One of the many wonderful aspects to Amazon is there AWS (Amazon Web Services) Cloud offering. For anyone who has ever looked into opening a Cloud hosting account with AWS, you know that Amazon AWS offers consumers a wide range of hosting options, solid data center infrastructure, reasonable monthly prices (by hour is available) and a great support system backed up by some of the best IT professionals in the business.
But what happens if being just another number in Amazon AWS Cloud services doesn’t appeal to you? Where do you turn when you want more personalized Cloud Hosting with equally excellent hosting options at a reasonable monthly cost?
What happens is you turn to the five following stellar Cloud Hosting solutions.
1. Digital Ocean Cloud Hosting
Sure, they are the new guys in the game and yet, all the same, Digital Ocean (DO), is now the 11th largest infrastructure provider in the world. In a short time, DO has turned the hosting market on its head by understanding what the typical Cloud hosting firm offers and improving on it by supplying more reliable infrastructure, killer developer tools, wicked powerful SSD’s and an ever expanding internal community filled with tons of “how-to” content, tutorials and guides on everything from how to use a command line interface to resolving major MySQL issues.
What Digital Ocean Cloud Hosting Offers:
Under the hood of every DO web server are powerful SSD’s. The base DO plan supplies the consumers with 512MB of RAM, 1 Core Processor and 1TB of Bandwidth all folded into a 20GB Cloud server for $5 per month. The next step up the line, what DO touts as their “most popular plan” is a 30GB SSD Cloud server with 1GB of RAM, 2TB of Bandwidth and 1 Core Processor.
For the developer in need of more resources, DO provisions servers as powerful as 8GB of RAM, 4 Core Processors, 5TB of Bandwidth within a 80GB SSD Cloud server for $80 per month. In addition, for companies looking for SSD Cloud hosting servers, DO has plans running from $160 per month (16BG RAM, 8 Core Processors, 6TB Bandwidth with 160GB SSD) to $640 per month (64GB RAM, 20 Core Processors, 9TB Bandwidth with 640GB SSD).
If you looked at those numbers and said, “wow”, you are right there with the rest of the industry. Supplying Amazon AWS Cloud services for a fraction of the price and all of the reliability, DO has done a great job in rearranging what consumers expect from providers.
Yet, the major selling point of DO aren’t Cloud server prices. No. The main selling point of DO is the developer community/internal support system the provider has constructed. With a Knowledgebase filled with hundreds, if not thousands of tutorials, guides and how-to content, DO has made it simple for consumers to fix any issues they have without having to contact a support channel.
Add to all this that DO operates from data centers located in New York City, San Francisco, London, Amsterdam and Singapore, and you can begin to see why DO has taken the web hosting industry by storm over the past three years.
2. RackSpace Cloud Hosting Solutions
Once upon a time RackSpace was the new kid on the block. But then, they went ahead and paired with NASA to create OpenStack. The term “visionary” is easily applied in the same breath as RackSpace. If that isn’t already enough of a selling point, the Texas based web hosting company, is now ranked as one of the top five infrastructure providers in the world right alongside Amazon Ec2 and Microsoft Azure.
Supplying consumers with “fanatical support”, a RackSpace App Market, guaranteed 99.99% uptime, by the hour billing and a wide variety of web hosting options (Cloud, Dedicated, Managed, Bare Metal, Public/Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, Database, Website Management, etc.), RackSpace has turned into n one-stop-shop of web hosting needs.
What RackSpace Cloud Hosting Offers:
With a wide variety of options to choose from, we are going to use this space to center on the performance one level of RackSpace Cloud Servers. Billed in both “raw infrastructure” (unmanaged) and “managed infrastructure” (managed Cloud hosting), there are four levels of performance level one RackSpace Cloud servers.
Performance1-1 contains 1GB of RAM, 1 Core Processor, 20GB SSD, 200MB/s of Bandwidth for the “raw” price of $0.032 per hour and for the “managed” price of $0.037 per hour.
Performance 1-2 contains 2GB of RAM, 2 Core Processors, 40GB SSD, 20GB SSD Data Disk, 400MB/s of Bandwidth for the “raw” price of $0.064 per hour and the “managed” price of $0.065 per hour.
