DigitalOcean is one of the most popular providers of cloud hosting services in the world. Designed with developers in mind, its optimized configuration process greatly simplifies the deployment and scaling of cloud resources, removing most of the barriers developers traditionally had to overcome when going from zero to global.
But the competition is so fierce in the cloud hosting space that even long-term DigitalOcean customers have begun eyeing DigitalOcean alternatives, discovering that some of them offer better support, cheaper pricing, support for more operating systems, and even improved performance. Regardless of if you’ve been with DigitalOcean for many years or have never used it before, our comparison of DigitalOcean alternatives will help you decide which cloud hosting service is the best for you.
DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider, which means that it offers computing infrastructure to users and organizations, including servers, network connections, storage, and various value-added features. DigitalOcean’s customers are expected to know how to take advantage of the provided infrastructure to power their websites and applications.
That’s why shared web hosting services such as Bluehost, HostGator, or GoDaddy aren’t really its competitors. Instead, DigitalOcean competes with other cloud infrastructure providers, some of which use consumption-based pricing models, while others rely on subscription models.
Virtually all reputable cloud infrastructure providers offer a service-level agreement (SLA) that specifies precise levels of service and the compensation the user is entitled to should the provider fail to meet them. DigitalOcean provides a 99.99% uptime SLA for both Droplets and block storage, and it refunds lost time back to customers’ accounts at the hourly rate incurred. If a provider guarantees availability of less than 99.99%, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the provider will actually be less reliable. All it means is that you’re less likely to receive compensation for downtime.
With 16 locations worldwide and an entirely SSD-based infrastructure, Vultr stands out as the best DigitalOcean alternative for those who are looking for high-performance cloud hosting that won’t break their bank.
As one of only a few cloud hosting providers in the world, Vultr offers a 100% host node and network uptime guarantee, and it gives outage credits in the event its availability falls below 100%. For example, if you experience over 7 hours of downtime, you will receive 672 credits from Vultr, which essentially translate into 672 hours of free service.
Depending on what your goals are, you can either take advantage of Vultr’s one-click deploy feature and deploy a server of any size in any location and with any operating system with just one click, or you can use Vultr’s API and bring automation to the forefront of your business. Vultr’s API is well documented, and the company has put together a throve of resources and tutorials to get its customers up to speed as quickly as possible. For more information about Vultr, read our in-depth DigitalOcean vs Vultr comparison.
Linode is a high-performance provider of Linux servers running on SSDs and connected to a 40 Gbps network. At the time of writing, Linode has around 800,000 customers, and its Twitter testimonials praise its 24/7 customer support, which can be contacted over the phone, on the Linode IRC channel, and via email. Regardless of whether your problem is technical or otherwise, you can always expect to get an accurate answer in a matter of minutes.
Those who want to get the most out of their Linode subscription plan can purchase various add-ons, which include GPU instances, backups, block storage, node balancers, and professional services. All add-ons can be conveniently managed from the Linode Manager, whose features are exposed by the Linode API. Alternatively, Linode nodes, or Linodes for short, can be managed from the Linode CLI, a simple command-line interface to the Linode platform.
Cloudways deserves one of the top spots on our list of DigitalOcean alternatives because it provides a managed cloud hosting solution that runs on the servers of third-party cloud hosting providers, including DigitalOcean, Google, Amazon, and Vultr. Cloudways gives everyone the ability to make the cloud their home, and it’s especially great for those who would like to focus on what they do best and leave hosting-related issues to experts.
There’s no need to sign a contract to use Cloudways because you pay only for the resources you actually consume. Included in every plan are free SSL certificates, free migration for your first website, 24/7 customer support, and unlimited applications. Cloudways has its own WordPress caching plugin, called Breeze, which comes pre-installed on Cloudways and promises better WordPress performance than any other similar plugin, making this cloud hosting solution a great choice for WordPress sites.
Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 are two popular cloud services offered by Amazon Web Services. The former provides object storage through a web service interface, while the latter provides secure, scalable compute capacity in the cloud. Together, they allow developers to launch web applications at any scale, with minimal friction, and without any upfront commitments. Being the largest cloud provider in the world, Amazon has enough resources to satisfy the needs of Netflix, Twitch, LinkedIn, Facebook, BBC, Baidu, and many other large customers who depend on it every day.
With Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2, you always pay only for the resources you actually use, which is ideal for web applications with unpredictable workloads. The biggest downside of the pay-as-you-go approach is that it can be somewhat difficult to control costs and prevent budget overruns. The good news is that it’s possible to get started with Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 for free and stay within the free tier for as long as you want.
Owned by Salesforce, Heroku is a cloud platform as a service (PaaS) that allows developers to easily deploy, manage, and scale cloud applications. It supports Node.js, Ruby, Java, PHP, Python, Go, Scala, and Clojure, making it a polyglot platform. Because Heroku is fully managed and integrates data services, it brings an app-centric approach to software delivery that helps even smaller teams of developers achieve great things.
Heroku further accelerates app development by providing an ecosystem of code, tools, and services via the Heroku Elements Marketplace. Currently, there are over 150 add-on services available, providing an easy way how to extend functionality and centralized control. Heroku Buildpacks are customizable scripts for compiling applications on the Heroku platform, and they give developers the freedom to use the language and framework that best meets their requirements.
Amazon Lightsail directly competes with DigitalOcean and other affordable cloud hosting services by providing virtual servers, storage, databases, and networking for a low, predictable price. Unlike Amazon S3, EC2, and many other Amazon Web Services, Lightsail bundles all the resources you need into a single, simple price so that you always know what the final price will be. You can choose between a standard or high-availability plan, depending on how much use you have for extra instances for redundancy or failovers. SSD-backed storage, instance and disk snapshots, and load balancers are available as optional extras.
Compared with DigitalOcean and other DigitalOcean alternatives, Lightsail stands out with its fantastic performance provided by the AWS Global Infrastructure. The AWS Cloud spans 22 geographic regions around the world, and it’s designed to enable uninterrupted performance even in the event of large-scale natural disasters, such as major earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods.
If you like the idea of running your web application on the same infrastructure that Google uses to run Google Search or YouTube, Google Cloud is the right DigitalOcean alternative for you. Google’s customers include Bloomberg, Deloitte, eBay, HTC, Dow Jones, The Home Depot, Airbus, Ticketmaster, and many other multinational companies with customers around the world. Google Cloud has solutions that cover infrastructure modernization, data management, application development, smart business analytics and AI, productivity and work transformation, and more.
Just Amazon AWS, Google Cloud uses a pay-as-you-go pricing model that lets you innovate and save money at the same time. If you ever decide to stop using DigitalOcean alternative, you can simply stop paying without worrying about termination fees because there aren’t any. Likewise, there are no upfront costs, and you can actually get $300 to spend on Google Cloud just for signing up.
Microsoft first released its cloud hosting platform in 2010, and it has since then extended it to include over 600 Azure services that cover compute, storage, mobile, data management, messaging, media, machine learning, software development, the Internet of Things, and more. Azure has data centers in 54 regions, which is significantly more than even Amazon. Thanks to its global footprint, Azure is available in 140 countries and offers up to 1.6 Pbps of bandwidth in a region.
Those who are looking for an alternative to DigitalOcean should take a closer look at Azure Virtual Machines, which can feature up to 128 vCPUs and 6 TB of memory. Each virtual machine can take advantage up to 30 Gbps Ethernet and 100 Gbps InfiniBand networks, and there are now thousands of applications in the Azure marketplace, all ready for instant deployment. You can even install whole virtual machine images with a simple click and save yourself a lot of time and effort.
