Fully-customizable platforms designed for developers are a mixed bag. They may provide helpful features and presets that enable you to build what you need quickly, or they may include only a sparse toolkit, giving you the freedom to configure your hosting platform from scratch. And this may or may not include technical help.
DigitalOcean’s Droplets are more straightforward and cheaper than signing up with AWS or Google Cloud Platform, but support availability and overall uptime are concerns. And compared to Kamatera, DigitalOcean has some work to do in its technical support department.
That’s not to say DigitalOcean isn’t worth considering – the selection of plans, overall cost, and loading speeds are industry-leading. But Kamatera wins it for me with helpful support and near-perfect uptime scores.Click here to get Kamatera’s latest deals, or read on to get all the details of my in-depth comparison.
Plans and Pricing
Fully Customizable, Fully Cost-Effective
I’m used to seeing “cloud-based” on vendors’ websites and expecting huge markups as a result. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Kamatera. Compared to similar services out there, you’ll find that it offers a high level of customizability at an affordable price.
Kamatera’s granular approach means you only pay for what you want. I entered exactly how much RAM and SSD storage I needed as well as my preferred OS (Ubuntu 20.04, for the curious) into the price calcular and instantly got quotes on per-hour and monthly bases. And a 30-day free trial allows you to try Kamatera’s range of features before you commit.
DigitalOcean also offers a wide range of choice – wider, in fact. DigitalOcean’s Droplets are isolated virtual machines that allow you to choose the plan which best suits your needs, including Premium Droplets with faster CPUs and NVMe storage.
In a pricing head-to-head, Kamatera wins this one on the low-end plans. For the same basic configuration (20-25 GB SSD, 1 vCPU, 1GB RAM), Kamatera charges slightly less per month and includes five times the bandwith. As I explored the larger, specialized plans, Kamatera and Digital Ocean were mostly level.
Overall, both options offer similar flexible and scalable plans. If you don’t plan to build a large site, then Kamatera edges it on price and bandwidth, but Digital Ocean is very competitive when you explore the full power of what these two hosts can provide.
Don’t Expect to Hear from a DigitalOcean Support Agent Anytime Soon
Getting in contact with support was one of the top priorities in my research, and my inquiries led to some surprises. Some weren’t exactly pleasant surprises, either.
DigitalOcean’s support team is difficult to reach. A messaging service is available through the support portal, but actually getting a response can be a difficult task. Digital Ocean advertises having 24/7 customer support, but that didn’t match with my experience.
That’s also if you manage to log into the portal! I received multiple error messages before giving up and turning to the knowledge base.
Although this grassroots company’s support portal needs improvement, the knowledge base contains plenty of useful guides. While this can be a big help, being unable to access a support agent is a real drawback.
And even though I have some issues with Kamatera’s support service (mostly the response times), it is a lot better. Available by email or phone, the team has regular working hours during which you will get questions answered.
The support team isn’t necessarily 24/7, as advertised – the engineers only work 8 AM-6 PM Monday-Friday EST or CEST and Sunday-Thursday IST. Outside of those times, technical support isn’t available and the 24/7 agents only cover critical issues like a server going down.
Thankfully, if you need support outside of those times, ticketing is always available as well as the impressive knowledge base. Kamatera’s support did the job and I was impressed that non-specialist support agents advised me to wait for an engineer to clock on instead of trying to upsell me.
Customization Is Key for Developers, and Both Hosts Offer Plenty
Fully-custom services can sometimes seem light on features, as a lot of these are expected to be added and configured by a developer. Kamatera and DigitalOcean are no different in this regard. Though both offer plenty of helpful features that improve security, manage the server load, and improve speed, most of these will cost you extra.Kamatera offers 5TB of outgoing traffic with all servers, which is reduced to 1TB if your site is hosted at the Hong Kong data center, with the same $0.01-per-gigabyte fee for overage as DigitalOcean. DigitalOcean’s initial bandwidth offering ranges from between one to 10 terabytes depending on the Droplet purchased.
Both providers offer enterprise-grade, redundant block storage, which can be purchased and added to any server (or Droplet, in DigitalOcean’s case), and shut down when it is no longer needed.
Load balancing is also offered by both hosts at competitive prices, but of course you’ll have to factor in at least one additional duplicate server in order to take advantage of the traffic management a load balancer provides. Duplicating instances is quick and easy on Kamatera’s or DigitalOcean’s platforms.
Floating IP addresses are a unique offering by DigitalOcean, which are free when assigned to a Droplet and work in somewhat the same way as a load balancer, redirecting traffic to another server if one fails – again, you’ll to set up a duplicate instance, and both instances must be in the same datacenter.
And, DigitalOcean offers free firewall instances. Kamatera’s cloud firewall service is quite expensive by comparison, but is pre-configured by Kamatera’s network experts.
If sorting through all these features sounds exhausting, Kamatera’s Fully Managed Cloud service might be your best option. It is expensive, but you will have an expert team managing your deployment, virtually eliminating the need to hire your own IT staff.
DigitalOcean offers some managed services, such as databases, but does not have a comparable fully-managed deal. This might not be much of a surprise, given that support has found to be lacking (see Support above). It does offer a reseller option if you want to run your own managed cloud hosting company on its servers, however.
