Hey there! Docker is pretty amazing, isn‘t it? As a fellow tech enthusiast, I‘m sure you appreciate how Docker makes it so much easier for developers to build, ship and run applications. But running Docker at scale can be tricky without the right hosting platform.
That‘s where this guide comes in! I‘ve done tons of hands-on research and tested these platforms extensively, so I can help you find the best Docker hosting provider for your needs. I‘m thrilled to share my insights with you here.
Let‘s start by looking at why you might want to use a hosted Docker platform, then dive into the top contenders.
Why Should You Consider Docker Hosting?
Here are some of the biggest reasons teams use hosted Docker platforms:
It‘s hard work hosting yourself – Managing servers, clusters, networking, storage, and orchestration is complex. Let the experts handle that!
Faster time to market – Get your app live in days or weeks, not months. No need to build it all yourself.
Effortless scalability – Scale up and down on demand without engineering headaches. The best platforms make it easy.
Pay only for what you use – The OpEx model means more efficient spending compared to buying hardware upfront.
High availability – With multiple redundant servers and availability zones, your app stays up.
More security – Backed by dedicated security teams and processes you often lack in-house.
According to Flexera‘s 2021 State of the Cloud report, 34% of enterprises now use hosted containers and Kubernetes, up from 29% in 2020. So lots of your peers are leveraging Docker hosting now!
Next, let‘s explore the top contending platforms so you can find the right fit.
Reviews of the Top 8 Docker Hosting Providers
I‘ve tested and evaluated all these Docker hosting platforms extensively hands-on. Here‘s my take on the leading options based on their features, benefits, and ideal use cases.
1. Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS)
Amazon ECS is a managed container orchestration service that lets you easily run Docker containers on AWS.
It simplifies cluster management and scheduler a lot compared to setting up Kubernetes yourself. You just define a task definition with container images, resources, and networking. Then ECS handles deploying and scaling it out across your EC2 fleet.
- Simple Docker clustering, load balancing, networking
- Auto scaling based on utilization
- IAM roles and security groups for access control
- CloudWatch dashboards for monitoring
- Can use EC2 or serverless Fargate infrastructure
- Fully managed Docker orchestration on AWS
- Granular visibility into container metrics
- Pay only for EC2/Fargate resources needed
- Quickly scale clusters up and down
ECS is great for any scale of workload running on AWS that needs automatic scaling. It‘s beginner-friendly and provides a smooth path to get Dockerized.
For large, complex deployments, EKS may eventually be better. But ECS is still super capable for most applications, especially microservices!
You pay per second based on the EC2 or Fargate compute resources used. There are no minimum fees or upfront commitments.
2. Google Cloud Run
Cloud Run is Google Cloud‘s serverless Docker platform. It‘s powered by Knative and lets you deploy containers without managing any infrastructure.
I love Cloud Run for its speed and simplicity! Just push your Docker image, and it handles the rest. Scale to zero when idle makes it very cost-efficient too.
- Serverless – no VM management required
- Rapid deployment from your container registry
- Auto scales from zero to thousands of instances
- Granular autoscaling based on demand
- Built-in logging and monitoring
- True serverless experience for containers
- Sub-second scale up and down
- No infrastructure overhead
- Generous free tier available
- Only pay for what you use
Cloud Run shines for event-driven "serverless" workloads where instant scale is needed. It‘s ideal for CI/CD pipelines and simplifying microservices deployment.
Cloud Run is very cost-efficient, with a pay-per-request model based on CPU and memory used. The free tier gives 180,000 GB-seconds per month!
3. Azure Container Instances (ACI)
Azure Container Instances let you run Docker containers in Azure without any virtual machines to manage or schedule.
ACI offers the fastest path I‘ve seen to launch a Docker workload in the cloud. It‘s crazy fast! Just upload your image and go.
- Per second billing
- Auto scale individual containers or groups
- Pull images from public or Azure registries
- Hypervisor-isolated secure environment
- Direct integration with other Azure services
- Launch containers in seconds without VMs
- Scale across multiple containers seamlessly
- Pay only for the exact resources used
- Tight integration with Azure services
Great for development and testing ephemeral containers. Also useful for workloads that need ultra-fast launch and scale. Architectures with multiple container types benefit.
You pay per second based on the resource usage of each container. Billing stops completely when a container is stopped.
4. Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS)
Amazon EKS provides a fully managed Kubernetes control plane to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications using Docker.
So it takes Kubernetes and makes it way easier to use on AWS! You get the benefits without learning the complexities of operating your own Kubernetes clusters.
- Fully managed K8s control plane
- Simplified scaling and deployment
- IAM controls and AWS security integration
- Load balancing and networking support
- Choice of EC2 or Fargate workers
- Kubernetes made easy on AWS
- No cluster infrastructure to manage yourself
- Leverage other AWS services seamlessly
- Pay only for worker nodes used
EKS empowers running Kubernetes-based Docker workloads effortlessly on AWS. It‘s great for mission-critical, long-running production applications.
You pay for the EKS control plane usage plus EC2 costs for worker nodes. Estimated at $0.10 per hour for EKS control plane.
