Finding a host that is right for your website is no longer easy. So I’ve started this Hosting Spotlight series to highlight some of the best hosting companies out there.
Q: Please tell me a bit about yourself and your position at Cloudways.
Ahsan: I am currently working with Cloudways as the WordPress Community Manager, my main job responsibility is to engage and help people in forums, communities and groups where experienced and beginner level WordPress users hangout. As I gain trust in groups I introduce myself and Cloudways services when and where required.
Occasionally I write detailed tutorials and blogs over at Cloudways blog about WordPress mostly about theme customization, SEO, web hosting and performance optimization.
In a few sentences, what is Cloudways and what does it offer?
Cloudways specializes in providing optimized cloud hosting for WordPress (learn more) and other popular php based CMS like Magento, Drupal, Joomla and many more.
In February 2014, Cloudways launched an intuitive platform that helps developers, designers, and even bloggers to host their websites on top of the line cloud infrastructure providers such as DigitalOcean, AWS EC2 and Google Compute Engine.
The best thing about Cloudways platform is probably that you don’t need any server level technical knowledge to host your web apps and websites on cloud servers, Cloudways’ dedicated team of sys admins manage all your servers. also you don’t need an account with DO, AWS or GCE and go through their signup process. You just need to signup with Cloudways and launch servers using the easy to use UI.
Through Cloudways platform, you can select the server size, datacenter location, bandwidth, application disk size and also database size. All datacenter locations of three providers are accessible through the platform.
We have even added the ability to change the stack. If you want to work with newer versions of PHP, MySQL or MariaDB, then you can easily switch them too.
If you research about newer php versions or MariaDB you will find many articles explaining the performance benefits. But we ask everyone to make sure their website is compatible with the versions you are using.
What makes Cloudways different from other hosts?
Cloudways has its very own cloud hosting and management platform, that empowers advanced level web developers and even beginners to take advantage of reliability, speed and scalability of the cloud infrastructures.
Our clients need not to worry about the server security, management and its optimization. Cloudways has a team of dedicated system administrators that are available 24×7 monitoring and keeping your servers healthy while our clients focus on building amazing websites.
Cloudways is quite different from other traditional hosts and managed hosts that put a lot of restrictions over others. Through Cloudways platform you can easily control your server, deploy unlimited applications with unlimited staging URLs on a single server, with ability to upscale and downscale the server whenever you wish.
Also one important thing is that we don’t restrict our WordPress users over the usage of custom scripts, themes and plugins. We are providing the ease and freedom to develop your website without worrying about the servers, that are managed by our dedicated team of system administrators.
What does Cloudways offer that makes it great for hosting WordPress sites? Any specific features geared towards WordPress?
At Cloudways we are always looking for better ways to optimize our servers, and specially for WordPress we’ve put in a lot of effort to provide high performing and low cost cloud hosting solutions.
Our stack is fully compatible with any setup of WordPress, this year we made a breakthrough of offering Varnish compatible WooCommerce hosting. configuring Varnish for ecommerce websites is tricky and it took a lot of hard work, patience and tests to make it working.
The stack that we are using is Nginx, Varnish, Apache, Memcache/Redis, MySQL/MariaDB with PHP 5.4/5.5/5.6. This setup has proved very robust, handling 1000s of concurrent visitors without putting much of a load on the servers, thus reducing the server resources and delivering optimum speeds.
We also have addons such as New Relic, Rackspace email, DNS made easy etc. to let you have all controls at one place.
We have also made it easy to control cron jobs, add SSL certificates to your websites and if you are into version controlling through a Git service, then you can easily add them through Cloudways platform too.
What is your entry level pricing and what does it include? What does it not include?
Upon signing up for Cloudways, you’ll get trial period of 14-days on DigitalOcean (1GB) server or 3-days trial on AWS or GCE server. During this trial all the features of the platforms will be open without any restrictions. During the trial a user can get acquainted with the features of Cloudways and if he has questions he can ask our 24/7 tech support.
The entry level pricing is $5/month for a 512mb DigitalOcean server. But we recommend that 512mb server to be used for development and staging purpose or for a low traffic website.
We encourage our users to go with 1GB or above servers as it is more reliable at handling traffic spikes. Recently we have also reduced the pricing on GCE and AWS EC2 servers, making them more cost effective.
Who is Cloudways primarily made for? Advanced users? Can beginners build sites with it?
Cloudways appeals to web developers, designers and bloggers, the UI of our platform is easy to navigate and understand. We have features such as installation of multiple WordPress instances on single server on sub-domains and sub-directories that are useful for bloggers.
And as for advance users we have features such as Git integration, New Relic, WP-CLI, SSH access and no restrictions on website customization.
Is Cloudways better for a solopreneur, or for an agency?
Our platform is better for both, whether you are a solopreneur or a web agency. For a solopreneur the most useful feature is the 24/7 live support, our technical chat agents are available to assist the workaholic solopreneurs.
We have many web agencies as partners and have recently launched our partnership program. There are many advantages for web agencies as they only need to focus on building website and not worry about system administration.
Features that are geared towards web agencies are.
- Unlimited staging URLs.
- Ability to invite team members
- Git integration
- Multi SSL installation on websites on single servers
- Clone servers
- Auto and free scheduled backups.
- 1 click installers of popular CMS like WordPress
- Server scaling.
- Application and server cloning.
- 24×7 Tech support and managed servers.
Do you currently have any special offers that WordPress owners who are on other hosts would be interested in if they were to switch?
We occasionally giveaway discount coupons that are distributed among our network of friends. For your readers we have made a special coupon code “MYWPEXPERT” that can be used to get $15 free hosting credit on Cloudways while signing up.
Do you provide any migration services/support?
We offer one free migration per account, no matter how big the website is, our professional team of system admins migrate your website from any hosting provider over to Cloudways. If you want more sites to be migrated over to Cloudways we charge $25 per WordPress website.
What other points have I not covered here that you would want to tell myWPexpert.com readers about.
We at Cloudways pay special attention to what features our clients want in the Cloudways hosting platform, we run an active feedback forum where our system admins and our CTO Pere Hospital himself answers the queries of our clients. Based on the needs, we work on the features and add them in our platform.