If you are a designer, your core job is to focus on designing websites for your clients and handing over the complete, hosted website, to the user. It is not your job to manage the server nor is it your responsibility to get tangled in the intricacies of hosting websites. So who should you trust in such circumstances? It is simple: A Managed Cloud Hosting Platform.
With that said, finding a good Cloud Hosting Platform service is not easy anymore. Cloud Hosting is gaining great popularity day by day, and every other hosting firm is taking part in this Cloud Hosting business.
As there are numerous options available in the market, designers, and designing agencies hesitate to experiment with new Cloud Hosting Platforms. Professional people are not really into moving their application to another service because no one wants to risk their work and data.
In spite of all these practices, I thought out of the box and experimented with a managed cloud hosting platform about which I had heard a lot from some people. Apart from the word-of-mouth, I also read reviews of this platform. It is a relatively new service, based in Barcelona; it is known as Cloudways. However, once on board, I did not feel the service is new as the service was professional and seems like they know what they are doing. I am sure, as a design agency, you will be wondering how my experience with Cloudways was? To answer this question, let’s get to know about Cloudways in detail.
Launch Your First Cloud Server
By going through Cloudways blog and reading all the reviews regarding Cloudways, I was more than convinced that this managed cloud hosting platform should be given a chance. To make things better, Cloudways offers a free trial period of up to fourteen days. I feel these are more than enough to test out the platform and experience the offered services.
The process was simple; I just had to provide an email and choose a password to sign into Cloudways. After signing in, the process of launching a server and choosing an application is smooth as well.
Choosing an Application
Cloudways offers more than twelve applications on their platform, and all of them are deployable in one click. These applications include WordPress, WooCommerce, Magento, PHP stack, and other prominent web applications.
As I was working on a WordPress website, I chose WordPress for this particular instance.
Give Your App a Name
After you are done with choosing your application, you have to give a name to your app, server, and project folder. Don’t worry; you can rename all these parameters later as well.
Pick Your Cloud Infrastructure
Cloudways is managed cloud platform that lets you host on different popular cloud infrastructures. Currently, Cloudways offers five market-leading cloud server infrastructure providers:
For the purpose of this review, I chose DigitalOcean as it offers a trial period of 14 days and because it is the fastest growing cloud hosting provider.
Give Your Server Some Space and Speed
Scaling your server was never this easy. Just slide the bar and scale up your server in a second. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about the wrong size of your server because you can always add more space to your server and other performance functionalities later too.
Pro Tip: Cloudways also offer an auto-scalable cloud infrastructure in the form of Kyup. This basically takes away all your worries related to your server’s traffic or a sudden influx of traffic.
For starting, I would recommend you to choose a minimum of 1GB server size. Why? Because with the 1GB plan, you you would be able to gauge the whole service in full throttle, including the support. It is a win-win situation as it is a Free Trial and you are not charged.
Select Your Server’s Location
Decide upon your target audience and choose your server’s location carefully as your server should be located nearest to your target audience. Currently, Cloudways offers eight locations for DigitalOcean.
You Are Ready to Launch
Click on launch button and wait for 7 to 10 mins. Cloudways will now set up your server by optimizing and configuring it accordingly.
That was like a walk in the park. It was simple, crisp, and minimal effort was required. From a designer’s perspective, I feel relaxed that I didn’t have to go through the hassles of a complex UI just to launch a server.
When launched, the following screen appears. By the looks of it, the Platform looks appealing and user-friendly. Let’s dive in a bit into the functions the Platform offers.
Too much to grasp? Here is a video to get you started with the Cloudways Platform.
The trip to Cloudways does not end here as there is a whole dashboard for doing different tweaks and tips to your server. The dashboard is user-friendly, so you don’t have to worry if you are an IT professional or a learning beginner. Each function of the server is located separately on your left, and all the main tabs are placed on the top.
