Reduce Costs on your DigitalOcean Bill

DigitalOcean offers a competitive pricing model for its services that allow you to save costs compared to other cloud providers such as AWS, GCP, and Azure. Even with their great pricing, there are still ways to reduce costs. Today, we’ll be going over various ways in which you can save on your DigitalOcean bill today.

Before we jump in, it is worth mentioning that our suite of tools will automatically check your DigitalOcean environment for cost optimizations. Of course, you can do this manually but the easiest way would be to give our tool a try, it’s free! Find out more here.

1. Check for Stale Resources

A good way to reduce costs on your DigitalOcean bill is to check for resources in your account that are not being used. As you are growing your company or building out a new idea, a lot of testing goes on and it can be quite easy to forget to tear down all the resources you spun up during that time. Aside from testing, just the nature of resources in cloud environments can create a lot of changes with new resources being spun up and spun down. This makes it hard to keep track of everything at all times.

Here is a list of potential DigitalOcean resources that can be in a state of no use.

  • Detached Volumes – Block storage in DigitalOcean can become detached, meaning that there are no resources in the account making use of that volume. In this state, it will still be accruing charges on your invoice. First, verify that the volume is indeed unneeded, then you can safely delete it and immediately start saving on your bill.
Detached volume example screenshot
  • Empty Spaces – Another resource that can become unused, is the Spaces product which allows you to store files to be served. Double-check that you do not have any empty spaces, old spaces not being used, and/or look for opportunities to combine spaces to save costs.
  • Database Clusters – Check to see if you have any database clusters that have no databases in them. Also, verify that the database clusters, that do have databases, are actually needed and are not any sort of leftover resources from testing. Managed databases can be expensive so it is best to verify them in your account.
  • Turned off Droplets – Verify that you do not have any droplets powered off as these will still accrue charges for billing. If you find any powered off, verify if they are still needed, if not, make sure you have all the data you want off of them, and then go ahead and destroy them.
  • Unused Load Balancers – If you have any load balancers, check to see that they are actually routing traffic to droplets. If no droplets are configured on your load balancer, delete the load balancer(s) for immediate savings.

2. Resize Existing Resources

Resizing can be a good way to reduce costs by finding resources that are too large for the workload that is actually being performed. One of the DigitalOcean resources that are easiest to review is Droplets. DigitalOcean provides simple graphs that allow you to view metrics such as CPU, Memory, Load, and Disk I/O over a given timeframe. Currently, you can view these metrics up to the last 14 days but I’d recommend keeping an eye on the metrics over a longer time period before deciding to resize. You can regularly check in on the metrics or use our tool to track these over a longer time period automatically.

Droplet metrics screenshot

Some other DigitalOcean resources that can be resized are Managed Databases, Load Balancers, and Kubernetes. Resources like load balancers may require a deeper look before resizing. At the time of this writing, DigitalOcean does not make traffic metrics available for load balancers so you would need to analyze backend systems to decide if you can reduce the size of a load balancer.

3. Leverage Functions

A DigitalOcean service that can help save costs are Functions. This is a product that allows you to run code on demand, meaning you do not need to have a resource, such as a Droplet, running 24/7. You can simply invoke a Function to run a task as needed which can greatly reduce costs.

Review all of your workloads running across your droplets to see if there is any opportunity to move some of those over to Functions. This may allow you to eliminate some droplets completely or reduce the load on a droplet so it can be reduced to a smaller size.

4. Use Block Storage

When you need more disk space on your droplet(s), consider using block storage instead of increasing your droplet size. Unless you need extra memory or CPUs, then increasing droplet size just for disk space will cost you a lot more money. This is why DigitalOcean has provided block storage options. This not only will give you a better value for disk space, but provides additional features such as the ability to snapshot the volume and attach/detach it from various resources.

To give you an idea, a regular droplet with 320GB of disk space will cost you $96/month. A block storage volume with 1000GB, will cost you $100/month. Of course, there are cheaper and smaller block storage options but this gives an example of the greater value you get out of block storage when you only need to increase disk space.

5. Delete Old Snapshots

While snapshots are not too expensive themselves, they can definitely add up over time and in larger environments. Chances are, if you have one snapshot, you have multiple and there may be an opportunity to remove some of the older dated ones.

Snapshots are currently charged at $0.06 GB per month for both Droplets and Volumes. If you have a 250GB droplet or volume, that would come out to $15/month for a single snapshot. You may have multiple snapshots of the same droplet/volume, if so, try and verify if the older one(s) are still needed. Deleting these can help reduce your overall monthly DigitalOcean bill.

After we built our DigitalOcean environment scanner to check for these sorts of cost savings automatically, we ran it against our own account. Take a look below at an old snapshot we found of a droplet that did not even exist anymore!

Old snapshot example

With how busy our small team is, this old snapshot slipped past us for many months before going noticed. We failed to really dig into our invoices and it is hard to manually go through every part of our account on a regular basis which was one of the initial motivations for our tool.

Wrap Up

I hope these cost savings ideas will get you thinking and help you to find opportunities to shave some money off from your DigitalOcean invoices. Every penny counts when you are an SMB or fast-growing company. I would love to hear in the comments if you were able to save any money on your bill or if you found other innovative ways to reduce costs. Be sure to check back on this post as we will be sure to update it when we have more cost-saving ideas to share.

We know checking all of these things in your environment, especially larger ones, on a manual regular basis can be time-consuming which is what drove us to build our suite of tools. Our free DigitalOcean environment scanner will not only scan your account for cost optimization opportunities but also for security issues as well. If you would like to learn more or try it out yourself, you can visit our main webpage at

As always, thanks for stopping by, and happy building!

Leave a Comment