Kamatera is a high-performance, high-availability, limitless-scalability cloud hosting service with 24-hours a day, 7-days a week personal assistance. Its clients include mainly small and medium-sized businesses, but its infrastructure can support even large enterprises. Kamatera has several data centers located in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Kamatera users can deploy a Windows or Linux cloud server in any available location and enjoy N+1 redundancy resilience, low total cost of ownership, and instant scaling of cloud resources.
Compared with other DigitalOcean alternatives, it’s clear that Kamatera targets primarily business customers. While other cloud hosting services mentioned in this article do what they can to make cloud accessible to everyone, Kamatera knows its target audience and understands what it values.
Recently acquired by GoDaddy, WebFaction is a cloud hosting service that targets developers and offers them full shell access to fast servers pre-installed with a hardened configuration of CentOS 7, a community-supported Linux distribution compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, its upstream source. Even though WebFaction doesn’t have the same mass appeal as DigitalOcean, it offers a very compelling cloud hosting service with fast CPUs, enterprise SSD storage, world-class datacenters, and network.
All WebFaction servers are fully managed, which means that you don’t have to worry about their maintenance and patching. You can simply install your favorite applications like WordPress or Node.js using WebFaction’s one-click and enjoy your worry-free cloud hosting.
DigitalOcean Cheaper Alternative
The above-listed DigitalOcean alternatives can be divided into two groups:
- Pay-as-you-go alternatives
- Subscription-based alternatives
DigitalOcean itself uses a predictable subscription-based pricing model, offering multiple plans to choose from and several optional add-ons.
Here’s an overview of DigitalOcean subscription plans:
|1 GB||1 CPU core||1 TB||25 GB||$5/mo ($0.007/hr)|
|2 GB||1 CPU core||2 TB||50 GB||$10/mo ($0.015/hr)|
|3 GB||1 CPU core||3 TB||60 GB||$15/mo ($0.022/hr)|
|2 GB||2 CPU cores||3 TB||60 GB||$15/mo ($0.022/hr)|
|1 GB||3 CPU cores||3 TB||60 GB||$15/mo ($0.022/hr)|
|4 GB||2 CPU cores||4 TB||80 GB||$20/mo ($0.030/hr)|
|8 GB||4 CPU cores||5 TB||160 GB||$40/mo ($0.060/hr)|
|16 GB||6 CPU cores||6 TB||320 GB||$80/mo ($0.119/hr)|
|32 GB||8 CPU cores||7 TB||640 GB||$160/mo ($0.238/hr)|
|48 GB||12 CPU cores||8 TB||960 GB||$240/mo ($0.357/hr)|
|64 GB||16 CPU cores||9 TB||1,280 GB||$320/mo ($0.476/hr)|
|96 GB||20 CPU cores||10 TB||1,920 GB||$480/mo ($0.714/hr)|
|128 GB||24 CPU cores||11 TB||2,560 GB||$640/mo ($0.952/hr)|
|192 GB||32 CPU cores||12 TB||3,840 GB||$960/mo ($1.429/hr)|
If you enjoy the predictable nature of DigitalOcean subscription plans, you should avoid pay-as-you-go cloud hosting services, such as Amazon S3 & EC2, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, like a plague. Unless you know exactly what your usage is and are 100% sure that you can prevent cost wastage, pay-as-you-go cloud hosting services are a great way how to exceed your budget and spend your days and nights watching billable metrics such as burstable credits and cleaning up your overspend.
