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For the purpose of this Cloudways hosting reviews and tutorial, I decided to run a practical test experience with Cloudways hosting services.
So I take up the 3 days Cloudways free trial period. I used a live WordPress blog I owned for an experimental purpose like this to run the test.
The live WordPress blog has eight (8) published content with at least, one image attached to each post.
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There are a total of 14 WordPress plugins already installed in the live WordPress blog.
The blog is hosted on the NameCheap shared hosting server. So I did a site migration to the Cloudways Digital Ocean cloud server after completing the registration process.
This will allow me to test Cloudways hosting service to some great extent and having a first-hand user experience along the way.
I will be able to get around the user interface, install WordPress, or migrate the existing blog files and content to the Cloudways Digital Ocean server.
In the end, I compare the loading time of the blog on the NameCheap shared hosting server with the blog on the Cloudways Digital Ocean server.
So lets’ begin with the Cloudways reviews…
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What is Cloudways Hosting?
Cloudways hosting is a truly managed cloud-based hosting service that works with five (5) of the top cloud hosting services providers. Namely, Digital Ocean, Google Cloud, Linode, Vultr, and Amazon web services.
Cloudways offers one of the most affordable web hosting services today. You can easily scale your hosting plan as your website grows.
One of the advantages of Cloudways hosting services is that you’re not billed by the number of installed websites, you’re billed by server space.
So you can install unlimited web applications on a single server. Now, let’s start off by going through the registration process.
Cloudways Free Trial Registration Process.
For the 3 days free trial, I look up the Cloudways website and landed on the home page. Then I click on the sign-up link at the top right of the page.
Next, is to fill the sign up form below.
There are two drop-down menus on the signup form which you will need to select the option that’s most relevant to you. Don’t worry, everything is clearly laid out to understand.
Chose the option that best describes you and checks the terms and condition box to agree to the Cloudways policy.
Upon successful sign up, I was redirected to this page.
Next, I sent the email message below to the Cloudways verification team for account approval.
The reply from the verification team is not what I’d expected. Unlike many web hosts, I have used in the past, Cloudways requirement is a bit off-limit.
Here is it…
As you can see, a government-issued ID is required for verification purposes, and at least, two of your social media profile links.
But surprisingly, I haven’t submitted any of these requirements before my account was activated.
Maybe it is because I’d explained in the email that I’m an affiliate to Cloudways. And I clearly state my reason for signing up for the 3-day free trial offer.
Well, that’s a question for another day, let’s proceed with the Cloudways hosting reviews plus tutorials.
Lets keep going…
Setting up Server
The first thing you’d want to do when you log into your Cloudways hosting account is to set up your server.
There are five (5) cloud hosting server within your Cloudways hosting account:
For the 3 days Cloudways trial period, you only have access to launch just one server. Digital Ocean is the default selection for the free trial period.
And it is the most affordable and entry-level cloud-based server on the Cloudways hosting plans. It offers high-performance SSD based storage in 7 datacenters in 3 different countries.
Digital Ocean offers unlimited bandwidth but smaller server space and starts at $10/month.
This is perfect for developers and agencies looking for cloud-based budget-friendly hosting. Linode has 8 data centers across 3 regions, and it is the most popular among Cloudways users.
Linode cloud hosting start at $12/month.
Vultr comes with SSD storage and unlimited bandwidth across 13 server location.
AWS – Amazon Web Services.
If you own a mission-critical business website, the Amazon web services is a perfect choice for you. AWS hosting plans offer you flexibility and configurable disc space.
Unlimited bandwidth and 8 data centers in 6 different countries. AWS hosting plan starts at $36.51/month.
Google Cloud (GCE).
99.9% up-time guarantee with Google compute engine (GCE).
This is an ideal option for large scale businesses with resource-intensive websites. Google compute engine is a very powerful and reliable cloud hosting infrastructure with maximum performance.
It has 4 data centers on 3 different continents. Google compute engine start at $33.30/month.
Installing Applications in Cloudways
After selecting your server type, the next thing you’d want to do is to install your favorite content management system.
At this point, it is important to know that you can install other CMS in your Cloudways account.
Unlike a truly manage WordPress hosting, Cloudways welcome the installation of other blogging software like Joomla, Laravel, Drupal, Opencart, PrestaShop, etc.
This is an advantage if you build a website with other CMS (content management system)
How to Install WordPress on Cloudways Hosting
Installing WordPress in Cloudways is a bit different from many of the web hosts I have used.
If you’re installing any application in your Cloudways dashboard for the first time, you might get a bit confused. But it is just a simple four or five steps to get your application installed on your server.
Follow the steps here to install WordPress on Cloudways or any other application of your choice.
First, you’ll need to create a project in other to install your WordPress installation software. Each blogging installation software is a project in your Cloudways account.
Creating a project is easy and not confusing at all.
Log in to your Cloudways account and click on “Projects” from the navigational menu on the top of the page. Next, click on the “add projects” green button on the right side of the page.
