Maybe Switching from Siteground Cloud to Digital Ocean + SpinupWP?

LocktropistLocktropist NAT Warrior
edited October 29 in Hosting Requests

Hey everyone. Small design agency here. We're currently hosting 21 active sites on Siteground's Cloud hosting, using 4 CPU / 8GB RAM / 80GB SSD. Most of the sites are local service businesses, two of the sites are national e-commerce but total page hits across all sites is less than 30k/day.

I'm frustrated with Siteground's dilapidated interface. It hasn't changed in at least a decade. Parts are broken, such as Siteground's own login screen not remembering you when you check to box to log in. They have no API to set up client sites, so reselling hosting is a very manual process (one of the reasons we don't outright sell bare "WordPress hosting", and as our list of live sites and staging sites grows, there's no solid organization method (we can't tell at a glance what staging site is for which client, for example).

On top of this, we're running secondary backups via BlogVault, which is an added cost as well.

Because of this, I'm starting to feel like we've outgrown Siteground, despite the site speeds being very good and the support also being very good. We don't have any real gripes about Siteground except for how manual and "hunt and find" the back end is, but we do have growing concerns over the direct costs (siteground), indirect (BlogVault), and opportunity costs (not being able to resell hosting in an automated fashion via our website), as we continue to add additional sites (we have 11 in the works right now).

I'm considering future growth, the ability to automate the deployment of hosting using SpinupWP's API and Digital Ocean's hosting, and SpinupWP's direct integration with Wasabi (which we already utilize for my primary company, an IT business, without issues).

Does anyone have any feedback as to why this would or would not be a good decision? It seems everyone has an affiliate-based opinion on which hosts are the best. Siteground has always been good TO us, but I feel they may not longer be the best FOR us as we look to the future and hope to expand our offerings, staffing, and speed. I was also considering Hetzner over Digital Ocean, but it seems Hetzner caters more to the EU and we're based in the US.

All feedback is greatly appreciated.


  • TapiocaTapioca NAT Warrior
    edited October 29

    I think you're making the right move. Here's my list:

    Pros and Cons

    Reporting and support.
    Ease of use.
    Flexibility and scalability.
    Less cost involved as compared to other products which makes it an affordable product.
    Upgrading of hardware is also quite easy and doesn't require much effort.
    Customer support could be improved.
    Lack of CDN.

    Documentation is poor.

    DigitalOcean is a powerful tool so as to control the virtual server in the cloud. It's widely used in our organization so that the servers can be allocated in multiple regions as per our needs. It's a highly scalable and flexible tool to host websites and web apps that allows us to use our own servers as well. The performance is great and the server cost is inexpensive. The user can eventually have full control over the machine with its user friendly interface.

  • LeofellowLeofellow NAT Warrior
    edited October 29

    Yes sounds like you've outgrown Siteground. I suggest switching to Digital Ocean over AWS and here's why:

    If you’ve only ever managed servers in an on-premises environment, you can get up and running with DigitalOcean in less than an hour—and things will be relatively straightforward to you. They don’t have 150 service offerings; they only have a handful.

    The point here is that you won’t have to spend 12 weeks going to Cloud School to absorb a zillion ancillary services (e.g., VPC, IAM, S3, ELB, Auto Scaling, etc.) just to be able to SSH into an instance.

    I’ve been using AWS for a decade (heavily for half of that), and I still find myself getting confused, lost, or otherwise unsure of my path on a far more frequent basis than I’d like.

    With DigitalOcean, that isn’t really a concern.


    In a move that’s apparently anathema to AWS, DigitalOcean’s billing is fixed-fee, per month, incurred hourly up to a cap.

    There are overage charges for excessive bandwidth use, sure. But they’re a penny per gigabyte over a baseline that starts at 1TB per node per month.

    Surprises, then, are on the order of “tens of dollars”—not “15 grand because you drastically misunderstood something.” Plus, you’ll automatically be alerted if you exceed your allowance before you’re charged.

    With DigitalOcean, you know exactly what something will cost before you provision it. If you hire me to optimize your DigitalOcean bill, you’re effectively paying me to perform basic arithmetic.

    What About Lightsail?
    AWS released a product called Lightsail in the relatively recent past, and this offering seems modeled after DigitalOcean in a number of key ways. It’s straightforward to get up and running, it’s fixed-fee, and there’s even a migration road to get from Lightsail to EC2 when that becomes appropriate.

    That said. . .you can feel the strain on AWS’s part to make this offering work.

    The terms and conditions almost seethe with rage around the specific circumstances in which they can either turn your instances off or else start charging you in their normal byzantine fashion.

    It’s not a bad offering. But it’s very clearly viewed as more of an onramp to using more “mainstream” AWS services than it is a viable standalone solution in its own right.

    To me, that makes it a less appealing offering than DigitalOcean. Your mileage may vary.

    When AWS makes sense
    All this said, I do most of my work on AWS.

    That’s because the things I do require more than baseline “building blocks” of infrastructure. I do complex things that interact in very strange ways with other services.

    I’m weird. I know.

    More commonly, people generally seem to spin up relatively small-scale environments on DigitalOcean. I can talk about managing five or ten droplets, but not hundreds or thousands of them. At that scale, AWS has the better tooling, better offering—and steeper learning curve.

    People often wonder if I hate AWS. I do not.

    People equally often wonder if I’m an AWS fanboy. I don’t believe I’m that, either.

    I’m just an advocate for the best tool for the job.

    If the points I’ve made above resonate with your use case, it’s entirely possible that the best tool for that job is DigitalOcean. What do you think?

    Corey Quinn Headshot
    by Corey Quinn
    Corey is the Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, where he specializes in helping companies improve their AWS bills by making them smaller and less horrifying. He also hosts the "Screaming in the Cloud" and "AWS Morning Brief" podcasts; and curates "Last Week in AWS," a weekly newsletter summarizing the latest in AWS news, blogs, and tools, sprinkled with snark and thoughtful analysis in roughly equal measure.

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