That leaves us with subscription-based cloud hosting services like Vultr and Linode. Here’s on overview of the plans offered by these two DigitalOcean alternatives:
|Vultr 512 MB (IPv6 only)||512 MB||1 CPU core||0.5 TB||10 GB||$2.50/mo ($0.004/mo)|
|Vultr 512 MB||512 MB||1 CPU core||0.5 TB||10 GB||$3.50/mo ($0.005/mo)|
|Vultr 1 GB||1 GB||1 CPU core||1 TB||25 GB||$5/mo ($0.007/h)|
|Linode 1 GB||1 GB||1 CPU core||1 TB||25 GB||$5/mo ($0.0075/h)|
|Vultr 2 GB||2 GB||1 CPU core||2 TB||55 GB||$10/mo ($0.015/h)|
|Linode 2 GB||2 GB||1 CPU core||2 TB||50 GB||$10/mo ($0.015/h)|
|Vultr 4 GB||4 GB||2 CPU cores||3 TB||80 GB||$20/mo ($0.030/h)|
|Linode 4 GB||4 GB||2 CPU cores||4 TB||80 GB||$20/mo ($0.030/h)|
|Vultr 8 GB||8 GB||4 CPU cores||4 TB||160 GB||$40/mo ($0.060/h)|
|Linode 8 GB||8 GB||4 CPU cores||5 TB||160 GB||$40/mo ($0.060/h)|
|Vultr 16 GB||16 GB||6 CPU cores||5 TB||320 GB||$80/mo ($0.12/h)|
|Linode 16 GB||16 GB||6 CPU cores||8 TB||320 GB||$80/mo ($0.12/h)|
As you can see, the three subscription-based cloud hosting services charge the same amount of money for their plans. Vultr is the cheapest DigitalOcean alternative only because it has two extra low-cost plans aimed at customers with minimal requirements.
Most Similar to DigitalOcean
Some of the DigitalOcean alternatives listed above have more in common with DigitalOcean than others. If you’re looking for a cloud hosting service that’s just like DigitalOcean but cheaper or easier to use, you can narrow down the list of DigitalOcean alternatives to just three options: Vultr, Linode, and Cloudways.
Both Vultr and DigitalOcean have a predictable pricing structure that ensures you always know what you’ll pay, with monthly caps and flat pricing across. When DigitalOcean entered the cloud hosting market in 2011, it convinced a lot of customers to leave their cloud hosting providers by offering a $5 a month plan. Vultr, which was founded in 2014, went a step further and introduced a $2.50 a month plan.
Unlike DigitalOcean, Vultr gives its customers a 100% availability guarantee, and it supports the Windows operating system (DigitalOcean supports only Linux). Vultr’s control panel may not be as polished as DigitalOcean’s, but its customer support staff answers questions faster than DigitalOcean’s.
With similar pricing, similar hardware specifications, and similar features, there isn’t really much difference between Linode and DigitalOcean. Perhaps the biggest difference is the fact that Linode doesn’t have its own Kubernetes solution. In performance benchmarks, Linode tends to score more points than DigitalOcean even though it has fewer datacenters, but the difference is negligible.
Perhaps because Linode is considerably older than DigitalOcean (founded in 2003), it has had more security incidents over the years, including one where roughly 40,000 bitcoins were stolen from Linode customers, and these incidents have earned it a somewhat unfavorable reputation.
Cloudways is one of the most familiar DigitalOcean alternatives because it’s actually just a managed layer on top of DigitalOcean or some other unmanaged cloud hosting service. This managed layer consists of an automated cloud server setup, a control panel for managing web applications more collaboratively and efficiently, and expert customer support.
Cloudways costs the least amount of money when combined with DigitalOcean (from $10 a month), but it also works with Linode (from $12 a month), Vultr (from $11 a month), Amazon AWS (from $36.51 a month), and Google Cloud (from $33.30 a month).
DigitalOcean cPanel Alternative
DigitalOcean has its own custom admin dashboard whose purpose is to simplify common administrative tasks, such as the deployment of new compute instances, monitoring, and managing additional storage.
To make their lives a bit easier and allow even less technically inclined team members and clients to manage their sites, many DigitalOcean customers choose to install the cPanel interface from the DigitalOcean Marketplace. cPanel is the most popular web hosting control panel that provides a graphical interface and automation tools in the world, but there are several very compelling alternatives that work with DigitalOcean as well as with DigitalOcean alternatives.
