To follow this tutorial, you will need a DigitalOcean account, which you can create from the DigitalOcean new account registration page if you don’t already have one.
After you log into the DigitalOcean Control Panel with your email address and password for the first time, there are two ways to create a Droplet. You can either:
Click the large, blue Create Droplet button. This button is only visible when you do not have any Droplets.
Click the green Create button in the top right and choose Droplets.
Whichever link you use, you’ll be taken to the Create Droplet page. This page lets you specify configuration options for your Droplet, like how much memory it has and which features (like backups ) are enabled.
The most popular defaults are pre-selected, so you can scroll straight to the end and click Create Droplet without changing a thing. In this case, you can skip to Step 10 of this tutorial to log into your Droplet.
Alternatively, if you want to customize your Droplet or learn more about the options on the Create Droplet page, continue reading with Step 2.
The first configuration section is titled Choose an image. Initially, you can choose from three categories of images:
Distributions are images with no additional software, including Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, CentOS, and FreeBSD.
Container distributions include CoreOS, Fedora Atomic, and RancherOS.
One-click apps are images that include pre-configured applications, like MySQL or LAMP, to help simplify getting started.
Custom images are Unix-like images that you create and upload to your DigitalOcean account.
Once you start using Droplets, you can make backups and take snapshots of them. A tab for each one will be added to the Create Droplet page when you make them. From there, you can choose them as the foundation to create new Droplets.
Snapshots are taken on-demand and can be used to back up a Droplet or as the starting point for creating new Droplets.
Backups can be generated automatically or on a weekly basis. Like snapshots, you can use the backup to rebuild an existing Droplet or to create a new one.
The next configuration section allows you to choose the size of your Droplet, i.e. the amount of RAM and storage space it has.
There are two types of plans:
Standard Droplets, a flexible option best for most use cases, like website hosting, staging environments and low intensity compute needs.
CPU Optimized Droplets, best for CPU intensive tasks and projects that require predictable performance or rely on CPU more than RAM or I/O, like batch processing large data sets, large builds, and video encoding.
If your Droplet will have less than 3 GB of RAM, and especially if it will have less than 1 GB, we recommend using a 32-bit operating system. This is because processes can require significantly more memory on a 64-bit architecture. On servers with a limited amount of RAM, any performance benefits that might be gained from a 64-bit architecture would be offset by having less memory available for buffers and caching.
Backups enable automatic weekly backups of the Droplet and cost about 20% of the monthly price of the Droplet.
DigitalOcean Block Storage allows you to create and attach additional storage volumes to your Droplets.
Volumes are independent resources that can be moved from one Droplet to another within the same datacenter. Attached volumes function like locally connected storage drives, allowing you to manage your storage with familiar tools and techniques.
Next, you’re given a choice of datacenter regions.
For the best performance, choose the datacenter nearest to you and your users. More distant server locations may increase the server’s latency without providing any practical benefits.
Your decision may also be guided by features which are not yet available in all regions when they are first introduced. This Create page will provide guidance when features have limited availability.
For example, if you selected Block Storage during its rollout, certain regions would be grayed out. A message in the Add block storage section and tooltips over the disabled datacenter region would explain:
The Select additional options section allows you to choose from several additional services, most of which add no extra cost.
Private Networking enables an additional networking interface that can only be accessed by other Droplets within the same datacenter. This can be helpful to keep traffic between Droplets from being routed outside the datacenter over the public internet. Private networking is provided at no extra cost.
IPv6 enables IPv6 access for your Droplet and incurs no additional cost.
User data enables you to pass arbitrary data into the user-data key of the DigitalOcean Metadata service. This setting is required for CoreOS Droplets. Using user data adds no extra cost.
SSH keys provide more security than using a password and some users find them more convenient as well. You have the option to use them in the Add your SSH keys section. Once you create and upload a key, it is available in your account. Now and in the future, you can check the box by the key name to add it to Droplets.
By default, a single Droplet will be created. Adjust the number of Droplets by clicking the plus, +, or minus, -, buttons.
Each Droplet must have a name. These names are used in the DigitalOcean Control Panel and as the server’s hostname. A default name is provided based on the options you selected, but you can modify the name(s) to suit your needs.
Using an FQDN (fully qualified domain name) (e.g.
droplet1.example.com) as the Droplet’s name will automatically generate PTR records for your Droplet based on that name. This also applies if you rename a Droplet after creation.
Once you have selected your options, click Create. A progress bar displays how close your Droplet is to being ready.
When the setup is 100% complete, the IP address of your Droplet will be displayed.
When the progress bar reaches 100% and the IP address is displayed, you’re ready to log in to your Droplet.
To go to a Droplet’s detail page where you can make changes, click its name or go straight to the task you want using the More menu. You can also get a quick view of the Droplet’s details by clicking the icon by the Droplet’s name.