DigitalOcean In 2018: VPS Hosting Reviewed By Developers

DigitalOcean Web Host Review

DigitalOcean specializes in cloud hosting for developers. They provide a scalable infrastructure for developers to build websites and applications with fast deployment times.

Based in New York City, DigitalOcean was founded in 2011 by Ben and Moisey Uretsky.

In 2013, Netcraft recognized it as one of the fastest-growing cloud hosting services, beating out Amazon Web Services, and in 2014 recognized DigitalOcean as the 3rd largest hosting company in the world.

DigitalOcean is backed by funding from Andreessen Horowitz, IA Ventures, Techstars, and Crunchfund.

DigitalOcean Services

Services

DigitalOcean’s services are created specifically for developers of all scales, from individual to enterprise.

Hosting Levels

They offer several levels of cloud-based hosting depending on your storage and volume needs, billed on a monthly or hourly basis.

The level you choose will determine the amount of memory, core processors, disk space, and transfer limit included in your plan.

DigitalOcean Homepage
Screencapture by DigitalOcean

Developers

Developers can use DigitalOcean to create virtual servers, or “droplets,” in under a minute. With each droplet, you get full root access, including the ability to customize your server setup and choose your operating system.

All of DigitalOcean’s plans also include:

  • Solid state drives (SSD)
  • DNS management
  • Simple account control panel
  • Global image transfer (ability to spin droplets in different datacenter regions from snapshots taken in a different region)
  • Private networking (your separate droplets in the same datacenter can communicate with each other without counting against your bandwidth limits)
  • Choice of several Linux distributions, as well as FreeBSD
  • Pre-built app images
  • Automated backups
  • Cloud firewalls

DigitalOcean does not provide any managed hosting plans, shared, or dedicated hosting.

DigitalOcean Droplets

DigitalOcean Reviews by Our Community

Overall Rating from 14 Reviews by DigitalOcean Customers

Support
Quality
Features
Value

Most Helpful Reviews

Evrim Altay avatar
Evrim Altay evrimaltay.net
Apr 08, 2018

It’s good, I mean their servers works fine when they do. The speed is good and etc. But their automatic systems sometimes disables your system’s network access.

So your server Can not connect to the internet, and all of your web sites are going down. They are doing it for security purposes, and I get it. They should, they should protect me, and themselves.

But after doing that, they should be Reachable! Right? If they are closing my server I should be able to reach them and get an answer Asap.

But no, It’s not working like that. They are just disabling it and they are not replying any of your questions about it. Now all of my web-sites down for at least 15-16 hours and still there is no answer.

So If you are looking for any other reachable, qualified servers; please consider the other companies, Digital Ocean isn’t ready for production. You can buy a cheap server and use it for testing purposes if you have 5 bucks to spare. Otherwise you may be regret for your choosing, so choose wisely :)

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Himanshu Singh avatar
Himanshu Singh thecshub.info
Mar 15, 2017

I am using Digital Ocean from last 4 months and it’s really good service provider. They do provide VPS, OneClick WordPress and many more things. You can also take backup of VPS as SnapShot.

DigitalOcean aka DO is one of the Best Hosting Provider. They Have low cost and effective hosting plans. Their Uptime is excellent. Their support is also good but is quite slow!

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Andreas Clausen avatar
Andreas Clausen fsc-crew.com
May 07, 2018

I have not yet had a reason to reach out to support, so I’ll rate it based on their thorough documentation. On the other hand, there’s a reason I haven’t had the need. I have not yet experienced downtown after almost half a year of using their droplets, and I have nothing to complain about.

Amazing prices for what you get! I must though come with the disclaimer that I’m only using them for small Api’s and have not tried doing heavy tasks on them. I have been using Node.js (express.js) mostly, works like a charm.

