Production Webserver Series

Choosing a Host

Shared? VPS? Dedicated? Colocation? Cloud?

The first step in our PWS is an important one: choosing the type of hosting and a provider. There is no one correct answer, and everyone has their own opinions & requirements.

To start, the idea of shared hosting is nice. Set it up, forget about it. No sysadmin / devops. Sure, Pantheon is geared towards Drupal, and it's a great service. But not a lot of clients are willing to pay $400+/month for hosting one site. Finally, later in this series we'll be discussing a lot of additional packages not usable with shared hosting.

I won't go further into why, but having used all of the above hosting types, cloud hosting with full root access works best for us. For the last several years we had been using RackSapce with no major complaints.

However, I recently stumbled upon and was intrigued by DigitalOcean and Linode. After doing some research and testing, we made the leap to DO.

The only real issue with RS was the pricing (their support and additional services are execllent). We were looking for a highly reliable, scalable, performant box with around 16GB RAM with room to grow.

Disclaimer: This is really just based on our requirements and opinions, you're may be (and probably are) different.

Basics

RS DO LN
RAM (GB) 15 16 16
CPU (cores) 6 8 8
Storage (GB) 620 160 384
Storage (type) HDD SSD SSD
Network Out (MB/s) 400 1000 2000
Price (USD) 657 160 160

Opinions

RS DO LN
Support 1 2 2
Interface 2 1 2
API 2 1 2
Resizing 3* 1 2
Additional Features 1 3 2

*Warning: Resizing not even possible on a RS Performance Server without loosing your IP!

Summary

In the end, we went with Digital Ocean. With an unlimited budget, a fully managed RS server would probably be the box of choice. As for LN, they were certainly an extremely close 2nd. But having researched and tested both providers, DO just seemed to have more generally positive reviews, and their interface is nicer and easier to use.

Be sure to check out all 3 (and more) to decide what will work best for you.