DigitalOcean isn’t the most user-friendly host out there – and if you’re struggling, there’s only limited support included for free. There’s no live chat, phone, or email support, only a ticketing system. This isn’t just bad for beginners, but can also slow down the workflow of seasoned developers.
There are many alternatives to the powerful cloud hosting DigitalOcean offers, but not all of them provide a better experience. And you don’t want to spend a lot of time and hassle switching hosting providers only to end up running into the same problems.
I tested as many cloud hosts as I could in order to find out which ones offer better support systems and usability without compromising on overall performance. I managed to cut it down to the best six hosts.
Short on Time? These Are the Best DigitalOcean Alternatives in 2023:
Kamatera – Completely customizable cloud VPS with amazing uptime.
Liquid Web – Managed hosting with a 100% uptime guarantee and fast loading speeds.
Cloudways – Great support for managed cloud hosting services.
What We Look For in the Best Alternatives to DigitalOcean
In my search for the best DigitalOcean alternatives, I looked for these features.
Reliable uptime. DigitalOcean often has periods of downtime. I chose hosts that provide much more reliable uptime.
Better support. Since DigitalOcean is aimed at developers and advanced users, it provides very limited support. There’s no live support (unless you’re a large business that can afford the Premier Support plan), so all you get is ticket support, which can be slow. Many of the hosts below include much better support with their hosting plans.
Usability. DigitalOcean takes a fully hands-off approach and lacks many features which make hosting easier – something as simple as creating a WordPress site involves accessing your server through SSH. Some alternatives on my list are more user-friendly.
Managed service. Managed hosting can be a fantastic time-saver for developers, so I’ve included hosts that offer partial or full managed hosting.
Kamatera offers powerful cloud hosting services, including fully scalable and customizable Cloud VPS hosting. Whereas many similar hosts, including DigitalOcean, offer rigid plans with different VPS configurations, Kamatera allows you to create a VPS that’s perfect for your needs by specifying exactly what resources you want.
There are also two managed services available. The Managed Cloud Basic plan covers the core management of your server while the Managed Cloud Extended plan goes a lot further, providing database support and installation of server-side development tools on request. The managed services are pretty pricey, but it’s nice to have the option.
When it came to testing Kamatera’s overall performance and reliability, I came away impressed. With an average page loading speed of just over one second, Kamatera’s results are on par with DigitalOcean. While technical support is limited unless you pay for a managed service, Kamatera offers much more customizability and reliability than DigitalOcean.
Preinstalled cPanel. If you’re looking to get a site up quickly, you can pay a monthly fee for a cPanel license. It’ll come preinstalled on your server, and from there you can use the Softaculous app installer to install any CMS (content management system) or web script that you need.
Automatic daily backups. When creating your Cloud VPS, you can pay a small monthly fee to have your server’s data backed up daily to an external storage array. You can restore previous versions whenever needed.
Premium firewall service. While it’d be nice if more security features were included for free, Kamatera offers a strong optional firewall for your server at a low monthly fee. It can be fully managed and customized for your particular needs.
30-day free trial. Kamatera’s long trial period includes access to one fully customizable Cloud VPS, which is free as long as your server costs don’t go over $100 for the month. You even get a designated account manager for the duration of the trial.
If you’re looking for more streamlined, user-friendly hosting than what DigitalOcean offers, Liquid Web could be the host for you.
Each Cloud VPS plan is core managed, which means that Liquid Web will handle the installation of your server’s core software, keep your OS updated and patched, provide security enhancements, and more. You can optionally pay a little extra for a fully managed service, which includes further security and full control panel support.Liquid Web guarantees an amazing 100% uptime rate. It even guarantees fast initial responses to support requests. While prices are quite high, Liquid Web’s commitment to providing you with easy and reliable hosting will easily cure any lingering headaches that remain from DigitalOcean.
Cloudways isn’t a traditional web host. It’s a third-party hosting management service that allows even complete beginners to benefit from the top-tier performance of cloud hosting.
Choose your hosting service from some of the top cloud platforms in the world – DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, Google Cloud, and AWS (Amazon Web Services) – and Cloudways will do the rest. You’ll never need to contact your actual host as Cloudways will manage your hosting, and provide security patches and updates, 24/7 server monitoring, and automatic backups.
Cloudways also provides a simple control panel and offers 24/7 support with guaranteed response times. You could even choose to host your site with DigitalOcean through Cloudways, allowing you to combine DigitalOcean’s powerful infrastructure with good management and support.
Staging environments. Every plan includes access to staging environments for free. These can be set up with a single click, allowing you to test changes without affecting your live site.
Unlimited website migration. DigitalOcean lacks a site migration service, but Cloudways will migrate your first site for free. You can also transfer an unlimited number of WordPress sites with the free WordPress migrator plugin.
Guaranteed support response times. Even the free tier of support guarantees a response time of 12 hours for normal priority issues, and three hours for high priority issues. If this guarantee isn’t fulfilled, you may be eligible for service credits.
Free 3-day trial. Cloudways allows you to try out its service without risk for three days, so you can see for yourself whether it improves your experience of DigitalOcean.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the biggest available today, serving megacorporations like Netflix and offering some of the best performance and reliability out there. However, you don’t have to be a multi-billion-dollar company to benefit from its powerful infrastructure,as AWS does have some affordable cloud VPS plans that are perfect for hosting sites or apps.
