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How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

WordPress is a great way to create simple and elegant websites with little tech savvy-ness and programming know-how. Setting up WordPress with a hosting service is the first step in creating a beautiful website.

On the other hand, Cloud Computing is becoming more and more mainstream. All the major firms and companies have moved their infrastructure to the cloud. It’s not surprising given the increased security and performance the cloud brings with it.

Cloudways is one such great managed cloud hosting provider, check out our article on Cloudways and its features to know more.

WordPress and Cloudways work amazingly well together. Creating a great WordPress website is just a few clicks away from Cloudways. It is simplistic, intuitive, and highly functional. In this article, we will walk you through how to Setup Cloudways and WordPress step by step.

Why WordPress?

About one in every three websites on the web is a WordPress website. That is an astounding number! Moreover, according to Digital.com,

  1. Users make about 70 million new posts and 77 million new comments every month.
  2. It gets about 1.1 million new users every 6 months.
  3. It’s available in 196 languages.

How did WordPress become so popular that it has almost entirely swept the market? It primarily has to do with how WordPress makes creating websites easy. From small business owners to public school websites, the range of different WordPress made websites will surprise you.

You can create amazing websites with little technical knowledge. If you are looking to create a non-dynamic website (not a functional and dynamic web application like a blog or a website about an organisation, we suggest you give WordPress a shot.

Why Cloudways?

Almost every web hosting service provider at this moment provides managed WordPress hosting features. From HostGator to Hostinger, WordPress installation is a part of the web hosting package. So why Cloudways? Cloud computing or cloud hosting is the most preferred means for hosting websites at the moment. That said, the most popular managed cloud hosting website in town is Cloudways. It comes as a one-stop solution for all kinds of companies. The relative ease of use, the customer support and migration policy make it attractive to users looking to move to cloud-based architectures.

Let’s clear up terminology

In cloud computing, your resources are stored across multiple servers across the internet that is specialised to store certain kinds of information. All these resources are managed via virtual machines.

Cloudways refers to these virtual machines also as servers. So try not to get confused about it, servers are the infrastructure that you are buying from a service provider. An application is a website that uses the resources from the server. So a server can have any number of applications as long as it doesn’t run out of space of computation power.

WordPress is the content management software that runs on an application. Different applications can use different CMS!

Now let us jump in and see who you can install WordPress with a Cloudways Account.

Some features of Cloudways Managed WordPress hosting

Unlike traditional managed web hosting services the cloud offers an additional layer of security and improved efficiency. Cloudways makes WordPress easy for everyone to use. They say they aim to support,

  1. Individuals – Bloggers, Content Creators, Personal Websites and more.
  2. eCommerce – The Cloudways scalability comes clutch in fields like e-commerce which show high fluctuation traffic over time.
  3. Agencies – Accommodates companies workflows and limits access based on roles of users.
  4. Small and Mid-size businesses – No requirement to hire professionals with Cloudways support engineers available to help.

Improved Performance

Cloudways’ guarantees the best possible cloud computing performance for scalable applications. It also promises infrastructure security for servers with Bot Protection and 2-factor authentication for Cloudways account.

Improved Flexibility

The scalability of cloud computing is extremely useful for business websites that capitalise on traffic. With the additional pay as you go option, it is much easier for small and medium-sized companies to invest in it without worrying about returns.

Walkthrough Setting up WordPress Application with Cloudways

Cloudways Signup and Login

Start by signing up for Cloudways. You get an initial 3 day free trial period to check out the features.

Note that your account is only approved after verification of identity via a few government-issued ID (Adhaar, PAN etc). Cloudways on sign up will ask to mail the required documents to their support e-mail. Usually, you get a response within 24 hours.

Additionally, you can also sign up with an existing LinkedIn, GitHub or Google account. Now login with your credentials – you will end up in a pretty clean user dashboard like this.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

Server Creation

Towards the right of the servers menu, you will see an ‘add server’ button. Click on it.

This will open up a new window.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

Now you have to select what kind of application you want to run. We want a WordPress application. Cloudways lets you pick one out of four versions of WordPress while creating your default application (that is created with your server – you can add more servers later). They are

  1. The normal and latest WordPress version (5.4.2 as of September 2020) – This version is optimised by Cloudways on its platform for better performance.
  2. The latest WordPress version with WooCommerce (4.3.0) – WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin that makes setting up a shopping website easy.
  3. The latest multisite WordPress version – A WordPress account that allows the user to create and manage multiple WordPress websites.
  1. The clean and latest WordPress version – No optimisation is done and the WordPress is installed with no additional performance-related tweaks.

