Rubyphobic? Why some web hosts hide Ruby while others feature it.

Posted by Collin on 05/19/2011 in Rails Hosting Challenges.

In my search to find hosts that support Ruby on Rails I came across something curious. A lot of companies who provide RoR hosting but don’t seem to want anyone to know about it. Parking the words Ruby on Rails somewhere down at the bottom of a page, blended in with other features like, e-mail support. Admittedly there are a growing amount of hosts that support Ruby. But it’s almost as if, in choosing to support the language, they also hope no one notices. So, why, when a host chooses to support Ruby on Rails do they seem reluctant to admit that they support it at all? (minus a few companies)

In short hosting Ruby on Rails takes commitment for companies. The demand on servers, caused by more developers using Ruby, causes companies to have to decrease server population in an effort to maintain performance. Which by effect cuts profits (less customers per server = less money). Not exactly an attractive proposition for a company that wants to make money. So while Ruby gains popularity, and more and more hosts are being essentially required to pick it up for fear of being left behind, it seems like few are willing to admit they have taken the plunge. Why not segment off specific servers streamlined for Ruby use (I know some companies do this) and advertise it like a crazy person? Create a wait list if you run out of space on specified servers. Got a lot of Ruby Developers waiting? Put up more servers to accommodate the demand. Seems like a pretty basic formula. *shrug*

There are a few companies however who are upfront about carrying Ruby, and a few that specialize in Ruby hosting only. Companies like RailsPlayground and HostingRails are Rails specific hosts dedicated to Ruby on Rails developers, but are they better or worse than more prominent hosts like Dreamhost or Hostgator? The benefits of the more streamline companies seem to be in dedication and focus on specific RoR developer needs, and dedicating all of their resources to Ruby devs. Whereas larger companies, (such as Dreamhost) can use their size to focus on many areas at once, and then dedicate servers specifically to RoR developers. Also its more likely that a big company will have the money/resources to maintain up to date framework and hardware. So essentially it may come down to personal preference and choice. And with more and more hosts coming online with Ruby on Rails to meet the demand (hopefully they actually step to the plate instead of just passively adding “RoR” in tiny font at the bottom of the page) wich host will be right for you? A small Ruby dedicated hosting company built for developers with your needs? Or a larger company with the resources to back your project, maintain steady server up time and up to date technology?