DigitalOcean Perfect Guide: Install WordPress on Ubuntu

Last updated on June 28th, 2017

Well, let me just say this. It is going to be the most extensive and comprehensive guide to installing WordPress on lightning fast DigitalOcean VPS.

There are a lot of good posts on the internet guiding bloggers to install WordPress on Ubuntu. Still some points are left unanswered which make it difficult to start.

Hosting your website on a virtual private server makes it fast to load than on a shared hosting. Simple.

As on a VPS, all the resources are dedicated to serve your website and no one else’s. Whereas on a shared hosting, the resources are used for upto 5 websites. Shared hosting doesn’t allow full administrative control and customize software configurations like changing your server OS.

You will still need to install a plugin or CDN to make it faster for visitors on other side of the world.

 

Who This Guide Is For

I have typed this guide for first-timers, small business owners, bloggers/webmasters.

Who want their sites to be hosted on a virtual private server at the same price of a good shared hosting package. Thereby increasing user experience for their visitors and decreasing bounce rate.

Let’s start

What is DigitalOcean?

DigitalOcean is a simple and fast cloud hosting company.

The pricing starts at $5/month which increases with user’s requirement.

At $5/month, they provide 1 CPU with 512 RAM, 20 GB SSD disk space with 1000 GB data transfer. This configuration is good for a site with 50,000 unique visitors per month. You can monitor the CPU usage from DigitalOcean dashboard.

What is a DigitalOcean Droplet?

A virtual private server is a software emulation of a physical server created on a robust physical server. A physical server can be configured to run many VPSs, each with its own different software stack.

A DigitalOcean droplet is a VPS. On which you can install any framework like WordPress, Magento, Joomla, etc.

Best ways to install a WordPress site on a Droplet are:

  • Manually installing and configuring the softwares Apache, MySQL, PHP.
  • Use ServerPilot to do all this for you atomatically.

This post will help you to easily install WordPress on DigitalOcean with Ubuntu 16.04.1 as server/droplet.

I will explain how to install using the second option with Serverpilot.

Note: If you want the first 2 months of DigitalOcean hosting free then click here.

Creating a DigitalOcean Droplet

First, create an account on DigitalOcean.

Once you are logged in, you will see a green button on the top right that says “Create Droplet”. Click on that.

Create a DigitalOcean Droplet
Create a DigitalOcean Droplet

On the next screen we will select the configuration for our VPS or Droplet.

Under “Choose an Image”, select Ubuntu version 16.04.1 x64

Choose Ubuntu Image
Choose Ubuntu Image

Then comes “Choose a Size”. Select $5/mo.

Select a Monthly Plan
Select a Monthly Plan

Leave “Add block storage”.

When choosing a datacenter region, please select the region from where you believe your visitors will come in large numbers. As it makes sense for them to load your website quickly.

Choose Datacenter Region
Choose Datacenter Region

If you know the visitors would come from India, then choose the Bangalore datacenter.

I will talk about using CDN and plugin later.

You can leave both “Select additional options” and “Add your SSH keys”.

Note: SSH keys are a way to connect to the remote server from your computer securely. If you don’t provide them, DigitalOcean will send you an email with the login credentials, which is fine.

Lastly, choose 1 droplet and hostname. You can put the name of your website here.

Finalize Droplet
Finalize Droplet

Finally, click “Create”.

We have now created our new droplet where our website would reside.

Note: At this point, you will receive an email from DigitalOcean with the login credentials to the droplet. Please mark the email as “Important” or “Favorite” so that it is easily accessible when required later.

From the image below you can see the newly created droplet.

New DigitalOcean VPS Created
New DigitalOcean VPS Created

Now click on “More” on the right and click “Add a domain”.

You will need to enter domain or website name which you want to host on DigitalOcean.

There are few places to get domain name for less like GoDaddy, Namecheap.

GoDaddy provides domain name for $0.99/year for new customers.

I would advise Namecheap as it provides free WhoisGuard with domain name for less than $4/year.

Note: $10 credit free from DigitalOcean. Click here.

Click "Add a Domain"
Click “Add a Domain”

Enter the website address here and choose the droplet just created.

Add domain name and select the droplet
Add domain name and select the droplet

And click “Create Record”.

Once you create record, you will get a screen having a list of websites on this droplet or a single website if you configured only one.

