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DigitalOcean vs Hetzner: Comparing Cloud Hosting Providers

Pricing and product information are correct as of June 1, 2024, and subject to change.

Selecting the appropriate cloud hosting provider is vital for managing your virtual machines, VPS, databases, and cloud storage. Businesses require cloud solutions that offer scalability, reliability, and high performance. Developers, SMBs, and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) must carefully evaluate their options to maximize the benefits of cloud computing.

DigitalOcean and Hetzner are prominent cloud hosting providers offering unique features and advantages. Unlike hyperscalers, like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, DigitalOcean and Hetzner specifically target developers, startups, and SMBs. However, despite their similarities, the two cloud providers have key differences. This article compares DigitalOcean and Hetzner in detail to assist in selecting the best option for your cloud hosting requirements.

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Overview of DigitalOcean vs Hetzner

DigitalOcean and Hetzner offer a range of services to meet diverse computing needs. However, when compared, their differing cloud computing strategies become evident.

DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean provides many cloud service products, including scalable virtual machines and managed databases. Targeting small—to medium-sized businesses and developers, DigitalOcean offers seamless cloud services characterized by a user-friendly interface, transparent pricing, and strong customer support. Specializing in low-latency cloud hosting solutions, DigitalOcean operates a global network of data centers, ensuring efficient operations with minimal downtime.

For instance, an e-commerce company can rapidly deploy a server using DigitalOcean’s Droplets, benefiting from the platform’s ability to quickly scale resources to handle increased traffic during peak shopping seasons. By leveraging DigitalOcean Load Balancers, companies can distribute incoming traffic across multiple Droplets (virtual servers). Additionally, the company can use DigitalOcean’s Managed Databases to manage its inventory data in a fully managed PostgreSQL cluster and leverage Spaces Object Storage for straightforward management of product images and user uploads.

Hetzner

On the other hand, Hetzner is known for offering cost-effective computing solutions, primarily focusing on computing resources and a more limited range of products. Unlike some competitors, Hetzner does not provide managed databases, Kubernetes, or Platform as a Service (PaaS) options, which may restrict its suitability for specific applications. Hetzner’s data centers are predominantly located in Europe and North America, providing regional coverage but not extending more globally. While Hetzner is an attractive option for its affordability within these regions, businesses requiring a more extensive service portfolio or global reach might look elsewhere.

For example, a data analysis firm might find the Hetzner server and computing resources ideal for running large-scale data processing tasks without incurring significant costs. However, given the absence of managed services like Kubernetes or managed databases, the firm must manage its databases and container orchestration independently or with a multi-cloud strategy.

Comparing DigitalOcean vs. Hetzner cloud hosting solutions

In this section, we compare DigitalOcean and Hetzner across product offerings, performance, customer support, and pricing to help you make the best choice for your business.

1. Performance and reliability

DigitalOcean excels in providing consistent and reliable cloud hosting. They offer a 99.99% uptime SLA around network, power and virtual server availability minimizing disruptions for your website or application. DigitalOcean offers various virtual server configurations with clearly defined CPU, RAM, and storage specifications. This transparency allows you to select a plan that aligns with your resource needs, ensuring optimal performance for your workloads.

Hetzner is a compelling choice for budget-minded users. They utilize reliable data centers to ensure service availability. However, it’s important to note that they do not currently offer a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This means no guaranteed uptime percentage is outlined in their terms of service. However, their pricing strategy sometimes utilizes “burstable” CPU cores. This means you receive a base processing power with additional resources available on demand. While cost-effective, this approach may introduce performance variability for applications with consistent resource requirements.

2. Product offerings comparison

This table compares DigitalOcean and Hetzners’ product offerings to help you decide which cloud hosting platform is best for your cloud hosting needs.

