What Are The Top Node.js Hosting Platforms?

Struggling to find the top hosting platform for Node.js on the market? Have questions about where to host Node.js? Don’t worry. We have all the information you need for hosting Node.js effectively right here.

As one of the biggest runtime environments for JavaScript, Node.js is invaluable to countless developers all over the world. This immense popularity has grown consistently since Node.js launched in 2009, thanks in large part to the huge community of companies leveraging it daily.

Anyone with experience of Node.js will understand exactly why it’s so popular. It’s ideal for everything from full end-to-end app development to the intricate creation of an individual component within a complex application.

Research shows that businesses primarily utilize Node.js for back-end, full stack, and front-end development. For organizations revolving around rapid environments and aiming to maximize productivity, Node.js is an outstanding option. It’s designed to be incredibly scalable for growing businesses, and is fantastic for creating cutting-edge applications for diverse users. It scales to a high standard with no need to invest in a lot of expensive hardware.

On top of this, Node.js offers support for the popular NPM (Node Package Manager). Developers can take advantage of the package to build their applications easily, due to the extensive portfolio of modules included within it.

But it can be a major challenge to find a dependable, safe platform for Node.js (when compared to, say, WordPress and similar PHP apps). There are two popular methods of hosting Node.js apps:

  • Managed: This enables you to concentrate on the application’s code and a service provider takes responsibility for maintaining the infrastructure.
  • Cloud VM: You can utilize your preferred OS and take charge of installing, deploying, and managing everything independently.

So, two different options — but which is right for you?

If you would rather avoid the complexities of system administration, a managed platform is typically recommended for a more streamlined process. But if you’re willing to invest considerable time into installing and administering, the cloud VM may be the better option.

With this in mind, let’s look at the platforms available — which will you choose?

DigitalOcean

With DigitalOcean, you can take advantage of a streamlined one-click install and deployment process for your Node.js. This is a famous option in the development community, and it’s extremely cost-effective, with deals starting from just $5 each month.

Want to install Node.js by yourself? DigitalOcean allows for plain droplet requests and a selection of OS options for self-installation. Multiple infrastructure services include object storage, load balancer, firewall, and more. Users can build enterprise-ready applications with ease.

Organizations using DigitalOcean have the freedom to scale up and down as they see fit. Being able to pay for the droplet (VM) size you choose means that the fees are predictable, for easier finance management.

AWS

It should come as no surprise that this market leader is regarded as one of the strongest contenders for hosting modern applications to a high standard. AWS offers a wealth of services to satisfy all users’ needs. You have the option to provision a suitable VM and install your Node.js and all related software (or you can choose Elastic Beanstalk).

This supports the following roster of languages:

  • JS
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • .Net
  • Go
  • Java

This is by no means an exhaustive list — it supports many more.

The biggest benefit of leveraging Elastic Beanstalk is that there’s no need to worry about your infrastructure. You’re free to deploy applications using your preferred tools for efficient development release.

The key factors of this Node.js hosting platform include:

  • Integrates easily and effectively with additional AWS services
  • Application can be scaled to your goals and requirements thanks to auto-scaling and load balancing
  • Pay as you go structure

You can get started with AWS without charge, via the free tier.

Heroku

Heroku is known for being particularly friendly to developers, as it’s designed to support numerous languages (e.g. Node.js) and environments. It’s part of Salesforce, a major brand with a solid reputation.

Heroku provides a free package with 512MB of memory, and one web or worker to help you get started.

The key elements of this hosting platform for Node.js include:

  • Integrate third-party software seamlessly
  • Multi-region app deployment
  • Packaged with many services and plugins
  • Documentation suited well to beginners and seasoned developers

Redhat OpenShift

This PaaS (platform as a service) is available to start using for free. Redhat OpenShift provides users with automatic scaling, so apps won’t run slower because of increased traffic. You can use a native privacy feature to access your own database securely, and host up to three applications for free.

OpenShift is a great option for newcomers looking to experiment with their new Node.js apps, and you can set up a custom domain as part of the free plan as well. It’s a solid option for enterprises and individual developers alike.