Note: You have to change the nameservers of your website from where you bought the domain name like GoDaddy, Hostgator, etc. So that the website points to DigitalOcean’s server. It is easy and the steps can be found here.

Now, you have the droplet running with Ubuntu 16.04.01 x64.

What Next!

You need to install wordpress and other softwares on the newly created droplet.

Enter Serverpilot.

Configure Serverpilot

In order to install WordPress and other software packages automatically, we need to first create a free Serverpilot account.

Once you are logged in to Serverpilot, you will see the screen as below.

Connect a Server in ServerPilot
Connect a Server in ServerPilot

Click on “Connect a Server”.

At this moment, I want to you to go back to your email which was used to register with DigitalOcean. Open the mail which you marked as Important or Favorite.

You will see the login credentials to your DigitalOcean server as below:

Email From DigitalOcean
Email From DigitalOcean

Enter the IP address, Root Password as provided in the email on the screen after you click “Connect a Server”. For SFTP password, create a new one and save it on your notepad or write it on a paper. This will be used for file transfer via an application like FileZilla if required.

It will take some time to install each software package automatically.

Create App in ServerPilot
Create App in ServerPilot

When done, click on “Create App”.

On this screen, fill in all the fields:

Configure App in ServerPilot
Configure App in ServerPilot
  • Name – Type in WordPress or your Site name
  • Domain – Your full domain name like http:/www.bloggermode.com
  • Check the box next to WordPress. Fill the four fields. The username and password you type here would be the login credentials for your new WordPress site, so save it somewhere.
  • Runtime – PHP 7.0
  • Server – It would already be selected to the droplet name.
  • System User – Also would be selected to “serverpilot”

Click on “Create App”.

Note: To check stats and logs in Serverpilot for your droplet, you have to upgrade to Coach plan. If you want you can upgrade your account. It is not necessary as you can monitor your droplet from DigitalOcean dashboard too. Click on “Droplets” on the top in DigitalOcean. Select the droplet name. Here you can monitor every aspect of your server’s health like CPU usage, Disk I/O, Bandwidth usage, etc.

Once it is done, you will see this screen.

DigitalOcean Droplet Connected to Serverpilot
DigitalOcean Droplet Connected to Serverpilot

Now you can rest.

Everything is done now.

Let’s login to your newly created WordPress site.

Go to http://www.ttttt.com/wp-admin

Replace “ttttt” with your domain name.

The screen would ask for login information. Type in the credentials you saved earlier when creating the app in Serverpilot.

Voila!

Your new WordPress dashboard is here.

Some Questions Answered

1. Is DigitalOcean only for Developers? And is it the best choice to provide Web Hosting Services/Storage to clients at the business level?

Absolutely not. If you read the guide above, you can host your Wordpress website easily on DigitalOcean without any programming know-how. DigitalOcean infrastructure can be used to host anything from an app to a website and can be scaled according to traffic.

Yes, DigitalOcean can be used to host client websites. Though it is easy to setup but if you have a large client base. It would be better to go with hosting providers like InMotion Hosting or WPX Hosting. As they are one click solutions to host websites.

 

2. Is there a cloud hosting service that allows us to know the physical (geographical) address of where our server data is stored and backed up?

In DigitalOcean, at the time of setting up a new droplet asks to select the datacenter region. You can select any region like New York, Bangalore, among others.

Backups or Snapshots are provided by DigitalOcean for additional $1/month. If you don’t want to pay for it, you can install a plugin UpDraftPlus which can take backups for free. For security, install Wordfence(highly recommended).

 

3. Is DigitalOcean $5/month enough for my approximately 10,000 visitors/day WordPress site?

No. $5/month plan can support 1000-1500 visitors/day.

 

4. Is DigitalOcean Hosting or a CDN better for speeding up a website?

Both coupled together can boost your website speed.

 

5. What is the difference between AWS and DigitalOcean?

In simple words, ease of use.

DigitalOcean is much simple to use than AWS for someone just starting out in the cloud.

If you’re a large software agency with highly complex backend then you can go for AWS.

But for someone who just wants to test the cloud infrastructure or build a website then DigitalOcean works like a charm.

 

That’s it.

Follow the guide and setup your new droplet with DigitalOcean.

If you are on DigitalOcean, please share your feedback for others to learn more.

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