Are you wondering whether DigitalOcean is a good web hosting provider?
You’re in the right place to find out.
DigitalOcean began as a startup in New York City in 2011. Since then, the web host has amassed a following of more than a million developers.
DigitalOcean aims to provide a user-friendly platform that uses solid-state drive (SSD) technology to help clients seamlessly transfer projects in the cloud.
The company is startup-friendly and even offers a dedicated program for startups.
This web host is popular, but does that mean it’s the perfect fit for your website, app, or e-commerce platform?
We’ve been closely monitoring DigitalOcean’s performance since 2018.
In our DigitalOcean review, we’ll share the pros and cons of its uptime, load speed, customer support, pricing, and other key factors to help you decide if DigitalOcean is the right web host for you.
An Overview of DigitalOcean
|SPEED:||288.92 ms (average between Jan. 2022 to Dec. 2022)|
|UPTIME:||99.99% (average between Jan. 2022 to Dec. 2022)|
|SUPPORT:||Email, Ticket System, and Knowledge Base. Premium support plans offer more features.|
|APPS:||Ghost, WordPress, Strapi, and other apps.|
|FEATURES:||0.5 TB (500GiB) bandwidth, 0.55 GB (0.51 GiB) memory, 10.74 GB (10 GiB) SSD, 99.99% guaranteed uptime, app platform|
|HOSTING PLANS:||Droplets, Kubernetes, cloud hosting|
|PRICING:||Starts at $4/month|
Advantages of Using DigitalOcean
DigitalOcean web hosting offers some serious perks when building a high-speed, reliable website. Along with providing some of the highest uptime and fastest load speed in the industry, the web host has multiple data centers so your website is (almost) always available.
The host’s pricing plans are also transparent and flexible, starting at $4/month.
DigitalOcean mainly targets developers and startups. The web infrastructure for startups can be affordable and scalable, plus its cloud was designed to make it easy for small businesses to use.
But there are many more advantages to using DigitalOcean’s services. Let’s go over them in detail.
1. Impressive Uptime
One of the first things to look for in a web hosting provider is uptime. The good news is that DigitalOcean’s web hosting has some impressive uptime numbers.
From January to December 2022, DigitalOcean maintained an average uptime of 99.99%. Except for June 2022 (99.84%) and July 2022 (99.98%), its uptime was consistent at 100%.
June 2022 had a total of 71 minutes of downtime, and July had eight minutes.
June 2022’s longest downtime lasted 49 minutes, two instances lasted 10 minutes, and the fourth lasted a minute. Each downtime in July lasted one or two minutes.
This yearly uptime trend shows that DigitalOcean’s web servers were working almost all the time. Even when there was downtime, it lasted only a few minutes in most cases. And while June’s downtime is concerning, the fact that it’s a deviation from the norm offers reassurance.
Let’s compare this uptime to other web hosting providers. In 2022, DreamHost had an average uptime of 99.86%, and GoDaddy had an uptime of 99.96%. DigitalOcean’s uptime really is one of the best among hosting companies.
But what does this mean for you? Well, if your website is online more often, you’re less likely to have frustrated visitors and lose potential customers or revenue.
A high uptime can also help with your search engine optimization (SEO) too. Search engines tend to penalize websites with significant downtime.
And there’s more good news. DigitalOcean guarantees a service level agreement (SLA) of 99.99% uptime for its virtual machines. If the uptime falls below this level, you can receive a credit on your account for the affected period.
2. Super-Fast Load Speed
The next thing you should consider is load speed, which is how fast your website loads for visitors. People may leave your site if the load speed is too slow. Your conversion rates and search engine rankings could suffer as a result.
Our DigitalOcean review shows that the web host has an excellent load speed record, averaging 289 ms from January to December 2022. That makes it one of the best web hosting companies for speed.
By comparison, Hostinger had an average load speed of 318 ms in 2022, and DreamHost had an average load speed of 1,815 ms.
Load speed is critical if you’re an e-commerce seller. Slow load times can lead to lost sales. A 2022 Portent study found that website conversion rates decline by 4.25% for every second of load time delay between zero and five seconds.
On top of that, Google uses website speed as a ranking factor. A faster website may be more likely to appear higher in search results.
3. Multiple Data Centers
DigitalOcean operates eight data centers worldwide. It has three data centers in North America (New York City, San Francisco, and Toronto) and three in Europe (Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and London). It also has two data centers in Asia (Bangalore and Singapore).
A data center is where a hosting provider keeps web servers to run customers’ websites and apps.
If you use DigitalOcean’s services, you can select the data center closest to your users. That will help your website or app load faster for them.
If you’re a startup or a small business, this is a great advantage to have. You can attract more prospective clients and buyers to your website without frustrating them with a slow load speed.
Having multiple data centers also adds protection. If something happens to one data center, your website or app can still run from another.
4. Customizable Pricing and a Huge Choice of Web Hosting Plans
DigitalOcean offers several web hosting plans that fit most needs and budgets. It has plans for both virtual machines (VMs) and managed Kubernetes clusters.
Google originally developed Kubernetes (sometimes called K8s), and you can use it to set up and maintain containerized applications. Containers are software that have all the code and dependencies needed to run anywhere.
All of DigitalOcean’s hosting plans are flexible. You can upgrade and downgrade as needed.
You’re charged according to the amount of resources you consume, such as CPU, memory, storage, and bandwidth. This is a huge benefit for startups with limited resources. You pay for what you use and nothing more.
DigitalOcean also offers extra services like Load Balancers, block storage, and managed databases. You can add extra storage and bandwidth or private networking.
