DigitalOcean vs. InMotion Hosting. IaaS vs. PaaS. Web hosting pricing comparison

Hosting on InMotion Hosting since Jun 9, 2019 has been a good experience, even though on Jun 9, 2023 they increased the price from $119.88 to $155.88 a year:

InMotion Hosting pricing

Why not renting a virtual machine from a company such as DigitalOcean that specializes in cloud hosting for developers? Before answering that question, I want to explain that I mentioned specifically DigitalOcean because from the four well-known cloud hosting options that I know (DigitalOcean, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services), DigitalOcean is the least expensive:

DigitalOcean versus competitors

$6 a month may sound like a good deal. However, that solution would require hosting my own databases. In my experience, self-hosted databases and/or mail servers is not advisable because of their inherent challenges. For example, I posted at an issue I experienced with MySQL randomly failing for no apparent reason after several days of running without problems. The fix was easy, as I mentioned in that question: start/restart the MySQL service. But having that uncertainty of not knowing when MySQL will suddenly fail is unacceptable for a production system. The Stack Overflow user @suchislife wrote a comment to my question, that I 100% agree with:

"They way I fixed this was to stop hosting my own databases. Such a risk. Now I rent a managed MySQL database cluster with full access from digital ocean and it stays online for years. Email & Database hosting is no joke. Let a data-center manage hardware, patch updates and uptime so that you can focus on actual coding."

I am assuming that in his last sentence, @suchislife was referring exclusively to hosting email and database. Otherwise, I would disagree only with that sentence because hosting everything else (even if excluding specifically email and database) on a self-hosted server is precisely the concept behind using a cloud hosting for developers solution in the form of infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The solution proposed by @suchislife, as I understand it, would be to use platform as a service (PaaS) for email and database, and IaaS for everything else.

The cost of a basic DigitalOcean MySQL Managed Database is currently $15.00/month:

DigitalOcean MySQL Managed Database pricing

From its own website, DigitalOcean discourages people from running self-hosted mail servers: In previous paragraphs I discussed why I agree with that advice. That means adding the extra cost for hosting email elsewhere.

The cost for a basic business email with Google is $6.00/month (or $7.20 per user per month when billed monthly):


Backups for a basic Droplet (DigitalOcean virtual machine or server) has a cost of $1.20/month:

DigitalOcean backups

Adding up the aforementioned prices for the DigitalOcean + Google business email solution, the result is $28.2/month. The InMotion Hosting solution, which includes email and MySQL database as part of their service, has a price of $15.49/month after including the cost of $2.50/month for automatic back-ups. In this case, the PaaS is significantly less expensive than the IaaS solution.

I prefer IaaS than PaaS for web hosting because it provides full control, flexibility, opportunity to scale, and the exclusivity of a dedicated server instead of having to share the server with other sites. The IaaS model also allows to have multiple websites on the same server but as a configurable option, if desired. In the PaaS model, servers are always shared with other websites unless a dedicated server is rented, but that is astronomically more expensive than an IaaS equivalent dedicated server.

As shown in this post, IaaS may not always be the least expensive option, and it requires more technical expertise for installation, implementation, upgrades, security and maintenance. PaaS can eliminate the end-of-support hassle, but IaaS gives full control and flexibility. It always comes down to a trade-off, pros and cons analysis.

UPDATE: I found an option less expensive than the Google business email solution. I shared my experience changing business email service provider from InMotion Hosting to Namecheap at

Published: 11:21 PM GMT · Oct 17, 2023