Cloudways hosting review from personal experience
When it comes to cloud hosting, there is always a route that I take that I much prefer over the others. For me, it’s all about creating the best possible experience for my readers. One way of accomplishing a great reading experience is having a website that performs well. Who likes to wait for a page to load over 10 seconds? That’s annoying, especially when all you want to do is simply read the article. And if the page takes forever to load because it’s not optimized, well, that’s aggravating. What a lot of people don’t know or realize, is that if you host your site on a VPS (Virtual Private Server), you’ll get a website that performs like the mega blogs. And there are a lot of providers out there, however I prefer Cloudways as my host for several reasons, and I’ll list what I do for this site and a few other things that you can do on Cloudways.
I’ve even got a special deal for you, if you like what you read here, you can get 20% off of your first invoice! Their pricing is already extremely cheap, and the services you get in return are unmatched.
Shared Hosting VS your own VPS Server
For VPS servers, your site uses the resources dedicated to your VPS. You don’t share those valuable resources with anyone else. No noisy neighbors to deal with.
Getting started on Cloudways
This site uses WordPress and is hosted on a Vultr VPS server. You can get signed up pretty quickly and easily here. Once you’re signed up, click add server, choose your application (in this example WordPress), then chose your hosting provider. Cloudways offers many different options to choose from for your host, but I simply just prefer Vultr (for one main reason and I’ll speak on that another time). Name your app, and your server. I typically just put the URL in each for easy identification.
The 1GB size is totally fine for a single WordPress site when starting and it’s the cheapest option. Finally, chose your hosting location. You should try to choose a location that’s nearest to your readers if possible so there’s less data travel time between your server and your reader’s location.
Your server will start to provision and everything is completely automated. You don’t need to know anything about how to build a web server. Cloudways takes care of this for you. Once your server is done, you’re ready to begin setting up your site!
While your server is provisioning, I would go ahead and update your DNS for your new site. All you need to do is setup two A records (this is what I do anyways). As your site provisions, you’ll see an IP address for your server show up. Create an A record for a www version of your URL and a non www version. This gives DNS time to propagate before you setup your domain and SSL certificate next.
Setting up your site and server for your URL
You can do what you prefer here, but what I typically do is the following:
- Setup the URL
- Setup SSL for the website
- Setup SMTP
When your server is finished and you click into it, you’ll be presented with your master credentials and your IP address. These master credentials are good to use for your SFTP access if / when you need to use that.
Setting up SMTP
I really recommend setting up SMTP as your first task for your server. Click SMTP at the bottom left, select Elastic Email, and click Enable.
Once that’s all set, click the WWW symbol in the top right, and click your application:
Setting up the URL
Click on Domain Management, and place your preferred URL and click save. You don’t have to do this, but what I typically do is set a www version and a non www version. Totally up to you though.
Setting up an SSL certificate
Provisioning an SSL certificate relies on DNS to be accurate and pointed at your sever, so be sure that enough time has elapsed to do so. By now, there’s likely been enough time gone by for this to be fine.
You can upload your own custom certificate, or use a LetsEncrypt certificate. If you don’t have a certificate already, choosing LetsEncrypt is the way to go.
Once you have your information in there that you’d like to have, go ahead and click INSTALL CERTIFICATE. On the backend, the Cloudways platform utilizes the LetsEncrypt technologies to query DNS, validate ownership of the web server based on DNS, and provisions the certificate for you.
You’re all done!
At this point what we’ve done is spun up a web server (your own!), added SMTP functionality to your server, setup the URL for your site, and provisioned an SSL certificate. At this point, you have the basics done. You can view your access details and the admin login settings in the Access Details section of your application.
So, what’s special about your web server, and how does it perform better than shared hosting?
Well, there’s quite a few things going in your favor here. Let’s break it down:
- Your site is hosted on a Vultr VPS server. This means that your server is using the latest Intel CPU processors, SSD (solid state drive) hard drives, you’re not sharing web server resources with anyone else. Vultr hosting is incredible. I’ve been using Vultr VPS instances for a long time before I knew about Cloudways.
- By default, Cloudways enables the Varnish caching system. This caches components of your site to be readily and immediately available without your web server needing to fetch them with every request.
- No custom SMTP setup required. By setting up Elastic Email through Cloudways, your site is email sending ready, right out of the box.
Seriously, I highly recommend Cloudways as your chosen hosting provider. Don’t get caught up in the brilliant marketing of the big names (I won’t list them but I’m sure you’ve heard of them). Performance, security, and ease of use is the way to go. And you don’t even need to be a developer to have a professional running site that competes with the best. If you’d like to get started with Cloudways, click the banner below to learn more and get started at anytime!
If you have any experience with Cloudways and have any input, comment with your thoughts to share with others. Feel free to ask questions as well! I’ll try to answer any that I’m able!