Azure vs DigitalOcean: Which Cloud Hosting Provider is Right for You?

Azure Synapse Analytics have been helping Organizations like the Mexican Salud Digna, which offer affordable medical diagnoses, to run on-demand analytics and report in semi-real time.

In the same vein, Hederera, through Digitalocean, helps organizations and Microfinance Institutions that work in rural areas to manage customer data using innovative digital solutions.

Simply put: Azure helps to solve complex problems for enterprises with large IT staff. While Digitalocean simplifies cloud computing services for small and medium-sized businesses.

What is DigitalOcean, and how does it differ from Azure?

The table below discusses briefly how Digital Ocean differs from Azure. 



Virtual Machines

Linux virtual machines that let you create VM from a hard disk. They’re less easy to use when compared with DigitalOcean’s Droplets.

Private Virtual Machines called Droplets which are easier to use when compared to Azure’s


Microsoft Azure offers both Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Offers only Infrastructure-as-a-Service.

Ease of Use

Azure scales well and is startup-friendly

DigitalOcean has a simple dashboard which makes it easier to use, especially to small businesses

What are the key features that make DigitalOcean unique over Azure?

Becoming the favorite of many developers, DigitalOcean has moved beyond offering just an IaaS platform for Linux servers. It now includes features such as networking, scalability, and clustering. 

Yet, there's the continued development of convenience-through-technology features as follows:

  • Control Panel 

    The control panel is for managing auto-backups, two-factor authentication, good API, and DNS management.

  • Provisioning limit for new instances 

    While other cloud vendors offer a 1-3 provisioning limit for new instances, DigitalOcean offers one for just 55 seconds.

  • A one-click setup

     There are integrated applications like Docker, Cassandra, Node.js, LAMP, and Ghost which can be set up with just one click.

  • SSD-only disks apply to all instances 

    A major selling point that boosts performance for DigitalOcean. Microsoft Azure has SSD disk options for certain instances but costs more.

What are the pricing models of Azure and DigitalOcean, and which is cheaper?

Amid the price war between the top contenders in the cloud computing world, DigitalOcean offers legendary pricing starting at $5 per month or $0.007 per hour.

A server instance costs $80 per month and their most popular droplet costs $10/month or 0.015/hour. 

Nonetheless, Azure is quite competitive with its pricing, and we owe all thanks to the price war amidst Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. You can pay $15 a month or $0.02/hour for an A0 Linux instance. 

Azure vs. DigitalOcean: A Performance Comparison

Cloud platforms perform using a standard test suite like UnixBench. It helps to measure aspects like disk performance, memory, CPU throughput, and variability.

Why is this variability important? When there's a given sample period, and a cloud-based instance performs at different levels within that period; this difference in the performance levels is the variability. 

Variability is important in performance because when there's high variability, annoying dips, and peaks will always be observed in a cloud-based instance's performance.

This table here shows what each platform scores according to Unix Bench: 



Variability Test (% with UnixBench)

Azure scores close to 0

DigitalOcean scores about 4 - 12

Performance (with UnixBench)

Azure solidly scores between 1300-1500

Scores between 800-1500. Thanks to its fast SSD-Disks

Step-by-step guide on how to migrate your website from Azure to DigitalOcean

So far, we have seen a bit of everything about these two cloud hosting platforms – DigitalOcean and Microsoft Azure. So if you're looking to migrate from your Azure-hosted website to DigitalOcean, then here's a step-by-step guide on how to successfully do it:

  1. 1

    Backup your website files from Azure

    The first important step in migrating fromAzure is aching up your website files.

  2. 2

    Spin up a droplet

    To spin a droplet, you’d first launch the droplet by logging in to the server. Then note the default PHP and Mysql details. Also, update the server and change the Mysql root password.

  3. 3

    Set up PHPMyAdmin

    PHPMyAdmin is important because it helps with the easy importation of the database and the management of new users. So, to set it up, you install and enable php mcrypt first. 

  4. 4

    Import Database

    Before importing the database, ensure you create a new database and a database user with the PHPMyAdmin page - an alternative to PHPMyAdmin is MySQL CLI. You may change the database's name, username, and password.

  5. 5

    Upload content folder

    For this step, you can use tools like FileZilla or SCP to upload the content backup folder to the DigitalOcean droplet.

  6. 6

    Map IP to your domain name

    Here, you’ll need to copy the droplet IP from the DigitalOcean panel. From the domain name provider, open the DNS zone editor of your domain name. Then update the record to DigitalOcean IP

How to know which cloud hosting platform is the most suitable for your business?

You have read up to this point, which means that selecting the right cloud hosting vendor for your business has become less daunting. Still, a few factors will help you determine what is suitable for you. We'll be looking at them below:

  • Ease of Use

    People prefer a simple user experience, especially when it has to do with a website. To avoid this, you must ensure that your cloud hosting platform offers a user-friendly interface; with that said, DigitalOcean rates higher than Microsoft Azure on ease of use.

  • Customer support

    There's never been a problem-free service provider.  However, the one way to find out how a cloud hosting vendor offers customer support is through their reviews… And DigitalOcean ranks higher than Azure on the customer support table.

  • Release cycle

    After setting up a cloud environment, you usually need to upgrade your system regularly to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in tech. The release cycle affects your cloud environment's stability; a cloud hosting provider with a long release cycle usually offers more stability.

  • Features

    Different cloud hosting platforms offer various features and functionalities. The trick to finding a suitable provider for your business is to list the features that would serve you right before looking for the appropriate cloud service provider that matches.

  • Pricing

    Cloud hosting platforms offer a pay-as-you-go billing service; however, their pricing models and charges differ. Although, as I mentioned earlier, you're good to go with DigitalOcean, if you're looking to save significantly, DigitalOcean is the option for your business.


While DigitalOcean works with its droplets, Kubernetes services, and App platform to simplify cloud infrastructure for small and medium-sized businesses, Microsoft Azure provides cloud services through its Static Web App. 

Azure is also a cloud service app for big enterprises, which makes this comparison somewhat unequal seeing that DigitalOcean is a lesser competitor to Azure.

Nonetheless, for an affordable Linux server with support for a few essential tools, DigitalOcean is best for you. However, if your app is hosted on Unix, Windows, or MacOS, you may consider Azure.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of

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