The Amazon Lightsail service is its budget option, providing scalable cloud VPS hosting at cheap prices. This comes with some nice benefits, such as the automatic configuration of your server’s network and security, and the availability of pre-configured development stacks such as LAMP, NGINX, and Node.
On the other hand, this host probably isn’t the best choice if you’re a beginner. While there’s plenty of documentation available to help you along, the free ticketing support is slow, and you should expect to pay a premium if you need advanced technical help.
Static IP and DNS management. Included in all Lightsail plans are a static IP and DNS management, at no extra charge.
AWS Trusted Advisor. All AWS services have access to the Trusted Advisor tool, which tests your server for any basic security and performance flaws. It will then help guide you on how to best rectify them.
One-click installations. The Lightsail plans also include the ability to install various OSs, CMSs, and development stacks with one click. These all come preconfigured and ready to use.
Extensive free trial. AWS offers a three-month trial for its Lightsail service, allowing you to test out its cloud VPS for up to 750 hours of runtime per month. You also get 12 month of access to AWS’s free tier, allowing you to try out a handful of its powerful cloud solutions.
Microsoft Azure is another big contender on the cloud computing scene. While it isn’t as big as AWS, it has some unique offerings that stand out against DigitalOcean. You have a choice of Linux or Windows with a ton of different configurations available.
Sadly, my tests revealed performance to be a little disappointing, with Azure proving to be slower than DigitalOcean overall. It’s also not an easy host to use if you’re just getting started with website hosting, as it can be quite confusing to navigate its backend.
However, Microsoft Azure shines when it comes to security. It offers a wide range of free security features, including server monitoring, a web application firewall, and the Azure Security Center, which assists you with preventing, detecting, and responding to threats. If you’re looking for a more secure solution than DigitalOcean, Microsoft Azure could be the host for you.
Great knowledge base. While Microsoft Azure can be difficult to use, its extensive knowledge base can guide you along while you learn the interface.
Responsive support. When testing its free ticketing support, I was quite impressed that I received a response in minutes. There’s also premium levels of support available for even quicker response times and greater scope of support.
Managed databases and storage. Microsoft Azure offers a premium managed SSD storage service specifically for its virtual machines. There are also premium managed SQL database plans available, which include automated backups and patches.
Extensive free trial. Microsoft Azure has a 30-day free trial with $200 credit to try out its services. Once this is up, you still have access to many of its features for 12 months, including a virtual machine for up to 750 hours of runtime per month.
If you’re a developer, Render may be a good choice for you.
First of all, Render is fully Git integrated. You can deploy changes to your site directly through GitHub/GitLab, making your workflow simple. Render also provides support for popular development frameworks, Dockerfiles, APIs, background workers, Cron Jobs, and private networks. It additionally offers fully managed PostgreSQL databases with automated daily backups at half the price of DigitalOcean’s similar service.
On the other hand, while Render provides a great knowledge base to help you get started with the platform, my experiences with email support involved long waits or no response at all. However, there’s also a Slack channel and community forums for support, which might result in a quicker response.
Overall, Render provides a developer-oriented cloud environment that’s much easier to work with than DigitalOcean.
Persistent block storage. With Render disks, you’re able to store persistent data across deploys and restarts. These are simple to set up, and are perfect for databases and content management systems (CMSs).
Private services. If you want to create a database or cache that is inaccessible to the public, you can easily create a private service. The data will only be accessible by the other services on your Render account.
Unlimited static sites. Unlike DigitalOcean, Render allows you to create an unlimited number of static sites for free. These benefit from a fully managed TLS certificate and unlimited collaborators. There is a monthly bandwidth limit of 100GB.
7-day free trial. Render allows you to sign up for a trial period without the need for a credit card, so you can try its services completely risk free.
The best DigitalOcean alternative depends on your particular needs. If you’re looking for complete customizability in your hosting environment, I’d recommend Kamatera. Its performance is on par with DigitalOcean, and through its Express service, you can deploy preconfigured servers in minutes.
However, if you prefer to have a more hands-off approach to hosting, Liquid Web’s core-managed plans will save you the time you’d normally spend on maintaining your server. And if you ever run into any hiccups, Liquid Web’s responsive customer support is available around the clock to help out.
Another great host that specializes in managed hosting is Cloudways.Cloudways can give you the best of all worlds: powerful cloud computing solutions with fully managed services.
If you’re still unsure, you can check out the following table for a side-by-side comparison.
It depends on what you’re looking for in a host. If you want a fully scalable and customizable hosting environment, I’d recommend Kamatera. On the other hand, if you’d like affordable managed hosting, Liquid Web or Cloudways would be a better option. These hosts also offer some great discounts in our coupons and deals page.
Are there free alternatives to DigitalOcean?
AWS and Microsoft Azure both have long free trials, which allow you to experience the benefits of powerful cloud hosting for an extended period of time without charge. Likewise, if you’re curious about using managed hosting with DigitalOcean, you can sign up for Cloudways’ free 3-day trial.
How do I cancel my DigitalOcean account?
Canceling DigitalOcean is a simple process. First, you’ll need to delete any active Droplets. Once this is done, navigate to your Account on the dashboard. Scroll down and you should see an option to deactivate your account. Click this and you’re done!
Which is the cheapest and most reliable DigitalOcean alternative?
Ryan is an expert freelance writer who spends much of his spare time tinkering with his site, ensuring that everything is up to his high standard. He loves to test new hosting services and website builders to help users get the best value for their money. When he isn’t writing, you can usually find him playing video games, unless his cat is lying on the keyboard, which is sadly a very common occurrence.