Product DigitalOcean Hetzner
Virtual Machines Variety of pre-configured Droplets (VMs) with OS options (Linux distributions, Windows) including CPU-optimized, Memory-Optimized, and Storage-optimized options. Variety of cloud servers with customizable hardware configurations (CPU cores, RAM, storage)
Block Storage Scalable Managed Block Storage for persistent data with various SSD and HDD options offering high performance and scalability. Predictable pricing per GB. SSD and HDD storage options for persistent data
Databases Managed databases services with point-in-time recovery, standby nodes for high availability, and end-to-end SSL encryption. No managed database services are offered
Containerization Supports Docker containers and Managed Kubernetes service for container orchestration No managed containerization services are offered
Serverless Serverless functions, load balancers, and cron jobs for event-driven workloads No serverless offerings are available
Marketplace Integration with popular development tools with DigitalOcean Marketplace Limited marketplace integrations
Object Storage Scalable object storage (Spaces) with pay-as-you-go pricing for backups and archives Object storage available with limited management tools
Managed DNS Managed DNS service for domain name management No managed DNS service offered
Monitoring Cloud Monitoring for basic resource monitoring Limited monitoring capabilities

3. Pricing and plans

DigitalOcean features a user-friendly, transparent pricing model with a comprehensive range of services, including scalable virtual machines, Managed Databases, and Kubernetes.

Basic Droplet plans start at $4 monthly, with specialized options for general-purpose and CPU-optimized needs. Managed Databases begin at $15 per month, and Spaces Object Storage is priced at $5 per month for 250 GB storage. These features make DigitalOcean suitable for developers, SMBs, and ISVs seeking seamless, scalable cloud services.

Conversely, Hetzner is known for its budget-friendly pricing, focusing primarily on computing resources. Hetzner online cloud server plans start at €4.51 per month, offering basic configurations, while dedicated servers and storage boxes provide additional options for resource-intensive applications. Hetzner does not offer managed databases or Kubernetes, requiring users to manage these services independently. Hetzner shared resource plans may lead to performance fluctuations if your application experiences unexpected resource spikes. While Hetzner also offers dedicated resources, there is no guaranteed uptime percentage outlined in their terms of service. Additionally, the base price might not include features like backups, potentially leading to hidden costs. To ensure Hetzner remains cost-effective, carefully evaluate your resource needs and scrutinize plan details for potential add-on charges.

4. User experience and customer support

DigitalOcean is known for its intuitive and user-friendly interface, designed to provide the best value to developers and small to medium-sized businesses. DigitalOcean provides a clean, easy-to-navigate dashboard that simplifies the management of cloud resources. Users can effortlessly deploy, manage, and scale applications through a straightforward process, making it an ideal choice for those who prioritize simplicity and efficiency. Additionally, DigitalOcean offers extensive documentation, tutorials, and community Q&As forum where users can find solutions to common issues and share best practices.

DigitalOcean also excels in its efficient and responsive customer support. Users can access a range of support plans through a ticketing system, ensuring knowledgeable staff promptly address queries. DigitalOcean includes a Starter Plan with every account, which features email support with a response time of under 24 hours. DigitalOcean also offers premium support plans for businesses that require more comprehensive assistance, including faster response times and dedicated account management.

While offering a user-friendly experience**, Hetzner** focuses more on providing value through computing resources. The Hetzner Cloud Console is functional and straightforward, allowing users to deploy and manage their servers relatively easily. However, it may not be as polished or intuitive as DigitalOcean’s interface, potentially requiring a steeper learning curve for new users.

Customer support at Hetzner is efficient, with telephone support, ticket-based system and a comprehensive knowledge base. The support response times are generally good, but Hetzner does not offer the same premium support services as DigitalOcean. Since advanced technical assistance may incur additional fees, it can be a limitation for users who need more personalized or immediate assistance.

5. Security and compliance

DigitalOcean provides a comprehensive suite of security features designed to help protect cloud resources. These include cloud firewalls, private networking, and secure load balancing. The platform incorporates built-in DDoS protection to help defend against attacks and partners with Cloudflare to enhance web server security further. Additionally, DigitalOcean offers a monitoring service that allows customers to set up alerts and notifications for various metrics, including security-related events.

For backup and disaster recovery, DigitalOcean offers Snapshots for Droplets and Spaces and automated backups for Managed Databases. DigitalOcean maintains several industry certifications, such as SOC 2 Type II and SOC 3 Type II, reaffirming its commitment to stringent security standards.

Furthermore, DigitalOcean operates a Bug Bounty program through Intigriti, which rewards ethical hackers for identifying system vulnerabilities. The program provides tiered rewards based on the discovered bug’s severity, focusing on website and server security. Reports with clear impact and proof-of-concept are prioritized and may result in higher payouts, encouraging thorough and effective vulnerability reporting.

