DigitalOcean has a great offering -- a minimal, intuitive and easy UI and competitive prices. But few know Hetzner, which has not only a cheaper base tier and the same minimal and intuitive UI but also more powerful servers for the same price. The only real disadvantage: Their locations are limited with servers in Germany, Finland and the United States
A comparison of their base tiers
|Company Location (GDPR and data privacy)||EU||US|
|Available Server locations||Europe + US||Around the world|
|Backups||+20% of price||+20% of price|
|One-Click Apps||just 7||many|
|Storage Expansion Option||yes||yes|
I want to point out a few things here:
The Hetzner Server has better specs although it costs about half the DigitalOcean one.
Hetzner includes 20 times more bandwidth than DigitalOcean.
There are also a few updates I need to mention as things have changed since I first wrote this post:
Hetzner increased the price of only their base tier to 4.15€/m due to a shortage of IPv4 addresses. Existing servers are therefore not affected.
Hetzner added support for 7 One-Click Apps
I failed to mention the environmental aspect and added this:
Green Energy: According to Wikipedia, Hetzner uses 100% renewable energy. Though I wasn't able to verify this as the related pages have disappeared from their site (404). I wasn't able to find information about DigitalOcean, but according to external sites a few of their data centers run on renewables.
About One-Click Apps, I would argue that:
If you can't install software on your server, chances are you will be unable to maintain it
There are many resources online on installing almost anything on your server (the DigitalOcean blog for example has many fantastic and up to date articles on this)
So I think it's not a big deal that they don't offer them.
The case for DigitalOcean
Besides offering more regions, DigitalOcean also offers a much more complete suite of cloud products, like managed databases and S3-compatible storage. If you need these for your project and want to keep it simple, you should probably go with DigitalOcean
Option 3: Dedicated Servers?
Believe it or not: Dedicated Servers have become incredibly cheap and are real competition for VPS. If you host several projects, you might just consider getting a dedicated server instead (which goes for as low as 19€ with OVH). They are capable and come with a lot of (HDD) storage. Just keep in mind that the low-cost ones run on consumer hardware.
Based on the chart, I think it is obvious that I recommend using Hetzner. Use my link to get 20€ free server credit to start
Note: I've been using Hetzner for multiple months now and am very happy with them. I did not recommend them based on their affiliate payout. (DigitalOcean actually pays out more)