What for we use Droplet and how different it is from ubuntu free server? How cloud server works and how it is different from public server?

March 8, 2017 11.9k views
Open Source CMS DigitalOcean FAQ Getting Started Server Optimization Ubuntu 16.04

I am eager to know more about Droplet, how and why actually we use a cloud server? I want to host my own chat/discussion forum and for that, I am using Discourse (the open source one), but to proceed further, it is asking for installing Droplet first and I don't know why to use that, I read from a site that Droplet is a cloud server, then I searched about free cloud server and then I got about ubuntu public server (a bit confused about them).

Thanks for your answer :)

2 Answers


A Droplet is a VPS (Virtual Private Server). The Cloud is essentially a more simple term for a network of servers, each of which may do something different than the next.

When it comes to DigitalOcean and the Cloud, Droplets (i.e. VPS's) are hosted on their Cloud, or their network of servers, which allows you to quickly and easily deploy a barebones OS or one of the one-click images to a location of your choosing (i.e. one of their data centers).

VPS's function much like that of a Dedicated Server in that you're provided with a set amount of CPU, RAM, and SSD (Solid State Disk) Storage. The main difference between the two, other than that fact that VPS's are virtualized using KVM (a type of virtualization technology), are that unlike a Dedicated Server, there are others on the same server you are on.

These clients can't access your data or server, of course, but you're not the sole person as would be the case if you were on a Dedicated Server (which is often more expensive due to that fact).

When you deploy a Droplet (VPS), you get to choose an OS -- Ubuntu is one of them -- though there's also Debian, CentOS, CoreOS and FreeBSD. There's no need to be familiar with all of them, just the one you plan on deploying. In most cases, this will be Ubuntu (with 16.04 and 16.10 being the latest).

Some developers do provide integration with DigitalOcean, thus they offer a one-click button that will allow you to provide authentication details on-site and in turn, it'll deploy a Droplet with said software pre-installed. You also have the option of using the one-click images provided by DigitalOcean to simplify setup and configuration.

So, will I need it while deploying a chat discussion forum using Discourse, or I can just skip this part. I am a student now and could not afford a cost for billings.

  • @akashkrishnan

    To deploy your own installation of Discourse, you'd need some sort of web hosting solution for it, yes. It doesn't have to be DigitalOcean, though they do make the process of setup easier since there's a one-click image for it.

    The software itself is open source, thus free to install, though you need to have a web hosting provider that's capable of supporting Ruby, Rails, PostgreSQL, Redis, and Docker, which pretty much eliminates any free web hosting provider from those that would be capable.

    • Oh, thanks @jtittle, I just have to it try once, how it works. If it is great then I would go for the billing section. So, is there any way to try it for free. Do GitHub pages supports chat forums?

      • @akashkrishnan

        Unfortunately not. When it comes to Ruby, Rails, PostgreSQL, and similar (pretty much anything that's not PHP), you pretty much have to go the paid route.

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