Performance 1-4 contains 4GB of RAM, 4Core Processors, 40GB SSD, 40GB SSD Data Disk, 800MB/s of Bandwidth for the “raw” price of $0.128 per hour and the “managed” price of $0.130 per hour.
Performance 1-8 contains 8GB of RAM, 8 Core Processors, 40GB SSD, 80GB SSD Data Disk, 1,600MB/s of Bandwidth for the “raw” price of $0.256 per hour and the “managed” price of $0.260 per hour.
For the consumer who needs more power, RackSpace also offers performance level two Cloud servers and Bare Metal Cloud hosting options. All run on a per hour basis ranging from a low of $0.48 per hour (Performance 2-15 Raw: 15GB of RAM, 4 Core Processors, 40GB SSD, 150GB SSD Data Disk, 1,250MB/s Bandwidth) to a high of $2.26027 per hour (OnMetal Memory: 512GB RAM, 2×6 Core Processors, 32GB SATADOM Boot Device).
While RackSpace continues to grow by offering consumers more and more options, a major selling point for the company continues to be their “fantastical support”. Marketed to the web service industry as the web hosting company who has your back 24x7x365 by phone, email, social media, live sales chat and ticket systems, RackSpace has made their name by being there when the consumer needs them to be.
Much like DigitalOcean, RackSpace has a growing internal community and knowledgebase solution designed to education consumers and fix issues however unlike DO, the person-to-person support system RackSpace deploys has set the industry benchmark.
If you are looking for Cloud hosting solutions with a hosting firm who has the capabilities of the Amazon Cloud or the Microsoft Cloud yet you are also looking for a higher level of support and cheaper prices then the true big boys on the industry, RackSpace is your bet.
3. SoftLayer Cloud Hosting Services
For anyone who has ever been to a Cloud Computing Summit, a Cloud Hosting Summit, Interop, HostingCon or CloudExpo, you have run across the famous SoftLayer server challenge. The SoftLayer server challenge time’s contestants on how quickly they can rack, stack and connect multiple numbers of servers while onlookers and SoftLayer booth staff look on silently thinking, “I can beat this guy.”
The contest is well worn on the summit circle yet SoftLayer has proven to be anything but. With the somewhat recent purchase of SoftLayer by IBM in June of 2013, many in the industry speculated if the company would come out alive, if company offerings would change and if the price model for SoftLayer Cloud services would rise to meet corporate margin lines. Well, after nearly a year under the label of “an IBM company” SoftLayer has remained one of the best Cloud hosting companies on the market.
What SoftLayer Cloud Hosting Offers:
Much like Amazon AWS Cloud solutions and RackSpace Cloud hosting services, SoftLayer supplies consumers with a variety of web hosting solutions – one of which is Cloud based. The SoftLayer Cloud service, marketed as Virtual Servers, enables users to build their own server with their choice in RAM, CPU Cores and Disk Space. Two of the major benefits of SoftLayer is the ability for a consumer to choose hosting from a public or private node and between use of SAN storage or local storage.
The base virtual Cloud server with 1 CPU Core, 1GB of RAM, 25GB of Disk Space operating from a public node with SAN Storage will run $0.040 per hour or $27.60 per month. When that server is switched over to private node and local storage, the cost rises to $0.219 per hour and $151.60 per month.
For users looking for a larger resource configuration, SoftLayer offers virtual Cloud servers with a max resource configuration of 8 CPU Cores, 64GB of RAM and 100GB of Disk Storage. Operating from a public node/SAN Storage, this configuration will set you back $1.033 per hour or $703.89 per month. When switched over to the private node/local storage option, the configuration will set you back $0.996 per hour or $666.60 per month.
While the prices, power and flexibility are comparable to RackSpace, the one interesting downside of SoftLayer is users can only select 25GB or 100GB of Disk Storage. There is no between.
The truth behind SoftLayer is this: the firm built itself from a small hosting firm to a large scale web hosting company one under control of one of the largest tech oriented companies in the world. For the consumer looking for a rock solid service which isn’t going anywhere or will not experience any major fluctuations, SoftLayer is a smart choice.
4. Media Temple High End Cloud Hosting
Some companies are marketing their services as Cloud simply because the term is hot. Media Temple isn’t one of them. Choosing not to call their VPS (virtual private server) solutions Cloud on purpose, Media Temple has long held itself the haven of developers looking for a rock solid hosting environment who understands the importance of 99.99% uptime, Linux Command Line web hosting and instant scaling to meet growing developer infrastructure needs.
