Introduction to Cloudways
You might have heard of the term ‘cloud hosting’ but when it comes to the fastest and reliable WordPress cloud hosting provider, I am sure you would have heard about Cloudways. And if you didn’t know it yet, Cloudways is a managed WordPress cloud hosting solution where everything is managed in the cloud. What it means for you as a user is that, their servers are optimized to run WordPress efficiently without any lag in performance. Getting started on Cloudways is as easy as choosing your cloud, selecting your application and deploying it within minutes.
Cloudways does not host your sites directly on their servers. Instead, it is hosted with one of their hosting infrastructure partners – Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, Vultr, DigitalOcean and Kyup. In addition to managed WordPress hosting, they also offer managed Magento, Drupal, Joomla and Prestashop hosting. Cloudways is also well-known for their reliability, performance and 24/7 live chat support for all its customers.
Before you can start choosing your server, selecting your application and deploying it, you will be needing a Cloudways account. Why don’t you go ahead and get one? (no credit card required + free trial)
Installing WordPress on Cloudways
Once you have created your free account on Cloudways, it is time to choose your server and install WordPress. Login to your Cloudways account and create a server for your site. Here’s where your site will be hosted.
Configure Application & Server Details
Click on the drop-down menu and choose ‘WordPress’.
Cloudways currently offers four different flavors of WordPress – A Cloudways optimized version, WordPress with WooCommerce, WordPress Multisite and a clean WordPress installation (not optimized for Cloudways). It is highly recommended to choose the first option (Cloudways-optimized WordPress) for better performance.
Next step is to name your application and server – just keep it short or leave it as it is. It is just for your reference and will not be reflected in your WordPress install.
After typing in the desired names in the required fields, choose DigitalOcean as your hosting infrastructure partner. Now, you need to choose your server size and location.
NOTE: You do NOT need a DigitalOcean account separately to install WordPress on Cloudways throughout this tutorial. Cloudways manages everything for you.
Make sure you allocate at least 1GB as your server size and choose whichever server location you feel is nearer to country from where most of your traffic (would) originate from. If it is for a local business, choose a server location nearest to your country.
You’re now all set – click on the ‘Launch Server’ button to start deploying your server.
It will take around five to ten minutes for your server to go live. Until then you can keep calm and relax or have a look at the knowledge base articles & live chat support (by clicking on the ‘?‘).
Your server will now be deployed successfully and you can start playing around with it. The whole process above can be summarized in this short video by Cloudways –
Coming back to the tutorial,
You can manage your server (in the future) by clicking on the Vertical ellipsis (⋮) icon.
Managing the Application
Now that we have deployed your server successfully on Cloudways, let’s move on to the ‘Application Management’ section.
Click on ‘www’ and then select your application (identified by the name you gave it earlier when choosing the application to be installed).
This will bring up the Application Management screen. Here’s where you can control every detail and configuration of your newly installed application.
You can now launch your freshly created WordPress site by clicking on the ‘URL’ under ‘Admin Panel’ and logging in using the username and password just below it.
After logging into WordPress, you will be welcome with you WordPress Dashboard.
You may notice that the W3 Total Cache plugin has been already installed for you, thanks to Cloudways.
Adding Your Domain Name
You should now be adding your domain name to your WordPress site. This can easily be done by navigating to the ‘Domain Management’ tab and adding your domain name.
After adding your domain name, don’t forget to hit the ‘Save Changes’ button and follow the on-screen instructions. If you do not have a domain name yet, you can grab one from NameCheap!
Adding Free SSL Certificate
Cloudways offers you an option to add a free SSL certificate to your site using Let’s Encrypt.
Or even if you are interested in adding a custom certificate, that is possible too. But for the sake of this tutorial, lets focus on the free SSL certificate though. Fill in the required information and hit ‘Install Certificate’ button to launch the certificate installer.
It may take a while to install the certificate. Make sure you have added your domain to Cloudways before installing the SSL certificate, else it will throw up an error.
Cloudways also allows you to restore your web application from available backups in case of emergency.
You can select a backup to be restored once you have taken at least one backup of your application. The option is dulled (grayed out) in the above screenshot because I haven’t backed up my site yet. But, I strongly advise you not to be like me.
Deploying your site via Git is also possible on Cloudways. But before that, you need to generate and download the SSH keys and upload them to your Git repository and deploy them. Later you should paste your repository’s SSH address over here to clone it successfully.
You can further configure several other application specific settings for your application (WordPress, in our case) under the ‘Application Settings’ tab.
Migrating Your WordPress Site to Cloudways
If you are migrating your site to Cloudways from some other web host, you can easily do so by installing the Cloudways WordPress Migrator plugin to your old site and filling in the required details of your Cloudways account.
This hassle-free migration is made possible by BlogVault, a WordPress backup and security service in association with Cloudways.
Fill in the required fields and hit the ‘Migrate’ button to get started with migrating your site to Cloudways.
Cloudways Server Management Console
We have now finished playing around with all the application settings on Cloudways. It is time to have some fun exploring your server. To switch over to your server management console, click on the server icon on the top-right corner.
You will now be welcomed with pop-ups on your server summary and server action.
You can close them and move on to your console – the heart beat of your applications.
Over here, you can view your public IP address and your SFTP & SSH credentials.
Server & Application Monitoring
Under the ‘Monitoring’ tab, you can monitor your server’s performance such as idle CPU time, reads and writes per second, network traffic, free memory, cache hit rates, MySQL connections, etc. And for application monitoring, Cloudways has partnered with New Relic, which can be enabled under the services section.
You can manage your Apache server, NGINX, memcached, MySQL databases, New Relic, PHP-FPM and Varnish cache under the ‘Manage Services’ section.
Managing Settings & Packages
You can further manage your basic settings such as execution limit, upload size, memory limit & error reporting and advanced settings such as max input variables & time, APC & OPCache memory, NGINX configuration, etc under the ‘Settings & Packages’ tab.
You can also manage your application’s PHP & MySQL versions, Elasticsearch and Redis cache over here.
Over here, you can check if your IP address is blocked from accessing SSH/SFTP. As you can see from the screenshot, you can also white list friendly IP addresses.
Vertical Scaling with Cloudways
Increasing the resources allocated to your server is a piece of cake on Cloudways as it is as simple as playing with a slider.
Move your slider to the desired resource size and hit the ‘Scale Now’ button. By the way, do not play with these features if you do not know what you are doing.
Backups – The Most Important Stuff
Though backups on Cloudways are done automatically, you can create a backup on-demand too. You can also manage your backup frequency and retention settings over here along with an option to create local backups. Creating a local backup allows you to download it via SSH/SFTP.
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
You can either configure your own SMTP account or use their paid Elastic Email to set up outgoing email delivery on your server.
With this, you are reaching the end of the detailed step-by-step installation guide for installing WordPress on DigitalOcean cloud using Cloudways.
Thus I hope that you managed to follow this guide and install WordPress successfully on DigitalOcean using your Cloudways dashboard. In case you get struck in between while following any step, you can feel free to get assistance from their live-chat support team. They would be more than happy to assist you. Or if you have any doubts, you can ask me in the comments section below and I would be glad to help you out.
By the way, if you found this guide useful, do share it with your friends on Facebook & Twitter! 🙂