- RackSpace has been in the “cloud” hosting market since it became a big deal in the late 90’s. Founded in 1998, it has revenues upwards of $1.1bn.
- DigitalOcean is much younger, but has a much narrower scope to its service – catering specifically to developers who want to provision cloud VPS servers. Founded in 2011, DO has risen to become one of the largest hosting providers in the world.
Whilst both companies work extremely well, with very high levels of uptime and support – they still have one major problem; they can be quite complicated to consider which one you should be using.
The simple answer is that if you’re looking at an “inexpensive” hosting infrastructure, you’ll want to look into DigitalOcean. If your needs are more expansive, RackSpace is by far more effective.
RackSpace’s core focus is on its “fanatical support” – they charge accordingly, and are generally a more “expensive” proposition than DigitalOcean. DO doesn’t offer as such granular support (although their support system is very responsive) – it does provide a highly effective service for a very inexpensive price.
You can spin up a VPS on DigitalOcean for $5/mo, RackSpace starts at least $50/mo. This doesn’t denote anything about their service levels – it’s indicative of the type of buyer each is targeting. RS is typically focused on the more institutionalized customer, DigitalOcean the more price-conscious.
To this end, when looking at either service provider, you’re basically getting the same technology provision (RackSpace uses its “Public Cloud” whilst DigitalOcean only has one type of service) – the difference lies in how you’re able to manage the software installed on the servers, or the level of support you’re able to receive to help you do this.
This is the predominant difference between the two services – RackSpace are predominantly a “service” company; providing as much support as possible, with dedicated 24/7 live chat and other innovations. DigitalOcean just provides the bare infrastructure. Again, there’s not much difference in the core operation of each system – the main alternation comes from the way in which company manages your underlying infrastructure.
We’ve found that RackSpace is typically catered to larger businesses who may not have much technical know-how. They may be working with a developer who requires scalability and other important facets of a “cloud” hosting service. DigitalOcean is focused on either individual developers, or small teams who value agility over longevity.