Much like Digital Ocean who has actively gone after the developer market, Media Temple has courted the developer market by enabling the installation of nearly 200 apps in a few seconds, the choice between Plesk/cPanel and pre-installing the latest versions of PHP, MySQL, Perl, Python, Ruby and more within every server.
Media Temple has also differentiated itself in terms of price.
What Media Temple Cloud Hosting Offers:
Media Temple VPS (Cloud) Hosting comes in six levels scaled on two tiers (business and developers). Business level one supplies consumers with 1GB of RAM, 30GB of Storage, 1TB of Bandwidth and your choice of control panels for $50 per month.
The most popular business plan, level two, supplies web developers with 2GB of RAM, 50GB of Storage, 1.5TB of Bandwidth and your choice of control panels for $100 per month. The most powerful VPS hosting package offered is level six clocking in at $1,500 per month for 32GB of RAM, 60GB of Storage and 3TB of bandwidth with control panel choice.
Switching over to developer VPS hosting, plans range from $30 per month (1GB RAM, 30GB Storage, 350GB Bandwidth) to $500 per month (16GB RAM, 500GB Storage, 3TB Bandwidth). If need be, the company allows developers to create a custom plan to supply the resources they need.
As mentioned, at more than twice the cost of the top SoftLayer VPS plan, Media Temple isn’t cheap yet they are rock solid. Annually voted and recognized as one of the most reliable web hosting companies in terms of uptime and support. But note, although Media Temple support is highly noted, it won’t come cheap.
Coming in two forms – CloudTech On-Demand and CloudTech Always-On, plans can run as high as $1,500 per month not included in monthly hosting fees.
Make no mistake about it, Media Temple is a great hosting company who has made their name marketing to developers and businesses. Media Temple is serious hosting for serious developers and businesses, who have a pretty coin in their pocket.
5. Linode Cloud Hosting
Rounding out the top five is Linode. Long known for their dependable Linux hosting solutions, Linode, like VPS.net, has undergone a bit of a face lift in the past two years. With Digital Ocean coming on the scene, SSD servers took the industry by storm. As a result, everyone from Amazon, to RackSpace to Linode was forced to recalculate to include SSD offerings deployed in less than a minute.
After the facelift, Linode is now known for Linux web hosting with SSD servers with extremely quick deployment at relatively cheap per month expenditures. Understanding DO was posed to take over the market, Linode streamlined their solutions and reemerged as a simple hosting platform for serious web hosting professionals.
What Linode Cloud Hosting Offers:
Right off the bat, all Linode servers are powered by SSD’s. Secondly, all Linode servers are billed by the hour and the month. Thirdly, all Linode servers can be deployed in less than a minute. Fourthly, the cheapest Linode SSD Cloud server runs $10 per month and the most expensive runs $960 per month.
There are nine levels of Linode SSD hosting. The first level provides consumers with 1GB of RAM, 1 CPU Core, 24GB SSD, 2TB of Bandwidth, 40Gbps Network in and 125Mbps Network out at a cost of $10 per month or $0.15 per hour.
The middle level plan, Linode 4GB provides consumers with 4GB of RAM, 4 CPU Core, 96GB SSD, 4TB of Bandwidth, 40Gbps Network in and 500Mbps Network out at a cost of $40 per month or $0.3 per hour.
The highest level plan, Linode 96GB provides consumers with 96GB of RAM, 20 CPU Core, 1920GB SSD, 20TB of Bandwidth, 40Gbps Network in and 10,00Mbps Network out at a cost of $960 per month or $1.44 per hour.
If you want more from Linode, you can get comprehensive data backups, node balancers, managed hosting and long view service monitoring. But in all honesty, the add-ons aren’t why you host with Linode.
The selling point for Linode isn’t the support, it isn’t how many Cloud hosting solutions they offer and it isn’t developer tools. No, the selling point of Linode, like DO, is affordable, reliable, scalable and dead simple to deploy web hosting. Linode and DO both operate with simplicity for consumers.
So, if you are looking for five great alternatives to Amazon AWS, DigitalOcean, RackSpace, SoftLayer, MediaTemple and Linode are all solid choices offering different levels of Cloud hosting solutions at a wide range of price points. All are good choices.