I’ll to start with providing a bit of background on Queen City Media and our hosting needs. We have used various hosting solutions for many internal and client websites dating back to 2010 (before we became an official LLC).
We started with very basic, static websites that had what could be described as unimpressive traffic.
As Queen City Media has grown, so have our clients — we are working with larger, more complex, high traffic sites that have created a significant amount of load on web servers and need to perform under stress.
Our Previous Set Up
Most of our client sites and our internal sites have been hosted on a HostGator reseller account. This allowed for easy, fast set up as well as a centralized management utility (Cpanel – WHM). The reseller gave us the ability to rapidly launch a new site and had excellent DNS propagation time when we were ready to move a development site into production.
When I first created an account with HostGator, I had limited server knowledge, I just wanted to host the sites and move on to the design! HG provided me with exactly that.
As our site grew and we started working with clients that had higher traffic I realized that these smaller, shared hosting accounts simply were not enough. A spike in traffic, a faulty plugin or pesky sites hosted on the same box could cripple our sites almost to the point of rendering them useless. At QCM, we pride ourselves in customer service; this simply needed to stop.
HostGator and related companies have been plagued with awful periods of downtime in 2014 — some lasting as long as 24 hours. When a business relies on its website for company information, product details or even direct revenue streams, downtime is completely unacceptable.
**Disclaimer** HostGator support is generally fast to respond and polite during these outages. I still recommend HostGator for many hosting needs. This downtime and drop in speed simply doesn’t satisfy our expectations anymore.
First of all, they have an excellent design and marketing team. The UI of both the website and client portal are clean and easy to read.
There is a seemingly endless amount of tutorials and educational pieces about servers, common web applications and everything in between in their community section.
While they have take great care to make DigitalOcean droplets easy to deploy, make no mistake, this isn’t your typical hosting account. DO accounts are SSD powered, cloud VPS servers. If you are unfamiliar working with linux command line, I recommend that you take some time to read through some of the relevant tutorials.
Benefits of Switching to DigitalOcean
- Speed – I list this first because the difference is night and day. Working with an SSD server is wonderful. The transfer speeds and process time for installers, applications and maintenance are impressive to say the least. Working with a few demo servers made this decision very easy.
- Flexibility – Shared hosting is great for static websites and even simple CMS applications. When sites and web apps start to get more complicated the need for SSH access and full server privileges becomes paramount; this is where shared hosting falls short.
- Cost – This depends on usage. For us, a creative combination of smaller, dedicated droplets and larger “shared” droplets will come at a savings as compared to our previous hosting solutions. Testing is very inexpensive with DigitalOcean as you can deploy and destroy droplets as needed.
- Feel – Everything about the registration, deployment and maintenance of DigitalOcean accounts just ‘feels’ good. Again, this is a huge shout out to their UI/UX team.
- Mission – I respect and appreciate the values and mission of DigitalOceans founders. They position themselves as a server for developers and absolutely back this up with service and support. This is not always the case with cloud hosting solutions *cough* Amazon *cough*.
The ability to properly manage each droplet as it’s own server gives both myself and my clients peace of mind. When a site goes down, I know exactly why and can usually fix the problem very quickly. I even have a handy mobile app that allows me to perform certain maintenance processes without having access to a laptop.
**Second Disclaimer** The above link includes our referral ID, you can also visit DO directly at http://www.digitalocean.com