How To Host And Install WordPress On Digital Ocean

By James LePage
 on January 27, 2021
Last modified on January 7th, 2022

How To Host And Install WordPress On Digital Ocean

By James LePage
 on January 27, 2021
Last modified on January 7th, 2022

Digital Ocean is an incredibly cost effective way to host a WordPress website. Not only is is fast, scalable, and performant, but it comes in at only $5 per month. Only pay for what you need and use.

This tutorial will discuss the pros and cons of hosting WordPress on a Digital Ocean Droplet (updated for 2021), and offer a detailed, step by step guide on how to install the CMS on the droplet. With this tutorial, you should be up and running in no time!

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Would you prefer a step-by-step tutorial with screenshots? The content below is an edited transcript of this video, categorized with headings. Included are screenshots.

Hello, everybody, this is James from Isotropic, and in this video, I'm going to show you how to install a WordPress website on a DigitalOcean Droplet. So before we get started, there are a couple of things I want to say. If you want $100 in free DigitalOcean credit to follow along to this tutorial, click this link right here:

So the first thing I'm going to talk about is what DigitalOcean is, what a Droplet is, and the pros and cons of hosting a WordPress website on this. If you already know about this, you already know that you want to be hosting on DigitalOcean, and you just want an easy to follow tutorial, then skip to the numbers on the screen right now, and that will bring you directly to the Droplet set up, and then actually installing WordPress.

Pros and Cons of Using Digital Ocean

So with that being said, let's get right into why you may want to use DigitalOcean, what it is, and why you may want to stay away from it.

Okay, so DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider, and they offer many different solutions for many different applications of their product. But their main selling product is called a Droplet, and the Droplet is a virtual machine which allows you to host any type of application on it, or do any type of cloud computing, I would assume. But many people use this to host WordPress websites and other websites using DigitalOcean.

Droplets are very fast, they are very cheap, and they're fairly easy to use, even if you have no idea what you're doing, which is hopefully what this video will show you. So there are a lot of pros and cons that come with hosting a website on a Droplet.

The first thing is, you basically become your own hosting company. You are creating a server, which is what the Droplet is. You are installing WordPress on that server, and that server is then serving the website to your visitors.

You do not have the fallback that you have with a hosting company, but you have a lot cheaper hosting because of that. So pros and cons, the pros here are you have a very high performance, low cost solution.

The Droplet starts at five dollars a month, and that can host most WordPress websites that get minimum traffic and don't have crazy server requirements.

There's great uptime and you can scale your website as need be. So you can start off with your five dollars a month plan, and say, you rapidly grow your traffic and you incorporate different complex features that require server side processing, and you need more CPU and more RAM than what the five dollars a month gives you, you can click a button and scale the plan up, pay more money, but have more resources available to you, and you'll always be paying less than what a hosting company would charge you for the equivalent service.

So you get pricing and performance, but at the same time you need to manage the server yourself. So if this is a mission critical website, and something breaks, something goes down, you get a white screen of death and you have no idea what's going on, there's no live chat, there's no email support. There's only community based support, because you're managing your own hosting set up.

That could be a negative if you have a website that needs to be up, and you don't completely understand how this works, because this tutorial is going to show you how to install it, but it's not going to go into every detail about how it works, and that's something that you need to learn about.

So I think this is a great option for somebody looking for low cost hosting, somebody that can deal with issues as they arise, or somebody looking to learn how to use DigitalOcean, so they have enough knowledge to be comfortable in putting their main website on it.

The scalability, the performance in the price are the best in the industry, because you're managing it yourself. So those are your pros and cons. Those are the applications to do so. Let's get into the installation process, once again, $100 free for you. It'll give me credit too, so I can host my websites on DigitalOcean too. Just click that link in the description, and you're good to go.

So this tutorial is going to be three main parts. I'm going to show you how to create the Droplet, I'm going to show you how to install WordPress on the Droplet, and then I'm going to show you the actual WordPress installation, and do a little performance test with it.

Create Your Digital Ocean Droplet

By following this tutorial, it's going to be in real time. I'm not going to cut anything or speed anything up. So you should be able to pause at different parts of the tutorial, and figure it out on your own computer.

