5 Platforms to Host WordPress on DigitalOcean

5 Platforms to Host WordPress on DigitalOcean

So you are serious about your website and want to host it on a cloud platform like DigitalOcean. A shared hosting platform may not be sufficient for you.

However, you also know that managing your own cloud server is not a simple task. It requires lots of technical know-how including Linux administration through the command line. If you are not a sysadmin, that might sound a bit scary.

That doesn’t mean that cloud hosting is completely out of reach. Using a cloud service management platform, you can host your sites without knowing all the technical details.

In this article, we will look at some of the best tools available to manage your servers on autopilot.

What do these platforms do?

They allow you to connect your DigitalOcean servers to their service. From there on, they handle all the server-related tasks like:

  • Setting up server & applications – includes installing Nginx/Apache, PHP, MySQL, caching, one-click WordPress, etc.
  • Installing & updating software packages
  • Configuring SSL

In addition to these, you can also monitor and maintain your servers from their dashboard.

5 Platforms to Manage & Host WordPress on DigitalOcean

Here are some of the best tools I have found so far. After signing up and using each of them, I can say that all of them works well.

However, each one differs slightly from the others in terms of features and user experience. So choose one based on your specific needs.

Pre-requisite: Before diving into the list, I hope that you already have a DigitalOcean account. If not, sign up for free account. Also, I suggest you to get familiar with the dashboard first. Unlike the heavy-weight cloud providers like Amazon, DO is much easier to use.

Sign-up for DigitalOcean

1. SpinupWp

Host WordPress on DigitalOcean with SpinupWp

If you ask me to pick the easiest one from the list, it will be SpinupWp. It is developed by Delicious Brains, the same company behind the WP Offload Media plugin.

What makes it different is the WordPress-oriented approach. It offers a bunch of features useful specifically for WordPress users.

Installing WordPress on SpinupWp

Step 1: Creating a Server

It exactly does as its name suggests – spin up a WP server.

Create a server with SpinupWp

Follow along with the instructions to complete deploying your server. There shouldn’t be many confusions as the steps are intuitive.

During the process, you need to handle them the API key of your DigitalOcean account. Unlike some of the other providers in this list, you don’t even have to create a DO droplet beforehand.

On completion, you can see the status of the newly activated server on the dashboard.

SpinupWp dashboard

Step 2: Creating site

Install Site with SpinupWp

Creating a site is a 5-step process during which you have to set the following details:

  • Domain name
  • Type of site: Choose WordPress here if you want that. Alternately, you can clone your Git repo too.
  • Database details
  • PHP settings

Finally, on the confirmation page, you can verify all the details before deploying the site.

Install WordPress with SpinupWp

Note on SSL: One minor issue I noticed is the inability to install a custom SSL certificate. So, if you are migrating an existing site to SpinupWp, there will some downtime.

Pricing: Starts at $12/month, upfront.

2. ServerPilot

ServerPilot

Another popular choice among cloud enthusiasts is ServerPilot. It handles all the important tasks for managing your Linux server.

The server stack installed by ServerPilot includes Apache with Nginx as a reverse proxy. Also, some of the packages they install are custom-built, not the standard ones.

Installing WordPress using ServerPilot

Step 1: Connecting Server

Connecting DigitalOcean to ServerPilot is a bit more complex than SpinupWp though. Unlike the latter, you have to create a Droplet from your DO dashboard first.

Then come back to ServerPilot dashboard and enter your IP address along with the SSH password. It will install the serverpilot-agent service on your server.

ServerPilot - Connect Server

If you don’t want to use the password method, you can also connect manually as well. For that, you have to SSH yourself into the server and run the command provided by ServerPilot.

Step 2: Creating Site:

While creating a site, there is an option to select WordPress. It will install the necessary files and database on the server.

The trial version doesn’t allow you to set a domain though. Also, you can create only one site during the trial period.

Create an App - ServerPilot

Pricing: $5 for one server, $0.5 for each app

3. RunCloud

RunCloud - Manage Cloud Servers

RunCloud is pretty much similar to ServerPilot but with a few extra features. For example, it allows you to select either Nginx or Nginx+Apache while installing an app. The former is faster while the latter allows you to use the familiar .htaccess file.

Installing WordPress using RunCloud

Step 1: Connecting Server

The first step is connecting your DigitalOcean Server. The process is mostly similar to that of ServerPilot.

RunCloud - Connect a Server

Once connected, you can see the details under Servers.

Connect DigitalOcean with RunCloud

Step 2: Creating Site

Click on the Web Application option on the left side to start creating a new site.

Install WordPress with RunCloud

For installing WordPress, you have to first create a blank application. Then run the Script installer for WordPress, followed by creating a database.

Finally, you have to run the usual WordPress installation by accessing the site’s domain name.

So, in my experience, Runcloud is more complex than SpinupWp and ServerPilot for installing WordPress.

Pricing: Starts at $8/month for the Basic plan.

RunCloud also offers a free plan. It has several limitations including lack of SSL support. For any serious website, you will need at least the Basic plan.

4. Moss.sh

Moss - Server Management

Moss.sh defines itself as a virtual sysadmin for web developers. The platform offers developers a hassle-free way to host their applications on the cloud.

However, in my opinion, even if you are not a developer, Moss is pretty easy to use.

Installing WordPress using Moss

Step 1: Connecting Server

Like SpinupWp, Moss.sh does not require you to create a server beforehand. After signing up, you can authorize it to connect with your DO account.

Add Server in Moss

Step 2: Creating Site

Add Site in Moss

Pricing: Starts at $15/month for unlimited servers and unlimited applications.

For the Developer plan which starts at $15/mo, Moss allows you to connect unlimited servers and applications. So, if you need only one server, it may not be the most economical choice when starting out.

On the plus side, Moss offers integrations with Slack along with team management features.

As you can see, it is more suited for a team of developers. If you are the only person handling your sites, you might never utilize Moss’s full features.

5. Laravel Forge

Laravel Forge

Forge is another platform by the same folks behind Laravel, a popular PHP framework.

Although the name Laravel sticks with the title, they also offer to install WordPress with a few clicks.

Installing WordPress using Laravel Forge

Step 1: Connecting server

Laravel Forge - Connecting Server
Connecting DigitalOcean Server with Laravel Forge

Step 2: Creating site

Host WordPress with Laravel Forge

Pricing: Starts at $12/month one server.

What about Cloudways

As you might have noticed already, all these tools mentioned above allows you to connect your own DigitalOcean (or others) servers with their platforms. The advantage is that you have the root access to your server.

If you need a much simpler approach instead of the complete control, you can try Cloudways. While the above platforms only provide a control panel for managing servers, Cloudways is more like a hosting provider.

You don’t need a DigitalOcean account or know how to provision a Droplet. Everything is handled by Cloudways instead.

Conclusion

We have looked at some of the easy ways to host your WordPress website on DigitalOcean or similar cloud providers.

Although it is a lot easier than managing servers by yourself, you still need a basic knowledge about installing WordPress, creating a database, etc to set up and connect your site.

So, if the initial setup process does not intimidate you, then these platforms offer a much cheaper solution than managed WordPress hosts.

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