DigitalOcean vs Heroku | Which is better?

DigitalOcean vs Heroku | Which is better?

This article will discuss the core differences between DigitalOcean and Heroku. It will provide an overview of each platform, core features, advantages, and pricing structure. 

As technologies improve, cloud hosting has become almost essential for developers. This facility simplifies the deployment procedure for apps and programs, offering greater scalability and scope.

Digital Ocean and Heroku are two of the most popular cloud hosting service providers in the world today. If you are having trouble picking one, the following comparison may help you make the best choice. 

Before getting to DigitalOcean vs. Heroku, you must first understand these two cloud providers.


What is DigitalOcean?

Digital Ocean offers cloud computing technologies to businesses and developers. Through its services, companies can deploy and scale applications effortlessly. These applications can run parallel across several cloud servers without affecting each other’s performance.

DigitalOcean conducted its IPO on March 2021, now a publicly traded company. The company will use the resources to improve the product offering and to have a more resilient cash position. 

According to Dgtlinfra, Digital Ocean is one of the largest cloud hosting companies in 2022. The company is one of the leading cloud service providers in the United States of America. Its headquarters is located in New York City.


If you pick Digital Ocean, you can take advantage of the following features that the service provider offers.

  • Ease of use
  • Developer centric
  • Developers can quickly create a scalable VPS to run on their operating system of choice
  • Backup and monitor your servers
  • Developers can start a virtual private server with any pre-configured web app.
  • Allows protection of servers with cloud firewalls.
  • Manage your servers using API, CLI app, and dashboard.
  • Team inclusion option available for building infrastructure together.
  • Load balancers and floating IP addresses allow for effective traffic management.


It would help if you also understood the advantages of using the cloud hosting service provider compared to Heroku.

Listed below are some of the ways developers benefit while working on Digital Ocean’s platform.

  • Affordable pricing and ease of use
  • Sever level access and flexibility
  • The user interface is simple and aesthetic at the same time. The optimal options present in the UI make working on Digital Ocean a treat for developers.
  • Digital Ocean’s performance is better than most cloud hosting companies out there. It was one of the first to use SSD-based virtual machines and IPv6, providing more convenience for developers.
  • The professional and comprehensive documentation helps developers new to the platform learn about its utilities.


  • Droplets (Virtual Machines)
  • Kubernetes
  • App Platform (PaaS service that competes directly with Heroku)
  • Functions
  • Managed databases
  • Storage
  • Other tools and services


Digital Ocean offers various options when it comes to pricing. The basic plan for Droplets starts at $4 per month and limits data transfer to just 500GB. DigitalOcean is also advantageous for bandwidth-intensive applications. The cost/GB is as low as $0.01.

The App Platform offers a free tier that is great for testing purposes, and the paid plans start at $5/month.

What is Heroku?

Heroku refers to a cloud hosting platform as a service. Developers using Heroku do not need to worry about the infrastructure. Instead, they can perfect the app’s development while Heroku handles scalability and deployment.

In 2007, when Heroku was formed, the platform only supported the Ruby programming language. However, it has added support for Scala, Node.js, Python, PHP, Clojure, Go, and Java. acquired Heroku in 2010 for a $212 million deal. The headquarters are located in San Francisco, California. Read how the platform competes with similar cloud hosting services, especially Heroku vs. Digital Ocean.



Heroku is a feature-rich platform. When you subscribe to the service, you can access the following features.

  • Developer centric
  • Support multiple modern programming languages, including Java, Clojure, Python, Go, Scala, PHP, and more.
  • Apps operate in smart containers, known as dynos. It provides load balancing, orchestration, logging, security, and more.
  • Heroku’s platform is responsible for running some of the apps receiving significant traffic. The easy scalability of apps ensures a one-click approach without any downtime.
  • Integration and deployment occur continuously with the option to use the most popular CI servers and systems. You can deploy using GitHub, Git, or using an API.


Apart from the features of Heroku, listed below are some of the benefits of the platform that makes it a contender for Digital Ocean vs. Heroku comparison.