At the same time, this is going to take a bit longer than it would normally take if you know what you're doing, and that's something I want to mention. I mean, it takes under five minutes for me. It takes two minutes to create the Droplet and install WordPress.

So this is something that's really accessible to many different people, and hopefully with this tutorial, you'll understand that it's not crazy, you don't need to be an industry veteran, you don't need to be a server manager to host a website on DigitalOcean. So that's enough of me talking. Let's get into the tutorial.

Make A New Project

Okay, so once you have created your DigitalOcean account, you'll end up in the projects tab of it, and in this projects tab, you need to create a new project. A new project, or any project, is basically just a folder that helps you organize your resources. So I created a new project called WordPress, and this is what it looks like as soon as you create the new project.

First things first. I'm just going to get started with creating your Droplet, and show you the settings that I would choose, if I was just beginning to host a WordPress website on DigitalOcean.

Okay, so first thing, we're going to choose an image. We're going to go to Marketplace and select WordPress. This gives us a one click functionality, makes it very easy to set up in the future, and that's what the second part of this video is going to show.

Select the WordPress Marketplace Image

I'm going to skip the manage SQL database, and then I'm going to keep my plan as a shared CPU basic, and just start off with five dollars a month. As I said, you can scale as need be. You can also add block storage. So the settings that come with this, or your standards that come with this, one gigabyte of RAM, one CPU and 25 gigs of SSD storage, that's more than enough, I think, for many smaller WordPress websites that don't get a ton of traffic.

If you need more storage, you can add block storage, which is basically like plugging in a flash drive. One gigabyte costs, I believe, to be 10 cents a month or something like that. You can choose your data center region, choose the one that's closest to the majority of your visitors. So you can see that you have, I think, eight different regions or… Yeah, eight different regions.

I'm choosing New York, because New York is closest to me, and then I'm going to just keep everything here standard, and set up a random password. Copy that down. I'm going to just put that there, but make sure you write this down, and then keep everything else here standard, make sure nothing else is really being changed here. You can use this to categorise stuff, and then I would also enable backups if this is going production, just so I don't lose anything and I have that redundancy.

So I have this password, and as this partitions, it should take about a minute to get going. What this is doing, is installing the one click installation program, and partitioning and creating our Droplet, installing Ubuntu on it, booting that up, and basically creating a server that we can use to install WordPress on.

With the one click installation, what we're going to do is use SSH to jump into the backend of the server command line interface, and set up our WordPress installation through that, by connecting our domain and creating an admin account, and stuff like that.

It's literally step by step. If you don't know what SSH is, if you're unfamiliar with server management, just follow this tutorial and you will be able to understand it clear as day. This makes it as easy as possible to install WordPress.

One other thing I want to mention is that there are other marketplace images that will help you install WordPress. There's something called CapRover. There's an OpenLiteSpeed server. But this is really the easiest and quickest way to get WordPress up and running.

So as soon as this boots up, I'm going to grab the IP address and jump into the SSH. As it's booting up, you need a client to access your server via SSH.

SSH Connection Via Putty

I use PuTTY on Windows. It's a free client, and as you'll see, it's very easy to use and does its job very well. So by now our Droplet should be almost ready. It should be ready very soon, and what I'm going to do is grab my IP, jump into the SSH login using the password that I set, which is right here, which is why I copied it up there, and then set up my settings. If you know what you're doing, it should take three seconds.

If you're going to explain it like me, it should take three minutes, and then you should have your WordPress website ready to go. One other thing, I'm going to talk about connecting the domain, because if you're actually hosting a WordPress website, you need a domain.

Droplet is finally ready!

So you see my Droplet's finally ready, and you can tell that it's a one gigabyte, five dollars a month, 25 gigs on the disk, and this is our IP address that we're going to use to connect everything to. This is our server IP address, and if you've used hosting before, and understand how the IP address works, just identifies the server and that's what it's used for.

So I'm going to copy it by just clicking on it, and that will copy the IP address, and then I'm going to boot up PuTTY, and then get into my server. To get into the server, you just download PuTTY, install it, and this is the screen that will show up. Paste in your IP address, keep the port at 22, and keep the the radio selected on SSH. Then I'm going to open it up. Click yes, and log in as root. R-O-O-T.

