Moving to Digital Ocean
For years, I had been running all my websites on a shared host. I’ve set up several web servers in between, but just never had considered spending the time for my own projects to be worth it. But finally I decided to make a move.
So I am happy to say that finally, Unified Sense is running on it’s own dedicated virtual host for about a month now.
And what are the reasons behind this decision?
It is not that the shared hosting was bad. But it was not good either. I still believe it was good enough to host a simple website. But with the new webpage and everything, I really did not want to share the server anymore and keep full control over it. Although shared hosts have a very nice control panel (such as cPanel), which make it possible to create and publish new websites, subdomains and similar very quickly.
The downside of it is that many webpages are running on the same server, so admins try to select the software to be as universal and support as many pages as possible. They tried to fit the needs of everyone, so the server was still running PHP 5.2.x and an older version of Apache 2.x. Some of the newer PHP frameworks (such as Laravel) do not even run on PHP 5.2, so I was quite handicapped at that point. Administrators could not update the PHP engine, since some of the websites that were hosted would start crashing and that would mean losing their customers.
Migration of the data and the website was done in about 1 hour and I have to thank one of my friends for that. It was really quick and painless.
I decided to host the server on Digital Ocean digital cloud and I am very satisfied with the upgrade.
Server now runs latest Ubuntu 15.04, and hosts website with nginx 1.6.x HTTP server instead of Apache and speed improvements are really visible. PHP 5.6.x runs beautifully with PHP-FPM Module and the latest MySQL also helps with the speed.
In general I am very satisfied with the result. Digital Ocean’s dashboard is very easy to use compared to Amazon Web Services, which seems complicated and dull. A new server is up and running almost in no time.
I strongly encourage anyone that is still thinking of a move like this, to go forward with it.