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DigitalOcean vs Rackspace – Which One Is Actually Better in 2020?

Mark Holden

When you compare DigitalOcean and Rackspace, they may seem similar, as both offer cloud hosting. However, while DigitalOcean focuses on working with developers, Rackspace’s managed services offer hand-holding.

I’ve tested both these hosting providers across multiple categories including pricing, features, performance, security, and support. I found that the best host would depend on your needs.

Click here to see DigitalOcean’s latest deals, or read on to find out which of these two would be the best host for your needs.

1. Plans and Pricing

DigitalOcean Is Budget-Friendly While Rackspace Charges a Premium

When evaluating DigitalOcean pricing, I found that its cloud servers start cheap. The price increases based on your chosen plan and configurations.

Rackspace offers managed hosting and cloud hosting, though it focuses on the former. Since Rackspace doesn’t believe in the “one-size-fits-all” approach, its cloud servers let you customize your most suitable cloud solutions. This explains Rackspace’s premium prices.

Developers looking for value-for-money cloud hosting are likely to prefer DigitalOcean while customers needing managed cloud hosting with multiple paid add-ons would find Rackspace suitable.

Rackspace offers discounts for prepayment, long-term commitments, or high-volume users. Though DigitalOcean offers no such discount, its capping model bills you hourly up to a monthly cap of 672 hours. After this, you’ll be charged the flat monthly rate.

2. Features

DigitalOcean Offers Developer-Friendly Features, while Rackspace Offers Managed Services

DigitalOcean offers SSD cloud servers with Standard, General Purpose, CPU-Optimized, or Memory-Optimized configurations that are ideal for web developers.

With its Standard Droplets (virtual machines), you’ll get load balancers, floating IP addresses, cloud firewalls, and private, isolated networks along with multiple pre-installed software (Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, etc.), 1-click apps (WordPress, Docker, LAMP, etc.), free Let’s Encrypt SSL and automated backups.

Rackspace offers a wide range of clouds such as public cloud, private cloud, multi-cloud, and hybrid cloud. Instead of standard packages, the company lets you create a bespoke package that meets your requirements.

With its managed public cloud services backed by its full cloud lifecycle support and centralized, cross-platform cloud management, you can have a great experience across leading public cloud platforms like the AWS, Google Cloud Platform, etc.

Here’s a head-to-head feature comparison table:

DigitalOceanRackspace
Hosting TypesCloud hostingManaged hosting, cloud hosting
Free Domain××
Free SSL Certificate×
Disk Space25GB SSD-3,840GB SSDCustomized
Bandwidth1TB-12TBCustomized
Automatic Backups×
Control PanelPlesk, CyberPanel, and VPSrobotsCloud Control Panel
Free CDN×
Free Site Migration××
Money-Back Guarantee××

3. Performance

Rackspace and DigitalOcean Compete for a Close Finish

DigitalOcean has 12 global datacenters, though not all its Droplet plans are available for each location. Its use of SSDs and free CDN help improve your hosting performance.

Rackspace has 15 data center locations and offers CDNs, albeit for a fee.

DigitalOcean provides a 99.99% uptime SLA for its Block Storage and Droplets. Rackspace provides a 100% network uptime guarantee and gives you a 5% credit of your monthly fee for every 30 minutes of network downtime.

DigitalOcean did well in our performance tests as long as it was up and running. To find out what went wrong, read our in-depth DigitalOcean review​.

Rackspace offers one of the best uptime service-level agreements (SLAs) that I’ve ever seen. Take a look at our expert Rackspace review for more details.

Rackspace wins this round, thanks to its 100% network uptime guarantee.

4. Security

DigitalOcean Offers Freebies that Rackspace Charges For

DigitalOcean offers end-to-end data protection along with extra encryption that’s included by default. For more protection, you can get additional layers of security, provided you’ve some knowledge of coding, and can follow the steps outlined in DigitalOcean’s online tutorials.

From data protection and SSL support to disaster recovery and comprehensive security, risk and compliance assistance services, you can have them all for a fee at Rackspace.

Thanks to its free security measures, DigitalOcean is this round’s winner.

5. Support

Rackspace Does Slightly Better than DigitalOcean

You can reach DigitalOcean only via support ticket, but you could face trouble while submitting it (just like I found). In terms of self-support, you can use DigitalOcean’s articles, tutorials, documentation and resources, and its online community.

DigitalOcean support - login error
DigitalOcean support – login error

Rackspace offers support via phone, email, chat, and support tickets, though depending on your chosen plan, you may or may not have all these options. Multiple self-support tools are also made available including developer documentation, how-to articles and troubleshooting resources, and two blogs (a general one and a technical blog).

On her multiple attempts to reach Rackspace’s customer support, our expert reviewer’s experience varied from a delayed response to not-helpful to no response. This was disappointing for a company that claims to offer “fanatical support.”

Rackspace customer support
Rackspace customer support

Rackspace wins this round for offering more customer support channels and faster response (though you may need some luck to get it).

Your Needs Determine the Winner

DigitalOcean vs Rackspace was a close match. While DigitalOcean scores a win for its features and security, Rackspace wins the performance and support rounds. So, it’s difficult to decide a clear winner as it all depends on your needs.

If you’re a developer, DigitalOcean web hosting would be the best budget-friendly option. If you’re a large business and you need reliable support, Rackspace would be a good option.

Before you make your final decision, remember that neither of these hosts made it into our top 10. To find the ones that did, check our list of ​ the best web hosting services​.

Comparison Table

DigitalOceanRackspace
Plans and PricingBudget-friendly starting plansPremium prices
Key FeaturesSSDs, free SSL, automatic backups, and free CDNFull cloud lifecycle support and centralized, cross-platform cloud management
Performance99.99% uptime SLA and free CDN for fast loading speeds100% network uptime guarantee backed by a 5% credit of your monthly fee for every 30 minutes of network downtime, faster loading speeds
SecurityFree Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, automatic backupsPaid SSL support, data protection, and disaster recovery together with comprehensive security, risk and compliance assistance
SupportSupport ticket; self-support tools including articles, tutorials, documentation and resources, and an online communityPhone, email, chat, and ticket; self-support tools including developer documentation, how-to articles and troubleshooting resources, and 2 blogs

FAQ

Is ​DigitalOcean better than ​Rackspace​?

Both DigitalOcean and Rackspace offer cloud hosting plans but the best one for you will ultimately depend on your specific needs. Before you make a final decision, I suggest viewing our list of the best web hosting services.

Does ​DigitalOcean offer WordPress hosting?

​Though DigitalOcean doesn’t offer any hosting plans specifically for WordPress, you can still use its 1-click app installer to host WordPress websites on its servers. If you’d rather have it easy by choosing a web host that handles the technical aspects for you, I recommend you select one of the best managed WordPress hosting providers​.

Does ​ DigitalOcean​ offer VPS hosting?

No, ​DigitalOcean​ doesn’t offer VPS hosting. But don’t worry as it isn’t the only web host out there. If you think VPS meets your hosting needs the best, you should head to our list of the best cheap VPS hosting services​ to find a dependable and reasonably priced host.

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