Before today, I was using A2 Hosting for my website, and a few projects. However, after Claus Witt spread the word about DigitalOcean, a VPS startup that has quite a bit of buzz at the moment, I decided to try it out. And I'm not going back (Sorry about that A2).
What is DigitalOcean and VPS ?
Basically, what DigitalOcean provides, is a VPS (Virtual Private Server). This means: You get a virtual server, you can do whatever with it, just fire up a Linux distro, and you can use it as a hosting platform in a matter of hours (or even minutes).
DigitalOcean is a new player in the field, as the VPS market so far has been dominated by players like Rackspace, Amazon or Linode, each with their advantages and disadvantages.
What makes DigitalOcean different ?
5$! This is the price of running a server for a month on DigitalOcean. And it's insane. Every other provider with comparable solutions, charge you at least 6-8 times as much, AND in most cases you get either a slower machine, or a sandboxed solution, basically not being true VPS.
SSD disks - Yes, even the $5 server has SSD drives. This makes the server PERFECT for running Octopress solutions, as these are made up of flat files, which puts more strain on disks than on CPU.
30 minutes - Was the time I spent ordering, launching, transferring my dotfiles, setting up Rails, Passenger, nginx and transferring a few projects to test out the server.
Speed - Yes, those disks make a HUGE difference. Rsync'ing Octopress to the server takes 25% of the time it usually takes on A2, and requests are served extremely fast with a simple nginx setup.
There must be a catch ?
The only catch I've noticed so far, is that you have to take the VPS down to be able to take snapshots. Everything else is basically as you'd expect from any other provider, they even provide DNS services, if you haven't got access to that elsewhere.
And they have a HTML5 console, if you somehow lock yourself out of your machine.
I have no commercial interest in the DigitalOcean company what so ever, I just love their services they provide already after a single day!