Cloudways is a completely managed cloud hosting platform that allows anyone to go live in minutes and use a highly polished admin dashboard to start, stop, restart, transfer, clone, and scale servers effortlessly. Thanks to its partnership with DigitalOcean, you can combine DigitalOcean’s mature infrastructure with Cloudways managed cloud hosting platform to enjoy a hassle-free cloud hosting experience and deploy DigitalOcean servers in minutes without any expert knowledge.
Cloudways and DigitalOcean have prepared several managed hosting plans, starting from $10 a month ($0.0139/hr) and going all the way up to $1,035 a month ($1.4375/hr). Regardless of which plan you select, you always get access to 24/7 export support provided by Cloudways. Even though the managed hosting plans technically include two subscriptions (one for DigitalOcean and one for Cloudways), your Cloudways account gets just one invoice that is inclusive of DigitalOcean pricing and cost of management services.
Plesk is a feature-packed management platform that looks and feels similar to the WordPress admin panel. In fact, Plesk is an excellent way how to manage WordPress websites because it contains a comprehensive WordPress toolkit that includes automated AI-powered regression testing, cloning, staging environment, and backup and restore features. Plesk also supports over 100 different extensions that make it simple to integrate it with Let’s Encrypt, Git, Cloudflare, and many other tools and services.
Plesk is compatible with many popular cloud hosting providers, including DigitalOcean and DigitalOcean alternatives like Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. It takes just one click to create a Plesk droplet on DigitalOcean, and you can use it for free for up to 3 domains. There is even a free Udemy course that explains how to use Plesk on DigitalOcean and use it to deploy a new WordPress website or move your existing website.
There are multiple versions of Ajenti, but the one DigitalOcean users will likely find most interesting is called Ajenti V. This version depends on Ajenti 1.x and adds fast, efficient, and easy-to-setup web hosting capabilities. It supports PHP, Python, Ruby, and Node.js, includes tools for CLI control, deployment, and CI integration, and effortlessly handles automatic email configuration, among many other things. Read this community tutorial to learn how to install Ajenti V on an Ubuntu droplet.
DirectAdmin is a paid control panel that might just be worth your money if you’re looking for the easiest-to-use control panel with high-quality customer support and excellent performance. Instead of reading about it, you can try the live demo DirectAdmin has on its website to see how it works and feels. The live demo supports all three permission classes that are available in DirectAdmin (User, Reseller, and Admin), so you can experience how users use DirectAdmin to configure their websites, and how admins use it to configure servers.
Resellers like DirectAdmin because of its unique skin system, which makes it possible to create a custom layout to make a hosting company stand out. Prices start at $2 a month for the community-supported personal version of DirectAdmin, and they go up to $29 a month for the standard version.
Virtualmin describes itself as a control panel for serious system administrators who expect more than just a flashy user interface over the LAMP stack. It’s built on top of Webmin, a web-based interface for system administration that removes the need to manually edit configuration files when setting up user accounts, configuring Apache, or changing DNS records. Virtualmin then provides easy-to-use tools for managing websites, mailboxes, databases, and web applications that work even on mobile devices and are inspired by user feedback.
A DigitalOcean community tutorial explains how to install Virtualmin on Ubuntu droplets and use its interface to create a virtual server and a new administrative user for that server. A community-supported version of Virtualmin can be downloaded and used for free, and Virtualmin Professional starts at $6 a month per server.
Recommended Alternative to DigitalOcean: Vultr
Selecting just one winner from a long list of compelling DigitalOcean alternatives is always challenging, but Vultr has made it much easier by combining affordable prices with fantastic availability, performance, convenience, and first-class customer support.
Its mobile-friendly control panel makes cloud hosting sexy and fun, removing all difficulty from the deployment and management of cloud instances and allowing developers to spend more time developing world-changing applications.
Vultr understands that the best way how to convince DigitalOcean customers that their cloud experience could be even better is to let them try what it has to offer first hand, and it’s offering $50 free credit to all new users, which is a lot considering that its prices start at just $2.50 a month.