Over the years, I have been through many web hosts – before the internet became a cloud. One universal truth is that shared web hosting is cheap, but rarely ever versatile. Shared hosting is cheap. A single server with many virtual accounts, sharing bandwidth and memory. It’s hardly the ideal situation for intermediate to hardcore web-enthusiasts.
GoDaddy, my tried and true domain registrar and preferred host for years has great products, services, and customer service. The one place GoDaddy has fallen short is on the customizability of their shared hosting product and their private hosting is significantly more expensive.
In steps DigitalOcean. My friend recommended DigitalOcean – a private, scalable, SSD server to which you have complete accesses. I was hesitant. I had never heard of this company and was resilliant to leave GoDaddy from which I have loyally been a customer. I took the leap, no, I took a step. I moved one site, with no databases to DigitalOcean to try out their products and customer service. When I had some problems with the PHP setup, I was skeptical that their customer service would help – given their whole spiel is that you get your own server to which you can completely customize. I walked away a satisfied customer. Their support team helped me through the setup problems and I started to become a believer in DigitalOcean. They now host all of my sites, WordPress sites, sites with custom MySQL databases, and multi-sites on the same servers.
Digital Ocean pricing varies depending on your selected deployment. For $5 a month, you get a decent server sporting 512 MB of RAM with a single-core CPU, 20 GB SSD drive, and 1T bandwidth. I had three WordPress installs running on a single, $5 a month server, but needed to go to the $10 a month for some extra power. Realistically, the $20 a month dual-core CPU should be able to support most mid-sized sites with some special features.
Another great feature is your deployment location selection. If you don’t have any content delivery network (CDN) platforms available, selecting a data center closest to your core operation can be easily done with the click of a button. Various deployment options exist with DigitalOcean. Ubuntu, FreeBSD, Fedora, Debian, CoreOS, or CentOS. A quick, easy selection of an operating system, even down to the version, helps to customize your server for quick deploy. Lastly, you have many options for quick installations of various, popular content management systems, e-commerce platforms, or other popular configurations. WordPress, Magento, Drupal, and even NodeJS are all a part of DigitalOcean’s quick deploy options.