Name your server and application with names of your choice.

Pick your IaaS service provider. This is tricky because the underlying IaaS service provider decides the price of the server and its performance under different conditions. We highly recommend checking out our pricing and IaaS service provider analysis article.

Once you have decided on the IaaS provider, configure the other parameters of the server such as Server Size, Server Bandwidth, Storage, Location etc.

Click on the launch now button once you are done. Done. Your server is ready to go.

Accessing your default WordPress site

You should be able to see your newly created server on the servers page. Use the toggle on the top left to navigate to the applications page. Select your newly created WordPress application.

From the Access Details tab in Application Management, click the application URL.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

This will take you to the default page of a WordPress website. It has no content and no information but your set up is complete.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

Logging into WordPress Application

Your access credentials are available on the Access Details tab, under Admin Panel Credentials. The URL would be *wordpress-temp-url*/wp-admin/.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

On logging in (as admin) you will land on the WordPress dashboard. All content creation, posts and images, backup, themes configuration etc are done here.

Here are a few basic functions that you will be able to do with WordPress as your content management software

Selecting Themes

One of the things that makes WordPress such an amazing tool is the diverse set of themes. There are themes for every occasion and every genre of website. From blogs to shopping websites, you can pick a theme that shapes the appearance of the website. To do so, navigate from the sidebar,

Appearance -> Themes -> Add New -> Select your theme -> Install theme -> Activate theme.

Themes greatly affect the performance of a website. Do check out our list of fastest themes in 2020 to know more.

Creating Posts and Pages

If you are looking to create a blog, WordPress makes it a piece of cake. To add posts to your blog, navigate from the sidebar to

Posts -> All Posts -> Add New

This will take you to an editor where you can add your post content and publish it in a click! Further, you can add categories and tags to your posts to aggregate them and make it easier for your readers to look them up.

Adding pages is equally easy. From the sidebar, go to Pages -> All Pages -> Add new

Use the page editor to add content to your page. Your themes are programmed to make use of your pages and render them in a beautified and aesthetic manner with CSS and PHP. Pretty cool huh?

Using Plugins

Plugins are a major part of what WordPress is today. There is a huge range of plugins (in the plugins library) offering a variety of features. From the WooCommerce plugin that helps shopping websites set up shop fronts and payment gateways to Google Translate that makes your website multilingual, plugins have it all.

You can check it out by

Plugins -> Installed Plugins -> Add new

This opens the plugin library. You can pick and install any of them in a couple of clicks.

But our domain name stull reads some gibberish and not a semantic URL. Let’s change that next.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

Domain Name change

By default, your Cloudways application is under a temporary URL (a Cloudways subdomain). You can use your domain name to replace this temporary one. If you already own a subdomain you can use it here or you can purchase a new one.

Navigate to the Domain Management tab in Application Management. Add the new URL in the primary domain field.

Go back to the Cloudways access details page, and copy the public IP field. Navigate to the domain name provider page, and add this public IP in the A Records. This would point the DNS servers to the correct webpage for your IP.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

Now you will access your website under your new domain name. That’s it for your basic WordPress application set up.

Cloudways File Management using FTP

Use File Transfer Protocol and Secure File Transfer Protocol to transfer assets and resources to and from the server. Uploading files and assets directly is usually inconvenient in a lot of hosting services. Managing files in the server via and FTP client like FileZilla is therefore highly recommended.

Making changes to the website – Making big changes to the website requires uploading and changing a large number of assets. This includes images, CSS, PHP scripts etc. You can manage them via the FTP/SFTP with ease. If you are hosting a WordPress website, you can view all the assets in a standard pre-defined directory structure.

Deactivating and Activating WordPress Themes – Navigate to /wp-content/themes directory. You will find your active themes. You can rename them to disable them. You can re-activate them on your WordPress admin dashboard. You can do the same with plugins.

htaccess – .htaccess files are configuration files for the apache server. They enable additional features in the Apache webserver such as 301 redirections, WWW or non-

  1. display, blocking IPs, error displays and more. You can easily add htaccess hidden files via FTP clients and add scripts to them.