Google Cloud

Using Google Cloud, you can host an application wherever the powerhouse brand’s products appear. Choose from four options:

  • App Engine: Google manages your infrastructure on your behalf with this PaaS service
  • Compute Engine: Utilize a VM with your preferred OS, to install it however you like; you can take full control, managing the server yourself
  • Kubernetes Engine: This enables you to run a Node.js app within containers
  • Cloud Functions: This option lets you make your function to execute on the Google infrastructure; this solution is serverless and you’ll pay for the code runs

Like the sound of Google Cloud? It provides as much as $300 in credit for users looking to try it, and it’s ideal if you want to make enterprise-ready apps.

Platform.sh

This Node.js hosting platform is fully automated and managed. It’s designed for hosting Node.js applications within clusters, for a higher standard of performance and improved availability.

This is optimized for the latest development frameworks, and other highlights of this Node.js hosting platform include:

  • Integration for Git
  • Suitable for agile scaling
  • SSL certificates are free
  • Ready for micro services
  • 24/7 support

Azure

Microsoft Azure is an obvious addition to this list, as it’s one of the market’s biggest cloud computing platforms and has data centres throughout 54 different regions. You can choose from various options, as with other major AWS and GCP solutions. Pick from:

  • Virtual machines: Environment setups with Windows or Linux
  • App Service: This is fully-managed — you deploy your code and Azure handles the rest
  • Functions: This is serverless computing for scaling and meeting your specific demands
  • Cost-effective structure: You only pay for whatever you actually use

NodeChef

Still wondering where to host Node.js? NodeChef is another high-quality option. This Node.js hosting platform for mobile and web applications supports a number of other languages, such as Java, PHP, and more.

You can use NodeChef for hosting applications within a docker container, and you can pick from SQL and NoSQL database. Its highlights include:

  • Real-time logging
  • One-click scalability
  • Deployment with one click
  • SSL provisioning automatically
  • Numerous locations for data centers
  • Metric monitoring

NodeChef is billed hourly and prices start from $9 each month.

Node.Js Hosting with Plesk

Plesk is an innovative web hosting platform for automating hosting routine tasks and scaling hosting business. It is compatible with Linux and Windows operating systems, has ecosystem of 100+ extensions and supports various web development environments including Node.Js. To use Node.Js with Plesk it is enough to have Plesk-driven VPS server, install there Node.Js extension and follow these instructions.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide helps you to find the right hosting Node.js option for your goals. It’s worth making the most of free credit or free trial deals, to try multiple platforms without risk. Make sure you run a scan of your Node.js app to identify security weaknesses when your code goes live.

Node.js vs Ruby on Rails: Which to Choose

Node.js vs Ruby on Rails: Which to Choose - Plesk

Choosing between Node.js and Ruby on Rails when you select your development platform is a key decision. It will impact the way your project unfolds over time and how much server resources you’ll need. Both languages can support web applications of great complexity, but each has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Knowing these pros and cons will help you pick the optimal solution to fit your intended project.

A Quick Intro to Node.js and Ruby on Rails

What’s the background and purpose of each of these languages? Let’s take a quick look.

Node.js

In short, Node.js is a runtime environment that allows you to execute server-side, what used to be essentially client-side, code. The “js” in Node.js, of course, stands for JavaScript. A scripting language that’s been in use on the client side since the late 90s.

So, Node.js, built on version 8 of the Chrome JavaScript engine, lets you execute JavaScript on a server. It was originally intended to make it easier to create push capability for real-time websites. But Node.js is an expansive platform. And it includes native modules that can manage everything from files to computing resources and security. Both PayPal and Uber use Node.js.

Ruby on Rails

Built on the Ruby programming language, Ruby on Rails ( RoR, or sometimes just “Rails”) is a fully-fledged website framework which includes everything you need to complete a website project including the ability to manage logic, routing and applications, all out of the box. These handy tools also include database integration and controllers which makes it easier to facilitate web development on an end to end basis. Popular applications running on RoR include GitHub and AirBnB.

Node.js vs Ruby on Rails: Where Node.js Wins

node js vs ruby on rails - where node js wins - Plesk

Fast Execution

node js vs ruby on rails - node js fast execution - Plesk

Node.js is best known for its speed. Partly thanks to a combo of programming centered events and programming which is not synchronised. Plus, input output that avoids blockages. All of which maximises the use of a single processor core and computer memory.