This orderly placement of options makes it easy for a user to locate what function he wants to work on.
Server Management takes care of all your needs regarding server modification. All primary functional related options are included in this tab. Some of the distinctive features are Master Credentials, Settings, and Packages, Security, Vertical Scaling, Backups, etc.
Master Credentials is a tab containing all the confidential information you need to access your server and application. These credentials include access details of your SSH, SFTP keys, public IP, Username, and Password. It also includes an SSH Terminal which is launched through the browser. However, if you are not familiar with all these, you need not get your hands dirty.
Keeping all the servers behind a sophisticated firewall, Cloudways cares more for your security. Its security features include Free SSL Certificates by Let’s Encrypt and adding more value to its security; Cloudways has HTTP/2 enabled on its platform which means all your data is secure behind complex protocols that aren’t easy to breach.
Backup is an exciting feature offered by Cloudways. You can always save backups of your server on daily, weekly, and monthly basis by setting up the backup frequency and backup retention rate. Moreover, by enabling a local backup feature, you can always create the latest backup of your application.
Cloudways takes care of your server and application needs separately. Application Management tab deals with all settings regarding your chosen application. Various offerings of Application Management tab includes Access Detail, SSL Certificate, Deployment via Git, Migrator tools, etc.
This tab includes all the necessary information used to interact with your application plus it also has access to Cloudways database manager. Other information includes credentials of SSH/SFTP and admin panel. You can use this tab to access your WordPress admin panel.
Deployment via Git
Git is like an open arena for developers where they can share, experiment and experience their code. Since Cloudways wants you to share and experience your work globally, its platform supports code deployment through Git. You just have to generate SSH keys and put your desired version over the cloud.
In case if you are already thinking of moving to Cloudways, but are scared of migrating your WordPress, then you can always opt for their automated WordPress migrator tool. You can always migrate your application without any second thought because their team of engineers will look after your application from the start till the end, avoiding any malfunction. Oh, by the way, if you are using any other application, your first migration is free.
Pricing is one of the main concerns among most of the people and keeping this fact alive; Cloudways has pricing plans that caters to every audience. Their pricing plans start from $7 per month. Notably, I chose their plan of $17 per month which offers 1GB of RAM, 1 Core processor, 30GB of storage with 2TB of bandwidth. What is important to note here is that they are based on the Pay As You Go method, meaning, you only pay for the amount of server resources you use.
Another major feature for Cloudways that caught my eye is their live chat support that is always there to guide you if you are stuck at some point. Moreover, they have their always updated knowledge base that is filled with simple, image-rich, tutorials that make it easier for a beginner to get accustomed to the operations of the Platform.
Ready to Fly?
Now that you know all about Cloudways and their lucrative offerings, I would recommend this amazing Cloud hosting platform to all designers regardless of whether they are professionals or beginners. Why? Here is a quick (brief) recap of what they offer:
- User-friendly Platform with quick access to all your applications
- 24x7x365 Support
- 999% Uptime Guarantee
- 50% reduction in page load times owing to ThunderStack caching recipe
- 1-click operations for multiple server and application functions
- Real-time monitoring of 15+ server performance metrics
- HTTP/2 support with improved Varnish UI for better security and performance
- Above average Affiliate program payout that pays on each conversion
However, there are few pointers to note that Cloudways lacks upon:
- Many providers give the option of Domains within their panels. Cloudways does not, which makes it a hassle to register a domain from other providers and then point to Cloudways.
- They have 24x7x365 online support. However, there is no option of a telephone support. There are some instances when you can get things done over the phone, instead of waiting in the queue to get your query resolved.
These are only some of the cons I found while exploring Cloudways. The rest of the features are all good, and up to date, including an innovational managed cloud hosting chatbot, CloudwaysBot, that notifies about server updates on preferred notification channels.
I signed up for their trial period and so can you to experience all the awesomeness. Give this platform a shot and let me know your opinion about their service.