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What is Digital Ocean and What Are Droplets Used For [Simple Guide!]

DigitalOcean is a cloud hosting provider that offers, among others, a droplet which is their name for Virtual Private Servers. It acts like a dedicated server in that, you own your virtual server, you are also giving the privilege of choosing your OS during deployment, and you’ll be able to configure the VPS to your liking.

The good thing about this is that, you aren’t maintaining your hardware, it is done by your hosting provider, and on top of that, you can automatically scale when the need arises.

Here is a simple scenario of how virtual private servers work:

Virtual computing makes one physical computer acts and performs like many computers, think of cloning your home computer into multiple computers, but in this case, you can’t see them, they are virtual, cost-effective and provide faster resource control.

In a simple form, virtual machines are an emulation of a physical computer.

Hosting providers uses a big piece of hardware with plenty and plenty of power in processing memory storage when virtualizing.

For example, DigitalOcean uses the KVM hypervisor to allocates physical resources to the virtual servers.

Think of cloning yourself into multiple “You”, what you clone is called virtual machines, you can allocate a little bit of your brainpower to the cloned ones. If you feel like the resources you shared with a virtual machine aren’t enough, you can add more or if you feel it is too much, you can reduce, all done automatically.

Just to be clear, hosting providers have lots of these servers, if one fails, you would be automatically moved to another. In the case of an unmanaged server, you move it yourself.

With that out of the way, let's look at a brief explanation and some uses of digital ocean droplets:

Digital Ocean droplets is a virtual private server hosted on their cloud. When I say "cloud", it doesn't necessarily mean the real cloud, it is a jargon coined for a network of servers. They are virtual machines that run on top of virtualized hardware, and each droplet you deploy is a new server you can use.

Uses/What You Can Do With Digital Ocean's Droplets

  • A droplet can be used to deploy a barebone Operating system (OS): Currently available are Ubuntu, Centos, Debian, Fedora, CoreOS, and FreeBSD. You don't have to use all of them, just pick one & master, I am on Ubuntu, so you can join me ;)
  • Ability to deploy a 1-Click App without the need of OS configuration, for example, Wordpress/Classicpress, Django, Ghost, MySQL and more
  • You can automatically scale Ram, CPU or disk space if you are getting higher traffic, you can downscale at the same time.
  • If you are skilled enough, you can also scale your server itself on-demand with DigitalOcean's API access, e.g say your server reaches 90% CPU usage, you can program a script to save you time, this is for skilled developers, so you can always resize your droplet through the interface (via the Control Panel) if you aren't skilled enough.
  • Ability to rebuild a droplet, rebuilding a drop droplet wipes the droplet's and replaces it with another OS/Image of your choice. Rebuilding helps in cases where your droplet has been compromised or you feel like switching to another operating system, say, you want to switch from FreeBSD to Ubuntu image.
  • A droplet can be destroyed, which means it irreversibly destroys the Droplets, its content and any backup associated with the droplets.

Bottom line: This should give you some basic information about Digital ocean, and the uses of droplets, I'll cover more related topic about DigitalOcean, and its components, so stay tuned for more.

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