To set up your SFTP connection on Cloudways, according to Cloudways knowledge base, you have to do the following

  1. Open FileZilla and enter sftp://server-ip-address in Host. Note that the sftp means that the connection is secure and its a file transfer protocol and not HTTP.
  1. Find out your master or application username, from the either, Server Management->Master Credentials->Username or Application Management-> Access Details-> Username
  2. Now enter your password.
  3. Set Port as Port 22.
  4. At last, click on QuickConnect.
  5. You are now connected to your server via SFTP. Now, you can drag and drop files and folders between your personal computer and your server.

If you are a newbie, and this section flew over your head do not worry. Just remember that FTP/SFTP is a way to upload and download assets for your website efficiently.

Setting Up SSL Certificate in Cloudways

Ever noticed how some websites have HTTP in their URLs and others have HTTPS? It is usually the HTTP ones that the browsers find to be ‘not secure‘. HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol and HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. It is through this protocol that web page information is transferred from server to client across the internet. The SSL certificate or the Secure Sockets Layer is an encryption protocol that layers on HTTP to make the websites secure.

An SSL certificate is essential to any website that is looking to gain quality traffic and build momentum over time. And Cloudways offers SSL certificates for FREE! It does so with the help of Let’s Encrypt which is a non-profit free for all SSL authority. SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt are valid for 90 days. But don’t worry, they auto-renew after the 90 days when they expire. But you can renew the certificate on demand anytime. This will give you an additional 90 days if SSL certification.

But you could already own an SSL purchased from a different authority. In that case, you can just select the I already own an SSL from the Custom SSL section. You can now install and use the SSL you already own.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

Setting up CloudwaysCDN

Content Delivery Networks are indispensable in achieving the low latency and high loading speeds of your web pages. And speed is very crucial in achieving that.

Content Delivery Networks or CDNs are in essence just a group of servers spread around the world that help deliver website assets and make them load faster. According to unBounce, websites that load within five seconds see 70% longer average session times. Speed is key in establishing yourself on the web as a reliable service provider. And CDNs are irreplaceable in making pages load faster.

Cloudways provides its CDN (called CloudwaysCDN) with StackPath as a partner as an add-on with a cloud-hosting server. But note that you can also use other CDNs such as Cloudflare while using Cloudways for only hosting your website in the cloud.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

Pricing Note:

Cloudways CDN is very affordable. The price is $1 per month for 25 GB. That’s not bad, is it? For every additional GB, the extra fee is $0.04. The pricing is definitely on the cheaper side of CDN services.

Here’s how you set up CloudwayCDN with a Cloudways managed hosting application (WordPress or any CMS).

Navigate to Applications(Navbar) -> Click on an application -> Cloudways CDN.

Check the website URL and press the create button.

This would enable the CDN and open the CloudwaysCDN options panel. You will see the following

1. Website URL – Your domain name

  1. CDN URL – This CDN URL should be added to a place where you need to add the URL for your application’s static resources.
  2. Bandwidth – The bandwidth used by the application in the present month.
  3. Purge Content – Deletes all cached data from the PoPs we earlier talked about. Use it when you change your website content and do not want users to use the outdated cached data.
  4. Remove Subscription – Uninstalls the CDN from your application. Be sure to remove the CDN URL before you hit this button!

There are a few CloudwaysCDN features that you can request for. These are on-demand features and will only be activated by Cloudways customer support when asked for.

  1. Custom Domain Support – Using a custom domain instead of CloudwaysCDN URL.
  2. Enable SSL with Custom Domain – Force HTTPS with a custom domain
  3. Default Cache Time – Force cache from CDN headers instead of application headers.
  4. Remove Cookies from CDN – If you want the CDN to ignore the cookies in the requests (reduced overhead if you don’t need them).
  5. WebP – Separate WebP and non-WebP content. By default, they are stored in the same URL (WebP is an image format developed by Google for lossy and lossless compression)
  6. Robots.txt – Robots.txt is a kind of web crawler. The application’s default web crawler is used by default. You can ask for it to be changed to the CloudwaysCDN’s Robots.txt file.