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Mohamed Ali avatar
Mohamed Ali coursataraby.com
Aug 30, 2018

as a freelancer who used to make a lot of web hosting plan, Digital Ocean was usually a choice that a landed on for several times and here is why:
1- server up-time is 99.99, actually, I did not recoreded any downtime due to DNS or Network issues during my hosting
2- Real flexibility for changing up and down to meet your CPU, RAM, and Disk use. Actually, this is one of the top selleing features I found in both of digitalocean and Linode, on the other hand a website like Vultr will allow you to do that in only one direction, to increase your resources and go up but once you want to downgrade your sever you will be denied from doing that, this was one of the major reasons to leave vultr back to digitalocean.
3- Simplicity: they generated a neat and clean design that make you navigate with ease between all offered services. Cons: I know no one is perfect 100%, here is the bad news.

Digital ocean still offer rare support for your inquires, actually, it would be more realistic to say bad support versus linode who offers some kind of kind support. to be fair I have to mention that they have a huge and rich knoledgebase, but sometimes you need special support which you mostly will never receive from them claiming you are hosting unmange server, by the way, athough this is a review about digitalocean but I have to mention MyHosting.com as one of the best providers which will be always glad to offer you a kind support for all your issues, but unfortunately they do not have the flexibility I acquire with digitalocean.

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Mohamed Abbas avatar
Mohamed Abbas mygoldensoft.com
Feb 14, 2016

Digital ocean is an improved version of self-manged Linux hosting. If you are a developer but still do not want to bear all the responsibilities to get your web site up, this is one of best choices. That is why
1- They claim you will get your new instance in less than a minute.

As as digital ocean customer that is completely true.
2- They have easy-to-use interface. No documentation needed to know what to do next.
3- They offer a new droplet (instance) for as less as $5 although to get a perfect hosting you should move to the $10 plan at least, but still you can try the $5 plan as a start.
4- you can simply move among plans starting $5 (0.05 GB Ram – 20 Gb ssd Disk) and up to $640 (64 GB Ram – 640 Gb ssd Disk)
5- Eight data centers to choose from in US, Europe & Asia
6- Six Linux distributions to choose from including Ubunto & CentOS
7- Most of well-known CMS can be installed simply using a pre-built-images using what is called "One-Click Apps" including WordPress, Drupal, PhpMyAdmin & Lamp
8- The ability to create your new instance from a previous stored snapshot.
9- The Ability to move your snapshot among several location for safety
10 Uptime almost 99.99, I tested it with PingDom and it was awesome. I tested the speed and compared it with several linux hosting and it showed better performance than Linode but less than Dreamhost which showed the best speed performance.

Although all these perfect features with your Digital ocean hosting, I have to confess that you will face one of the worst response-time replay for any of your tickets. I can not compare them with Linode support team who really awesome and most of the time ready to help, even though. I have to add that the best support I ever received from hosting company was from MyWebHosting & Knownhost

My Overall rate for Digital Ocean, they perfect and proper choice for you but be sure that you can manage your work without asking for a help from them, especially, If you are running a serious business on your website. Excluding this cons, I do recommend them for all developers.

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Vijay Kumar avatar
Vijay Kumar epriceindia.com
Mar 28, 2015

Hello,

I am using Digitalocean for 6 months. I found no issues with them. Digitalocean is really good in term of Cheap VPS with SSD disk.

You can get Ssd vps equal or less than shared hosting price

The features i liked DO :

1.Affordable cost
2.Hourly billing
3.SSD – It means you can get faster processing
4.99% Uptime
5.Large collection of Linux distros

Only one issue for Beginners that is they are not offering managed VPS. But you can use cPanel or any other free control panel to manage VPS to resolve this issue they have very good and large collection of tutorials to manage the VPS.

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Harish ram avatar
Harish ram fras-es.com
May 20, 2017

I am using Digital Ocean from last 1 year for few of my Niche websites. It is one of the best cloud hosting providers. Easy to deploy a server and install wordpress.Their 5$ Plan can handle most of my websites traffic.

