If you’ve outgrown shared hosting or just want a more flexible and expandable hosting platform the next logical step up is a virtual private server. With a virtual private server you have full root access to your own server usually with a specific amount of memory, processors and storage. As your website grows you can increase the resources your server has (at a price) and grow your server to meet the demands of your website.

There are now a whole range of cloud hosting providers that let you set up servers on the fly and use them as little or as much as you like. If you’re expecting a huge amount of traffic to your website one week due to a product launch or press release then you can scale up the number of servers to meet that demand. Cloud hosting basically lets you create adaptable and scalable infrastructure for your websites – whether that’s one server or a whole network of them.

The big names in cloud hosting are the likes of Amazon Web services and Rackspace but there’s also now a great lower cost provider in Digital Ocean. I’ve played around with quite a few cloud hosting providers and I have to say Digital Ocean impressed me for the moment I signed up. Often with low cost hosting companies you very much get what you pay for and can be left disappointed but Digital Ocean offer great value hosting plans along with great support. Their help and community pages alone are worth visiting as they’re full of great tutorials and guides.

At the time of writing (May 2013) Digital Ocean’s $5 per month plan offers 512MB memory, 1 CPU core, 1TB data transfer and most impressively 20GB SSD disk storage. Servers can be deployed within minutes, have features such as automated backups and you also have a choice of US and European locations.

It’s early days for me with Digital Ocean but so far I’ve found the experience excellent.