DigitalOcean vs Heroku | Which is better?

Find out all the details you need to make the right decision

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What is DigitalOcean?

Digital Ocean offers cloud computing technologies to businesses and developers. Through its services, companies can deploy and scale applications effortlessly. These applications can then run parallel to each other across several cloud servers without affecting each other’s performance.


If you pick Digital Ocean, you can take advantage of the following features that the service provider offers.

  • Backup and monitor your servers
  • Developers can start a virtual private server with any pre-configured web app.
  • Allows protection of servers with cloud firewalls.
  • Manage your servers using API, CLI app, and dashboard.
  • Team inclusion option available for building infrastructure together.
  • Load balancers and floating IP addresses allow for effective traffic management.


You should also understand the advantages of using the cloud hosting service provider when comparing to Heroku. Listed below are some of the ways developers benefit while working on Digital Ocean’s platform.

  • Sever level access and flexibility
  • The user interface is simple and aesthetic at the same time. The optimal options present in the UI makes working on Digital Ocean a treat for developers.
  • Digital Ocean’s performance is better than most cloud hosting companies out there. It was one of the first to use SSD-based virtual machines and IPv6, thereby leading to more convenience for developers.
  • The professional and comprehensive documentation helps developers new to the platform to learn all about its utilities.


Digital Ocean offers various options when it comes to pricing. The basic plan starts at $5 per month and limits data transfer to just 1TB. The best plan is priced at $160 per month and offers up to 7 TB of data transfer. Additionally, hourly plans are also available for individual developers.

What is Heroku?

Heroku refers to a cloud hosting platform as a service. Developers using Heroku do not need to worry about the infrastructure. Instead, they can simply perfect the development of the app, while Heroku takes care of scalability and deployment. In 2007, when Heroku was formed, the platform only supported the Ruby programming language. However, since then, it has added support for Scala, Node.js, Python, PHP, Clojure, Go and Java.


Heroku is a feature-rich platform. When you subscribe to the service, you can access the following features.

  • Apps operate in smart containers, known as dynos. This provides load balancing, orchestration, logging, security, and much more.
  • Heroku’s platform is responsible for running some of the apps receiving the greatest amount of traffic. The easy scalability of apps ensures a one-click approach without any downtime.
  • Integration and deployment occur continuously with the option to use the most popular CI servers and systems. You can deploy using GitHub, Git, or using an API.


Apart from the features of Heroku, listed below are some of the benefits of the platform that makes it a contender for Digital Ocean vs. Heroku comparison.

  • Managed hosting service that takes care of scalability
  • It allows developers to shift their focus from infrastructure to coding the application itself.
  • Offers a single billing system for projects broken down in the form of teams.
  • Support for most Modern Open Source Languages.
  • It helps you to focus on innovations instead of thinking about operations.
  • Fast permissions and application management
  • Impressive CLI and dashboard


Apart from the free plan, the paid subscription starts at $7 per dyno per month. This is more suitable for personal projects. For professional usage, Heroku offers plans starting at $25 per month and ranging up to $500 per dyno per month.

DigitalOcean vs Heroku: What are the differences?

Listed below are some factors that cause the distinction between Heroku and Digital Ocean.

Difference #1: IaaS and PaaS

Digital Ocean is a cloud-based service or IaaS that offers networking, storage, and virtualization options. On the other hand, Heroku is PaaS, which refers to software and hardware tools available on the Internet.

Difference #2: Manageability

Heroku offers developers more freedom to focus on optimizing their applications. It manages the infrastructure side of the job, such as maintaining servers and databases. Digital Ocean is not managed in the same way. When using this platform, you would need to concentrate on both the application development, as well as managing the backend.

Difference #3: Cost

When it comes to Digital Ocean vs Heroku, the price for their services is an important factor to consider. Since Heroku offers greater management of applications and servers, it is relatively costly, when compared to Digital Ocean. The latter leaves most of the backend management in the hands of the developers and, therefore, is cheaper.

Difference #3: Server control

Digital Ocean allows you to create a virtual private server. Even though the service provider does not manage it for you, the handy guides available can help you set up such servers yourself. Unfortunately, Heroku does not offer such an option.


At the end of the day, both Heroku and Digital Ocean are crucial services for developers today. While there is no clear winner in Heroku vs DigitalOcean, you need to choose based on your requirements. In general, managed solutions are better at first, while less managed solutions may be better during the end-stages of development.

A father, dreamer, nature lover and IT professional. Mostly writing about passing IT certifications and comparisons between programming languages.

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