DigitalOcean is a big name hosting provider that is based in the USA. It launched its first server in 2011 and its goal is to help developers launch more apps fast and with ease. What started out as a small New York startup company has now grown into a cloud hosting platform that has a customer base of over half a million.
However, is DigitalOcean the right option for your business? Will it help you host your website or web application right. In this article, we look at DigitalOcean and find out what is good and bad about the cloud hosting provider.
DigitalOcean has never hidden its initial goal. It wants to use a solid-state drive (otherwise known as SSD) to create a user-friendly platform. With this platform, clients can transfer products to and from the cloud, helping them to ramp up production through speed and efficiency. It's a simple enough goal and their statistics speak volumes about what they can offer a developer or someone looking to host something on the cloud.
It also has some pretty big accolades to its name. After being founded in 2011, it took just two years for Netcraft to recognise it as one of the fastest-growing cloud hosting services. At the time it beat Amazon Web Services. In 2014, DigitalOcean was also known as the third-largest hosting company in the world.
DigitalOcean also has lots of big money investment going into it including Andreessen Horowitz, IA Ventures, Techstars and Crunchfund.
Why Use DigitalOcean?
There are many reasons why any business might want to use DigitalOcean. The first is uptime. The average uptime for a website on DigitalOcean is 99.99%. That means that most businesses won’t experience any downtime at all and customers are unlikely to notice any time you’re offline either. It is one of the reasons why DigitalOcean is ranked as one of the best hosts for cloud-hosted applications.
To put it into figures for you, the entire downtime at DigitalOcean between June 2020 and January 2021 was three minutes experienced in two outages. That is very low.
DigitalOcean can also boast exceptionally fast loading times. According to statistics, the load times for the site is 267ms. This makes it the second-best for loading times of cloud hosts, according to studies. And this can be very important. For every second that it takes for your website to load, you’re going to lose 7% of your revenue, with a 267ms loading time, you’re not going to notice the lost revenue.
Digital Ocean also has one of the top developer-friendly product ecosystems available. There are droplets that are scale-able computing platform, this can be customized to your specific development needs. You can add storage, monitoring and advanced security to ensure that your applications are working exactly how you would like them to. And as they’re scale-able, you can ensure that you’ve got resources that can handle any uptick in demand without experiencing long term costing.
There are also options when it comes to droplets with DigitalOcean. You can choose standard layouts or optimized droplets. You can then customize them to your exact needs as many times as you need to.
The host also provides secure spaces where you store objects. It has tight security but it allows you to deliver data to any application or end-user with ease. There is also a simple process to complete this work that relies on reliable storage that you can access with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop User Interface.
These areas, known as spaces, can be used for all kinds of purpose like backing up files, weblogs, data analysis and other data uses. You can also scale them so as the need for more data rises, so can your storage space, but there are also higher costs.
Another benefit is the customizable pricing. While other hosts will charge you for a set price based on a set of resources that are specified, with DigitalOcean, you’re charged for what resources you ask for. This includes storage, CPU usage, bandwidth, database, memory and more. It is great for those who are advanced users and can predict what they’re going to use and need.
You’ll also get daily backups of your applications and restore any data that has been accidentally lost or corrupted from backups as far back as 7 days.
Finally, you can be sure that your application is secure. It is one of the few hosts that actually make this a priority, which is really important. There are encryptions to volumes on the basic end and there are additional layers of security you can add to your web application with ease.
What are the Negatives of Using DigitalOcean?
While there are many advantages of DigitalOcean, it isn’t a perfect solution. One of the biggest criticisms is that it is actually very technical. This can be a significant problem for those who aren’t used to building applications and hosting websites. They use a lot of jargon and there isn’t a great one-click install option that you will get with other website hosting platforms.
Therefore, unless you’re a developer, you’re probably want to not use DigitalOcean directly. That isn’t to say that you can’t use their infrastructure. You can always do this on platforms like Cloudways that can help you use the DigitalOcean infrastructure without the jargon and more technical support.
Another problem is that DigitalOcean doesn’t have the basic features that you might get with other hosts. For instance, you don’t get a free domain name with hosting, or the ability to even purchase one after you’ve signed up to their website. You don’t get free site migrations either.
There are ways that can help you with some of the basic features, but you can’t expect them to ‘holding your hand’ through the process. In fact, there is limited technical support. Most hosting companies offer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This isn’t always very good, but it is often something that can help you out when you’re having problems.
In fact, if your website goes offline during the night, you need to wait until the morning before you will get a response to the ticket you submitted the night before.
And while pricing can be good, it is complicated. Therefore, unless you know what you’re doing, you could end up paying for something you don’t need or use.
Final Word: Is DigitalOcean a Good Choice?
DigitalOcean is a great cloud hosting platform. It offers a reliable service that can see your website have one of the highest uptimes on the market with speeds that will make your website rank and convert well. However, it isn’t for those with no technical skills.
If you’re determined to use DigitalOcean, but need more technical skills, then it is highly recommended that you use Cloudways as they can offer you access to the DigitalOcean platform with some extra support.