I remember the dilemma I had while I was creating my first droplet in DigitalOcean. It offered many options with different price tags. I was really wondering which one best suits so that my blogs will perform well and I don’t have to pay for resources I’ll never use. I present this discussion to avoid the dilemma and help you decide it better. After reading this post you will be able to answer:
- What should be the droplet size for a WordPress blog?
- What will be the suitable size of VPS to run WordPress blog?
- Can I upgrade or downgrade my droplet if I need it anytime?
These were probably the first set of questions to strike my confusion immediately as I got an account in DigitalOcean. If you wonder what’s a droplet I’m talking about, it is a virtual private server instance in DigitalOcean terminology.
Could not decide if you should host your blog in DigitalOcean? Read my post about why and how I migrated from HostGator to DigitalOcean: http://bivori.com/hostgator-to-digitalocean/ (Opens in new window)
Creating a droplet in Digital Ocean (DO) is to choose the correct disk size, memory space, number of processor cores, transfer bandwidth and the base location of your server that suits your requirement.
DigitalOcean Droplet Size
DigitalOcean offers various sizes with different combination of these resources ranging from $5 to a few hundreds per month. The cheaper options allow you to use less resources while the price ascends along with more you desire.
- Will my blog performance suffer if I choose $5/month droplet?
- Shall I waste huge resources to choose $10/month droplet if I’m running just a couple of WordPress blogs?
- Can I optimize and fine tune the $5/month droplet to run a few blogs comfortably?
Every penny counts and you're crazy to pay for the resources you’ll never use. At the same time, it is called bad planning when your blog do not get sufficient food to stay happy. Then the question is, what is the best DigitalOcean droplet size for your blog to run smoothly and waste least possible resources?
The question is really straightforward, but the answer is not as direct as you may expect. Let’s take a few probable assumptions:
Top down approach
How about buying a much larger droplet than you think is required? You should observe the performance and gradually scale it down to the point where it becomes best balanced.
Sounds intelligent, isn’t it?
How about calculating your requirement and go with the droplet size that is exactly fitting your need? Sounds ideal, but how to calculate the exact requirement?
Generally people agree, you need at least the amount of RAM on the machine which is equal to the product of maximum concurrent visitors and your web page size. i.e.
Required RAM = (max concurrent visitors) x (size of web page)
Wow! Mathematics solved the problem! Still, there are many factors to affect this equation. The number and kind of database queries that your blog will use has another major role to play in blog performance. In most cases, it is database that causes the bottleneck.
Bottom Up approach
We can go for the smallest droplet size and observe the performance to scale it up to the point when you’ll realize that you’re providing sufficient resources required for the smooth running of your blog. This approach sounds more practicable and doable.
With this longer discussion, what boils down is experiment and tuning will only bring the droplet size to the correct value!
Can you resize droplets in DigitalOcean?
DigitalOcean offers the option to resize any existing droplet. You’ll get ‘Fast Resize‘ button when you navigate through your droplet in DO control panel. This enables you to scale up your droplet on the fly!
Another method to change the droplet size can be to (i) take a snapshot of you current droplet (ii) Create required sized droplet with snapshot image (iii) destroy current droplet.
Though it appears resizing pretty simple the convenient to change the size of droplets whenever you require, there’s a catch to trap you when resizing is really required. Be aware that upgrading is automated and can be done on the fly – without any downtime for your sites and services; however, scaling down the server is much more expensive. You can read Jozef’s nightmare story to realize how hard it is in reality than it appears.
More than 2000 DO customers posted their request to allow easy downgrade but till now we don’t have it in Fast Resize option. You can caste your vote for this feature at: Downgrade the DigitalOcean Droplet Size
It’s a different thing to ask for what you like, but it won’t be easy to downgrade a droplet. It may have data scattered all over the disk and cutting off the disk size may include potential data loss causing the droplet malfunction or break completely.
DigitalOcean is truly awesome hosting provider with many flexible features to suite the requirement of your blog and services. You can choose the best configurations when you create your first droplet or change the size even afterwards if you find it needs more resources. Though upgrading DigitalOcean is pretty simple and automated, downgrading may not be as convenient. Thus, it is wise to choose the minimum size of a droplet that is just sufficient to host your blog. You can increase the size whenever you need.
Another point to note while concluding is about databases. They can prove to be the bottleneck. Should you find you need a larger droplet because your database is suffering, a better approach can be to create another droplet to host your database only. This way, you’ll stay scalable for much longer future.
I hope after this discussion, you’ll be able to determine the best DigitalOcean droplet size and make your blog perform well. So, what’s the best DigitalOcean droplet size for your blog?