How to Create a Droplet from the DigitalOcean Control Panel

DigitalOcean Droplets are Linux-based virtual machines (VMs) that run on top of virtualized hardware. Each Droplet you create is a new server you can use, either standalone or as part of a larger, cloud-based infrastructure.

The Droplet create page is where you choose your Droplet’s configuration, like its operating system, how much memory it has, and which features (like backups or monitoring) to enable. The most popular defaults are pre-selected, so you can scroll to the bottom of the page and create a Droplet immediately, or you can customize any of the options in each section.

To access the DigitalOcean Control Panel and create a Droplet, you need a DigitalOcean account. You can create one from the DigitalOcean new account registration page if you don’t already have one.

After you log in to the control panel, click the green Create button in the top right to open the create menu.

Create menu

In the create menu, click Droplets to open the Droplet create page. If you don’t have any Droplets, the Resources tab displays a large, blue Get Started with a Droplet button, which takes you to the same Droplet create page.

Choose an image

In the Choose an image section, you choose the image your Droplet will be created from. Initially, you can choose from four categories of images:

  • Distributions are basic Unix-like images with no additional software, including Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, CentOS, and FreeBSD.

  • Container distributions include RancherOS.

  • Marketplace images include pre-configured applications, like Docker, WordPress, or LAMP, to help simplify getting started.

    Some Marketplace images, like WordPress, let you add a managed database cluster during creation. Connection credentials for the database cluster are available in the control panel, in a file on the Droplet (/root/.digitalocean_dbaas_credentials, and MongoDB certificates at /root/dbaas_ca_cert.crt), and are exported as environment variables on the Droplet from /etc/environment.

  • Custom images are Unix-like images that you create and upload to your DigitalOcean account.

Droplet image selection

Once you start using Droplets, you can make backups and take snapshots of them. You’ll see tabs for Backups and Snapshots on the Droplet creation page when you start using those features, and you can choose those images as the foundation to create new Droplets.

  • Snapshots are images taken on demand and are useful to manually back up or reproducibly create Droplets.

  • Backups are system-level backups automatically taken once a week. The last 4 weeks of backup images are retained, and you can use them as a basis to rebuild an existing Droplet.

Droplet image selection

Choose a plan

In the Choose a plan section, you choose the amount of RAM, storage space, and CPU cores your Droplet will have.

Choose a Droplet plan options

There are four types of plans:

  • Basic Droplets, a flexible option best for most use cases, like website hosting, staging environments and low intensity compute needs. For Basic Droplets, you can also choose Regular and Premium CPUs. Premium CPU plans come with some of our most modern Intel or AMD CPUs and NVMe SSDs.

  • General Purpose Performance Droplets, a robust option suitable for a wide variety of mainstream, production applications that require a higher ratio of memory to CPU.

  • CPU-Optimized Performance 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.

  • Memory-Optimized Performance Droplets, best for resource-intensive business applications, like high-performance SQL or NoSQL databases, large in-memory caches and indexes, real-time big data processing, and applications with large JVM requirements.

  • Storage-Optimized, best for large NoSQL databases (like MongoDB and Elasticsearch), time series databases, and other data warehouses.

See How To Choose a Droplet Plan for an in-depth guide to choosing a Droplet plan.

For Droplets with less than 3 GB of RAM, we recommend using a 32-bit operating system. Processes require more memory on 64-bit architectures, and on servers with a limited quantity of RAM, any performance benefits from a 64-bit OS are offset by having less memory available for buffers and caching.

Add block storage

In the Add block storage section, you can create and attach additional DigitalOcean Block Storage volumes to your Droplet.

Screenshot of the Add block storage section

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, meaning you can manage your storage with familiar tools and techniques.

Choose a datacenter region

In the Choose a datacenter region section, select the region where you want to create your Droplet.

A good default is selected for you, but for the best performance and minimal latency, choose the datacenter nearest to you and your users. You can also make a decision based on which products and features are available in which regions.

Droplet Region

The create page greys out datacenters that are incompatible with your selected configuration and add a tooltip with an explanation. For example, if you add a block storage volume to your configuration, you won’t be able to create your Droplet in a datacenter that doesn’t support volumes.

This section also lists the default VPC network for the Droplet. The VPC network enables an additional networking interface that can only be accessed by other Droplets within the same datacenter. This keeps traffic between Droplets and other applicable resources from being routed outside the datacenter over the public internet.

Screenshot of limited region selection


In the Authentication section, you choose the method you want to use to log in to your Droplet. There are two options:

  • SSH keys, which provide more security than a password.

Password, which allows you to create your own password for the new Droplet.

Screenshot of the Authentication section of the Droplet create page

If you choose to use SSH keys, you need to select at least one key to add to the Droplet. Any keys you’ve already uploaded to your DigitalOcean account are listed.

Check the boxes next to the existing keys you want to add to the Droplet, or check Select all to add every key on your account. You can also click New SSH Key to upload a new key to your account from the create page.

Once you create and upload an SSH key to your DigitalOcean account, it remains available for you to add to any new Droplets you provision in the future.

Marketplace Add-Ons

In the Marketplace Add-Ons section, you can optionally add Add-Ons, which are software as a service (SaaS) offerings from third-party vendors.

Add-Ons let you use third-party SaaS solutions without handling infrastructure, software, or manual maintenance. Add-Ons have initial free plans with pricing for heavier usage.

If the Add-On you choose contains secrets, like credentials, they are stored on the Droplet in /root/.digitalocean_addon_credentials.

Select additional options

In the Select additional options section, you can enable several optional services that add functionality to your Droplet.

Droplet Settings

Most features available in this section are free, meaning that enabling them does not increase the Droplet’s monthly cost:

Finalize and create

In the Finalize and create section, you specify the quantity, name, tags, and project for the Droplet you’re creating.

Screenshot of the Finalize and create section

There are four subsections for these options:

  • How many Droplets?, where you choose the quantity of Droplets you’re creating with the specified configuration. Adjust the number by clicking the plus, +, or minus, -, buttons.

  • Choose a hostname, where you give each Droplet a name which is used in the control panel and as the server’s hostname. Default names are provided based on the options you selected, but you can modify them to suit your needs.

    Using an FQDN (fully qualified domain name) (e.g. as the Droplet’s name automatically generates PTR records for your Droplet based on that name. This also applies if you rename a Droplet after creation.
  • Add tags, where you can add tags to organize and relate Droplets.

  • Select Project, where you can assign the Droplet to a project.

Once you have selected your options, click Create. A progress bar displays how close your Droplet is to being ready.

Screenshot of progress bar

Once the Droplet is fully set up, the control panel displays its IP address.

Screenshot of installed Droplet

Once you see the IP address, you can 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.

Screenshot of Droplet with expanded information