Meta: Looking for a hosting service for your Ruby on Rails applications? Here are four fantastic choices for compatible hosting providers as recommended by our engineers with over 10 years of experience in Ruby development.
Powered by the productive and forward-thinking programming language Ruby, Ruby on Rails is one of the fastest-growing web application frameworks right now. Right now, Rails is being used by thousands of web developers to build stellar web apps easily and unlock new business opportunities online.
An important consideration for developers and businesses using Ruby on Rails is the web hosting provider you opt for. This seemingly simple choice can affect the performance, reliability and scalability of your product. It can be difficult to sift through all the hosting options for you, so this guide will help you understand how to differentiate these providers. With our 10 years of experience in development with Ruby, we’ll give you four practical recommendations for ruby on rails hosting providers.
Different Types of Hosting Services
Not all hosting services are the same. Hosting plans are commonly divided into three categories:
- Shared Hosting
- VPS/VDS Hosting
Shared Hosting Services
With shared hosting, many websites and web applications share a web server and the resources are shared between each website. This means that your Rails application is far more likely to run into server performance issues like slowdowns, freezing and downtime.
Shared hosting also brings an extra layer of security vulnerabilities as attacks on ‘neighbor’ sites could harm your website and lead to nasty data breaches or costly app downtime. Shared hosting providers tend to deny server admins root access to modify files like system files or run any software programs not supported by the web hosting company.
While this is generally not an issue for beginner website builders and WordPress hosting, for complex Ruby on Rails applications, shared hosting can be too limited. However, shared hosting is by far the most affordable way to get your application online.
Virtual Private Servers
Virtual Private Server (VPS) (also known as Virtual Dedicated Server) hosting mimics the experience of having your own dedicated server by creating a virtual machine on the web server. Whilst the server space is still shared with other sites, your web application’s data is separated from others on the OS level. This affords crucial independence from other websites — improving security and performance.
While shared hosting resources are variable and depend on the current level of demand on the web server, a VPS dedicates a fixed amount of the server’s resources to your application.
That means that the CPU performance, RAM, data storage, and bandwidth stay constant even at peak times. Virtual servers also afford admins root access (known as administrator access rights on Windows servers). This allows you to fine-tune the server to the needs of your project, right down to installing the necessary software and changing the operating system.
PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) Hosting
PaaS (Platform as a Service) refers to a model of cloud services where the service provider provides a platform for application development and hosting for web applications.
With PaaS, developers are left to write the cost and test their apps, leaving the infrastructure worries like managing server resources, IP addresses and hosting troubles to the PaaS provider. You can either pay a fixed fee or choose pay-as-you-go pricing to pay only for resources you use.
It is far easier to build, deploy and scale apps with cloud PaaS hosting — perfect for small-to-medium businesses who want to focus on making a perfect Ruby on Rails product, not managing server infrastructure.
Why we choose VPS or PaaS
Virtual servers offer far more flexibility, control and independence for your web app. If you need to install specialist software or make any OS-level changes to your server, you can do that with the virtual machine afforded by VPS.
With guaranteed server resources and bandwidth, your Rails app can be far more resilient to fluctuations in demand — remaining unaffected by other websites on the web server. VPS hosting frees you from the limitations placed on customers by most shared hosting providers like the number of websites, databases, domain zones, etc.
With cloud models like PaaS, developers are liberated to create their apps without worrying about their web hosting. With PaaS, you are given more freedom to experiment in development and are afforded the flexibility to scale your app’s resources at any time. Cloud infrastructure is smart and resilient to changes to your product.
What you should pay attention to when choosing a hosting for your Ruby on Rails project
Before selecting a hosting provider for your Ruby on Rails project, here are some important considerations to note:
- Make sure the web provider supports the latest framework version. The Rails team regularly updates their framework with bug fixes, new features, and security improvements. Your code may not be compatible with older versions of the Ruby on Rails framework. It’s, therefore, crucial to make sure the web host supports the latest build of Rails.
- The web host should offer a scalable environment that allows for customization. As your application grows and as the demands for your product shift, your web host should be able to handle quick changes to resource needs. Moreover, you should be able to easily tweak and customize your server configurations to fit your needs.
- The web host should take data security seriously to ensure reliability and prevent data leaks. It’s advisable to look into what measures the hosting provider has in place to ensure your application’s data stays safe.
- To get the best performance out of your application, your web host should have multiple servers in different countries to match your locale and that of your users.
- Make sure your web host offers quality technical support, ideally 24/7, to reach at any time in case anything goes wrong. Any downtime is costly for your business, and your hosting provider should work with you to get you back up and running in no time.
- Your hosting provider should use a user-friendly control panel to make it easy to manage your web infrastructure. Needlessly complicated or poorly designed control panels can make it difficult to deploy your web app.