Setting up custom Email with Cloudways

Setting up custom emails with Cloudways is possible with an add-on called Rackspace Email. Here is a quick walkthrough on how to set up your mailboxes for a domain/ application.

Set up Rackspace Add-on

Rackspace adds on is a paid extra service and has to be activated before it can be used. Don’t worry! It’s only $1/month/mailbox.

Navigate as follows: Grid Icon (on the menu bar) -> Add-ons -> Rackspace Email Add-on

This will open up a new dialogue box. To set up a mailbox just enter the custom email ID and password. Hit save changes.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

Configure DNS

If this is the first time a mailbox is being added, the DNS should be configured accordingly. According to Rackspace docs, you should go to your domain name service provider’s control panel. And add the following entries.

How to Setup Cloudways and WordPress

Now save your changes.

Set up Aliases and Catch-All

You can set up aliases under the alias tab. Aliases are other custom email addresses that point to the same mailbox as the primary email address.

You can also catch all emails sent to non-existent addresses under your domain (for example ex@bytevarsity.com instead of example@bytevarsity.com). Set this up under the Catch-All tab.

These emails can be accessed via WebMail or Email Clients. Here’s the official doc to configure your email client with your Rackspace email.

WordPress Command Line Interface

The WordPress Command Line Interface or WP-CLI is a feature that allows the wp-admin to make changes and updates to the WordPress site via the command line. To do so the user needs to connect to their application on the server using SSH (secure shell).

WP-CLI allows is a convenient tool to do faster changes and updates, because of its small and atomic operations. In essence, it trades the intuitive GUI for a faster CLI. It saves navigation and clicking time. And so is greatly preferred by professionals and experienced users. It can be used to upgrade WordPress, take backups and post new content.

Setting up WP-CLI

  1. You start by using a local shell client like PuTTY, zsh or bash.
  2. Navigate to the webroot (wp-config.php) location. It is usually inside the public_html directory.
  3. Once done, you will be able to use the WP-CLI commands.

What you can do with it?

Some popular commands as listed in the documentation are,

  • wp home
  • wp option [add|update|delete|get]
  • wp plugin [activate|deactivate|toggle|path|update|uninstall|delete|status|install]
  • wp post-meta [get|delete|add|update]
  • wp post [create|update|delete]
  • wp theme [activate|path|delete|status|install|update]
  • wp transient [get|set|delete|type]
  • wp user-meta [get|delete|add|update]
  • wp user [list|delete|create|update]

You can list all available CLI commands by using the command

wp help

As evident, there are a range of commands that allow the user to

  1. Create new users, list existing users, update users and delete users (CRUD Operations).
  2. CRUD operations on comments.
  3. Plugin management by CRUD operations, activating and deactivating them.
  4. Perform network-wide operations
  5. Perform cache management and much more in much lesser time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How to host a website on Cloudways digital ocean?

Setting up a server with Digital Ocean (or anything else) as the IaaS provider while using Cloudways is simple and easy Follow the sequence of following steps and you sill be set!

  1. Login to Cloudways hosting account.
  2. Click on ‘new server’ on the top right area.
  3. Select the type of application.
  4. Select Digital Ocean as the IaaS provider from available IaaS providers.
  5. Select the size of the server and the server location.
  6. Launch the server.

Take a look at this Cloudways pricing page for more details about subscription plans and configurations. Or you could read our analysis on Cloudways pricing!

2. How to get Cloudways free trial?

Over the past few months, Cloudways has upped its security to avoid DDoS attacks and Bots. Signing up with a free trial (of 3 days) is possible but is a little time-consuming. You can sign up by

  1. Visit the signup page
  2. Fill in Name, Email, Password, Purpose and Promo Code (if any).
  3. Accept to terms and hit start free button
  4. You would have received an email from Cloudways asking for ID proofs to verify your identity
  5. You need to email verify@cloudways.com with an image (scan or photo) of your government-issued ID, e.g. drivers’ license or passport (photo page), AND any two of the following:
  • Your Facebook URL
  • Your Twitter handle
  • A link to your LinkedIn profile
  • Your company or personal website address
  • Your contact phone number

Cloudways will manually verify your identity and unlock your account as soon as it is done.

