I usually don’t review VPS or hosting services, they stopped becoming a novelty a long time ago. But DigitalOcean is a bit different and I only started using them little over a month ago. You see I have tried quite a few hosting solutions in the last 12 years or so. I started out with shared hosting solutions like everyone else, then I had a brain fart and wasted tons of money on a really high-end dedicated server, which I really didn’t need at that time, and finally jumped around many shared and VPS solutions over the years.
Hosting services have come a long way to the point where it’s not only trivial and cheap to get a very good VPS, but it’s equally cheap and trivial to run a VPS reseller business. This is why every mom and pop or high-school kid has one (they really do, just check out lowendbox/lowendtalk).
What makes DigitalOcean special, in my opinion, is that not only is it insanely easy to get a VPS with DO, the product and feature service is pretty good with a price that is perhaps the best in the market right now (at least if you compare with the big hosting providers, not the overselling amateurs).
Some of the features I like about DigitalOcean:
- Billed by the hour. If you have a server (called droplets) for one hour, you will be billed for only one hour.
- Spawn server at will. You can start
up to 5 servers (as of this writing)as many servers as you want, as long as you have funds in your account.
- Resize server at will. You can start with a small server with 512mb memory, but you can increase the size of the server anytime you want, just a reboot away.
- You can create snapshots of your server and save it, you can clone server easily save the snapshot and only start a server when you need it.
- You can also move your VPS and snapshots around to any of the three locations currently available.
- Daily automated backups.
- API, similar to AWS to automatically spawn and destroy new server.
Don’t get me wrong, separately they are not unique features, as a matter of fact, many other VPS provides some of these features. What’s unique about DO is that they provide all these features in one place, it’s trivial to use these features, for instance, most other hosts that allow you to resize their VPS usually allows you to open a support ticket and wait for someone to do it. If you find yourself resizing your VPS too often, this can quickly get annoying. The icing on the cake is the price, I don’t think there is any other mainstream VPS that can match DO pricing and feature set.
In a lot of ways DO reminds me of Slicehost, a very popular VPS hosting provider in its time, allowed you to seamlessly resize your VPS and charged you by day. Slicehost was very popular in its time, but other services like Linode was eating away their customers as they were cheaper. Eventually, Slicehost got bought out by a bigger fish. Surprisingly history is repeating itself and now DO is taking away customers from Linode with better price and features. Don’t get me wrong, Linode is still a solid hosting provider and long time customers are likely to stick with them, but the budget-conscious customer is likely to switch to DO.
You should give DigitalOcean a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed. If you already use DO or use a host that you think is better than DO, feel free to share your experience.