This is a follow-up review on one of the most promising cloud companies I’ve encountered, DigitalOcean. I started with a droplet from them a year ago and published my experience with DigitalOcean here.
Now, I’m still with them and I couldn’t be more happier. When I started out, things were a lot simpler then, there were no backups, just snapshots. The dashboard looked minimalistic because of the few options it has but that’s what drew me to them.
There wasn’t a lot of fuzz when I started with them (they still keep their sign-ups simple) and the Droplet (VPS) I got from them just plain worked.
What has Changed
Bandwidth is now metered. My accounts were the lucky ones where bandwidth was not metered, its grandfathered so it will stay that way hopefully for the rest of the life of my account. Note, additional bandwidth transfer costs only 2 cents per GB.
Backups are now automated but no longer free. At one point it was free, now it costs 20% of the Droplet. Which means you’ll be spending $2 for automated backups for a $10 Droplet. Not a bad deal at all if you ask me.
Private networks. A lot of customers asked for this and it eventually rolled-out, which is a good thing because that means they do listen to their customers’ needs. This is good news specially for those who have multiple Droplets in a single data center as traffic between Droplets aren’t counted.
Kernel Change. DigitalOcean has made it simple to change kernels and revert to the original kernel should the new one cause unstability on your Droplet.
Graphs! While not really critical this is one of the nice to have things that will show you in general how much your Droplet is working. While not overly detailed it will show you bandwidth usage, disk activity and cpu usage from real time to the last 365 days.
Two factor authentication. Didn’t have this when I started out, now its an additional option to make your DigitalOcean account more secure.
Referral program. I’m one of the customers who asked for this earlier and I’m happy to know that they eventually created one. You get $10 in credit or commissions for each customer you refer that totals $10 in billings.
Why I’m Staying with DigitalOcean
Uptime! This is very important to me, for the last 12 months I’ve been with them, the only reasons why some of my sites went down because I was tinkering with them. Other than that, they’ve been faithful with their 99.99% SLA. They are prompt to announce possible down-times and they honor their credit system should any down time occur.
Droplet performance. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary as far as usage is concerned but for my needs the VPS instance just plain rocks. Since I’m using nginx now, I’m squeezing a lot of performance from my Droplet.
Responsive support. One of the best reasons I’m staying with DigitalOcean, they provide support at a personal level. The longest delay for their support to reply to my ticket was 4 hours, compare that to a day for a hosting company where we have a dedicated server with them.
They listen. I’m just one of the many customers that use DigitalOcean’s service but on my end, I’ve filed and reported three bugs/improvements on their system that they eventually fixed. One of them is my recommendation on how they should handle their snapshots. They listen to their customers and they do something about it which I believe is very important in this cut-throat cloud hosting industry.
I’ve migrated all my sites to DigitalOcean since the end of 2012 and so far I have no regrets with the choice I made. The only downside I think is that this isn’t for individuals who are used to cPanel and WHM but if you do know your Linux I highly recommend DigitalOcean, this page itself is served from one of DO’s Droplets.
From how things are going on my end, I think I’ll be with DigitalOcean for a long time.