Hetzner offers a more basic approach to cloud security. Firewalls are included as a standard feature, helping to filter incoming and outgoing traffic on your server. They prioritize physical security at their data centers, implementing measures to safeguard your hardware. While some basic DDoS protection is included, advanced DDoS protection might require additional configuration or a separate service.

However, advanced security protocols like intrusion detection systems or multi-factor authentication are absent. While their website readily showcases compliance certifications, it’s important to note that major certifications like SOC 2 or HIPAA are currently not listed. However, they are committed to information security by achieving ISO 27001 certification, a recognized standard for information security management systems (ISMS). For instance, unlike DigitalOcean, major compliance certifications like SOC 2 or HIPAA are not mentioned. While Hetzner likely prioritizes physical security, a lack of transparency regarding security measures could be a concern for businesses operating in industries with strict data regulations.

How to choose between DigitalOcean and Hetzner for your business needs

Choosing the right cloud provider for your business success requires understanding each platform’s strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a detailed breakdown comparing DigitalOcean and Hetzner across key factors to help you make an informed decision:

1. User-friendliness

  • DigitalOcean: Excels in user experience. Their intuitive control panel allows easy server management, even for beginners. If your team is familiar with cloud management basics, one-click application deployments for popular platforms like WordPress and Node.js further streamline setup.

  • Hetzner: Offers a functional interface but requires more technical expertise for configuration and application deployment.

2. Technical expertise

3. Scalability

  • DigitalOcean: Engineered for smooth scaling. Easily adjust resources up or down based on demand for seamless growth alongside your business.

  • Hetzner: Offers scaling capabilities that may require more manual intervention and could be less intuitive.

4. Data centers

  • DigitalOcean: Features a wider global footprint across the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America, optimizing website performance for geographically diverse audiences.

  • Hetzner: Primarily focuses on data centers in Europe and North America.

5. Integration capabilities

  • DigitalOcean: Integrates with popular development tools and DevOps workflows like Terraform, Ansible, and GitHub, simplifying development and deployment processes.

  • Hetzner: Offers fewer built-in integrations, requiring potentially complex workarounds.

Empower cloud hosting and boost performance with DigitalOcean

Explore DigitalOcean as a robust alternative to Hetzner for reliable cloud hosting services. DigitalOcean provides a wide array of hosting solutions, featuring scalable cloud servers optimized for memory or storage, cloud VPS hosting, and a comprehensive product lineup, including Function as a Service (FaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) tools.

Here’s what Playflow Cloud, a game development platform, had to say about using DigitalOcean:

I found DigitalOcean to have one of the best experiences I could use as a developer. DigitalOcean’s seamless migration process and superior developer experience made it an obvious choice. DigitalOcean’s team has been very responsive, providing technical support and also general account support. When we were first going from AWS to DigitalOcean, they made it really easy for us to migrate, experiment, build, and grow on DO.” - Haseeb, PlayFlow Cloud’s Founder and CEO

Here’s what DigitalOcean offers:

  • Reliable platform: DigitalOcean provides for a 99.99% SLA for Droplet virtual machines, underscoring its commitment to consistent and dependable performance for virtualized computing resources.

  • Flexible storage: Volumes block storage provides scalable and adaptable solutions, allowing users to adjust their storage needs dynamically and efficiently utilize resources as requirements change.

  • Customer support: DigitalOcean focuses on customer satisfaction with elevated support options. Paid plans start at $24/month for faster response times and comprehensive coverage for critical incidents. Customers can access free 24/7 support channels, extensive documentation, and tutorials for seamless cloud server management.

  • User-friendly control panel: The platform features an intuitive control panel that simplifies cloud resource management for users of all expertise levels.

  • Managed Databases: Provides support databases like MongoDB, Redis, MySQL, NoSQL, and Kafka, enhancing ease of use and facilitating seamless integration of database functionalities.

  • Managed Kubernetes: DigitalOcean streamlines the deployment and management of containerized applications via Managed Kubernetes, allowing users to focus on developing and deploying applications without the complexities of infrastructure management.

  • One-click deployments: Users can easily deploy WordPress and manage hosting via Cloudways by DigitalOcean, simplifying the setup process.

  • Accelerated computing: Through Paperspace by DigitalOcean, the platform offers GPU servers and AI/ML Notebooks for accelerated computing tasks, providing a powerful environment for machine learning and artificial intelligence development.

Sign up with DigitalOcean to get started today.

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