Follow the instruction on the next page to create a project.
You’ll have to name your project in other to recognize it when you start creating multiple projects. You’re free to name your project whatever you like, it is just for identification purposes.
After creating your projects, click on the “Application” menu at the top of the page. Next, click on the “Add application” green button on the right side of the page.
Next, choose the server from the dialog box that pops up on the page. Then click on the Add Application green button.
After selecting your server from the dialog box, on the next page that comes up, select your application from the drop-down menu.
This is where you select your WordPress installation software. You will also select the project to associate with your new software installation. And remember to give it a name.
After that, click on the “Add Application” green button below.
It shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes for the installation to complete. After the download is complete, you should see your WordPress installation on the next page that follows.
Now, to access your newly installed WordPress blog, click on the small “arrow” sign in front of the installed WordPress blog. This will open a new browser tab for your WordPress blog.
You should see a newly installed WordPress blog with the default WordPress theme design. The below image is a fresh install of a WordPress blog.
Your WordPress blog is now live but not with your primary domain name. So you will need to point the default Cloudways domain to your registered domain name.
How to Change Domain Name in Cloudways Hosting
If you’re migrating an existing WordPress blog to the Cloudways server, complete the migration process first before changing the domain name.
There is something important to know about Cloudways hosting services. By default, your WordPress blog installation comes with a unique domain address.
Some generic WordPress blog address with Cloudwaysapps.com as an extension like this:
You’ll need to change this domain address to your registered domain name. So your blog can be called by its primary domain name.
This is how you do it…
This process involves two-part. The first part is from your Cloudways account, while the other part from your domain registrar account.
So log in to your Cloudways account and click on “Application” from the top navigational menu. Select the WordPress blog installation you want to work with.
On the next page that comes up, select “Domain Management” from the menus. On this page, there are other tools you can play with.
Here you can install Let’s Encrypt free SSL certificate on your website. Use the backup and restore function. Access the details of your server and lots more.
On the next page, enter the domain name you want to use with your WordPress installation in the required field without the HTTP part.
Click “Save Changes” afterward.
The Cloudways default domain address will now redirect to your primary domain name. So your audience can now access your WordPress blog with your registered domain name.
Creating A records
Next, you will need to create A records from your registrar end to point your domain name to Cloudways IP.
This process may vary from one registrar to another. But it will likely follow the same procedures. You can find all the information you need to create A records on this page.
Or alternatively, watch the instruction video below to create A record in your domain registrar account.
How to Migrate WordPress Blog to Cloudways Server
Honestly, migrating your existing WordPress blog to the Cloudways server is done painlessly. From experience, even beginners should be able to complete all the process.
You can watch the instruction video below or read my detailed step guide to complete the process.
Log in to your existing WordPress blog and install the Cloudways migration plugin. After the installation is complete, activate the plugin and open its setting page.
Next, you will have to fill in some account credentials to start the migration process. The account details are available in your Cloudways user account.
In the email field, you can as well fill in your old WordPress email account. That’s what I used. The email account associated with my old WordPress blog.
The destination site URL is the address of your Cloudways WordPress blog. The very one you’re migrating your WordPress blog to.
To access all these details, click on Application from the top menu and select the WordPress blog installation you’re migrating to. On the next page, you have all the account credentials you need.
To locate the SFTP details, click on the “Servers” from the top navigational menu. On the next page, select your server and there you have the details.
A new browser page will open with your migration process details.
It took around 4 minutes maximum to complete the migration of 152.84 MB file sizes blog contents. If everything goes as expected, you should see a success page like this.
You can now check your migrated WordPress blog by clicking on the “Visit Migrated Site” button on the page.
Your WordPress blog is now living on the Cloudways server. You can now point the domain name to your primary registered blog name.
Comparing Load Time – NameCheap Shared Hosting vs Cloudways Digital Ocean Server
I told you earlier in this Cloudways hosting reviews that I used a live WordPress blog to run this test. Now, it is time to compare how the live WordPress blog fare to the Cloudways Digital Ocean server in terms of load time.
After completing the blog migration process, but before I change the domain name, I run a load time test with GTmetrix.
Here is the result…
Base on that test, Cloudways Digital Ocean loads faster than the NameCheap shared hosting server. But it all depends on your website needs, features, and resources.
You may experience a different result on your side.
Cloudways Hosting Features
Cloudways boost some amazing useful hosting features that may be helpful to your business. From standard, advance to premium supports Cloudways pride itself as one of the best in the industry.
Cloudways offers CDN (content delivery network) services, but this is not available in the free trial offer. Lots of other useful hosting features are available in the paid plans.
Here s a list of some of the notable Cloudways hosting features.
Cloudways Pros and Cons
If managed cloud hosting is what you’re looking for, I advise you to check out Cloudways.
From beginner’s friendly hosting plan to a mission-critical website hosting needs, Cloudways offers affordable hosting plans that cut across businesses of all sizes.
Try Cloudways hosting today.