If you ever search for managed cloud hosting provider for your website, you probably stumbled upon Cloudways.
Cloud hosting is in trend. However, managing cloud server without technical expertise is a tough task. A small mistake can cost you thousands when the website is your prime source of income.
What if there was a middleman who would manage the cloud hosting for you? An excellent hosting platform provides users the opportunity to scale and monitor server size observing network traffic on their website.
Nothing more soothes you and put your mind at ease then realizing the fact that you can sit back and relax while your website related pesters is managed through a web hosting platform.
Cloud hosting is like a virtual server located in massive servers with very powerful resources. The main advantage of cloud servers is high availability through redundancy.
This means that cloud servers will rarely go down. Even if they do, they are restored very quickly. In matter of seconds. You don’t even notice it, nor is there any data loss.
The data that you have in your server is replicated onto other servers in the datacenter. In case one server goes down, the data is served from the next available server.
Cloudways is a PaaS. PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) is a classification of cloud computing service that offers a platform to customers.
Not just any platform, a platform through which a user can develop, run and manage web applications omitting out the complications related to building and maintaining the infrastructure of the website.
It is a web hosting platform that lets a user create a particular server, in our case, a WordPress server through which you can host different applications on your server.
They are a platform-as-a-service solution ideal for bloggers, designers, and developers that want to host their own websites.
In essence, Cloudways help you deploy, configure and manage multiple apps on multiple cloud servers, from a central dashboard.
It secures your cloud server preventing it from malicious attempts. It takes regular backups of your cloud server and configures it with advanced caching tools to boost your website’s speed.
Basically, a huge number of real-world servers work together as one system to provide a stable and secure hosting for virtual servers. This means higher performance at a lower cost with even greater web hosting flexibility.
Managed Cloud Hosting Features
Cloudways offers customers a large number of features compared to other WordPress hosting platforms.
With an interactive and user-friendly interface for server and application management, it provides individuals single click solution to all hosting problems.
There are many other renowned names in the cloud hosting market, but Cloudways features are indeed one of a kind. They actually in-tune their services to what they charge users for.
Through a simple Pay-as-you-Go model, you can scale your server size and monitor traffic on your WordPress website following your budget.
Features are divided into two tabs: server management features and application management.
In server management, Cloudways offers the ability to control your server (start it, stop it or restart it). You can also use monitoring items, interact with services, configure settings, backup the server, etc.
With the application management option, you can choose from apps and add-ons to make your site more functional, check URLs and credentials, manage domains, install an SSL certificate (not included for the price), restore backups, etc.
What About Performance?
Cloudways provides customers exceptional server and application performance. The ThunderStack formula is not the only thing that adds to its performance.
The Platform further offers revolutionary SSD storage that supports blazing fast read-write requests which cuts your website load-time in half and helps you get high SERP results.
Security plays a vital role while hosting WordPress websites through a good Cloud Hosting Platform. Cloudways offer customers platform level firewalls for their WordPress sites to keep your data secure and safe.
The technical support team at Cloudways is focused on applying innovative security hardening techniques to create a more robust platform.
Cloudways offers you a unique feature of adding a list of whitelist IP Addresses applying limitations to allowing entry to the server.
Their dedicated cloud servers and one-click SSL management as well as automatic patching will ensure your site remains secure while on the Cloudways servers.
All cloud servers on Cloudways PaaS get automatic firmware and OS patches so you don’t have to worry about the security of your server.
Servers and applications are protected behind secure firewalls to prevent unauthorized access or hacking attempts.
To summarize, you don’t have to worry about your cloud server at all. Cloudways has everything covered.
Setting WordPress With Cloudways Managed Cloud Hosting
When setting up your account all you have to do is select WordPress as your application of choice, and it will be automatically installed when you launch your server.
This means you will not have to do steps for manual WordPress installation.
To launch your WordPress website through a Cloudways web hosting platform, you need to select an application of your preference. In our case it will be WordPress.
There are basically three different types of WordPress applications. They are namely:
- WordPress (Optimized WordPress)
- WordPress Multisite (Optimized specially for Multisite)
- WordPress with WooCommerce (Optimized specially for WooCommerce)
Once you have selected the desired application, choose the cloud provider of your liking.
You can choose your own provider from an array of options like Amazon, Google, DigitalOcean, and Vultr.
If you’re new to the cloud hosting scenario, I would suggest you choose a DigitalOcean since it is easier for beginners.
The available provider options currently include:
- DigitalOcean: SSD based storage with 8 datacenters plus a 14 day free trial
- VULTR: SSD based storage with 12 datacenters worldwide and a 3 day free trial
- Amazon EC2: configurable disk size, 10 datacenters and a 3 day free trial
- Google Cloud: 4 datacenters in 3 continents, designed specifically for large businesses or resource intensive websites with a 3 day free trial
All four providers offer similar services with the biggest difference being price and reliability. DigitalOcean and VULTR both offer nearly unlimited bandwidth for your sites at a lower cost, making them great options for developers on a budget.
Amazon and Google provide bandwidth on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning your monthly charges will likely be higher, but you get the piece of mind that your site will never be throttled since you’re paying for every resource you use.