Effectively, Node.js can handle more requests at the same time, and by definition, the workload of many web servers. Node.js allows programs to keep working even the input, output demands when a server is high. Keeping app performance up no matter the load.

One Language Only

node js vs ruby on rails - node js one language only - Plesk

It’s obvious what the advantage of this point is. If you code in only one language on both the front-end and server-side, you progress quicker. Node.js came composed out of JavaScript. So, it’s easy to line up with front-end techniques to make effective second-gen web apps with less hassle. Your team can be smaller and more efficient while also delivering faster results.

Node.js is also good for Scalability

The mix of Node workers and clusters can easily create additional Node.js processes, all depending on the workload. This makes Node.js applications easy to grow. The way Node.js is designed means that what you can do is really only limited by the number of server processors you have access to. Making Node.js a good platform if you’re planning on rolling out enterprise apps.

Points to watch out for with Node.js

Points to watch out for with Node.js - Node js vs Ruby on Rails - Plesk

Efficiency when operations are CPU intensive

Node.js is great for applications which involve small, frequent and simultaneous requests. However, it can struggle with applications which create high CPU usage in each thread. Because Node.js is single-threaded. If you’re going to manipulate images and video on your server, you may find that Node.js bogs down. There are workarounds. But it adds to development time and cost.

Quality of modules and documentation

Node is flexible but this can be a problem. Sometimes modules are low-quality and the documentation on offer can be short on specs. As the developer, you have a choice of modules with Node.js. And it’s not always obvious which module is best. Choosing a template engine, for example, can take time.

So Node.js is less of an out-of-the-box solution compared to RoR. Modules can be tricky to integrate too, while also being buggy and introducing unexpected behavior for devs. It’s, therefore, key to have an experienced Node.js developer on your team who can help solve issues.

Ruby on Rails vs Node.js: Where Ruby on Rails Wins

Ruby on Rails vs Node js - Where Ruby on Rails wins - Plesk

Web Development Best Practices

Where Ruby on Rails wins: Web development best practices - Ruby on Rails vs Node js - Plesk

Rails comes with a view to create best practice for web development. The creator intended to make it easy to develop sites according to a set framework which puts convention before configuration. As such, Ruby On Rails ships with every necessary library and module. And they all implement the model, view and controller paradigm. The intention is to make web development as predictable and smooth a process as possible.

Extensive Infrastructure

Ruby on Rails advantage: extensiveinfrastructure - Ruby on Rails vs Node js - Plesk

RoR’s built for quick site development. So, it includes an integrated web server. Plus, it has a database with generators and scripts. These are powerful and hence make it easy to put together a Rails application. You can automatically put all the necessary bits and pieces a functioning Rails site requires in place. It’s absolutely great for rapid development.

Exchange/Use Database Info

You can easily migrate Rails databases. Because the model that supports the Rails database, ActiveRecord, can easily translate the differences amongst the numerous SQL interactions. Instead of writing out SQL code, users of Rails can use the Rails language to describe changes to database tables.

So, in effect, the schema being created is agnostic of the database in use. Which means you can run your Rails application in many different database environments.

Points to watch out for with Ruby on Rails

Points to watch out for with Ruby on Rails - Ruby on Rails vs Node js - Plesk

Flexibility can be an issue

Often, for every advantage, there is a matching drawback. This is the case with RoR too. Due to Rails creator’s development vision, you may feel restricted with RoR if your particular application is too unique. The Rails platform imposes a lot of authority on the developmental process. So there can come a point where adjusting RoR to fit your requirements takes up a huge amount of your time. Whereas simply starting from scratch would have been quicker.

Performance is not always optimized

Again, a positive point that can also be a negative. Because of the large number of modules in the box, RoR can seemingly bog down when running in the real world. The overall framework is heavier than alternatives, including Node.js. So it’s not so efficient at managing a barrage of requests – typical of many website applications. You can add more server instances, but these use up your memory.

