As of this writing, Cloudways is by far the best general hosting provider on the market with its relative ease in setting up WordPress, high performance, and reasonable pricing.
I have been using Cloudways virtual cloud hosting for the last three years, along with a handful of other shared hosting providers.
As a solopreneur, I mange a bunch of websites (including my own) and as of this writing in May 2023, I have to yet to find a similar alternative in terms of server specs and pricing.
If you have a bit of experience in working with a hosting company, you can skip to the next section. Otherwise, I will briefly explain the differences in how hosting companies provide webhosting for end users.
There are many variations in how hosting servers are packaged and sold but we can roughly say that there are three distinct flavors:
- Shared / reseller hosting
- VPS / Cloud hosting
- Managed Cloud Hosting
I will not discuss dedicated or co-location hosting because these products are geared towards medium to large sized companies or organizations with very high website traffic (1M+ per month) and they are very expensive (hundreds of dollars or more per month).
Shared / Reseller hosting
You probably heard of Blue Host, Dream Host, Hostgator, etc. They got their fame from offering super cheap webhosting packages (around $5 per month) to newbies website owners.
They are called shared hosting because in order to make money, shared hosting companies take hundreds of accounts (including your own) and cram them into a single piece of server with low specs.
In most cases, your website performance is directly correlated to the activity on other accounts. To boot, you most likely share the IP address so if your “neighbors” are running sketchy websites, IP block will negatively impact your website.
This product is perfectly acceptable if you are just starting out or have a low monthly website traffic (say around 5,000 visitors per month).
Just make sure to go with a provider that gives you cPanel software (sort of like an operating system like Windows 10 to access your server related files). cPanel allows you to easily migrate to another hosting provider via its backups.
Do NOT use WIX or other WYSIWYG site developers because you will most likely have to manually migrate your site (i.e. re-typing in content).
If you are considering this option, rather than going with a big outfit, I highly recommend a smaller hosting company called MDDHosting and choose either the Turbo Shared Cloud Hosting or Plaid Shared Cloud Hosting.
MDDHosting provides a 30 day money back guarantee for shared, reseller, premium, and VPS services. And unlike some companies, they give you a FULL refund.
Exceptions are if you chose a free domain registration when you created your account. For that domain name, you will have to pay $14.95 out of your refund amount.
|Where Should You Register Your Website Address?
|I will write a separate post as to why you should NEVER have your domain name registered with your hosting company (instead, it should be registered under your own domain registrar account).
Note that the 30 day money back guarantee does not apply to dedicated servers, colocation, lifetime plans, or design services.
VPS / Cloud Hosting
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server and it used to be very popular several years ago.
Similar to a shared hosting, hosting companies assign multiple accounts to a particular server. The main differences are:
- you are renting a separate, containerized, virtual server with your own IP address
- your do not share your virtual server resources with your “neighbors”
- hosting company only assign a handful of accounts on a given server
The difficulty with a VPS for a newbie is that most VPS packages are “naked”, meaning you have to install and manage your own server OS. That includes applying security patches, troubleshooting problems, and restarting your servers.
Cloud hosting is very similar to VPS hosting, EXCEPT instead of renting a piece of a physical server, you are renting a piece of a virtual server (roughly speaking, a virtual server pools resources from many physical servers and presents it as a single server entity).
Users of a naked cloud hosting companies like VULTR or DigitalOcean face the same challenging issues mentioned in the previous paragraph.
As a solopreneur, your job is to create content and grow your business. Having to deal with a complicated technical issues is difficult for most people, especially since you are forced to wear many hats. So I DO NOT recommend getting into this package for a beginner or intermediate user.
Managed Cloud Hosting
For me, a managed cloud hosting is perfect for my needs because the hosting company provides all server and network level issues, why I focus on creating content and maintaining the WordPress platform.
|What About Managed WordPress Hosting?
|Some folks prefer even simpler packages provided by a Managed WordPress Hosting companies where they maintain ALL technical issues including WordPress plugin updates, etc., while the user can focus just on creating content.
I have used several companies in the past like WPEngine and Kinsta. Although they provided a good service, I found the cost to be too expensive.
There are a handful of reliable managed cloud hosting providers and the one I currently use the most is Cloudways (don’t get it confused with Cloudflare which is a caching provider).
As of May 2023, I currently pay for three cloud servers (with different server specs) with Cloudways.
One server uses Digital Ocean where the other two servers use VULTR (Amazon AWS and Google Cloud is just too expensive).
Cloudways provide an easy user interface layer so that you won’t have to scratch your head dealing with Digital Ocean or VULTR’s complicated, and technical interface.
Server specs, network configuration, and server monitoring are all within easy reach and if you need help, their 24×7 chat support is always available. The support seems to be based entirely in India but the support team members I have dealt with thus far have been fluent in written English and they were quick to answer my questions and issues.
Which server should you choose from Cloudways?
Back in 2022, Digital Ocean (DO) purchased Cloudways and as expected, DO is starting to push its own products over other offerings.
So if you are new to Cloudways as of May 2023, your server choices are either Digital Ocean, Amazon AWS or Google Cloud. A basic 2GB server will cost around $28 for DO.
If you are an existing customer like I am, I still have the ability to choose from Digital Ocean, VULTR, and Linode (again I am excluding AWS and Google Cloud due to their high cost).
DO and VULTR servers are similar in specs an cost, with VULTR costing around $2 more (I suspect this was done to encourage existing customers to sign up DO servers).
Migration steps from a shared hosting provider to Cloudways
If you are currently with another hosting company, moving your WordPress site to Cloudways is “relatively” easy, though it might be slightly difficult for you if you are completely unfamiliar with tech.
So, I will show you how to move your WordPress website to Cloudways with step-by-step instructions
Items You Will Need Before Beginning:
- Cloudways account
- WordPress admin user name and password
- Access to your website domain name registrar
Setting Up Your Cloudways Account
If you haven’t done so already, go to Cloudways and signup for a 3 day free trial.
In the next post, I will show you which server package you should choose, depending on your website traffic, and how to set it up step-by-step