When it comes to choosing a server size, pick the plan you estimate will meet your needs. You can choose the smallest option if you’re not sure with to choose and add more resources to your server at a later time as needed.
Cloudways makes it easy to upgrade your server at any point from your server console.
Once you’ve set your provider and server size the last step is to select a server location. I recommend choosing a server close to your primary audience. So if most of your traffic comes from the USA then select a server location in that country.
#1. Server Management Settings
As I already mentioned, features are divided into two tabs. Server management features and application management.
Once the server is launched, you will have Server Tab. By clicking it, it will lead you to the “Server Management Interface”.
Every cloud uses dedicated cloud servers. This way you can have full control of your server and can make tweaks to your server settings whenever you’d like.
There are lots of useful options in the “Server Manager” tab within your account that you can use to optimize your server. But I strongly recommend you only mess with settings if you know what you’re doing.
By default, your console will be open to your Master Credentials. From here you can edit your username and password, manage SSH keys, and view your IP address.
Server Monitoring – This feature allows the user to consistently monitor the load on their WordPress cloud server based on the specification of free or unoccupied percentage.
It’s a demographic chart based feature that helps the users to monitor network traffic on their WordPress website.
If the percentage is lower than 15 percent for a long time, it means that you need to upgrade your server.
Manage Services – After Monitoring you’ll see a Manage Services tab where you can see the various core Cloudways services that keep your server running.
This includes Apache, Memcached, MySQL, NGINX, PHP-FPM, Varnish and optional application monitoring (via New Relic) services. From here you can restart your various services as well as purge your cache.
Setting & Packages – Since you’re using WordPress you may need to adjust some of your server settings to be able to upload a specific file or install a large plugin or theme.
All of these server settings and more can be found in the console Setting and Packages tab. Just be sure to save your changes.
Security – Security is critical for any website. Cloudways maintains firewalls and implements server patches regularly to help keep your installations safe.
They also monitor suspicious activity on your server. Be noted that if you have multiple failed login attempts because you forgot your password, you could get locked out of your account.
One way to prevent this is to edit the Security settings within your server manager to whitelist your own IP address.
Vertical Scaling – This feature helps you set server size depending on network traffic on your website. Amplifying resources for your WordPress website becomes considerably easier and efficient.
Different Cloud providers offer different packages to scale server size. Depending on your Cloud provider you can also set your database and application disk size in accordance to your need for your WordPress website.
Servers can be scaled up or down based on storage, bandwidth, processor and RAM. If you need less, you can scale down. If you need more, scale back up. They are extremely flexible.
NOTE: DigitalOcean and Vultr do not provide down scale. They both allow only upscale.
Auto Managed Backups – The Backup feature in Cloudways server management is one of a kind. Cloudways have their data centers located in different regions nearest to your instances.
Data created and stored on your WordPress based website is successfully stored in their respective databases.
At Cloudways, you can set the backup frequency for all your WordPress server. Additionally, Auto Managed Backups gives you a “Server Backup Now” option for backing up data instantly.
Application & Server Add-ons – Instead of offering large packages full of features, you can select add-ons to compliment your existing package.
Cloudways comes with multiple Premium Add-ons depending on the selected Cloud service provider for hosting your WordPress website.
Application Migration, Application Upgrade, and SMTP Mailing are some of the Add-ons that are interrelated to WordPress and can come in handy for your WordPress website. Some with a fee, others for free.
DNS Made Easy: Cloudways does not offer domain name system (DNS) to manage your domain names by default.
Instead, they allow you to use your own third party DNS, or you can subscribe to their DNS Made Easy service. This addon starts at $2.5/month for up to 5 domains.
This addon does require manual activation by Cloudways, so once enabled the addon will be set to pending until a support member can approve your change.
However, you can also manually point your domain.
Rackspace Email: To add an email service to your website you have the option of enabling the Cloudways Rackspace addon.
This service is $1/month per email. This addon also requires manual activation by the Cloudways tech support team, so when you activate the addon, it will be pending until a support member contacts you to complete your mailbox setup.
SMTP: This free Cloudways addon makes possible for you to use a third party email service as a gateway to deliver emails from your server.
Just enable the addon, then navigate to your Server Management Add-Ons section to add and configure your email provider.
Elastic Email: To send a high volume of monthly emails you might want to consider the Elastic Email addon. It provides a fast and easy way to contact your mailing list.
Plans start at $0.10/month for 1000 emails (with discounts applied for higher volumes). You need to activate the addon and wait for the Cloudways support team to confirm that your subscription has been enabled.
#2. Application Management Settings
From the top left go to “Applications”. Choose application. You will see many options for your WordPress website such as Access details, Domain Management, Cron Job Management, SSL certificate, Restore, Git Deployment, Application Settings, Add-ons and Migrator Tool.
Access Details – To launch your WordPress based website, visit the Access Details drop down menu. It contains information related to your username and password.
Copy URL and paste it in the address bar of your web browser. It will lead you to the WordPress login page where you can put your username and password and login to your WordPress dashboard.
