August 16, 2014

Web hosting built for deployment

For the past 4 years I had been renting a VPS for all my server needs be it setting up a LAMP instance, WordPress, hosting for clients, etc. Renting a monthly VPS + cPanel / WHM license proved to became a bit of a nuisance for just having a relatively low traffic VPS. I was determined to find a solution that was more straightforward,  easier to manage and only charges you based on your usage.

Goodbye cPanel

Back around January of this year, I made the switch to deploying code with Heroku. Which is an amazing service paired with GitHub, but with Heroku’s process for hosting WordPress, I wasn’t fully sold on finding something that could offer high-speed page loading for WP enabled websites. Through my search I stumbled across ServerPilot.

ServerpilotServerpilot’s easy to use interface 

Serverpilot is a relatively new web hosting control panel that aims to not only help you manage your server, but be able to easily create apps within their interface. While it lacks such things as FTP accounts, it makes for it with it’s excellent Web Interface that bundles with SSH/SFTP Access. Within Serverpilot they have an amazing repo of documentation that make it easy to figure out how to do anything.

Cloud-based Hosting

What’s excellent about utilizing Serverpilot, is how well it partners with DigitalOcean. A cloud based hosting service built for developers that only bills you for what you use. Through Serverpilot I decided, why not? I made the switch! What I love the most about DigitalOcean is how easy it is to deploy new “Droplet” or server with a wide range or pre-defined Disk Images at your disposal.



Alternative way to deploy

But wait, it gets even better! Turns out there is actually a way through DigitalOcean to setup your own private instance of Heroku, with a tool called Dokku built right into the set of disk images. What’s great with Dokku is it allows you to make your development setup centralized while not sacrificing git push deployment like when working with Heroku.

Despite it being a bit cumbersome to setup Dokku, it works perfectly if you are seeking a way to deploy easily on your own private hosting. There is an excellent tutorial on how to deploy Dokku on DigitalOcean for the first time.

Final Thoughts

Overall making the switch to Serverpilot, DigitalOcean & Dokku has been an amazing experience and highly recommend it to anyone else who wants to move forward from the Dark Ages of cPanel, but wants more of a traditional approach to hosting compared to what Heroku can do for you.

Like any drastic change, it can be a bit of a learning curve adapting to a new work structure, but these systems will not only save time on DevOps, but make deployment that much more enjoyable & hassle free.

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