Moving to Digital Ocean for hosting

  • August 26, 2017
  • server, hosting, infrastructure

Several years ago I just needed a webspace for sharing stuff and a domain. A shared hoster with a all-in-one package for ~5€/month was my way to go. That was fine for 5 years, but today I switched to Digital Ocean (short: DO). You might wonder why.

Why moving and why DO?

  • More control with root access,
  • free HTTPS with Let’s encrypt (!!!),
  • cheap backup costs compared to the shared hoster,
  • more monitoring options at DO,
  • my craving for a node.js app in production which I can monitor,
  • AWS would be overkill and finally
  • more fun with root access :)

What did I migrate?


I am still paying for the domain on the shared hoster but switched to a domain-only package where the Digital Ocean nameservers are listed. Cost: € 36/year.


On my former webspace there was mainly an old version of my portfolio and it was used as a staging environment for some Wordpress projects for clients. Additionally I used it for sharing big files. I basically

  • removed Wordpress projects (were just staging instances),
  • moved the big files to Dropbox (Pro anyways since a year) and
  • ditched the old portfolio to built this site. :)

Time for a fresh start!

Path of migration

Boy, that was silky smooth. I opted for the smallest droplet available:

  • $5/month
  • 512 MB Memory
  • 1 vCPU
  • 20 GB SSD
  • 1 TB Transfer

5$/month and 1 TB transfer are okay for me, I didn’t spend hours on comparing.

I chose an Ubuntu LAMP stack for a basic setup. I guess DO spent a serious amount of time and money on the onboarding + creation of your first droplet process and that paid off well, it felt like a quick exciting journey.

Registering with a credit card, creating the droplet and setting up SSH access took about 30 minutes due to GREAT tutorials of DO. I was just waiting for some errors, but literally everything worked fine without any problem.

  1. Basic Setup (SSH Access)
  2. Additional Recommended Steps (Firewall, Timezone)
  3. Add my existing domain to DO on the admin interface
  4. Change the nameservers of the shared hoster to
  5. Adding a Virtual Host
  6. Adding HTTPS

The DNS change took about 2 hours, then pointed to the DO droplet, yay!

Future steps

  • Setting up node.js with nvm
  • Deploy a node.js app to production!
  • Monitor the whole thing so nothing goes outta hand :P


If you got curious and are willing to switch too, I would be happy if you’d use my referral link, so we can have a beer together in return :)