One of the key requirements to be successful at Affiliate Marketing is fast loading landing pages! Unfortunately, high-end VPS services are very expensive. Moreover, if you want to have dedicated IPs for each and every key domain that you hold, you have to shell out a lot of money. This is where Digital Ocean comes to your rescue where cloud based VPS solutions start at JUST $5 A MONTH!

I have been toying with Digital Ocean since the last one month. Initially, I was very apprehensive of going with something that’s not managed, doesn’t have a cPanel and rather developer oriented way of managing things (initially). Soon I realized that, it’s so damn easy to get started with Digital Ocean and setup a WordPress blog in hardly 2 minutes if you go with Ubuntu and may be just 15 minutes if you opt for other preferred O/S such as CentOS. This post is a short review on Digital Ocean based on my initial experiences of setting up a domain with them.

Digital Ocean at a glance

Digital Ocean is a cloud based hosting service ‘for developers’ as they say! However, once the initial hurdles of installing software and setting up WordPress etc, it’s easily managed by even an average blogger who’s not too technically inclined.

Here are some of the salient features of Digital Ocean cloud VPS:

  • VPS packages start at prices as low as $5 – I am on that package even now
  • Each VPS instance is known as a Droplet – A Droplet is nothing but a small logical package (called as a node or slice by other vendors) with your Selected Operating System, Memory, CPU, Disk space and Bandwidth opted for
  • Dedicated IP for all packages – That’s a boon for seo of your landing pages or blogs
  • All storage is SSD based and that’s what guarantees performance even for a minimal droplet
  • Droplets can be resized any time
  • Super easy to get started after signup. It took me just 3 minutes for my first experiment of setting up a brand new domain on WordPress. Of course, I moved to CentOS then and it took about 15 minutes to install LAMP and WordPress
  • Option to go with US, EU or Asia Pacific based servers and a good range of O/S variants to choose from

Now, $5 droplets are probably not the best but still a lot better than similar priced shared hosting. Higher priced droplets with multiple CPUs are supposed to be lighting fast and equivalent to your traditional VPS that is priced two or three times .

How to get started with Digital Ocean Cloud VPS?

For WordPress bloggers, the following would be the logical steps:

Step 1: Signup with Digital Ocean

You may follow this link (affiliate link) to get started with Digital Ocean. Often, they promote their product via Google ads with $10 credit offered. In fact, I signed up like that but it doesn’t seem to be available now. You may want to search for any available coupons on the web.

After filling in your billing details, you can readily create your droplet. It’s pretty much about selecting your CPU options, preferred Operating System and the memory requirements. It’s a very quick process that happens in less than 1 minute. Once you create the Droplet, your root password will be emailed to you using which you can connect to the server using tools like FileZilla.

Step 2: Connecting to the Server

While logically one can connect to the server via root password, it is always advisable to connect to the server using SSH keys using a tool like PuTTY.

This process may sound hazy initially but soon you will find it easy. It’s very well explained in this article about creating SSH keys and using PuTTY.

Step 3: Install WordPress

At this step, if your selected O/S is Ubuntu, then your life is simplified because readily packaged application images such as WordPress or Ruby on Rails is already available on Ubuntu. All that you have to do is choose the relevant option in the screen below (Opt for the ‘Applications’ under the ‘Select Image’ sub-group

If you opt for an Operating System like Cent OS (popular among many VPS solutions) then you have to follow the tutorials linked below to setup LAMP and WordPress.

3.1. Install LAMP (Linux – Apache – MySQL – PHP)

Follow this well explained tutorial to install LAMP on your Digital Ocean / Cent OS Droplet.

3.2. Install WordPress

Again, here is another easy tutorial on installing WordPress on Digital Ocean.

Step 4: Add a Domain and Make DNS changes

Use the DNS link to add a new domain to your account with your relevant Droplet selected.

Add, and to your domain registrar’s name server list.

That’s it! Your domain is good to go on Digital Ocean Cloud VPS!

Improvement areas with Digital Ocean

As I mentioned a while ago, the performance of the basic VPS package is pretty good for the price you pay. Further, it has got features such as integrated backup, a number of other features that comes at extra price. But for free backup, it’s better to depend on WordPress plugins such as Undraft Plus.

The biggest challenge that I am facing is to setup email servers, enabling more PHP modules etc. But I see that plenty of articles are available on the Digital Ocean website and hence I should be getting there soon.

I would recommend you to try Digital Ocean for your future VPS needs. In my case, I have been trying to find cheaper and reliable alternatives to my HostGator VPS package (that cost me a lot with increased downtime of late).

By the way, this is NOT a paid or sponsored review.

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