Why Digital Ocean is an awesome hosting solution for MVPs

I’ve been using Digital Ocean hosting for a while and have been loving it. Admittedly the initial learning curve coming over from managed hosting (the hosting provider sets up the server for you and manages it when something breaks) was quite steep. But now, after having learnt the basics, I have far more options of what I can do without needing help that it was well worth the effort.

There are different degrees of difficulty you could be exposed to by choosing to use hosting from Digital Ocean for an MVP project. Let’s say you want to have WordPress up-and-running for your project, this is how you could do it, from easiest to hardest:

  1. Sign up to Digital Ocean, set up the hosting and select one-click install of WordPress DONE! (Anyone can do this)
  2. Same as above but instead setup a Ubuntu server and connect the installation with ServerPilot (Lot’s of tutorials to help you do this  – takes about 20-30min the first time)
  3. Go full commando – install the Linux distribution of your preference and manually install a LAMP stack and then WordPress  – go crazy configuring all the performance options. (Server aficionado needed – 5min to 1 year!)

Of course, none of the above are exclusive – you could install WordPress directly from the one click installer and then later manually configure the server… So, all in all here is my summary:

The ProsThe Cons
  • A server good enough for an MVP for a few hundred users starts at $5/month!
  • Very fast (response times and uploads / downloads )
  • No fuss spin up VPS of various sizes
  • Spin up/ close down as many droplets as you want within minutes (great for screw ups!)
  • Scale up and down the size of your VPS for more or less CPU/storage/Bandwidth
  • Pre-install WordPress with one click
  • Choose your worldwide location (closest to you is best)
  • Automatic whole server backup for cheap (20% of monthly cost)
  • Combined with Serverpilot, makes your site fly!
  • SSD drives for everyone!
  • Can be used for almost any server project (Node, PHP, Java, etc)
  • Lot’s of help in the Digital Ocean forums
  • You need server knowledge to use it (Command line interface)
  • You need to know how do SSH into a server
  • If something breaks you are – probably – on your own (keep backups!)
  • Steep initial learning curve (but there are the simpler options above)

I think the flexibility provided far outweighs the cons. What if you suddenly need to install stuff on your server and your managed hosting won’t let you? What if you need to scale up your setup before doing a major marketing push that will crash your current server setup?

Let me know in the comments if you recommend any other hosting solutions as it’s always good to have more!


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