DigitalOcean vs Heroku: What are the differences?
Developers describe DigitalOcean as "Deploy an SSD cloud server in less than 55 seconds with a dedicated IP and root access". We take the complexities out of cloud hosting by offering blazing fast, on-demand SSD cloud servers, straightforward pricing, a simple API, and an easy-to-use control panel. On the other hand, Heroku is detailed as "Build, deliver, monitor and scale web apps and APIs with a trail blazing developer experience". Heroku is a cloud application platform – a new way of building and deploying web apps. Heroku lets app developers spend 100% of their time on their application code, not managing servers, deployment, ongoing operations, or scaling.
DigitalOcean and Heroku are primarily classified as "Cloud Hosting" and "Platform as a Service" tools respectively.
Some of the features offered by DigitalOcean are:
- We provide all of our users with high-performance SSD Hard Drives, flexible API, and the ability to select to nearest data center location.
- SSD Cloud Servers in 55 Seconds
- We provide a 99.99% uptime SLA around network, power and virtual server availability. If we fail to deliver, we’ll credit you based on the amount of time that service was unavailable.
On the other hand, Heroku provides the following key features:
- Agile deployment for Ruby, Node.js, Clojure, Java, Python, Go and Scala.
- Run and scale any type of app.
- Total visibility across your entire app.
"Great value for money", "Simple dashboard" and "Good pricing" are the key factors why developers consider DigitalOcean; whereas "Easy deployment", "Free for side projects" and "Huge time-saver" are the primary reasons why Heroku is favored.
According to the StackShare community, Heroku has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1504 company stacks & 961 developers stacks; compared to DigitalOcean, which is listed in 943 company stacks and 687 developer stacks.
While Media Temple is more expensive than DigitalOcean, sometimes it is like comparing apples and oranges. DigitalOcean provides what is called Virtual Private Servers ( VPS ). While you seem to be on your own dedicated server, you are, in fact, sharing the same hardware with others.
If you need to be on your own dedicated server, or have other hardware requirements, you do not really have as many options with DigitalOcean. But with Media Temple, the skies the limit ( but so is potentially the cost ).
DigitalOcean was where I began; its USD5/month is extremely competitive and the overall experience as highly user-friendly.
However, their offerings were lacking and integrating with other resources I had on AWS was getting more costly (due to transfer costs on AWS). Eventually I moved the entire project off DO's Droplets and onto AWS's EC2.
One may initially find the cost (w/o free tier) and interface of AWS daunting however with good planning you can achieve highly cost-efficient systems with savings plans, spot instances, etcetera.
Do not dive into AWS head-first! Seriously, don't. Stand back and read pricing documentation thoroughly. You can, not to the fault of AWS, easily go way overbudget. Your first action upon getting your AWS account should be to set up billing alarms for estimated and current bill totals.
I chose DigitalOcean because their pricing is very fair. Their tech support is very quick to respond to any inquiries you may have. They also have a community of developer who are more then happy to help you with any non-account issues you may have.
The drawbacks of this decision are their managed services can be quite pricey at $15/mo extra for a MySQL database.
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