5 hosts that support Rails and the exact service level you should expect

Want your host to offer service with a smile? There are many Rails developers looking for a place to host their applications, and there are increasingly more hosting companies that “support” Rails. However, not all hosts are created equal. This is most clearly seen in their support teams. Not all support teams offer the same level of service. We have made a list of 5 hosts we think you should make note of who support Rails, and the service level you can expect from them. Keep in mind this is not a complete list of hosts that support Rails, just 5 that we think you should pay attention to for support quality and attention to Rails customers.

Heroku: Heroku offers support for Rails 3 (3.1 in the near future) with Ruby 1.8.7 and 1.9.2 on their “Bamboo stack”. Heroku also offers “ticket based developer support for all paying customers”. Which extends to: Installation of application dependencies, general questions about software packages, identifying problems preventing an app from starting or running, Providing resolutions for known problems, providing pointers and answering general how-to questions, and troubleshooting supported software that is faulty or showing erratic behavior. Heroku does not however offer support for rewriting code, general application debugging, or modifying/patching third party or open source software. They will refer you to a consultant for help with those things should the need arise.

Engine Yard: Engine Yard is running Rails 3 with full support (and 3.1 in the future). Engine Yard support service is offered on varying plans. Each Engine Yard account comes with the base level of service which enables customers to ask questions through an online ticketing system designed to help with the basics. Customers can also upgrade to standard or premium support packages. Standard support gives you unlimited access to the Engine Yard support team (during business hours) for assistance with installation, configuration and troubleshooting of supported components. Plans for this support can be purchased for a minimum of 3 months. Premium support includes everything that Standard support has, as well as proactive application generated monitoring alerts, and 24x7 support response for critical issues causing application unavailability or site down-time. Along with award winning support Engine Yard also offers professional services, which range from application review, to meeting with your team and offering expert advice, to optimization of JRuby to your environment (each option for an added cost of course). You can also take one of the instructor led courses for Rails 3 or “Rails Antipatterns” offered by Engine Yard if you would like to learn more about developing with Rails.

HostingRails: HostingRails offers Rails 3 ready to use on all plans. The HostingRails support team is experienced with Rails and is happy to install Gems for you if that is what you desire.They have user-developed, step-by-step tutorials to help you deploy and troubleshoot Rails applications on their servers. HostingRails commits to do their best to assist you in resolving any issue that you may have with either hands on support, or by attempting to provide you with relevant information. HostingRails does not offer development help.

RailsPlayground: RailsPlayground offers quick support response times and supports Rails 3 (you can run any older versions of Rails with them if you so choose). Most praises for the RailsPlayground support model come from the Campfire chat-room they keep running continually for immediate support help. This is designed so you don’t have to wait for e-mail response if you need help right away. They also have a wiki guide available with a list of how-to articles and a knowledgebase where you can view frequently asked questions. RailsPlayground prides itself on being a hosting company geared toward developers. Their support technicians are available 24/7 and are all level 2 and above Linux/Rails deployment experts.

Dreamhost: One of the first companies to host Rails, Dreamhost is the best for shared Rails hosting. They offer Rails 3 with all packages and will be updating to and supporting 3.1 as soon as it can be tested on their servers. Dreamhost offers 24/7 support for all customers, a deep knowledgebase, and a large wiki community ready to help. Dreamhost's knowledgeable support technicians are available around the clock when you need them most.