Debugging can be tedious

Because of Ruby on Rails’ complexity and multiple layers, it can be difficult to troubleshoot a Ruby application. Finding an error in the mix can be very time-consuming. So if something goes wrong, perhaps compounded by your application’s custom requirements, you can find Ruby on Rails a very tedious platform to develop on.

How to pick between Node.js and Ruby on Rails

how to pick between node js and ruby on rails - Plesk

The only thing that’s clear is that neither Node.js nor Ruby on Rails provides a solution ideal for every development situation. But each environment is suited to a specific kind of task. Let’s look at the types of tasks each environment is most appropriate for.

Where Node.js works better than Ruby on Rails

By now you may have gathered that Node.js is great for applications that are real-time. And which handle a lot of concurrent requests. Under these scenarios, data constantly goes between the client and server. These Real-Time Applications (RTAs) include chat apps, applications for collaborating and video conferencing.

Because Node.js is event-based, it’s great for handling these apps. Running on a single page (known as SPAs or Single Page Applications) involves a lot of processing on the client side. The main function for the back-end under these scenarios is to just provision a REST API. Whenever you’re worried about performance and scalability, you should turn to Node.js first before you consider Ruby on Rails.

Where Ruby on Rails is preferable to Node.js

As I said before, Rails is a better solution where your applications are very CPU intensive. And where development needs to happen quickly. Because Node.js is a single-threaded environment, it cannot cope well with handling data such as images and graphics. A computation on a big dataset in Node.js can simply block all the other requests that are coming in. Hence, rendering the advantage of Node.js void.

Second, Rapid Application Development, or RAD, is an important aspect of rolling out websites too. And here, Ruby on Rails is the clear winner. You can have a prototype in short thrift, with little work, when you use Rails. Whereas just starting out on Node.js involves quite a lot of choices. As much as Node.js provides generator scripts to speed up development, it’s simply never as fast as Rails.

When you pick between the two platforms, the main points you should consider are the development speed you need, and the server performance parameters. Are you running lots of simple, concurrent requests through the application? Or more complex, CPU intensive requests? Go with Node.js for concurrency, and Ruby on Rails for CPU intensive applications.

Plesk Onyx Hosting Platform with Node.js and Ruby on Rails

Plesk Hosting Platform with Node.js and Ruby on Rails - Plesk

Node.js

We think Node.js is a great open-source platform that is great for developing server-side web applications. Even though it has only been around for a few years, it’s already gathered a lot of support. We also like that it uses JavaScript. So the learning curve is relatively shallow. Meanwhile, you can get super-fast apps with Node.js.

Plesk hosting platform helps because of all the following.

  • You activate Node.js applications for your website in just a few quick clicks
  • Manage Node.js Apps easily from the Plesk panel. Including restarting and stopping applications and adding npm packages. You can also run scripts and edit the Node.js configuration files on Plesk.
  • Under Plesk for Linux, you can also install multiple versions of Node.js.

Ruby on Rails

Rails is still very popular, so we make it easy to get going with Ruby on Rails via an extension to Plesk. The extension allows users to very quickly deploy Rails apps on a domain, including the Sinatra framework. Our extension lets you do the following.

  • Enable the support of Ruby on Rails on any virtual host.
  • Pick the Ruby version you want to use on your domain.
  • Get maximum conformity for both UI and CLI calls via the rbenv utility.
  • Install gem dependencies using a UI with the Bundler tool.
  • You can edit configuration files and supply custom environment variables.

Finally, we strongly suggest that, when using Ruby on Rails, you install the tools required for building Ruby gems components. In order to easily and quickly facilitate a Ruby gem installation. These components let you relax and forget about the decency difficulties that users often experience with Ruby. Because our bundled tools automatically resolve dependencies for you.

PHP vs Node.js: Which is better?

Php vs Node.js

JavaScript has been around a long time and has always been at the forefront of making things happen. That is, on the front-end – handling everything browser-side. For back-end, doing the heavy server-side stuff, we used PHP. Even on some of the most popular websites worldwide. Meanwhile, Node.js has really overturned the old way of doing things. So now it’s PHP vs Node.js – who wins?

