Checking out Digital Ocean VPS (or Why UK hosting doesn’t suck compare to the US anymore)

I’ve used many different hosting companies over the 20+ years I’ve been working on the web (and blogged about the poor state of hosting in the UK compared to the US going back quite a few years!), recently I have looked to consolidate a few personal project sites onto a VPS of their own so I thought I’d check out Digital Ocean and see how they stack up to other services I’ve used.

So far my experience has been really good, quick to spin up server instances, or droplets in Digital Ocean’s terminology. Even better is that since middle of January they have at least doubled the specifications that you get for your money. I opted for the $20 a month droplet which gets me 4GB ram and 80GB of disk space and 2 vcpus (previously 2GB ram and 40GB disk space). So overall that is pretty great value for money.

I’m currently working through the process of migrating all my personal sites (including this blog), a bit time consuming but good to get all of my site projects (such as, and various other bits and pieces.

If you’re interesting in checking out Digital Ocean for hosting they actually offer a referral scheme so if you sign up via this link: you’ll get $10 credit, so go check it out if you want a few dollars credit to check out out and see if it suits your needs.

Part Two – Why does UK hosting suck compared to the US?

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted the first part of this series of articles comparing the UK and US web hosting scenes. There was a quick flurry of activity in the comments of the last post. A few commenters seemed to get the wrong idea that I was primarily focused on the price of US hosting compared to the UK, that I thought hosting was cheaper in the US, Whilst I do think hosting is cheaper in the US there are still plenty of cheap options over here if you want to get hosted on a budget 1 and 1 Internet, Fasthosts, Webfusion etc etc all offer very cheap webhosting packages. However, the focus of my comparison is more to do with overall quality of hosting, the unique and specialised hosting options available in the US at a more competitive price than would be found in the UK.

In my last post I complained about the fact that I have 3 different hosting setups to provide what I need, a Fasthost Reseller account, a couple of WebFusion VPS accounts and a Fasthosts Dedicated server (read the previous article for more on why I have this setup currently). Well, to add to that mix I have since signed up for a hosting account with I am basically planning on moving everything that currently runs on the VPS accounts over to Mosso. Why did I choose Mosso? Well, here’s the basic feature set / price point:

  • 80 GB of disk space
  • 2000 GB of bandwidth
  • Online control panel
  • Full System Administration
  • Managed Backup & Security
  • Includes 24 x 7 Support
  • Based on Rackspace’s 100% Uptime network SLA
  • $100 per month

Basically for less than the cost of the two VPS accounts I get all that capacity, now, you need to go and read all the tech spec on the Mosso site to fully understand the setup but it’s basically a load-balanced cluster setup, they describe it on their own site like this:

Put succinctly, The Hosting System is advanced, enterprise-level hosting technology and easy-to-use software that beats the pants off of running your own server?and costs less, too.

That pretty much sums it up. It’s not cheap hosting, but it is great value for money. The fact that they’re based on the Rackspace network is encouraging. Rackspace have a very good name in hosting, they’re one of the companies that has made the jump ‘across the pond’ and does provide high level managed hosting services in the UK. However, it comes at a price, you probably won’t get a server for anything less than £300 a month from them, but the quality service they provide also serves Mosso so this makes $100 a month seem like a bargain.

(Features + Quality) ÷ Money = Value

As I’ve said, I’m not looking at the lowest price, but more along the lines of the pseudo-equation above. It’s the features offered by a webhost and the quality of them along with the amount they cost that represents the best option. I just think the services offered by US webhosts such as Mosso (The Hosting System), MediaTemple (GridServer) and TextDrive (Accelerator) (and EngineYard if you’re looking for Rails hosting) offer a better answer to the equation than you will find in the UK.

I’ve not really written about what I had planned for Part 2 of this series, mainly because of the point I wanted to clarify since the comments on the last post. However, hopefully in part 3 I’ll get down to doing a bit more of a closer look at the three hosting options provided by Mosso, MediaTemple and TextDrive.