One of my friend suggested to use digital ocean as it is cheap and trusted. Their support is excellent, They give 512 mb ram in 5$ Server which is totally worth for the money. If you are looking for a cloud hosting provider then go with Digital Ocean without any regrets.

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Christoforos Aslanov avatar
Christoforos Aslanov site
Apr 28, 2015

DigitalOcean is the best for developers the vps is fast, the uptime is 100%, the prices is good. just awesome

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Ranjan Chatterjee avatar
Ranjan Chatterjee merahost.org
Feb 21, 2016

Digitalocean is one of the best choice when it comes to cloud servers. It is easy to deploy servers around the world and it did help me. I am a web developer and when your website gets down, it is a pain in ass.

I was referred to Digital Ocean by my friend and yes it proved to be the stable among others. With easy to use control panel and faster deploy rates, its worth buy.

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Chang Lee avatar
Chang Lee chloristableware.com
Mar 08, 2016

Their prices is relatively good against any other providers but do remember that the customer support is just as much as you pay. Whenever I open the support ticket, they usually responds many hours with unclear answer. Please take this company only when you are expert on Server management. Otherwise, you should bear in mind you would be definitely stressed by bad technical support from them.

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Droplets

DigitalOcean calls its virtual machines “droplets.” They have two flavors of droplets: Standard and CPU Optimized. The latter is exactly what it says on the tin: virtual machines with beefier CPUs for computation-intensive jobs.

The advantage of using droplets is that you can spin up new machines quickly if you suddenly get a lot of demand. When you no longer have any need for them, you can just delete them.

What’s in a Droplet?

You have a choice of operating systems for your droplets. There are the usual suspects of Linux distros, Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, and CoreOS. If you really hate the GPL, FreeBSD is available.

These are all pre-built images, so you don’t have to waste time installing the OS. You can get started deploying your awesome web app right out of the gate.

DigitalOcean Droplets Overview
Screencapture by DigitalOcean

One-Click Apps

If that wasn’t good enough, DigitalOcean also offers one-click apps for your droplets, so you can save even more time.

These apps include:

  1. MySQL
  2. Docker
  3. LAMP stack
  4. MongoDB
  5. Node.js
  6. WordPress
  7. PhpMyAdmin
  8. Ruby On Rails
  9. Ghost
  10. Machine Learning

They have pretty much every web development buzzword you’ve ever seen on Hacker News.

You only pay for the machines you use, which can help you control costs. It’s no accident that cloud computing providers like Amazon and DigitalOcean are popular with startups.

Mix and Match

You can mix and match between the two types of droplets.

You could have standard droplets as front-end web servers providing the interface while CPU Optimized servers crunch data on the back end.

You can also load balance your droplets to keep your web app available.

DigitalOcean Storage

Storage

While you can spin up and delete your droplets, what about the data that they process? You’ll need to keep that around.

Storage Types

Digital Ocean has thought of this. They offer two types of storage: block storage and object storage.

Block Storage

Block storage works just like a hard drive on your computer. Block storage ranges in size from 1 GB to 16 TB. You can combine blocks just like a RAID system.

The data in the blocks is replicated across several server racks for redundancy. It’s also encrypted to keep prying eyes from seeing your sensitive information.

You can rescale the blocks in real time and move them to different droplets.

Blocks can be automatically formatted and attached to Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, CoreOS, and Fedora Atomic droplets.

For sudden, heavy workloads, blocks are also burstable for an extra speed boost.

All of the blocks run on SSDs, so they’re pretty fast already.

Object Storage

DigitalOcean also offers object storage, which it calls Spaces. Spaces are best suited for storing large amounts of unstructured data like video.

Object storage works differently from block storage. The data is unstructured, with no specific format, unlike the file structures on block storage.

Think of the data as being stored in a big “blob.” The device it’s stored on doesn’t matter. You just put data into the blob and get it back out again when you need it. You access the data through HTTP requests.