  1. What is the difference between Cloudways cloud hosting and other cloud hosting?

Cloud hosting is of 2 types. Managed cloud hosting and unmanaged cloud hosting. Most other unmanaged cloud hosting services are still extreme technical and require domain knowledge to use them effectively. Cloudways offers a less intensive but more intuitive way to make use of cloud computing for small and medium-sized businesses.

In comparison with other managed cloud hosting services, such as Liquid Web, Siteground, Kinsta, Cloudways is much more intuitive. And so it is much more popular. It is possibly the most popular managed cloud hosting service in the world. It supports 5 IaaS services and offers better support than most competitors.

4. How to install WordPress on Cloudways subdomain?

You can install WordPress in a subdomain y following these steps

    1. Login to Cloudways
    2. Toggle to applications window
    3. Select ‘Add Application’
    4. Select an Existing Server
    5. Select a WordPress version from the select application dropdown
    6. Name your application and add the application
    7. In your new Application’s domain management tab, type the full URL of the subdomain (eg: blog.example-domain.com).
    8. Save Changes
    9. Go to your domain name service provider and point the CNAME and DNS to the correct IP.
  1. What are the alternatives to Cloudways hosting?

When it comes to managed cloud hosting services, it doesn’t get better than Cloudways. But there are other similar managed cloud hosting platforms. Some of the major players in the cloud hosting game are

    1. Liquid Web – Simplified pricing structure, cPanel, Great security.
    2. Siteground – Simpler pricing structure, manage sub-accounts, Better support.
    3. Kinsta – Aimed at WordPress site owners, Only GCP.
    4. Pantheon – public cloud hosting, IaaS – AWS and Microsoft Azure, advanced DevOps and workflow automation.
    5. WP Engine – Versatile – small to enterprise-level, range of pricing options, IaaS – AWS, GCP, Cloudflare, HubSpot and New Relic.
  1. Cloudways vs Bluehost?

In a couple of words? Cloudways is better. The major reasons are:

  1. Ease of use – With easy site migration, collaborative features and staging features Cloudways has the edge.
  2. Performance and overall reliability – On this metric at least they aren’t much different from each other. They use state of the art technology and SSDs for storage. They are equally reliable.
  3. Customer Support – Cloudways has a 3-tiered customer support system and is extremely competent and professional.

Cloudways has an edge over Bluehost.

7. How to clone server in Cloudways?

You can clone your Cloudways server by following these steps,

    1. Login to Cloudways.
    2. Select servers on the top menu bar.
    3. Click on the 3 dots on the right end of the server you want to clone. And select clone server.
    4. Now, this opens a new server creation dialogue window. Select IaaS, server size, server location (for all IaaS cloning) and database storage size (for AWS to GCP or vice versa only).
    5. Hit clone server.
  1. How to clone application in Cloudways?

You can clone an application on the same server or a different server by following these steps

  1. Login to Cloudways.
  2. Select Applications on the top menu bar.
  3. Select the application you want to clone.
  4. Hover over the floating yellow grid button on the bottom left.
  5. Select Clone App
  6. Select the server you want to clone the application into.
  7. Hit continue.

The time taken will depend on the application size.

9. How to take backup in Cloudways?

Schedule your backup frequency and retention time. You can also store a local copy of the backup in the server to download it via SFTP. You can also backup your application on-demand before making any major update.

To do so,

    1. Login to Cloudways
    2. Navigate to Servers -> Your Server
    3. Go to Backups tab
    4. Enter Schedule time (time of the day for backup), Backup Frequency (eg: 1 day

=> once a day), Back up retention (eg: 10 days => backup is stored for 10 days).

    1. Click backup now if you want to backup immediately.
    2. Click Save Changes.
  1. What is Cloudways block storage?

Cloudways block storage is a feature that comes with Digital Ocean servers. It is a great solution for companies to increase their disk storage without increasing other configurations like CPU or RAM. Without block storage businesses who needed increased space had to opt for more expensive subscriptions that brought in additional resources (CPU or RAM) which they might not need. With block storage, DO server owners can just increase disk storage without changing other configurations (this saves a lot of money!)

11. How to add funds in Cloudways?

With Cloudways you can add funds as pre-paid credit. This will be used in future invoices for the hosting service. Adding funds is easy,

  1. Login to Cloudways
  2. Click on your profile pic -> Account.
  3. Go to the funds tab.
  4. Click the Add funds button.
  5. Enter amount and payment information.

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