The story of Node.js and PHP

Many wonder why JavaScript was trapped in just front-end. It led to Node.js and the framework which allows JavaScript to not just run client-side, but everywhere. In this ideal world, developers could use a single language, both when programming client-side and server-side. In fact, Node.js has really taken off for a variety of reasons. And if you develop, you have an enormous amount of choices of platforms including the ultra-popular Angular JS.

PHP has also seen a huge amount of development with speed being one of the greatest benefits. At version 7, PHP has come a long way with JIT compiling a particularly popular feature of the later versions of PHP. Basically, PHP can now deliver just as quickly as Node.js and there’s also HHVM with hash which supports really cutting-edge programming techniques.

As always in technology, it’s not easy to decide what will lead the future. Sometimes there is a place for both competing technologies, sometimes it’s Betamax vs. VHS: only one will survive. But right now, we take a look at the situations where PHP serves you better, and point out the use cases where Node.js is a better choice.

Pro of PHP: Code and content together

As much as projects have different requirements for efficiency of code, logic and planning, it stays true that splitting the logic layer from the content layer is a wise choice. But do you want to spend time doing so? A PHP advantage is that it makes it easy to quickly add logic in the middle of HTML content. You can just trigger some logic by picking out a few markers in the URL, and tweak your content accordingly. Job done. And with some websites, that’s all you need.

Pro of Node.js: Everlasting power of MVC

A complex site with lots of logic snippet dispersed across pages can be difficult to manage. With Node.js you need to act in a more structured way (Model-View-Controller model). But with a complex application, structure is better for everyone. Node.js prompts you to lay code out in a way that is easy for you to maintain. And easy for a new project team member to understand. Yet, planning always takes time, and this structured approach might not be ideal under all scenarios.

PHP vs Node.js: Having variety against being up-to-date

Experienced programmers will know that an established code base is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, PHP provides you with a wide selection of libraries and frameworks, so you don’t have to write thousands of lines from scratch: almost every imaginable necessity has its implementation in code. However, this huge code base is not necessarily fresh or relevant. In the world of fast-moving web apps, this can be a liability.

Node.js, in contrast, offers a code base which is aware of the latest developments in web architecture. Though you may find fewer completed code chunks those which you do find will be more relevant. Besides, with Node.js you’ll find coding from fresh easy and quick because of its design. It fits into current development models, including the push for clients to do the heavy-lifting.

PHP vs Node.js: Simplicity but also flexibility

Though we’re currently on PHP 7.0, the initial purpose of PHP was simply to serve as a connector between HTTP requests and a server database. Considering how capable a database can be, this simple layer of basic functions and a couple of variables is often all that you needed. In fact, for a lot of use cases, all you need is that thin layer of PHP, and that’s it.

JavaScript, however, gives you more flexibility and the opportunity to pull in libraries by means of jQuery. It’s so powerful that you can shift functions around as if they were objects. Besides, Node.js is a modern language and despite some frustrating aspects also offer some really useful features, including the much-loved closures. So still PHP vs Node.js, but let’s keep going.

PHP vs Node.js: Growing code or multiple languages?

PHP code is expanding, but Node.js opens the doors to many languages. Many PHP developers have yearned to be able to do more with PHP than simply pull content from a database and present it in a tidy way. In a way their wish has been granted: you can now use HHVM (open-source virtual machine) to do much more than you could before, including the use of annotations and lambda expressions. Even if you are restricted to using HHVM for your code this is not so much of a problem as HHVM is actually very fast.

But why restrict yourself to HHVM when Node.js gives you what is literally dozens of options. With Node.js you can cross-compile so many languages that it really opens a world of opportunities. Whether you prefer C#, Lisp or other languages that could even include BASIC or, if you must, Pascal – there’s no arguing, you have choices. The fact that so many languages can be cross-compiled to run in Javascript is a huge advantage in many situations.

Client-side code using Node.js

Downside

It’s true that some websites don’t need to execute any code on the client side. They simply use PHP to generate HTML from a database and get done with it. This is especially important when pages are rendered by mobile phones with small brains. Because you don’t want a code-heavy client side that gets bogged down with a slow mobile processor. Besides, simple HTML is less likely to lead to glitches.

