Ruby on Rails Web Hosting - A Complete Guide

Update: It turns out that a lot of folks are looking for this information. I’ll do my best to keep this list updated as new hosts appear. Please drop me a line in the comments to tell me what I’m missing.

Update2: Nick Snels of RailsForum has put together an excellent app that automatically compares Rails hosts. Way to go Nick! RailsHostingInfo.

Note: This list is 100% devoid of affiliate links.

One of my clients has a site that just started picking up a lot of traction. We developed it on a Dreamhost shared account because that was simply the best starter option for hosting Rails apps. Dreamhost has been largely reliable and they clearly are the industry leaders in deploying massive shared hosting accounts with all the latest technologies and shell access. What they don’t have is scalability for those of us who dislike the occasional 500 error and would like some resources actually dedicated to our use.

So my client has asked me to compile a list of the hosts that are the next level up from DH’s exteremely cheap (under $100 for two years!) hosting. I’m going to grab a bunch of this data from a post on RailsForum, though I’ll try to parse it in a more readable format:

Shared Hosts

Dreamhost * $100 for two years (Google around for a special discount code) * 1TB transfer * 20GB space * known for cheapness, high limits, and occasional errors/downtime

Site5 * $6.95/month for two years * 200GB transfer * 10GB space * seems about like DH but many customers claim Site5 is more reliable. * offers fewer accounts per server with higher-paying plans.

ASmallOrange * $25/year * 3GB transfer * 75MB space * This is the bare-minimal plan ASO offers but it’s still more than more Rails sites will need.

PlanetArgon * $11.25/month for one year * 15GB transfer * 500MB space * can be configured to use: mongrel, lighttpd, pound, capistrano * Planet Argon has been heavily involved in the Rails community, it’s run by RobbyonRails

Textdrive * $8.50/month for one year + $25 setup * 3GB transfer * 1GB storage * 6 databases * cannot be used for development or testing, only production * I’m not as impressed with these guys as with some of their competition, but they’re still in the running.

Rails Playground * $5/month for one year * 30GB transfer * 3GB space * These guys excel at being a good development ground, hence the name. This starter plan is probably great for folks who are looking for the simplest and easiest way to get their feet wet.

VPS Hosts

RailsMachine * $75/month + $30 setup * 100GB transfer * 10GB space * 256MB dedicated memory * up to 6 Rails apps * 2 unique IPs * Perfect setup for a serious application. Just about the most stable and ideal setup. A little pricey, but well worth it.

RimuHosting * $29.95/month * 60GB transfer * 4-8GB space * 128MB memory * Seems like an affordable VPS option

Engine Yard * $249/month * 125 GB transfer * 15GB space * memory: unclear * A really novel approach. They have massive clusters and they sell ‘slices’ of those clusters. Easy to upgrade/downgrade but their base price is quite high.

SliceHost * $20/month * 100GB transfer * 10GB space * 256MB memory * Very high value for the price. A complete VPS with plenty of memory for RAM-hogging Rails apps. Web panel gives you control to reboot (or reinstall!) on the fly for no additional cost.