This provides all of the necessary information about your install like your temp URL, Admin login credentials for your site and MySQL information.
Domain Management – When you first get started with your Cloudways server, your installations will be setup as staging sites on the main cloudwaysapps site.
When you’re ready to move to a live site, you’ll need to go to the Domain Management tab to add your URL.
SSL Management – To add this security to your Cloudways hosted website simply go to the SSL Certificate section of your Application Manager and use the built-in tool to create a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt.
Alternatively, you can toggle the SSL option to upload your own custom certificate. For this option, you’ll need to create and download a Certificate Signing Request, create and purchase an SSL
certificate via a third party service, then install it on your server.
Migrator Tools – This tool will help you to move your application’s data and database from your old hosting to your new cloud server at Cloudways.
The WordPress Migrator plugin helps you migrate the setting from your previous WordPress site to the freshly installed WordPress site on your cloud server.
Other Settings – If something ever happens to your website and you want to restore it to the way it was, just go to the Restore tab. From here you can select a backup from the drop down and then click the button to upload.
If you’re a developer, you might also be interested in a few more of the built-in tools. The Cron Job Manager makes it easy to add scheduled tasks to your installation.
There’s also a tab for Deployment via Git that makes it easy to generate your SSH key needed to connect to your repository and an Application Settings tab with options for switching off Varnish caching during testing/staging.
Plus for a fee they also offer a load test Application Add-On to see how your site performs with traffic.
Cloudways + WordPress
Cloudways doesn’t have hosting packages specific to WordPress. Instead, you need to load the WordPress to your dedicated cloud server.
Cloudways claim to have the fastest WordPress hosting guaranteed based on industry averages. They use VMAN technology (Varnish, Memcached, Apache, Nginx combination) for 50 percent faster loading times.
They also offer firewall protection and dedicated servers, and you can have as many WordPress sites and domains on your server as you like. As long you don’t surpass the limitations of your server and package.
With their WordPress managed hosting, you get user-friendly consoles, server managing, staging areas, managed backups, application freedom, server cloning to replicate a WordPress site, restore and rollback options and 24/7 support from WordPress experts.
Cloudways + WordPress + WooCommerce Hosting
It is worthwhile to note that Cloudways is the first ever hosting provider of Varnish powered WooCommerce hosting as a standalone app. This gives a major advantage concerning speed.
Easy To Use?
While they have their own dashboard and user panel, Cloudways is still mostly meant for advanced users.
Those new to creating websites would find themselves quickly overwhelmed and I don’t recommend Cloudways for the average blogger despite what Cloudways marketing team claims.
Cloudways Managed Cloud Hosting Support
There are a few options for support with Cloudways. You can start a conversation online with Cloudways technical team as they are online 24/7.
You can also submit a ticket or request more information online. There are answers to some questions in their knowledge base as well as FAQs and tutorials.
Cloudways offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee. These reliabilities are based on the cloud provider you choose from Cloudways.
Server locations also depend on the cloud provider. Some have as many as 12 locations, while others are limited to just three locations. Servers can be found across the world.
They do offer a service level agreement at Cloudways, which is always a good sign. When service is not met, Cloudways will issue compensation or credits to customers. They also specify which situations will not warrant credits.
What are the PROS and CONS?
Here are some Cloudways advantages and disadvantages by my opinion:
- Vertical scaling
- Server features
- You can add as many website installations as you like
- One-click deployment
- High-performance servers
- Faster server speeds than competitors
- Free SSL certificate
- Magento, WordPress, WooCommerce, Drupal, Joomla and Prestashop friendly
- Varnish and Memcached pre-installed
- Managed app with database backups and restore function
- Free trial
- Pay As You Go pricing plan
- Not for beginners
- No root access, no server modifications
- Most add-ons are extra paid (including email)
- If you delete your server in a free trial, it will automatically end. Even if you are within the free trial period
- You are basically combining Cloudways service with another cloud provider and relying on two companies to keep your site up
- You cannot use Plesk or cPanel. Cloudways provide their own console to help you manage applications hosted on cloud servers
Cloudways Managed Cloud Hosting Review Verdict
When you launch a website, you have many concerns going through your mind. Safety and security are one of the things. Moreover, you are worried about managing the website and its performance.
One of the best features of Cloudways is that they offer a variety of cloud hosting options to suite any site’s budget or data needs.
You can choose from cloud servers starting as low as $5 per month, contact them for a custom built plan or choose one of the other server plans in the middle. All of their plans allow you to add as many website installations as you like.
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Overall, I think Cloudways is the best choice for managed cloud hosting. It is ideal for those creating or designing customized websites and need to be more in control of the server.
Cloud based hosting is not for everyone because it requires some level of expertise. If you want to avoid technical details, you would probably be better off with a traditional managed WordPress hosting service from SiteGround, WPEngine or InMotion.
Now over to you my dear reader. Share your experience if you have used Cloudways or have better cloud hosting provider to recommend.
4.5 out of 5
Overall, Cloudways is ideal for those creating or designing customized websites and need to be more in control of the server.
It is perfect for web designers and more advanced users, but I wouldn’t recommend it for those just starting out or the average blogger.