I'm going to paste in my password to paste into PuTTY. It's a right click. So you didn't see a password, because there's security, it blocks the password but I'm going to just paste it in. Now we can see that we have loaded up, first off, our Ubuntu Web Server, but then also our DigitalOcean one click WordPress Droplet, and it says a bunch of different things.

It gives you a link to a quick start guide, and it also mentions how the WordPress file directory is structured. But the thing that we need to take a look at, is these couple of prompts. So it's going to give you a few prompts and ask you to help configure the server. So the first thing we need to add, is the domain name of our website.

Set The Domain Name Via SSH

The domain name of our website is going to be, at least for me, I have this test domain name, So I'm going to just take this, and that's the domain I want my website to be accessed at. So I'm going to paste it in, and click Enter.

Editors note: This is mentioned again, but you should point your domain, via an A record, to the IP of your Digital Ocean Droplet.

DNS should look something like this

Set Additional Info Via SSH (admin user, site name)

Now I'm going to add my email address, which helps me set up my admin account. I'm going to create a username, and I'm essentially creating a WordPress user account here. I'm also going to add a password, and then I'm going to add a blog title.

So I'm going to say 'Demo WordPress Site - Isotropic'. Then I'm going to ensure that everything is correctly typed in, and click Yes, and now I have the option to add a free SSL certificate to my website right now. This is funny. I like laughing at this, because GoDaddy tries to charge you $70 for a domain certificate, and I'm paying five dollars to host a WordPress website.

I'm setting it up in just about 30 seconds, if I know what I'm doing, and I get a free SSL certificate included with this. So if you say Yes by entering Y, it will prompt you through the information. You choose your domain, and you add your email address.

In my situation, I'm not going to do that, because I'm using CloudFlare and they have a free SSL certificate already. But if I didn't have an SSL certificate, I would 100 percent go with the Let's Encrypt. But for now I'm just going to say, no, I don't want that, and now WordPress is ready to go.

Point Your Domain To The Droplet

The final thing I need to do before I'm able to use my site, is point WordPress to my IP address of the actual Droplet. To do that, I'm just going to copy the IP address. I'm going to go to my DNS, I'm going to create a A record. That A record is going to have the root URL, the IPV4 address, which is the IP of my server of my DigitalOcean Droplet, and click Save.

DNS should look something like this

Because this is CloudFlare, this should be instantaneous. So now, if I head on over to my website address, I should end up on my WordPress website, and this is the moment of truth, because if it doesn't work, this will not be a completely live video. But if it does work, it'll show you how easy it is. There we go. It will show you how easy it is to make a WordPress website.

This is a fully functional WordPress website. Anybody can access it from anywhere in the world. If I go on a private tab, and type in this address, my site will show up. It's a very quick site, too.

If I go into the back end, I can log in using the the username and password that I just set up in SSH, and you'll see that this is just a WordPress site. If you need a WordPress site for five dollars, this is the cheapest it gets. This is the easiest it gets in my opinion.

You manage everything yourself. That's one thing to consider. But other than that, you're good to go. So let me show you a really quick performance test of it.

Digital Ocean WordPress Performance Test

The performance is great, and of course, website performance, and we run a subsidiary based on website performance. So website performance is not all about your hosting, but hosting is a really big part of it, and if you're looking to only spend five dollars per month, I think DigitalOcean is probably the cheapest quality host you can get.

Here you can see our total blocking time is zero milliseconds, and the main thing is our time to first byte is 2.28 milliseconds. Our connection time is 95 milliseconds. So that's pretty good for a five dollar host. If we optimized it more, we could get an even better time to first byte, but for five dollars a month, and for a set up that takes under five minutes, that's pretty good.

So hopefully this was a helpful video that shows you how to create a DigitalOcean Droplet and install WordPress on it in 2021. Be sure to check out that link in the description.

It gives you a free $100 credits to DigitalOcean, so you can mess around. You can follow with this tutorial without having to spend any money, and I think this is just a great solution.

So hopefully this was a helpful video. If it was, Subscribe and Like, share this, help spread the word, and get money away from GoDaddy, and until the next video, I won't see you. In the next video, I will see you.

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Article By
James LePage
James LePage is the founder of Isotropic, a WordPress education company and digital agency. He is also the founder of, a venture backed startup bringing AI to WordPress creators.
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