20GB – 4TB+ SSD
25GB SSD – 10TB+ SSD
Inbound: unlimited, as long as out/in does not exceed 2:1 ratio
Outbound: 5TB per server (1TB at Hong Kong data center); $0.01/additional GB
DigitalOcean Can Be Faster, but Beware of Down Time
When I used GTmetrix to test the loading speed on my Kamatera site, the homepage loaded in a pleasantly-surprising 1 second. Even after adding some heavy-duty images to the site, it loaded fully in no more than 1.2 seconds.
Similarly, UptimeRobot tests recorded 100% uptime over the course of a month. That’s quite incredible, as some of the other top providers promise only 99% uptime.
DigitalOcean won hands-down on page loading time, however. The fastest total page load was a nosebleed-inducing 0.4 seconds. This is a company that seeks to outperform AWS and GCP.
But uptime is a real problem for Digital Ocean (which, as you might have noticed, is a common grumble for people submitting reviews to sites like TrustPilot). Tests were inconclusive about the actual amount of downtime my site endured throughout the month, but it suffered two separate outages.
In addition to the extensive downtime, I couldn’t do anything to get my site back up, and I couldn’t get technical support to help me solve the issue.
Kamatera and DigitalOcean Offer Plenty of Security Options, but You’ll Have to Configure Them
All of Kamatera’s data centres are monitored to ensure that any physical threat is very low. And thanks to a generator-powered system, Kamatera promises availability during power outages.
Although DigitalOcean doesn’t disclose information about security at its facilities, two-factor authentication and security history logs are included with all Droplets. The extensive knowledge base also gives plenty of advice on how to set up secure servers and websites.
For those of you with data that doesn’t need to be public-facing, both Kamatera and DigitalOcean offer private server options. These are private networks which can be useful in a company with many connected locations.
In any case, as with most hosts in this area of the market, security is ultimately your responsibility. DigitalOcean may offer free firewalls for its Droplets, and Kamatera offers a preconfigured paid firewall, but you’ll have to be informed enough to know how to deploy firewalls alongside application-level security for any websites you set up on either platform.
Although both providers have plenty to offer, Kamatera’s reliability and support quality swung this competition for me. If you’re a developer, you might not need any help configuring your server, but having easy-to-access support channels is important – especially if you have a downtime problem, like I did with DigitalOcean.
DigitalOcean is still a very good service provider, but a lack of prompt support really hurts. If this is your first time using cloud hosting (or you just want to have the safety net a responsive support team provides), I’d go with Kamatera.
But before you sign up, you may want to check out our best web hosting services for January 2023. Remember that neither Kamatera or DigitalOcean made it into our top 10, so you might find a more straightforward hosting plan that gives you the service you’re looking for.
Or, check out this quick summary of how Kamatera and DigitalOcean measure up side by side:
Plans and Pricing
Fully customizable plans so you can choose exactly what you want and don’t want; fully-managed service available
Various Droplets for individual use cases, also with a lot of customizability
Block storage, load balancing, firewalls, and 5TB of bandwidth included with all plans (only 1TB at Hong Kong data center)
Block and object storage, load balancing, free firewalls (must be added to Droplets), 1-10TB of bandwidth included
Fast loading speeds and 100% uptime during testing
Speedy page loading, but worrying downtime statistics
Preconfigured firewall, but costs a lot, and most security is up to you to configure
Free firewalls available, but additional security is up to you to configure
Sometimes slow to respond, the team does their best to support you over phone or email/ticketing
Getting access to the support portal is a difficult task, but chat and email/ticketing support is available
Kamatera’s excellent performance and support put it slightly ahead of DigitalOcean, although both hosts offer excellent options for customizing a server from the ground up.
DigitalOcean’s free firewall is a useful security feature that Kamatera only offers for an additional fee, but DigitalOcean’s tech support was MIA during my tests, leaving me to solve a downtime problem on my own.
Is Kamatera good for e-commerce?
As well as supporting some of the most popular e-commerce platforms, such as WooCommerce, Shopify, and SalesForce, Kamatera’s customizability allows users to squeeze every last bit of performance out of the server.
If you’re just looking for a straightforward hosting plan, you might want to check out our 8 top web hosts for e-commerce in 2023 instead.
Is Kamatera fast?
I ran two tests of Kamatera’s speed: one with a basic page and one with some HD images loaded onto the site. Kamatera’s page loading times came in at 1 second for the plain site and 1.2 seconds for the site with HD images in my tests. Adding much larger chunks of content barely affected Kamatera’s performance.
Want to find out more about how we test server speed? Click this link and read on.
Does Kamatera use cPanel?
Kamatera allows you to install cPanel, Plesk, or Kamatera’s own white label control panel for hosting your own sites, hosting your clients’ sites, reselling web hosting, or any combination of the above.
If you’re just looking for a web hosting service that offers cPanel-based hosting, most of the providers on our list of the best web hosting services in January 2023 offer hosting plans with cPanel already installed.
Austin is a tech writer and web development enthusiast who’s spent plenty of time playing with WordPress over the years. With a special interest in security features, he wants to find web hosting services that are both fast and protected against hackers and malware.