“A web hosting server is the only hope of every site.” Dr. Chris Dayagdag, a Google partner and technology manufacturer. And he could not say it better. In fact, your site is only as good as the main hosting structure.
And so, as part of my path to creating the best possible ways of life for e-commerce sites. This time I decided to take a slightly different route. Instead of the usual hosting services that we are all used to, I tried out the one that is best known for its extensive server abstraction capabilities.
Is Cloudways a reliable hosting solution for e-commerce ? Well, let’s find out.
Cloudways Overview: About Hosting Service
Given that it was founded in 2011, Cloudways is relatively young in hosting. But do not let this fool you. This is by no means small. In short, this is a managed cloud hosting solution that allows individuals and teams to create, run, scale and coordinate various web applications, including an e-commerce site.
Aaqib Gadit (co-founder and CEO) and Pere Hospital (co-founder and CSO) have grown over the years as a reliable hosting service with data centers around the world. Combine this with a staff of more than 100 experts, and you will begin to get a rough idea of how Cloudways now serves thousands of websites.
All of this is coordinated from their headquarters on the European island of Malta, as well as additional offices in Dubai and Spain.
This is a pretty interesting resume if you ask me. But then again, we all know that hosting can be quite a challenge even for well-funded companies. That’s why only a few providers can rightfully boast of extremely optimized hosting services.
The problem with this category, however, is that most of their solutions are not cheap. Running servers and e-commerce applications is quite expensive.
Interestingly, Cloudways is one of the few players that seem to deviate from this trend. Their services are relatively cheaper than their main competitors.
But if you think about it, can this be a tactic of deception? Or is Cloudways a truly effective hosting solution?
Well, it only takes a couple of minutes to find out. This Cloudways review provides the facts as they are – the whole truth about its key features, pricing, performance statistics, and a walkthrough on the platform.
Cloudways Overview: Hosting Service Overview
The only thing you can always expect from managed hosting providers is, of course, servers. And you know what? Cloudways There are five cloud providers to support this. You can set up your own cloud server on Google Cloud Platform, Vultr, Linode, DigitalOcean or Amazon Cloud Services (AWS).
Just choose your provider, and voilà! Cloudways will create a dedicated cloud virtual server for you in seconds. And if you want to expand capacity, the platform allows you to purchase additional servers at any time or scale your current server from your account.
There are several ways to use the resulting resources. You can take advantage of PHP to run your own container applications. Or, of course, launch a dynamic e-commerce site.
Now hold on. What features are we talking about here? What should you expect from Cloudways when it comes to ecommerce hosting?
Cloudways Overview: Key Features
Ok, let’s start from above.
After you sign up, you will notice that Cloudways gives you a significant start by offering the four main e-commerce platforms by default – OpenCart, Magento, Prestashop and WooCommerce. It also offers things like Laravel, Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.
Fair. But let’s imagine that you plan to base your online store on another application. What are your options?
Fortunately, Cloudways is flexible enough to support any PHP application. This means that you can conveniently install an additional e-commerce platform if you want.
Ecommerce Environment Management
One thing that I liked about Cloudways is that it holistically optimizes the environment of your e-commerce site to help you sell and grow dynamically.
For example, as soon as the site starts working, Cloudways will monitor everything around the clock. Therefore, they should be able to quickly fix any problem as soon as it occurs. And to keep you informed, the toolbar offers more than analytics 16.
But that’s not all. When it comes to tabs on your e-commerce site, you can rely on what they call CloudwaysBot. It’s just an AI system that tracks the performance of your website 24/7 and then sends you relevant updates via text or email.
If you encounter any problems, you can use the integration of the new Cloudways relic to identify weaknesses and eliminate them accordingly. This is one of many third-party applications whose integrations come in handy when using Cloudways for e-commerce.
However, other outstanding features to optimize your e-commerce environment include:
- A Pay-As-You-Go platform that helps you save money by paying only what you use.
- Wide versatility that allows you to scale your resources depending on the changing needs of the site.
- A dedicated resource environment that protects your site from possible leeches.
- A well-protected network environment that protects all servers and connects them in a way that facilitates complex but independent processing of resources.
- Numerous data centers that are complemented by CDN solutions to improve site loading speed.
- Convenient site migration between data centers and servers.
- Replicate your site on multiple servers to reduce the risk of potential downtime.
It has recently been proven that this cybercrime is becoming more profitable than even the illegal drug trade. And you can bet that criminals won’t slow down anytime soon. That’s why, in fact, 66% of IT professionals consider security to be their primary concern when it comes to cloud computing.
Well, if they are worried, then I’m scared to madness. Security is undoubtedly the only thing that I cannot afford to jeopardize, especially after directly observing the devastating consequences of a data leak (but this is a story for another day). Therefore, I was especially interested in website security when evaluating Cloudways.
And here is what I found out – what you get:
- IP whitelist
- Two-factor authentication
- Free one-click SSL certificate
- Regular security and firmware updates
- Free automatic backups of your entire site, as well as its files, with the ability to restore with just one click
- Dedicated Firewalls
- Possible compensation in case of downtime due to force majeure
Optimized site performance
Believe it or not, the fact is that Google will punish you if your e-commerce site loads its pages for a relatively long time.
And even if you still manage to drive low-ranked traffic to search engines, you will extremely lose a pretty significant share of your sales opportunities. Every tenth of a download delay on average translates into a 7% drop in your conversion rates.
Fortunately, Cloudways offers a wide range of features to prevent this. Optimizes overall network performance through:
- An automatic server recovery technology that automatically straightens your server right after it begins to experience performance degradation.
