Switch from Bluehost to DigitalOcean

This website shaunlgs.com is hosted at Bluehost for around 2 years. Initially I chose this web hosting company because it is recommended by WordPress and the hosting fee is cheap, around 3 USD per month. But, it is too slow for my liking. Even though my monthly views is only 1000+, I would like my readers to have a fast website experience. My contract with Bluehost will end this July.

Last week, my website went super slow and down for one day, the idea of switching was already in the air, I pondered switching to WordPress.com custom domain or DigitalOcean. I heard of DigitalOcean by checking who.is on some websites that are fast and hosting blog, example: ayulin.net.

So I was playing around, and found that DigitalOcean has some attractive qualities that I like.

First, it bills by the hour. The bill will accumulate, and you pay on the first day of each month. Unlike Bluehost, you don’t have to pay for years of hosting in advance, you could have money for one month and still start. For Bluehost, the plan for 1 month is too expensive, and you are forced to buy the 3 years package. My plan at DigitalOcean is 20 USD per month, or 0.03 USD per hour. They will bill you by the hour, until 20 USD is reached, then it will stop billing. This is so that, when you are off, they will not bill you, so you can pay less than 20 USD per month, but I don’t plan to turn off for any time, I don’t want down time, so I prepare to pay 20 USD per month.

“No — you only need to pay for 1 hour of usage. Spinning up a new 512MB server just to test something for a couple of minutes will only cost you $0.0074” – DigitalOcean

Secondly, it is virtual private server (VPS). Previously, I was using Bluehost with shared hosting. Shared hosting is like renting an apartment with several bloggers, VPS is like renting the whole apartment for yourself, and dedicated is like owning the apartment itself. VPS is virtual private server, so, you are virtually separated from others, but still you get your allocated resources without other blogger on the same hardware making your site slow.

Thirdly, the website itself is fast. DigitalOcean website is fast, while Bluehost’s website is slow. How does a web hosting company has slow website trying to sell websites?

Fourthly, I like the stats on display, I can see how many bandwidth people are using, how many traffic, how much CPU usage, etc. Bluehost has these stats too.

Fifthly, DigitalOcean tells you upfront how much you are getting. For my plan, I get a 2GB Memory, 2 Core Processor, 40GB SSD Disk computer and 3TB transfer. For Bluehost, they just tell you that is unlimited, but it is hardly true, my computer is so slow! 3TB is a lot!

Sixthly, I like the concept of droplet. A droplet is the term used for plan at DigitalOcean. It is like a droplet of resources you can use in the “Digital” ocean.

Lastly, DigitalOcean gives you a lot of customization room. The server is whole for you to adjust and tweak. They give you a blank slate, you even have to install your own LAMP stack (Apache, MySQL, PHP), while Bluehost already installed these for you. This is attractive to developers. I was given the Ubuntu server and I have to do things from scratch.

So far, in my first week of DigitalOcean, it is very fast compared to previously with Bluehost. Writing and editing becomes easier now, most importantly, my viewers can have a better experience.

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