Updated: February 1, 2013
Ruby on Rails (often called “RoR” or simply “Rails”) is an open source web application framework for the Ruby programming language. It is intended to be used with an Agile development methodology, which is often utilized by web developers for its suitability for short, client-driven projects. A good Rails host will provide Shell/SSH access, Fast CGI, SCGI and/or Mongrel support, the latest RoR releases, knowledgeable support staff with Rails documentation on board, and scalability options to meet future growth.
The following Web hosting providers are WHdb-recommended hosts that support the Ruby on Rails framework.
- BlueHost: BlueHost offrs one set of hosting features with four ways to pay. All four solutions provide capabilities for Rails. You have Shell access (SSH), SSL, FTP, stats, 24×7 support, FCGI for Rails and a cPanel that contains Ruby, Rubygems and an RoR management console. Users also receive a 30-day money-back guarantee and a forum and documentation online to make your transition and hosting experience more enjoyable. Be aware that Blue Host charges for SSL accounts and for domain re-activations, a normal procedure.
- Go Daddy: Go Daddy provides a one-stop shop where users can register Internet domain names and host a site for just about any service imaginable. RoR is welcome, as Go Daddy provides services for a vast array of language, scripting and framework options. They offer a 99.9% network uptime commitment and 24/7 support with every sale, but our concern is the lack of access to the command line in Shell. You can learn from others how they handled this shortfall. Otherwise, the nice part about the Go Daddy deal is that RoR is included in their least expensive packages. Begin hosting your Rails site for less than $5.00 per month for a two-month contract. Save more if you go long-term. Upgrade at any time.
- HostGator: HostGator’s services are designed for beginners and for professionals. Plus, they provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee, a great support system and a 45-day money back guarantee. Their basic Linux Web hosting plan includes RoR capabilities, and users can choose among three various plans with three different price structures. You can always expand your site or upgrade at any time at HostGator, and options include shared, reseller and dedicated hosting solutions. Currently, the lowest price for hosting options at HostGator is less than $4.00 per month, and this price includes 24×7 support, instant backups, unlimited MySQL databases and much more.
- Web Hosting Pad: Web Hosting Pad’s mission is to deliver the best value in Web hosting at an affordable price. They offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and their data center offers complete redundancy in power, HVAC, fire suppression, network connectivity, and security. As a Rails user, you might be surprised to learn that Web Hosting Pad offers the same package to all clients; therefore, you don’t need to dicker on the price.
- Media Temple: Media Temple provides users with several options for hosting, but they all are based upon a grid service (gs), a completely new hosting application that supplies room for up to 100 sites along with a 64 MB Ruby/Mongrel container, their ‘MySQL GridContainers,’ and MySQL SmartPool v.2 with load-leveling technology, burst-able database resources and more. The “Mongrel” server should tip you off that Media Temple is ready for RoR users, and they also supply instant scalability for growth. While the boost to a higher priced tier may not be in your plans, this option actually tells you that this hosting service is dedicated to making sure your site survives through uber-heavy traffic spikes.
- HostMonster.com: This Web host provides a 99.9% network and server uptime guarantee, excellent support via phone, email and live chat, and the ability for you to cancel an account at any time without penalties with with a pro-rated full refund of the unused portion of your hosting agreement. HostMonster.com offers one set of hosting features and four ways to pay. For Rails developers, HostMonster.com provides SSH Access (Secure Shell), SSL, FTP (can create separate FTP accounts for your domains), Stats and CGI.
- Host Excellence: The Basic Plan professional hosting package at Host Excellence is offered at $3.95 per month and features one free domain name registration, unlimited storage, and unlimited bandwidth. Support for Ruby on Rails is also included at no additional cost. Founded in 1999, Host Excellence is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio and offers 24/7 tech support and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
- Rails Machine: Rails Machine was founded in 2006 to create the ultimate hosting environment for the Ruby on Rails community. Rails Machine offers “a smooth ride for your Rails application,” no matter if you’re deploying your applications in a hosted environment or in an internal corporate environment. All of their hosting products include their “Ask Us Anything” support. They offer dedicated server cores with custom resource allocation to meet any need, so you can order anything from a single virtual server to an entire dedicated server with multiple virtual servers molded to meet your requirements and specifications. And, you can begin small and work up with plans that can be deployed within one to two business days.
- Brightbox: UK-based Brightbox originally began as a project that hosted RoR apps for clients on dedicated servers. Now they provide virtual dedicated servers optimized for hosting Ruby on Rails applications. Each box comes with a Ruby on Rails stack preinstalled, Managed MySQL database servers and is based on the Xen virtualization platform. You’ll receive better resilience and scalability, yet less complexity than with traditional dedicated server solutions with Brightbox. You’ll also have full root access to your server, and capabilities to upgrade your RM or server space.
- A2 Hosting: The “A2” in A2 Hosting stands for their headquarters location, Ann Arbor, Michigan. All of A2 Hosting’s Linux-based hosting plans come with free Ruby and Ruby on Rails support, including their most economical option, the Prime Hosting Plan, which starts at $5.99 per month. They offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee, server rewind backups, SSH accesss, unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains, unlimited MySQL databases, and much more.