How To Install WordPress On To DigitalOcean With CapRover

Authored By: James LePage
Published On: May 12, 2020

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In this article we're going to discuss installing WordPress onto a Digital Ocean droplet using a third-party add-on called CarPover. This differs from the default method of installing a WordPress installation from the DigitalOcean marketplace, and has its own pros and cons that we will discuss later.

Hosting a WordPress installation on DigitalOcean is a super cost-effective method of using resources. Keep in mind that this is also a solution that requires some tinkering and know how. If If you want a fully managed WordPress service, then you should pay for it using something like Cloudways or WPEngine. These two hosts basically do everything that the DO installation does, but offers live support, security sweeps and automatic updates. If you don't want / need this, then digitalocean is a super cost-effective route to go, as their cheapest plan starts at $5 and can support most websites.

To make things even better, Isotropic is giving away $100 in DO credit to each visitor. Simply click the button below, and sign up for the account -  your credit will be applied automatically.

Digitalocean offers a large collection of plans that can fit pretty much any need and requirement when it comes to website. We find that the base $5 a month plan is more than adequate for small businesses websites, as it offers 25 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM.

In our opinion this is more than adequate for a simple WordPress website. By simple WordPress website we mean a corporate website without many Dynamic functions. If you had an e-commerce website you would probably want to move your memory allocation up to 2 GB. 

What's CapRover?

What CapRover brings to the table is a graphical user interface, which is really easy to use. It also offers a one-click installation.  In simplest terms, CapRover is a GUI for docker. It does basically everything that the marketplace installation of WordPress does, except you don't need to go into the SSH panel to set up your WordPress website. Instead, you'll do that through the CapRover server application.

This package includes a lot more than just an installation manager. It allows you to manage multiple apps, and it's library of one click installations is always growing. For example, they recently added our favorite free live chat service called Chatwoot. In addition to the applications you can manage, you can also manage domains which we will discuss the later in this article, and access a super powerful server monitoring system called NetData.

netdata/README.md at master · netdata/netdata · GitHub

In my opinion, this makes the CapRover software a better option than the normal DO Marketplace installation (and both are free).

Create The Droplet

The first thing you need to do when installing WordPress DigitalOcean using CapRover, is install CapRover onto your DigitalOcean droplet.  You do this by making a new project, and then creating a new droplet. Instead of a normal operating system, go to Marketplace and search for “CapRover”.

The starter plan should be enough power to run any normal WordPress website installation. If you are going to do an e-commerce shop, then maybe you should go for the $10 a month plan which offers more memory -- this will speed up the back end processing of orders.

You can keep everything else in the default setting. The only suggestion I have is choosing a data center that is closest to where the majority of your visitors come from. You can save a few milliseconds of load time by having your data center closer to your visitors.

Access CapRover

Now, once your droplet is created, go into its settings and find its ipv4 public address. You will use this to access CapRover. 

Type in the address and port 3000. (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:3000) This will load the CapRover interface.  Your default password to access the dashboard is “captain42”.  we will go over how to change this password later in this post.

For some reason, DigitalOcean does not install the newest version of CapRover. If you get the message “Update Available”, you must update your system or else you will not properly be able to install WordPress in one click. You can update your system by clicking the big update button.  It will take about one minute to run.

Now that the system is updated, go to the apps tab on your dashboard and then click on “Install one-click apps”. Search for WordPress in these applications. You will also see a lot of other applications that can be really powerful, and installed in a similar manner to the way we'll do WordPress. CapRover allows for unlimited installation of applications, so you can test out other apps on this droplet. Keep in mind that you have limited resources though.

Install WordPress

Select the WordPress image with a database to install.  You will see a screen where you enter your website name, username, and password. This is basically what  you would need to do via SSH in the normal DigitalOcean installation. Once entered, the deployment process will begin like seen in the screenshot below.

If it deploys successfully, you will get the green message below. Congratulations, you have a fully functional WordPress installation on your DigitalOcean droplet just like that. Pretty simple, right?

If you scroll to your apps, you should see two. One is the database and what is the actual WordPress installation. If you click on the link icon, you will launch your WordPress installation. Before you do so, I would recommend setting up the domains in CapRover. 

 setting up your base server domain is pretty easy and simple to do with CapRover.  simply get the domain that you want to use, and point it to your ipv4 address of the DigitalOcean droplet using an A record in your DNS. It would look something like this:

Configure Domain

A RECORD domain.example.com points to xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx TTL auto

We also add another wildcard record like so:

A RECORD *.domain.example.com points to xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx TTL auto

Once your domain is pointed, you can enter it in the field at the bottom of the main tab on the “CapRover Root Domain Configurations”, and click add domain.

Now you need to enable HTTPs protection for the entire service. You do this on a main tab of the CapRover Dashboard.  scroll all the way down to the bottom, and click on the enable HTTPs button. Enter your email, and it will take a few seconds to add an SSL certificate to your base domain. Once functioning properly, you need to test that HTTPs works. Then you can force redirect all traffic to be secure, by clicking the force HTTPs button.

While you're here, it may be a good idea to change your password from the default one to one of your own choosing. You can do this by going to the settings tab in the dashboard, scrolling down and changing the password.

The next step is setting your custom domain for WordPress. Do that by going to your applications tab and then clicking on the WordPress application with the link in its row. This is the public facing installation. Change the domain by entering the new domain into the field, and clicking “connect new domain”. As long as this domain is pointed to your IP address for the server, it should successfully be applied.

Then, enable https for everything.

Congratulations, you now have WordPress installed on your DigitalOcean droplet & configured the domain! Now follow the base installation procedure (by going to the custom domain you just set), like setting your website title and password. Once complete, click install and you will be greeted with the familiar WordPress login screen and back-end. Begin building your website, hosted on DigitalOcean.

If you need any assistance, feel free to join our Facebook group and ask questions directly to the Isotropic team. You can also schedule a consultation call, where we can discuss what the best solution for you may be. DigitalOcean is a great choice for many, but might not work for your company.

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James LePage is the founder of Isotropic Design, a digital agency that builds WordPress websites. I read, write and design constantly!

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