  • Ben Kittrell said: I'm interested in Rails Machine. I'm about to push a new product out, and I need a good host. Do you think 256mb is enough to host a multi-user system?
  • Ben Kittrell said: Thanks for the rundown BTW, very helpful ;)
  • Josh said: Nice post, Danger. Very helpful list. *bookmark* :)
  • Ben Kittrell said: I signed up for RailsMachine today. We'll see how it goes.
  • Chris B said: Great list, very useful indeed! Deployment is, IMHO, the weakest area of Rails at the moment so it's good to have a clear overview of the hosts available
  • Kelli said: I've had accounts on Site5 and ASmallOrange both for about a year and a half now and they've both been reliable and fast. I've never done any rails development on ASO, though, so can't atest to that. I'd recommend either one.
  • Kelli said: I've had accounts on Site5 and ASmallOrange both for about a year and a half now and they've both been reliable and fast. I've never done any rails development on ASO, though, so can't atest to that. I'd recommend either one.
  • Kelli said: gah sorry for th edouble (now triple) post... I blame the 4yr old.
  • Hendy Irawan said: What about A2Hosting.com? It's almost on par with RailsPlayground (latest Ruby on Rails, Mongrel, PostgreSQL 8.1!, Subversion, you can install any gem you want), and also quite cheap (not as cheap as DreamHost/Site5 though). For $6.95/mo (2 years) you get 4 GB space / 40 GB bandwidth (Small Biz plan). I'm still currently listing RailsPlayground on top of my list though. What I do know is they have excellent customer support. 43folders is powered by A2Hosting so it'd be safe to say that A2Hosting is also an excellent choice.
  • Hendy Irawan said: One thing you might want to consider is PostgreSQL (8.x) support. Even if you don't use it now, if, at any one time later, you want to use it, you're gonna be in trouble if your webhost doesn't support ini (or maybe will never will). You will definitely drop a lot of choices when you consider PostgreSQL support. Currently in my list only RailsPlayground and A2Hosting supports PostgreSQL with a reasonable price. DreamHost and Site5, although very cheap, doesn't support it. Other hostings that support PostgresQL 8 are usually pricier.
  • Hendy Irawan said: I think the comment system is rather weird (Typo?) When I submit the comment I see no progress whatsoever, therefore I click Submit again (duplicate comments, sorry). Weird.
  • anonymous said: I like linode.com for a VPS solution.. and they have an irc channel.
  • darren said: dude a small orange is radical
  • Nathan said: Looks like a very useful list, but I'm not seeing the names of any of the hosting companies next to the descriptions! Am I missing something? (probably :o) )
  • Danger said: whoah. that's a biggie. thanks for pointing that out Nathan. I just moved from Typo to Mephisto and I think some crazy stuff is happening with my formatting. I'll get on that right away :-)
  • Danger said: Textile - not so helpful. Markdown - very helpful.
  • Spencer said: Here's one I've looked at briefly: "Slicehost":http://www.slicehost.com/ These guys look good value and technically capable.
  • Danger said: Wow, those guys do look good. I'm going to add them to the list - thanks Spencer!
  • Ryan Mahoski said: Nice list. I went with slicehost and agree they're a relative bargain. Immediately after payment, you can log in as root in your distro of choice. The service is $20 month-to-month, in contrast to the "premium" ($250/month!) schemes. Slicehost's wiki talks you through Ruby, RubyGems, and Rails installations(emphasis: Ubuntu). Their ssh gui lags considerably, which may concern Windows users but OS Xers are fine using Terminal. Thanks for sharing your research.
  • Danger said: I just signed up for SliceHost as well. So far I'm just amazed at how much they offer. $20/month for a 256MB VPS running on 8 opteron cores is a fantastic deal.
  • James Maskell said: "Prime Hosting":http://www.primehosting.co.uk is a good UK/European Rails host.
  • Danger said: At first glance I'm not immediately impressed with primehosting. They seem okay but the didn't mention anywhere that they provide shell access - which usually means they don't. They might be alright but I'm skeptical of any place that isn't run by at least one Rails developer. Rails has it's own particular needs that most shared hosting providers just don't "get".
  • dwayne said: I've been using Rimuhosting for a few months. I'm much more experienced with development than deployment, and you start out with nothing but a Linux build of your choice (and the Rails stack if you ask). But the email support has been outstanding. They've been very friendly to a deployment noob like me.
  • Nick Snels said: Good rundown of some of the better known Rails hosting companies. I have done the same thing, but I have added a couple of other companies too. You are able to review and compare many Rails hosting companies at "Railshostinginfo.com":http://www.railshostinginfo.com. So anybody willing to leave a comment about their current hosting company, please do so.
  • Leandro Nascimento Camargo said: Hey, Danger. You forgot to mention some others hosting services with RoR: http://del.icio.us/rehzus/rails+web_hosting A small list of links I have gathered so far.
  • Dylan said: I would strongly recommend Segment Publishing for shared server set ups. Great customer service. Zippy lighttpd. Ultra consistent uptime. http://segpub.com.au/
  • garrett said: I use ASmallOrange, but sometimes wonder about their uptime...seems to me that the server I am on (Iota) goes down rather regularly (I'd say for an hour or two every other month, if I had to guess, but it may be less than that). Can't beat the price though!
  • Brandon said: I'm using Rails Machine for phonekam.com . So far so good, but I haven't had a lot of traffic. It was super easy to deploy.
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