Data in Spaces can be accessed publicly without the need for a web server dedicated to serving up files to users. The fewer servers you need, the less complexity for your site and the less money you have to spend building it.

DigitalOcean Collaboration

Collaboration

The company has also made it easy for teams to collaborate in building DigitalOcean-enabled apps.

They can work together, being billed on one invoice and not having to share credentials, which can compromise security.

Reliability

For more reliability, the company offers “Floating IPs,” where IP addresses can be quickly redefined.

If a droplet fails, its IP can be reassigned to a standby droplet to keep the app running.

DigitalOcean Control Panel

Control Panel

cPanel may rule the web hosting industry, but DigitalOcean is not like a typical web hosting provider.

Digital Ocean Is for Developers

Their offerings are clearly by developers, for developers. They’re much less interested in holding your hand than other providers.

Since they’re geared more toward people building custom web apps, they don’t offer many things that may seem normal. For example, they don’t offer any kind of shared or VPS web hosting.

Install cPanel Yourself

If you want cPanel, you’ll have to purchase and install it yourself. It’s not available on the one-click deployments.

DigitalOcean is geared toward the kind of people who have a favorite Unix shell, and who wouldn’t need to be pampered with a graphical control panel. Their target market is the hard-core developer who lives inside a text editor and an SSH window, so the lack of cPanel is not a major loss.

The DigitalOcean Interface

The good news is that DigitalOcean already has a well-designed interface for deploying and monitoring your droplets.

DigitalOcean Infrastructure

Infrastructure

DigitalOcean has datacenters in San Francisco, London, Singapore, Bangalore, and three each in New York and Amsterdam.

The Singapore datacenter supports IPv6, and DigitalOcean plans to roll out support to their other datacenters in the near future.

Specialized Technology

DigitalOcean built their own custom back-end software. Cloud servers are built using KVM Virtualization on Intel’s Hex-Core CPUs with dedicated ECC Ram and RAID SSD storage.

You can use DigitalOcean’s control panel, or use DigitalOcean’s name-spaced API to design your own.

From the control panel, you can one-click install common applications or Linux distributions to your droplets, such as CentOS or FreeBSD, and WordPress or Drupal.

DigitalOcean Customer Support

Customer Support

DigitalOcean offers support via a ticket system. Issues can be marked as critical for immediate attention. They do not offer live chat or phone support.

Documentation

DigitalOcean aims to equip their users with the knowledge they need for complete self-sufficiency, so they place more of a priority on documentation and community support than on direct, one-on-one customer service.

DigitalOcean Documentation
Screencapture by DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean has extensive documentation on their website, including a “getting started” guide, knowledgebase, and FAQ.

DigitalOcean Community

DigitalOcean also encourages user support via the DigitalOcean Community.

The DigitalOcean Community is a platform created and maintained by the company for users to interact and provide support to each other.

Users can create their own profiles and upvote and subscribe to topics; read, comment on, request, and submit tutorials; ask and answers questions in the Q&A section; and share API projects. The community is moderated by DigitalOcean staff, who answer questions in the Q&A section.

DigitalOcean Backups

Backups

DigitalOcean offers backups and snapshots that can be used to save, restore, or duplicate your droplets.

Backups vs Snapshot

Users can manually create snapshots on their own at any time, while backups are automatically run on a regular schedule.

DigitalOcean stores snapshots and backups on separate hardware from the original data.

Cost

Snapshot storage is billed by the gigabyte, and DigitalOcean offers regular automatic backups at 20% of the cost of each droplet.

Users have the option of enabling automatic backups when creating a new droplet. Backups are stored by DigitalOcean and cannot be downloaded.

The terms of service note that the customer is solely responsible for their own data, and that DigitalOcean can’t be held responsible for lost and/or unrecoverable data.

DigitalOcean Security

Security

Security is always a concern with any web host, but it becomes especially important when it comes to cloud hosting.