Upside

Yet there are advantages to keeping some of the workload on the client side. And Node.js is simply more efficient, especially in terms of server usage. You send less data over the internet because there is less HTML mark-up. And you don’t need to submit a huge chunk of HTML code every time a little bit of data changes. AJAX takes care of all of this. This way of coding is ultimately  useful if your website is very data-driven, and requires more interaction from the user.

Database Queries: Advantages for both PHP and Node.js

If you’re familiar with and love SQL, PHP could be the best option for you. PHP was built closely to MySQL and databases similar to it such as Percona or Drizzle. Besides, you can easily connect to other SQL database from Oracle or even MS. Simply by making some basic changes to the code you use. Because SQL and the SQL code is so universal, it makes it really easy to work with databases and PHP.

JSON is not a bad alternative, however, as this too has a wide spread of databases it is compatible with. If you’re thinking of non-SQL databases for your application JSON can turn out to be quite a good solution. Though you can match JSON with PHP too, the similarity between JSON and JavaScript makes it great in a JavaScript environment.

It’s all about speed – but which?

Often there is a trade-off between the speed of writing the code, and the speed of an application executing. This is definitely the case with PHP and Node.js, with PHP being incredibly quick to put together. With PHP you don’t need a compiler or any JAR files. And PHP is an excellent choice if you need a working project really quickly.

On the flipside, PHP code doesn’t execute that quickly. In contrast, Node.js is code that executes smoothly and quickly reducing the load requirement on your server. You also get access to callbacks, which wastes less time when you try to deal with multiple different threads. You’ll spend more time coding and compiling with Node.js. But your code will be more optimized in the end.

PHP and Node.js Ecosystems

Finally, one distinction between Node.js and PHP that is worth keeping in mind is this: Node.js has a single code base. While there was a split in Node.js a while back, the group behind it has, for the most part, stuck to its guns and provided developers with the consistency they need.

However, the ongoing activity around PHP has benefits. Competing spur frameworks and libraries of the different teams want to add more useful features and improve performance. Zend and HHVM are both excellent projects. But there is a risk that, in the long-run, you’ll end up developing code on a code base that is relegated to the ash heap.

PHP and NodeJS – Supported Technologies

Node.JS PHP
Content Management Systems Apostrophe2, PencilBlue, Enduro.Js, Ghost WordPress, Opencart, Drupal, Magento, Joomla, ModX
Model-View-Controller frameworks Express JS, Sails JS, Koa JS Zend, Laravel, CodeIgniter, CakePhp, Symfony
HTML templates Mustache, EJS, Jade, Embedded JS Smarty, Twig, Blade, Volt
QA Jasmine, Protractor, Casper JS, Phantom.JS PHPUnit, Dusk, Codeception, Selenium
Caching Redis, Node-Cache Memcache, Redis
Rest API Restify, Loopback RestClient, Guzzle
Horizontal Scaling Amazon Elastic Beanstalk Varnish, Amazon Elastic Beanstalk
Profiling Internal profiler XDebug, Blackfire, XHProf

What’s great for both Node.js and PHP?

Plesk Onyx Hosting Platform

We realize that there are advantages to both languages. So we offer you the ability to host code in both PHP and Node.js, with hosting features tailored to each. Let’s have a look.

Node.js

Node.js has really gained enormous popularity within a short period of time, and with good reason. JavaScript itself is so widely-used and well-understood, making it an excellent way to start building a new code base. Node.js is a great way to build lightning-fast web applications. We can help you run Node.js applications easily and with high speed, offering the following hosting capabilities:

  • You can add Node.js to an application by just a click or two.
  • Plesk lets you easily manage your live Node.js applications, including starting and stopping (or restarting) and also editing config files and installing NPM packages. Our Onyx hosting platform really offers it all.
  • Plesk Onyx for Linux also allows you to install different live versions of Node.js in the same instance, for additional flexibility.

Find out more about how Node.js works on Plesk Onyx

PHP

Plesk has always offered support for PHP. This reliable language has been around for a very long time and is the basic building block for millions of web applications. We offer a top PHP hosting solution, including the following features.

  • Onyx supports multiple PHP versions out of the box, just pick your preferred PHP version when you install.
  • Standard PHP handlers are automatically configured for you.
  • Alternatively, pick your choice of PHP version and handler, making available to your customers only the versions you choose.