Our proven picks for Ruby on Rails Hosting Providers we use
Now that we’ve covered what we find important in a Ruby on Rails hosting provider, here are four proven web hosts we recommend: Digital Ocean (VPS), Heroku PaaS Hosting, Engine Yard, AWS PaaS Platform.
Digital Ocean VPS
Digital Ocean is a cloud hosting provider offering predictable pricing and developer-friendly features. Their droplets service unlocks scalable virtual servers to quickly deploy your application. With their easy-to-use control panel, you can skip the installation and configuration and get straight to deploying your code.
It’s easy to configure and select your server’s resources, with Digital Ocean offering dedicated CPU plans from $40 a month. Their general-purpose droplet VPS gives you 100% dedicated vCPU, along with a balanced 4GB of memory. Depending on your application, you can scale up to NVMe SSD storage for rapid performance.
Primarily, Digital Ocean VPS hosting is perfect for beginners and new developers to get their code deployed in seconds. However, the speed and affordability of their virtual servers give experienced businesses the power to run complex Ruby on Rails products.
Heroku PaaS Hosting
Heroku is a cloud service (PaaS) hosting provider focusing on speed and scalability. Within a couple of clicks, you can deploy from Git, your CI system, or deploy on every push to a branch in GitHub.
What stands out to us is that Heroku provides an easy way to set up and configure elements. Through the elements marketplace, you can easily install add-ons to unlock the true potential of your application. It’s easy to install these to your cloud server — increasing productivity.
Heroku is perfect for small-to-medium businesses or startups with burning ideas for their next million-dollar app idea. With their Guided Price Estimator, you can easily estimate how much it will cost to run your app on Heroku.
A standard package for running business apps starts at $25 a month for 512MB of RAM for lightweight applications. Stepping up to performance tiers with 2.5GB of RAM brings the app cost up to $250 a month. Overall, Heroku is an easy-to-use and adaptable PaaS platform for SMBs and enterprises alike.
For medium-sized businesses and enterprises, Engine Yard is a compelling option. Engine Yard offers data-driven, fully automated PaaS hosting solutions for deploying and managing applications on AWS. This service is also designed for scalability but shines most in its excellent 24/7 full-stack customer support.
Engine Yard’s offerings are marketed as ‘NoOps’ meaning that the cloud infrastructure is designed to be completely automated with no need for any operations team to manage it. You can easily deploy your code, with simple GIT push deployment.
You can choose between the regions you deploy in, and intuitively scale your resources to meet your current needs. Engine Yard will scale your application for you, without you worrying about provisioning at all. The PaaS provider will also intelligently monitor your app’s performance, providing insights on how the application runs and how it can be optimized.
Engine Yard’s pricing moulds to your server usage, with the platform fee starting at $800 per month per private cluster along with $49 per month per Optimized Container Unit (OCU) (1GB of RAM and proportionate CPU). Engine Yard is perfect for larger enterprises building business-critical apps but wants a ‘hands-off’ experience managing their server infrastructure.
AWS PaaS Platform
For large enterprises providing truly global operations with their Ruby on Rails apps, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the best and most reliable cloud service providers around. AWS’s Elastic Beanstalk is Amazon’s easy-to-use service for deploying and scaling web applications.
AWS Management Console allows you to upload your code instantly, and Elastic Beanstalk will automatically handle the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring for you. AWS will automatically scale your application up and down based on your application’s specific needs based on your Auto Scaling settings.
AWS offers you complete resource control, giving you the freedom to select the AWS resources, such as Amazon EC2 instance type, that are optimal for your application.
With the added benefits of reliability and customizability, AWS tends to offer less comprehensive full-stack support than services like Engine Yard. Therefore, AWS is best suited to businesses that “know what they’re doing”.
AWS is designed for you to “never outgrow” and is usually the hosting provider choice of the largest applications across the world. As pricing for AWS is tailored uniquely to your demands, Amazon offers a comprehensive pricing calculator for estimates of how much it will cost to use AWS for your Ruby on Rails application.
That was four proven hosting providers for Ruby on Rails applications
There we have, that was four proven hosting providers for Ruby on Rails applications. If you are yet to find your own best hosting for Rails projects, we should note the fundamentals of what makes a good host:
- Scalability: for customization of your server resources and to allow for frictionless growth.
- Solid Technical Sport: to solve problems quickly and minimize downtime.
- Secure Site Certification: for unrivaled security.
- Money-back guarantee and/or free trials: for added peace of mind or to test out the service before you buy.
- Multiple servers in different countries: for increased performance and data redundancy.
We have introduced some of the best hosting options for Ruby on Rails hosting according to Active Bridge’s expert experience in Rails development.
Not sure where to start with Ruby on Rails development? Get in touch with us today to learn about our web application development services or to learn from our industry experts.