Plus, this web hosting solution has a cost estimator tool that can help you determine how much your infrastructure will cost based on your usage. And with its “tags” feature, you can organize and track your resources and costs.
Overall, DigitalOcean’s pricing can be cost-effective and transparent if you’re a developer and know exactly what options you need.
The Basic Droplets plan starts at $4/month and goes up to $96/month for more high-end services. CPU Optimized Droplets start at $42/month and go up to $1,128/month.
5. Robust Security
DigitalOcean is one of the most secure web hosts out there. Your data is protected end-to-end with this host.
Every DigitalOcean product is fortified with multiple security features, so you can rest assured that your data and traffic is safe.
If you’re just establishing your startup, an unwanted virus or spam attack is the last thing you need. DigitalOcean gives you that much-needed peace of mind to focus on growing your business instead of worrying about security issues.
Case in point: after a security incident in August 2022 affected DigitalOcean’s Mailchimp account and some customer email addresses were exposed, the web host parted ways from the email service provider.
DigitalOcean wrote a detailed post about the incident, contacted the customers who were affected, and secured their accounts.
The web host also offers additional security layers. But for those, you need to go through its tutorials and follow the instructions.
6. Developer-Friendly Ecosystem
DigitalOcean has a lot to offer if you’re a developer looking for a web hosting service. The options include Droplets, Spaces, and Kubernetes.
- Droplets are Linux-based virtual servers that you can customize to meet a business’s application needs.
- Spaces is a type of simple object storage. It lets you store and send data to apps and end-users. You can use it for backups, video streaming, logs, and data analysis. It’s scalable, and you can combine it with other DigitalOcean
- Kubernetes helps developers deploy web applications and keep costs down. It offers automatic scaling and high availability. You can use it for application programming interfaces (APIs) and your website’s backend.
Disadvantages of Using DigitalOcean
The DigitalOcean web hosting platform boasts excellent load speeds, impressive uptime stats, and multiple data centers. But the web host has some significant drawbacks.
Below are some of the cons we found in our DigitalOcean review.
1. Not Suitable for Beginners
DigitalOcean web hosting might not be the most convenient if you have little or no experience with creating websites or apps.
The web host lacks cPanel, which is an industry-standard platform for website and server management. You’ll need to purchase it from a third party.
You could hire a developer if you still want to use DigitalOcean web hosting for its great uptime and load speed.
But if you’re looking for a user-friendly alternative, consider Bluehost or DreamHost.
Also, DigitalOcean doesn’t have a drag-and-drop interface to create a website or an app. It lacks the ease of use provided by other hosting providers’ website builders.
2. Poor Customer Support
One of the biggest concerns we found in our DigitalOcean review is its poor customer support. The web hosting provider gets a lot of flak on review sites for it — and for good reasons.
Some reviewers complain that DigitalOcean doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support. Others say that its customer support team is often unresponsive.
Suppose you have an issue with your website or app outside regular support hours. You’ll need to submit a support ticket and wait for a response.
DigitalOcean does provide a wealth of resources, including tutorials, guides, and a community forum. But its tutorials focus on providing solutions to technical issues.
All in all, DigitalOcean’s support falls behind its competitors. For example, some web hosting providers (like Hostinger and Bluehost) offer live chat or phone support. DigitalOcean only offers live chat with its premium support plan, which costs $1,000/month.
3. Lacking Basic Freebies
Our DigitalOcean review found that the web host doesn’t provide some basic freebies like most other hosting providers.
For example, it doesn’t offer a free domain name (or even the option to buy one) or free migrations.
Additionally, its email services aren’t always reliable. However, you can use third-party email hosting services to host email for your website. Some options are Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), Zoho Mail, and Microsoft Office 365
4. Complicated Pricing Structure
The hosting provider offers flexible pricing. But this could be a huge disadvantage for beginning users.
You need a clear idea of what resources and features your website or app needs to choose the right options.
Other hosting providers, like Bluehost and DreamHost, make it easy and simple for non-tech-savvy customers to choose a pricing plan.
5. Inadequate Storage
As with its other features, you can choose a range of storage options with DigitalOcean. The storage starts from 10 GiB (1 GiB equals 1.07 GB) of SSD storage for $4/month, and goes up to 7,030 GiB for $2,608/month.
DigitalOcean also offers Spaces, which lets you store and manage large amounts of data from anywhere.
Still, it’s not the most cost-effective web host when compared to hosting providers like GreenGeeks, which offers unlimited storage for a starting price of $4.95/month.
- Ease of Signup: Easy (Google, email, or GitHub).
- Free Domain: No.
- Money Back: None. Pay-as-you-go pricing.
- Payment Methods: Major credit and debit cards, PayPal.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: Nothing major.
- Account Activation: Fast.
- Control Panel and Dashboard: Customized control panel (with option to buy cPanel elsewhere).
- Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): One-click installer for many apps and CMSs.
Do We Recommend DigitalOcean?
Yes, but only if you have advanced technical skills.
DigitalOcean is also ideal for developers and startups looking for a scalable and affordable web host. With its user-friendly interface, advanced API, multiple tutorials, and a program for startups, DigitalOcean facilitates you in building your infrastructure.
However, suppose you have little to no tech skills and want to start a blog or a website. In that case, plenty of other hosting providers are less expensive and easier to use.
Some other web hosts to consider are DreamHost, Bluehost, Hostinger, and GoDaddy. They provide more ease of use and comprehensive customer support than DigitalOcean.
Still, DigitalOcean web hosting is a great choice if you’re a tech pro looking for a high-performance web hosting solution with excellent speed and uptime.