5. StackPath Edge Compute
StackPath offers container hosting at the network edge, closer to end users. This gives you much lower latency.
It‘s a smart play for performance-sensitive applications, like gaming and AR/VR. Keeping processing localized also helps meet data residency requirements in some regions.
- Deploy containers globally at edge locations
- Achieve sub-100ms latency to end users
- Manage via API, CLI, or web console
- Private network between edge locations
- Per second billing model
- Run containers closer to users for performance
- Improved security and data locality
- Isolated environment for each customer
- Effortless scaling at the edge
- Pay only for exact usage
StackPath shines for applications where low latency from users to the application containers is critical. This includes gaming, IoT, AR/VR, and other real-time workloads.
Per second billing based on exact compute resources consumed at each edge location.
Render offers a super streamlined Docker hosting platform tightly integrated with Git. This enables continuous deployment directly from your Git repos.
It‘s a fantastic option if you want Heroku-like simplicity for Docker. Render manages infrastructure so developers can focus on code.
- Deploy containers directly from Git
- Built-in load balancing, CDN, SSL
- Private networks between services
- Auto scaling based on demand
- Integrated monitoring and logging
- Push to deploy from Git to production
- Managed infrastructure and TLS certs
- Isolated environment for each customer
- Fixed monthly pricing per service
Render is perfect for startups and small teams that want simplicity without infra hassle. Allows focusing on creating code rather than configuring servers.
Microservices and container-driven processes like data science pipelines are also a great fit.
Starts at $7/month per service on a fixed plan. Enterprise pricing available for added resources.
7. Docker Enterprise Platform (Docker EE)
Docker Enterprise Edition (Docker EE) provides a hardened on-premise Docker platform for running enterprise workloads securely.
It offers advanced features beyond open source Docker around high availability, security, manageability, and scalability.
Docker EE is great for regulated industries or applications where data can‘t leave your firewall. It gives you private cloud-like capabilities fully under your control.
- Docker cluster management features
- Image security scanning and signing
- Access controls and integration
- Certified infrastructure plugins
- Dashboard, REST API, CLI management
- Hardened container platform for enterprise apps
- Granular access controls for teams
- Meet compliance requirements on-premise
- Tightly customize infrastructure stack
Docker EE empowers regulated industries to run containerized workloads securely on-premise. It provides governance and control lacking in open source platforms.
Bundled platform pricing based on number of nodes under management. Support packages available.
Codio provides cloud-based Docker development environments for education and training use cases.
It enables instructors to deliver hands-on Docker education entirely through the browser. Students get terminal access to complete projects and challenges in live containers.
- Browser-based IDEs for Docker training
- Auto-graded coding challenges
- Built-in terminal access to containers
- Team projects with GitHub integration
- Usage analytics for instructors
- Engaging platform for learning Docker
- Consistent experience across devices
- Lower overhead compared to on-premise labs
- Integrates with existing tools like GitHub
Perfect for schools, bootcamps, and enterprises training people on Docker. Codio tailors the cloud-IDE experience specifically for container education.
Per student pricing, with volume discounts available. Free plan for limited usage.
How Do These Providers Compare? My Recommendations
Now that we‘ve looked at the leaders in depth, you may be wondering—which one is right for my use case?
Here‘s a quick comparison to help summarize how these providers differ:
As you can see, there are great options spanning on-premise, public cloud, and edge locations.
For most people, I recommend starting with one of these depending on your needs:
AWS ECS – Great Docker hosting fully managed on AWS. Easy to get started.
Google Cloud Run – Best for "serverless" Docker. Incredibly fast scale.
Azure Container Instances – Fastest deployment with per-second billing.
Render – Extremely simple Docker hosting integrated with Git.
Evaluate if you specifically need edge computing, Kubernetes, and on-premise capabilities to narrow down from there.
The good news is you really can‘t go wrong! All these providers make Docker hosting and scaling much easier.
Key Takeaways on Selecting a Docker Hosting Platform
There are so many great options out there nowadays for hosted Docker solutions. Based on my extensive research, here are a few key pointers:
Consider your skill level – Some platforms require more expertise than others.
Understand workload needs – Key distinctions are stateful vs. stateless and data residency needs.
Evaluate hybrid vs. cloud – Do you need on-premise and edge options?
Analyze cost structure – Serverless scales seamlessly but has higher variable costs.
Prioritize rapid scaling if needed – Some platforms scale faster than others.
Assess integrations – With CI/CD, monitoring, and enterprise systems.
Get help if needed – Provider support services can supplement your team.
Take the time to carefully evaluate your requirements and constraints to choose the best fit. Focus on platforms that align with your use cases and team skills.
Go Forth and Dockerize!
I hope this guide has given you a comprehensive overview of the best Docker hosting providers available today.
The container revolution is here in full force. Docker has opened amazing doors for how we develop, deliver, and run applications. A good hosting platform now makes it possible for almost any team to harness the power of containers.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a trial account and start Dockerizing today! I‘m excited to see what you‘ll create.
If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out! I‘m always happy to chat more about Docker and help however I can.
Okay, enough from me. Now it‘s your turn to put these platforms to work. Have fun with it, and let me know how it goes!