Limited Staff Access

DigitalOcean restricts staff access to its most critical systems: technical support staff do not have access to the backend hypervisors, and only the engineering team can access the snapshots and backup storage system.

Server Safety

Their datacenters are physically protected by round-the-clock security staff. They also have biometric readers and two-factor authentication. Finally, they are certified by national and international security standards.

User Monitoring

DigitalOcean has an extensive control panel with real-time monitoring of droplet deployments. Customers can track CPU usage, network usage, disk usage, disk I/O, memory usage, and the top processes in a droplet.

You can also set up alerts for certain events, such as CPU usage exceeding a threshold. The alerts are sent via Slack or email.

You can whitelist IP addresses for your load balancers or droplets or specify a range of addresses. You can also whitelist by tags. The firewall automatically blocks access before you’ve made whitelists.

Firewalls

The company also offers cloud firewalls. Firewall rules can be applied to multiple droplets at once. All of the rules are centralized in one view.

DigitalOcean Billing

Billing

Every DigitalOcean account is invoiced monthly and billed per hour based on usage up to your monthly cap.

You can cancel your account with DigitalOcean at any time through your customer control panel. They do not offer refunds for payments already made.

Payments

DigitalOcean accepts payment via PayPal or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover). Credit card payments are processed using Stripe.

They do not accept debit cards, checks, or money orders due to past security issues.

Uptime Guarantee

DigitalOcean promises 99.99% uptime and offers to issue a credit for any downtime beyond that. While they don’t provide details on the process, several users have noted in the DigitalOcean Community that they received fair compensation for downtime.

DigitalOcean Comparable Hosts

Comparable Hosts

Of course, DigitalOcean is not the only cloud hosting provider out there. If you’re looking for a DIY approach to the cloud, there are several other providers you should consider.

Amazon Web Services

The biggest cloud infrastructure provider is Amazon Web Services.

The major web retailer’s success in this realm is demonstrated by how Netflix, a major rival in the world of streaming video, has transitioned from physical datacenters to almost completely running off of Amazon’s cloud. (The only part still running on traditional datacenters is the DVD-by-mail service.)

SiteGround

SiteGround’s cloud architecture isn’t as buzzword-compliant as DigitalOcean’s, but you can also spin up and tear down virtual machines as you need them.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy has also built up a cloud infrastructure-as-a-service platform, in addition to its popular web hosting offerings.

GoDaddy is a major player in the OpenStack initiative to build an open source cloud platform. The OpenStack project has the support of many other major tech companies like HP.

DigitalOcean Summary

Summary

If you need simple web hosting without having to worry about the technical details, then DigitalOcean is not for you.

DigitalOcean should be considered as an option for developers with a need for flexibility and detailed control over configuring their servers.

Due to the style of support DigitalOcean provides, it’s best suited to self-sufficient developers who enjoy researching their own answers rather than having them handed to you. It is ideal for experimentation on a budget since your use of each virtual server is billed by the hour.

Most Popular DigitalOcean Hosting Plans

5 Monthly 10 Monthly 20 Monthly
Disk Space 20GB 30GB 40GB
Bandwidth 2TB 2TB 3TB
Price $5 / mo $10 / mo $20 / mo
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40 Monthly
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60GB 4TB $40 / mo Visit Host
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DigitalOcean Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does DigitalOcean accept Bitcoin?

    No, DigitalOcean does not accept Bitcoin.

  • Does DigitalOcean have a free trial?

    There is no free trial offered by Digital Ocean.

  • Does DigitalOcean offer SSL certificates?

    No, but they do have a tutorial in their knowledgebase on how to set up a certificate with Let’s Encrypt.

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David Delony

About David Delony

David Delony is a technology enthusiast based in the Pacific Northwest. He has experience with various web technologies going back to his teen years. David has experience covering technology topics ranging from networking to video games to operating systems.

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