When I need to host a new WordPress site, my favourite place to go is SiteGround, where I currently have all my sites hosted. However, such a hosting provider is only for WordPress or other websites based on HTML or PHP. When it comes to deploying web applications (like SaaS), you need a completely different type of hosting. Indeed, for those kind of applications, what you need is a bare server on which you’ll be able to deploy your Node.js or Ruby on Rails application.
When I started to get into SaaS-like applications, I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect hosting provider for my apps. It’s only after trying a bunch of them that I found Digital Ocean, which is the solution I am now using for all my web applications. In this article, I’ll review Digital Ocean, and tell you why I think it’s the best solution for web applications hosting.
What Can You Do With Digital Ocean
Digital Ocean can of course be used to deploy web applications that other people will access, like Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. If you have some idea you would like to try out, or if you are looking for a solid & reliable hosting for an already existing application, you’ll need a service like Digital Ocean. It’s both easy to use (more on that later), fast, and has a great 99.99% availability. You will be able to deploy all your web applications, wether they are based on Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Python, or many other languages or frameworks.
But you don’t necessarily need to have a great SaaS application business idea to make use of a service like Digital Ocean. For example, you have now several web applications that are available for free, and that you need to deploy somewhere if you want to use them. In my business, we for example have our own email marketing application deployed on a Digital Ocean server, and we use it every day. The only thing we then have to pay is the monthly subscription of the Digital Ocean server (on which you can have several applications deployed!).
How to Create a Server & Deploy Your Application
What I like about Digital Ocean is that it is very easy to both create a server and then deploy an application on it. For example, to create a new server, you first need to choose between the OS you want on the server, and also the ‘size’ of the server, which is the CPU power & memory/storage amount:
Once that’s done, you just need to choose where in the world you want your server to be deployed, give it a name, and you’re done. You’re then ready to deploy your first web application on your server.
Then, it’s also really easy to deploy an application on the server. They for example have a lot of one-click installs for most of the applications:
Even for more ‘custom’ applications, like for the Meteor framework I am using for all my applications, it’s really easy. I am for example using the Meteor Up software to deploy Meteor applications in seconds on my Digital Ocean server.
Digital Ocean vs Other Cloud Hosting Providers
Let’s now compare Digital Ocean to other similar providers that I used in the past. The first one I used before Digital Ocean was Heroku, which is one of the most popular cloud hosting solution out there. However, the main problem I had with Heroku is that it was really difficult to use. I sometimes lost hours trying to setup everything, and I still couldn’t deploy my application. It was also not compatible with Meteor at the time I first tried it.
Their pricing structure was also more obscure than Digital Ocean. With Digital Ocean, there are very clear options, that you can then personalise:
Also, compared to other providers, Digital Ocean always felt faster. I didn’t make speed measurements of my applications to compare with other providers, but I am pretty sure this is due to the fact Digital Ocean servers are using SSDs where other providers are still operating with good old hard drives.
As you can probably tell from this article, I love Digital Ocean. I am now hosting more than 15 different apps on there, and I never had a single problem with them since they are there. That’s why whenever somebody is telling me about their new web application idea, I always recommend them using Digital Ocean first.
Do you also have a favourite cloud hosting provider for your SaaS/web applications? Don’t hesitate to share below!