  • Easy and fast app deployment
  • Managed hosting service that takes care of scalability
  • It allows developers to shift their focus from infrastructure to coding the application itself.
  • Offers a single billing system for projects broken down in the form of teams.
  • Support for most Modern Open Source Languages.
  • It helps you to focus on innovations instead of thinking about operations.
  • Fast permissions and application management
  • Impressive CLI and dashboard


  • Container platform
  • Managed databases
  • Teams 
  • Enterprise offering


Heroku offers the free tier until Nov 28, 2022. 

Apart from the free plan, the paid subscription starts at $7 per Dyno per month. This is more suitable for personal projects. For professional usage, Heroku offers plans starting at $25 per month and ranging up to $500 per Dyno per month.

For more information, please read the article Heroku Pricing

DigitalOcean vs Heroku: What are the differences?

Listed below are some factors that cause the distinction between Heroku and the Digital Ocean.

Difference #1: IaaS and PaaS

Digital Ocean is a cloud-based service or IaaS that offers networking, storage, and virtualization options. On the other hand, Heroku is PaaS, which refers to software and hardware tools available on the Internet.

Recently, DigitalOcean launched a product called Digital Ocean App Platform. It is a PaaS solution provided by DigitalOcean and competes directly with Heroku.

To understand the differences between IaaS and Paas, please read the article IaaS vs. Paas.

Difference #2: Manageability

Heroku offers developers more freedom to focus on optimizing their applications. It manages the infrastructure side of the job, such as maintaining servers and databases.

Digital Ocean is not managed in the same way. When using this platform, you must concentrate on application development and managing the backend.

Managed services are also available at Digital Ocean. For example, the App Platform and Managed Database are two products that offer managed services.

Difference #3: Cost

Regarding Digital Ocean vs. Heroku, the price for their services is an essential factor to consider.

Since Heroku offers management of applications and servers, it is relatively costly compared to Digital Ocean. The latter leaves most of the backend management in the hands of the developers and, therefore, is cheaper.

The Digital Ocean App Platform starts at $5/month vs. $7/month for an entry-level Heroku Dyno. The managed Postgres offering of Digital Ocean begins at $15/month, and the Heroku offering starts at $9/month.

Difference #3: Server control

Digital Ocean allows you to create a virtual private server. Even though the service provider does not manage it for you, the handy guides available can help you set up such servers yourself. Unfortunately, Heroku does not offer such an option.

Difference #4: Datacenter Locations

Heroku offers only two data center locations which are the USA and Europe. Other regions are only available on the Private plans.

On the other hand, Digital Ocean is more flexible and provides multiple data center options, including the USA, Europe, Asia, and India.

DigitalOcean vs Heroku Comparison Table

  Digital Ocean Heroku
Category Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS Platform as a Service – PaaS
Description Cloud infrastructure provider with heaquarters in NYC. Platform as a service provider acquired by Salesforce and located in San Francisco
Employees (LinkedIn) 1015 118
Regions Eight locations across the globe. Cities covered are New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Singapore, Banglore. Two. Heroku runs on top of AWS and you can host apps in North Virginia and Ireland.
Advantages Less expensive, more flexibility, more datacenter locations Scalability, managed service, speed to deploy apps


Both Heroku and Digital Ocean are essential services for developers today. While there is no clear winner in Heroku vs. DigitalOcean, you must choose based on your requirements.

Digital Ocean provides an easy-to-use, developer-centric platform with lower costs and more data centers available. On the other hand, Heroku delivers a fully managed infrastructure and scalable hosting and adds software value on top of a pure IaaS structure.

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General FAQ

What is DigitalOcean?

Digital Ocean is one of the largest IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service providers. The company is one of the leading cloud service providers in the United States of America. Its headquarters is located in New York City.

What is Heroku?

Heroku is a PaaS – Platform as a Service. Heroku manages the cloud infrastructure and developers can focus on app development.

What are the differences between Heroku and DigitalOcean?

1. DigitalOcean is a IaaS and Heroku a PaaS.
2. DigitalOcean provides more control.
3. Heroku provides a managed service.
4. Heroku is more expensive than Digital Ocean.

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