there are various reasons one would want an alternative host.
When choosing a provider, it’s important to consider your needs. For example, in a value-for-money comparison between top cloud hosting providers and small players, each provider came out on top for various needs.
Today, we’ll compare five DigitalOcean alternatives:
1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)
2. Amazon Lightsail
Why do we choose the most popular DigitalOcean configuration 4GB RAM, 2vCPU, 80 GB SSD for price comparison
Due to different pricing models, many find it difficult to make equal price comparisons. In order to make an apple-to-apple comparison, we take DigitalOcean’s most popular configuration and compare it with similar offerings from AWS, Amazon Lightsail, Linode, Vultr and Heroku. Also, take note that prices change regularly. This is simply to highlight what you’re getting with each provider.
Here is DigitalOcean’s most popular configuration:
- 4 GB Memory
- 2 vCPUs
- 80 GB SSD Disk
- 4 TBTransfer
“Teams” feature fosters easy collaboration between team members and also streamlines processes.
SSD Block Storage – easily add additional storage to your droplets as needed.
Load balancing will help distribute traffic to ensure optimal performance.
Auto Scaling – adjust capacity automatically and maintain a steady performance at a low cost.
Elastic Load Balancing – increase the fault tolerance of your applications.
Elastic Block Store – provides SSD block storage to protect you from component failure.
SSD Block Storage to add additional storage without a need for reboot.
The fastest Intel E5 Processors for superior performance.
40Gbit Network right through with multiple levels of redundancy.
Simple horizontal scalability to easily add more dynos (containers) to your application.
Dedicated build servers for building application dependencies to prevent memory capacity problems.
150+ Add ons that can help you add more features and functionalities.
100% Intel Cores that guarantee consistent performance.
Deployment automation – by using the snapshot feature, you can automate your deployments.
Root administrator access included with all VMs.
High-performing SSD-based block storage so you can easily add additional storage as needed.
Powerful API that allows you to integrate your applications with other applications.
Simplified load balancing to keep your applications highly available.
DigitalOcean vs other Cloud Hosting Services
DigitalOcean vs AWS
DigitalOcean vs AWS is often referred to as the David and Goliath of hosting providers. Like David, DigitalOcean has risen to become a supreme contender in the cloud space. However, there are still major differences between the two and knowing which audience each platform targets will help you make a better choice.
AWS is a platform for every use case which DigitalOcean cannot contend with. From content delivery to data warehousing, the platform has over 50 services available. You can pick nearly any cloud service you need with this platform.
If simplicity is what you’re looking for, DigitalOcean is the way to go. They offer a simple setup and basic services for small developers who need to quickly build a small high-performance instance.
In regards to price, DigitalOcean comes out on top. Their most popular droplet (4 GB memory, 2 core processor, 80GB SSD disk, 4TB transfer) costs $0.030/hr or $20/month. On Amazon’s EC2 platform, the closest equivalent is a “T2 instance” which starts at $0.0058 per hour, almost double that of DigitalOcean.
Lastly, it’s important to note that AWS offers Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service) and Paas (Platform as a Service). Paas comes in handy when there are multiple developers working on the same project and if you want to create your own customizable applications.
DigitalOcean vs Linode
As one of the pioneers of the cloud space, Linode is well known for their excellent support and service quality. But although DigitalOcean (DO) was only established in 2011, it has quickly risen to become a strong contender.
Unlike AWS vs DO, DigitalOcean vs Linode is more of an apple-for-apple comparison in terms of their offerings and prices. When comparing features, both providers have load balancing, SSD block storage and backups. The biggest differentiator between the two providers is Linode’s managed servers. If you don’t want to manage your own updates, maintenance and more, Linode is a better option.
Furthermore, Linode’s interface has more advanced features such as LongView, which shows real-time graphs that can help expose performance problems. Having said that, if you have no experience running a virtual server, DigitalOcean’s simple platform works better.
In terms of price, DigitalOcean’s most popular plan of $20/month gets you 4 GB RAM, 2 vCPUs, 80GB storage and 4TB transfer. On the other hand, for $20/month, Linode gives you 32GB less storage and 1TB less transfer. Another factor to consider is taxes. Linode does not charge any taxes while DigitalOcean calculates taxes in certain regions. For example, if you are a non-business European customer, you will pay approximately 20% taxes above the original price.
