Why do I pick DigitalOcean?
It’s not faster than Google or Amazon Services or Microsoft Azure. In truth, all these cloud services appear to have 1Gbit paths to the internet.
I pick it because first it’s not attempting to be all things to all people. The path to what you are looking for is never more than 1-2 clicks from the front page.
It focuses strictly on hosting and directly addresses the hosting need of 65% of the internet ( WordPress ) while also giving 1Click installs to 30+ additional products and its cost is phenomenally cheap.
Sometimes for the same $5 – $20 price that Godaddy might charge to host a website, you can get your own blazing fast VPS Server at DigitalOcean and you could put 1000 sites on it if you wished then dynamically expand just the hard disk if you needed more diskspace later.
Yes, you heard me right. You could host 200 sites reasonably and for another $50 monthly expand the hard disk volume as required. Its not actually hard disk, its super fast ram that remembers even when the power is turned off.
And because it has had a bit more time working with commercial business projects the guys at DigitalOcean have backups and snapshots that can be moved between different digitalOcean accounts in 2 minutes. They also allow teams of different people into the same account.
I am sure that everyone else will catch up sooner or later but these features alone have been indispensable to us. I can’t tell you the number of times that we have set up a site and moved it to someone else. Yeah, people do buy fully working sites, just like real-estate. Try that with AWS and or Google and you may end up giving away your entire account to achieve that.
And have we had problems with DigitalOcean’s services?
Yes and No.
Like RackSpace, DigitalOcean has phenomenal service technicians. We have had a few weird ubuntu/debian linux problems over the past 3 years but never had a problem for which they didn’t near immediately walk us right thru the possible solutions and options.
Most times, we don’t need them because there is a massive online set of documentation, much of it written by helpful users/admins that basically show how to install pretty well anything extra that you might imagine. In the past 3 years, in my subjective experience only RackSpace’s technical support compares.
To be honest, although Google’s support is live and right there, they suffer from the problem that Google has too many services, so support’s knowlegebase on your particular issue is probably very limited.
This is what happened to me and the experience was humbling and extremely dissatisfying.
At DigitalOcean, after signing up for free and clicking on create Droplet, you get to choose the size of the service that you wish to purchase.
DigitalOcean has a little animation running on their front page where they show a person, choosing to set up 5 servers in a little private network on the NYC network complete in about 2 minutes. Yes, it really is that fast and that simple.
Picking a server and installing wordpress or any of two dozen other very popular services is quite simply a 2 minute install in any of the half dozen datacentres around the world. Done, right from your desktop.
You will note that Drupal, Django, Magento, Node, LEMP, LAMP, Gitlab, Dokku, PHPMyAdmin, mongodb, .Net Core, Ruby on Rails are amongst the many 1Click services being offered on different versions of Ubuntu.
And here is how you choose to install your wordpress with a forehead install ( Yes, that’s when your head drops forward, hits the space bar on the keyboard and the entire installation is done for you ).
Where you see the choices between Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu16.04 choose 16.04 since it is a later version of the operating system.
For the purpose of setting up the firewall it doesn’t really matter but you will save yourself a massive, massive headache in trying to manually upgrade the system later.
You are not forced to use Ubuntu, there are many other distribution offers, of course, but the 1Click installs are exclusively ubuntu.
If you are familiar with Debian, Ubuntu is a derivative so you should be just fine.
If you are not a fan of Debian or Ubuntu, you may choose one of these other distributions but you will have to install everything else on your own.
Cpanel ( For those who can’t do without it )
For those of you who simply love to move a $200/year version of cPanel to an inexpensive virtual server – you will notice that CentOS is also one of the options here and there is a Digital Ocean document here that shows how to install cPanel on Centos
Now that you have your server set up? You did go and set it up at DigitalOcean right? — we can move on to interesting stuff like How to set up a firewall?
To set up a firewall from the command line you will need to be able to ssh into your system.
The firewall tutorial will work irrespective of which service you used excepting Rackspace FileStorage.
You would need to log into your amazon server and for that you will need a bit of ssh permissions configuration for your local workstation and will need to use their pem file.
Google gives you a virtual console, if you can find it to use, that pops right out of your browser window and if I remember correctly it was difficult to copy paste into it.
RackSpace – home of the truly fanatical hosting support.
I didn’t give you an exact link to the Rackspace File-Storage product because there are times due to the plethora of menu options, when I simply can’t find it on the outside of the site either. The link will take you to Rackspace.com and you can navigate from there.
Your file-storage product from Rackspace does not allow or permit ssh access, as it is only raw file-storage but it is a very valid and fast CDN since it piggybacks off of Akamai. In case, you don’t know who Akamai is, there is a rumor that more than 20% of the world’s internet services run atop Akamai services.
You could run Cpanel on an Amazon aws instance that was based off of a Centos 6 disk image. I have doubts as to whether you can run it off of Google Services if you elect to use their 1Click wordpress option. While, it can’t run off of RackSpace FileStorage it can definitely run on the higher end RackSpace Hosting Services. And in Rackspace’s favor should you decide to use some of their other services for hosting, their support is on par and sometimes even better than DigitalOcean and when they really get their knickers in a twist, the term fanatical is quite real.
This 3 part article was mostly about how to set up a $5 or even $20 virtual host having blazing speed, which is the ONLY reason that I didn’t declare RackSpace the actual winner.
If budget is not your issue and you do NOT like to fiddle with the “bits and bobs” of web hosting, RackSpace, at this time is the hands down winner.