- A content delivery system built on high-quality servers distributed around the world to accelerate the transfer of site content around the world.
- Support for PHP 7, which is currently the most efficient version of PHP.
- Redis support, which in combination with Varnish, Nginx, and Apache improves the performance of your site’s database.
- Free advanced caches like Full Page Cache and
- A dedicated environment environment that reserves server resources exclusively for your site.
Dynamic project coordination
Most likely, you will not manage your online store alone. You are likely to hire a couple of professionals from time to time to carry out various projects. This is where Cloudways’s collaboration capabilities lie.
In short, you can distribute tasks between different team members, replicate servers and applications, transfer servers to other users, and transfer your site accordingly.
For example, when you need to migrate a WordPress site from a third-party host to Cloudways, you can use the WordPress Migrator Cloud Plugin to make things a lot easier.
And if you work with numerous websites, you can use Cloudways secure SSH and SPTP access, an unlimited number of training areas and an automatic Git environment. Consequently, all team members will be able to review and modify their projects before ultimately publishing everything.
To help you set up, run, manage, launch, and coordinate your site, Cloudways provides a multi-channel support system.
At the very least, you get the opportunity to use its detailed knowledge base to learn anything from application management to server preparation. And if you have any difficulties, you can always ask for more clarification from the active community of users who like Cloudways.
Alternatively, you can also turn to the Cloudways team of experts directly for support. Well, phone calls have always been my favorites because of their convenience. Unfortunately, however, it turns out that Cloudways only goes so far as to facilitate call requests. You basically place a request, after which the agents will call you during business hours.
Although it is commendable that the platform offers phone support, I hope that they will eventually consider updating all of this to facilitate continuous free calls between users and agents.
Otherwise, the best option you have at the moment is perhaps chatting in chat. Sending tickets online can also be convenient if they contact you quickly enough.
Cloudways Overview: Using the Platform
If you think trying Cloudways the place you start from is most likely a pricing page …
Well, here everything can be a little more complicated, especially if you are used to the same old hosting price schedule, which is about four or five tariff plans.
Well, interestingly, Cloudways doesn’t offer six, seven, or eight options. There are many more, and you can first feel overwhelmed. But after a more thorough study, you can figure out the whole pricing methodology that the service uses.
Here’s the thing Cloudways has essentially grouped subscription offers based on its five cloud server providers. If you think about it, it all makes sense, given that infrastructure services are usually priced differently.
Cloudways is now beyond this by offering several plans for each provider. Therefore, what you pay in the end depends not only on the provider you choose, but also on the corresponding characteristics of the server.
And to give you a general idea of what to expect, here is the price range:
- Google Cloud Platform plans range from $ 33 / month for 1.7GB RAM and 1 CPU – to over $ 1,290 / month for 120GB RAM and 32 CPUs.
- Amazon Web Services plans range from $ 36 / month for 1.75GB RAM and 1 to more than $ 3,567 / month for 384GB RAM and 96 processors.
- Vultr plans range from $ 11 / month for 1GB RAM and a processor with a core of 1 – to over $ 385 / month for 64GB RAM and a processor with a 16 core.
- Linode plans range from $ 12 / month for 1GB RAM and a processor with a core of 1 – to over $ 1,205 / month for 192GB RAM and a processor with a 32 core.
- Digital Ocean plans range from $ 10 / month for 1GB RAM and a processor with a core of 1 – up to more than $ 1,035 / month for 192GB RAM and a processor with a 32 core.
The best thing about all these options is the simple fact that you are sure to find the perfect option with the right resources.
After you have registered and confirmed your email address, you can proceed to the choice of e-commerce application.
The next step is to choose your preferred infrastructure provider from the list of five options – Google cloud platform, Amazon, Vultr, Linode or Digital Ocean web services. Then, select the server size that suits your e-commerce needs and specify the server location closest to your target audience.
Finally, click “Run Now” and voila! This is all you need to start your server.
From the account control panel, you can get a domain, configure SSL, get email accounts, manage server services, upgrade PHP versions, access the command line, use the database manager and much more.
Cloudways Ecommerce Hosting Performance Testing
Cloudways can be loaded with all the outstanding performance enhancements that we have reviewed. And yes, it also complements this with a guarantee of compensation in case of server downtime.
Well, admittedly, all this sounds good. But let’s face it. This is permissible only if it can be proved. And so, thanks to my curiosity, I decided to conduct tests for the sake of everyone.
Now, as we have established, the best indicator for evaluating host servers is time to first byte (TTFB). This is basically the amount of time that the server processes the request before it subsequently starts using site data. In other words, it measures the overall response of the server.
To get accurate results, I ran TTFB tests on sites hosted on Cloudways. WooCommerce, PrestaShop, Magento, plus OpenCart, and the final results were as follows:
The WooCommerce website posted 573ms, while its Prestashop colleague posted 598ms. Then sites based on Magento and OpenCart, on the other hand, generated 556ms and 598ms, respectively.
Good, fair enough. But what does this mean?
Well, if you checked a couple of my previous TTFB tests, then you know what reading 500-600ms means. Although this is not the fastest range we recorded, it is still very impressive.
Thus, in all circumstances, Cloudways is truly one of the high-performance e-commerce hosting services.
Who should consider using Cloudways?
Now that I’ve learned the basics, core features, pricing, performance levels, and various flaws, Cloudways is a reliable host for small, medium, and corporate e-commerce sites. And since it is especially effective at scaling resources, it should be a great choice for fast-growing sites.
What do you think?