Comparing Heroku and Digital Ocean

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Guest Post

Heroku and Digital Ocean are popular cloud computing platforms for developers.

Cloud computing is a technology that has been growing rapidly. It enables people and businesses to access and store data, files, and applications remotely using the Internet. And as the demand for applications continues to grow, developers need a way to build and deploy their applications easily.

Heroku and Digital Ocean are popular cloud computing platforms for developers. Both offer various services that make deploying and hosting your application easy. But how do these two compare?

This article compares Heroku vs Digital Ocean so you can understand how they differ and decide which is right for your needs.

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What is Heroku?

Heroku is a cloud-based application platform that allows developers to deploy and manage their apps entirely in the cloud. It’s a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that uses containers to deploy and scale applications.

Heroku was founded in 2007 and acquired by Salesforce in 2012. Its headquarters are in San Francisco, California.

At its inception, Heroku supported Ruby only, but today it’s a multilingual platform supporting other popular programming languages, including  Python, Node. Js, PHP, Go, Java, Scala, and Clojure. Heroku is a great PaaS for beginners or developers who want to focus on their code instead of managing servers.

Heroku provides software developers with server infrastructure, so they can focus on what’s more important: innovation in creating applications. With Heroku, developers can deploy, manage, and scale their applications on the cloud using GitHub, Git, or CI (continuous integration) systems.

Some of Heroku’s features include:

  • App-centric approach
  • Phenomenal developer experience
  • Collaboration tools – helps teams create apps together
  • Supports major programming languages
  • Container-based PaaS
  • Salesforce integration
  • Web-based dashboard

What is Digital Ocean?

DigitalOcean is a cloud-hosting company that focuses on software developers and startups. It provides virtual servers and object storage, which allows you to deploy your applications quickly and easily. Their Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform makes it simple to get started in the cloud. You can deploy and scale apps without the hassle of establishing your own infrastructure.

It comes with many different options for setting up your server, including different types of operating systems and languages that can be installed on your server. With Digital Ocean’s virtual machines, developers can customize the disk space, memory, operating systems, and more settings to meet the needs of their applications.

The company offers users different types of virtual servers (droplets) with different amounts of resources and prices.

It offers a wide range of features, including but not limited to:

  • Bandwidth Allowance
  • Storage limits
  • CMS Support
  • Control panel integration
  • E-commerce integration
  • Virtual networks
  • Pay by usage

Heroku vs Digital Ocean

Below are the differences between Heroku vs Digital Ocean.

IaaS and PaaS

Heroku and Digital Ocean are very different services. Heroku is a Platform as a Service (PaaS). With PaaS, you get a server and some software to run it on. It offers pre-configured, ready-to-use software development frameworks for applications of all sizes. You don’t have to worry about installing or maintaining any operating system—you can just focus on using the app.

On the other hand, Digital Ocean is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). It provides the infrastructure and resources you need to host your application. This allows you to focus on developing your app without worrying about how it will be hosted. With IaaS, you get your own virtual machine to install whatever operating system you want.

But Digital Ocean is now competing with Heroku on PaaS through its recent Digital Ocean App Platform.


Digital Ocean is a great choice if you’re looking for more flexibility. The company offers a healthy mix of shared and dedicated CPUs to get the right balance of resources for your needs. This means you can choose how much power to allocate to each Dyno or Instance in your app. You can scale up or down as needed, which is a perfect option for a growing business.

On the other hand, Heroku has limitations around the number of Dynos on an app and how. Plus, it offers limited configurations. This means that Heroku might not be the best choice if you want to run multiple apps on one account or run a particularly resource-heavy application.

Suppose you’re looking for more flexibility with your application architecture or want more control over the servers that support your application. In that case, Digital Ocean may be a better fit for you.


Digital Ocean is built with scalability in mind. You can deploy cloud resources according to your business’s needs. You’ll also have full control over your cloud infrastructure, which is impossible with Heroku.

As your business grows, you might want full control over cloud infrastructure for the optimal performance of applications. As such, Heroku developers might need to migrate to more flexible options like DigitalOcean. Yet this migration can be time-consuming and taxing, which is not for a business.


With Heroku, the company manages the infrastructure—the servers and databases—so that you don’t have to worry about it. This means you can focus on innovation while they care for everything else.

But With Digital Ocean, the developer is responsible for managing the backend. This allows you to have more control over your application’s backend and optimize for speed or cost-effectiveness.


When comparing the entry-level plans of each provider, it’s clear that Digital Ocean is the more cost-effective option. While you can get started with Heroku for as little as $7/month for an entry-level Dyno, Digital Ocean’s barebones plan starts at just $5/month. This price difference will add up quickly if you run multiple applications on your server.

Digital Ocean is cheaper because it allows users to manage everything themselves. But Heroku offers managed services that take care of all server maintenance tasks, including database management, making it more expensive.

Server Control

Digital Ocean offers one of the flexible server control options. With this platform, you can use Droplets to create your own private servers. And you have full control over all aspects of your server configuration.

You can also choose from several different operating systems, set up user accounts and groups, and even configure your own firewall rules. In addition, the company offers tutorials to guide you through all that.

On the other hand, Heroku doesn’t offer server control options. Everything is managed by the company so that developers can concentrate on coding.

Final Thoughts

Both Heroku and DigitalOcean offer developers a range of essential services. And while they have fundamental differences, there is no clear-cut winner between the two. You can choose Heroku or Digital Ocean, depending on the needs of your project and computing environment.

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