DigitalOcean vs Heroku
Heroku has been around for ages and has had a long time to mature. They offer Paas (Platform as a Service) while DigitalOcean offers Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service). As mentioned before, this means that with Heroku, your server is managed by them, while with DigitalOcean you have an unmanaged server.
Heroku’s interface is beginner-friendly and users can set up their applications in under two minutes. They also have dedicated servers for building app dependencies that prevent memory capacity problems.
Next, let’s have a look at how the two compare on cost. To effectively compare costs, you must understand how Heroku’s pricing model works. Heroku makes use of dynos which generally contain 512MB of RAM each. One dyno would effectively allow 50 users to access the API at one time. With their free tier, you will get one dyno. You can easily add more dynos, but it starts becoming expensive when you leave their free tier. While DigitalOcean would charge you $20/month for 4GB RAM, Heroku’s pricing can easily go up to $500/month.
Overall, Heroku is a great choice for startups who want to quickly get their applications up and running by using the free tier. If you want a fully customizable application, DigitalOcean is the better choice.
DigitalOcean vs Vultr
DigitalOcean and Vultr are similar hosting providers in terms of features. They both offer unmanaged SSD-based VPS solutions. However, when you dig deeper, you can see the major differences.
For starters, Upscaling and downscaling is easy with DigitalOcean and both cost the same, but with Vultr, you can scale up but you can’t scale down. You’ll have to create a new server and move everything manually.
In terms of price, DigitalOcean offers 4GB RAM, 2vCPU, 80 GB SSD and 4TB Transfer for $20. Vultr offers the same for $20 as well. When looking at their prices at face value, you may think they’re identical, however, if you unpack it, differences start to show.
Vultr offers DDoS protection with their packages at a flat rate of $10 , while DigitalOcean doesn’t. This means that if you choose DigitalOcean as your provider, you must get your protection via a third party software like Cloudflare. Although Cloudflare has a free plan, you may want to go for one of their paid plans to get superior protection. This will cost you a minimum of $20 per month. This immediately makes DigitalOcean more expensive.
The last thing to note about DigitalOcean is their lack of bandwidth monitoring. At the time of this post, they don’t charge you if a server/droplet exceeds the bandwidth limit. They have stated that this will change in future so keep an eye out for that. Vultr charges 1 cent per GB in Western Europe and North America, 2.5 cents per GB in Singapore and Tokyo, and 5 cents per GB in Sydney.
DigitalOcean vs Lightsail
With the launch of Lightsail in 2016, Amazon wants to compete with more established VPS providers like DigitalOcean and Linode. Amazon Lightsail is almost identical to DigitalOcean’s offering. They both offer CPU, RAM, SSD storage and bandwidth. Both platforms are built for developers and have similar pricing models, however, Lightsail comes out more expensive than DigitalOcean. But before we get into the pricing discussion, let’s have a look at the main difference in their features.
Both providers virtually offer the same thing. Perhaps Lightsail’s greatest selling point is having the largest network of data centers in the world which keeps expanding. This gives users greater proximity to their servers. At the time of this post, DigitalOcean has data centers in New York City (3), San Francisco (2), Singapore (1), London (1), Amsterdam (2), Frankfurt (1), Toronto (1) and Bangalore (1).
Finally, let’s get down to the pricing comparison. For their 4GB plan, you will pay $40 per month with Lightsail as opposed to $20 per month with DigitalOcean. Perhaps the premium is justified if you consider the fact that Lightsail is part of the AWS umbrella which is often referred to as a “cloud monster”. Lightsail can “peer” with AWS. This means you can connect to AWS resources such as an Amazon RDS database, through virtual private cloud (VPC) peering.
Additional storage currently costs $10/month per 100GB with both providers.
In this article, we have compared the top five DigitalOcean alternatives in terms of features and price. While these providers have similar offers, choosing one over another depends on your needs.
Overall, AWS cannot be compared with the other cloud hosting providers as they don’t offer the same thing. A better comparison would be with Amazon Lightsail, which, having the same features as DigitalOcean, has still proven to be superior due to its affiliation with AWS. Furthermore, the platform works for every use case. Typical uses cases can include:
- Small, disposable servers for Proof of Concept (PoC) of larger projects
- Tests servers for small teams
- Departmental servers for non-IT business units
If pricing is a concern, however, AWS services may be too expensive for you. You can still get what you’re looking for with the other providers. For example, Linode and Vultr both offer block storage, which is designed for big data analytics and data warehousing applications