Server Pilot on top of Digital Ocean

This afternoon, I spent a few minutes playing with Server Pilot, after seeing is mentioned in Slack for at least the fifth time. Server Pilot offers a control panel and an API for managing WordPress installs on top of Digital Ocean. It’s pretty dang slick.

There are a few UX kinks, but that’s me being picky. Overall, I was quite impressed with the package you get from Server Pilot, where Server Pilot is the operating arm on top of a bare Digital Ocean Droplet. Given that the base level of Server Pilot is fairly rich yet free, it means you can host a simple website (or group os small sites) for $5 using this and the smallest DO plan.

Enabling helpful tools like auto-SSL via Lets Encrypt, unlimited SSH users, and basic server stats. For $10 per month it’s pretty compelling for developers that mostly know their way around a hosting account.

I wouldn’t recommend it, based on the current user experience and general presentation, to an end user, but this is a pretty awesome setup overall. I’m not a hosting expert at all and I got setup with a Digital Ocean account, got Server Pilot connected to it, redirected my nameservers for an unused domain, and had a fully functioning and blazing fast WordPress site up in less than half an hour.

The end result of a WordPress site is less cringy than what I’ve seen from Bitnami powered sites or what comes out of the box with one-click installs on Digital Ocean and similar hosts. Server Pilot enables features so you can use PHP 7, HTTP/2, Nginx (in front of Apache so you also get .htaccess), and other features that are compelling.

I have obviously not spent enough time with Server Pilot to vouch for it over a long term, but I know some Post Status members have and I haven’t yet seen anyone with bad things to say. The Server Pilot team page only lists two people: Justin Samuel and Ivan Vazquez. Ivan, the CIO, boasts having been, “Amazon’s first sysadmin,” and his LinkedIn profile puts him there from 1996-2000, which is quite impressive.

CrunchBase lists that Server Pilot had a seed round in 2012 and also lists an additional co-founder, whom now works at Apple according to Twitter.

Anyway, I thought you folks might be interested in Server Pilot. I’m not sure where I’ve been, since it’s apparently been around for years.

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