All successful WordPress blogs rely on great web hosting. A simple Google search reveals hundreds of hosting services, eager to offer services that might seem tempting for the price. However, be warned that most of them are shared hosting services.
“Great hosting boils down to the 3 S's: speed, support, and security,” claims Adam Berry, the digital director at Wingard Creative.
Obviously, the man knows what he's talking about. Being well acquainted with WordPress blogging, I decided to try one of the most prominent managed hosting services out there, Cloudways. I put it through the paces to see if it fulfills the 3 S's that make a good hosting provider a great one.
Let's get started.
Table of Contents
- About Cloudways
- Cloudways Review
- Migrating Your Website to Cloudways
- Site Speed
- Team Management
- Customer Support
- Final Words
Cloudways is a managed hosting platform where you can choose from five different cloud infrastructure providers: DigitalOcean, AWS EC2, Linode, VULTR and Google Cloud Platform. In addition, you can launch any PHP application on the platform. For instance, there are three flavors of WordPress (vanilla, WooCommerce, WordPress with Breeze) to cater to the varied requirements of the community.
Now that we know what Cloudways is, let's get into the features that make it the hosting provider of choice for your WordPress blog.
To get started and test out Cloudways, I followed the steps below:
Server - Launch - Select Your Application - WordPress:
Name your Managed App - Select your desired Infrastructure:
Select your desired Server Size and Location (Nearest to your Target Audience):
Migrating Your Website to Cloudways
Already have a WordPress blog? If so, getting your blog to the Cloudways platform is pretty easy. Just install the Cloudways Migrator Plugin and activate it.
Once you click on Migrate, it should take a few hours (depending on the size of files and database) to migrate your website without problems.
Free WordPress Cache Plugin - Breeze
Breeze is an in-house developed cache plugin specifically designed to help speed up and optimize your WordPress websites while saving you from the hassle of trying out multiple cache plugins.
Breeze automatically enables Varnish cache to be used on your WordPress site, In addition, it also combines File Exclusion, Minification (to help minify your HTML and CSS files) and gzip Compression to help speed up page loads.
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a set of servers that are strategically placed globally to help reduce latency when delivering content.
You can deploy CDN on your WordPress site(s) with a single click. A CDN will help improve the load time of your website and also makes it more durable at handling traffic spikes by reducing server loads.
This overall experience for you and your audience can play a vital role in the success of your blog.
Global Data Centers
The first thing to consider before taking your blog online is to identify your target audience.
Cloudways provides more than 50 server locations around the globe, giving you superior flexibility to reach your target audience.
The closest data center to the audience assures low latency and a great UX for all the visitors, thus improving the conversion rate of your website.
The benefit is that you experience lower latency and higher speeds when connecting to your audience.
Built-in Caching Technology
For any website, speed is critical. To ensure your WordPress blog does not slow down, cache technologies like Memcached, Varnish, NGINX, and Redis are available with every Cloudways server. You can enable/disable these caches in a single click from the platfrom.
Testing plugin and theme compatibility can prove to be a challenge as many users try to do it at the live site. This is one of the reasons why websites crash and become unavailable. To avoid this, Cloudways offers Staging URLS where you can safely test new plugins and themes without anything happening to your live site.
Once you're satisfied that everything is working as it should and there are no plugin conflicts, you can “Push” the staging version to live without breaking anything.
To ensure better security for all its customers, Two-Factor Authentication is included for every account on Cloudways.
Two-Factor Authentication adds an extra layer of security for your accounts and data. It is one of the most powerful ways of going about protecting your account.
It works by adding an additional barrier to logging into your account with credentials only you know about in the form of either a password, a PIN or an answer to a question of your choice.
So even if hackers know one of your credentials, they would not be able to log into your account easily. Two-Factor Authentication also provides improved accessibility and prevents ID theft. Cloudways incorporates this feature with no additional cost.
Dedicated Firewalls (Server Security)
Since WordPress is prone to online attacks, security is an important matter of concern for hosting providers. Cloudways deploy platform level firewalls that continuously scan all traffic coming to your websites. In case there is anything amiss, the firewalls filter out the malicious packets and raise an alarm.
Free SSL Certificate by Let's Encrypt
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypts the connection between web servers and your visitors. So, if you don't have an SSL certificate installed on your blog, chances of unwanted intrusions increase dramatically.
Cloudways provides SSL certificate from Let's Encrypt as a free add-on to help make your WordPress website more secure by adding another layer of security. You can deploy SSL with a single click.
Working in tandem within a team produces better results by workload distribution and getting work done quicker. You can add team members and distribute your workload in a more effective way right from within the Cloudways account panel.
From the Team option, you can add, remove and even assign roles to team members. Each role provides specific options of your choosing to be available to team members.
Cloudways gives all its customers the ability to make complete backups of your server, right from within the Cloudways account.
You have options to have the system create backups automatically every 1 - 7 hours, or at a time designated by you.
You can take an on-demand backup before any application update with ON-DEMAND backup option to restore to a previous version if you want.
Taking backups is very easy. To get to Backups, Click on your server - Server Management - Backups tab.
All the backups are stored securely on Amazon S3 servers and are separate from your live site servers. There is also the possibility to take backups locally if you want.
24/7 Customer Service
Fulfilling the 3S's of a great hosting service, Cloudways provides unrivaled support round the clock. The support system itself is classified into sections that combine an extensive knowledge base, the CloudwaysBot, Live Chat, Tickets, Emails, Phone Support and more.
Search & Find Solutions
It is very easy to find quick solutions to common issues faced by Cloudways customers. Just type your problem and the search feature automatically loads answered queries in an easy to understand, systematic way.
Your very own virtual assistant that suggests improvements related to your server and notifies you of important updates and stats.
Tickets and Emails
You can create tickets against queries you face for prompt solutions. In my experience, I never had to wait long enough for a solution to anything which was praiseworthy for the support team.
If you don't understand a feature or need suggestions, you can enquire about them through emails as well.
Cloudways Support is always there to help you navigate tricky situations and ensure that you have a problem-free experience on the Cloudways platform.
Though some of the features are too detailed and not needed for a blogger, help from their support staff and knowledgebase really helped me get the best out of testing their features.
This means that Cloudways is not only useful for bloggers, but for all types of WordPress websites. Performance and security were up to the mark and in some cases, exceeded my expectations.
Do the features provided by Cloudways act as a catalyst for your blog's success? My answer is yes.
Get started with Cloudways today.