In Depth SiteGround Hosting Review – Pros and Cons [With ScreenShots]

SiteGround Hosting Review – Finding a good, experienced and trustworthy web host for your website is one of the hardest things to do. Though there are a lot of web hosts that claim they are the best at what they do, it is not always true. There are many factors to consider when choosing a web host. This is especially true if you are a WordPress user.

So, let me share my experience with SiteGround, its pros and cons, and if they deliver what they promise.

SiteGround Hosting Review – Features You Get

No matter who you are, if you are a beginner or a pro while choosing a web host, you should always see if the target web host meets your specific needs. In my case, since I love and use WordPress, I always go for a web host that meets WordPress specific needs like speed, security, premium support that know their stuff, automatic backups and easy restoration, etc. So, here are some of the best SiteGround features every WordPress user will love.

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1. One-click WordPress Installation

Not everyone is proficient in installing WordPress manually. So if you ever need, SiteGround has an awesome and simple setup wizard that guides you with installing WordPress. Installing WordPress using the SiteGround’s setup wizard takes no more than a few clicks. It’s just that easy. Of course, if you want to, you can always install WordPress manually without any hiccups whatsoever.

2. Performance and Speed

For any website, speed and performance are a huge concern. To get the best possible speed and performance, SiteGround uses top-tier servers, extensively tested configurations with SSDs for storage. Moreover, SiteGround has four data centers in 3 different continents. The good thing is, you can actually select which datacenter you want while signing up. For increased speed, SiteGround offers server side caching and even stores MySQL databases on a different disk for faster performance. On select plans, MySQL databases are stored in SSDs and in other plans, the databases are stored in SAS hard disk drives.

To top it all, SiteGround cooked their own plugin called SuperChacer with three levels of caching for a solid and dynamic caching. This plugin works great with WordPress and Joomla.

3. Top-notch Security

When it comes to security, SiteGround always stays top in terms of protecting the shared hosting users. Typically, if one site is hacked in the shared hosting space then it sometimes makes all the sites on the server vulnerable due to how they are configured. But, SiteGround uses a unique “chroot mechanism” to isolate each account to its own directory. This ensures even if a site on a shared hosting space is hacked or infected, other accounts or sites on the server won’t be affected.

The good thing is, even if there is a vulnerability found in software like WordPress, SiteGround will immediately patch it on the server level without leaving users to fix it on their own. Moreover, SiteGround also offers various features like spam prevention, anti-hack systems, power redundancy, hardware redundancy, etc.., to compliment their existing security systems. Watch the below video to get a basic idea on how SiteGround takes measures to protect your website.

4. Automatic Daily Backups

Daily backups are an important part of any website as they help us restore the website to a known good state in the event of hack attacks, database corruption, etc. Though there are several WordPress backup plugins to backup your website to cloud services, having an in-home solution is the best. The good thing about SiteGround is they do daily backups of your site and you will have access to 30 backups to choose and restore from. To restore the backup, you can use their backup restore tool.

Moreover, on select plans like GoGeek, you can actually request the SiteGround support staff for unlimited manual professional restores.

SiteGround Hosting Review - Professional Support to Restore Backup

SiteGround Hosting Review – Professional Support to Restore the Backup

5. WordPress Staging

For WordPress specific hosting in SiteGround, the cPanel provides you with all the tools necessary tools to stage your current WordPress site. In case you don’t know, a staging environment is kinda like a test site where you can test new plugins, configurations, themes, etc.., before applying them to the main production site. The good thing about the SiteGround’s staging environment is you can actually develop an entire website and when you are done with the development, you can move it to the main domain with just a click or two.

SiteGround Hosting Review - Support for WordPress Staging Environment

SiteGround Hosting Review – One Click WordPress Staging Environment

6. 24×7 Support

When it comes to web hosting, 24×7 support is the one thing that you should never ignore and SiteGround excels at this part. Yes, I’ve personally tested them and I’m not exaggerating their support. You can reach SiteGround support through phone, chat, and email.

Test 1:

As the first test, I manually installed the WordPress site, configured it and even added some dummy content. After that, I logged into my FTP account, opened the .htaccess file and replaced everything in it with random letters. As you can tell, this action will break the site.

To resolve the issue, I contacted the SiteGround support through the live chat. I explained my issue to the support staff and they fixed the issue in just a minute.

Of course, the problem itself is nothing major but the important thing is they fixed the issue without asking too many technical questions, a big thing for many WordPress users.

Test 2:

As for the second test, I wanted to move one of my test sites to a temporary domain. After the successful transfer, I wanted to change the domain name. That way, I won’t have any downtime on the test site. So, I created a new database and uploaded all the WordPress files. Then started a live chat session to ask if the SiteGround support staff can import the database and change the domain name in the database to match the temporary domain. This action helps to see if the site transfer is successful or not.

To my surprise, they actually complied my request without a second question. Did the tasks I asked for in just a minute or two and everything worked as it should.

Since everything is fine and dandy, I contacted SiteGround’s support staff again and requested to change the temporary domain to the main domain name. Again, they complied with my request and changed the domain name in the database. With that, I have my site successfully transferred without any hiccups or downtime.

Of course, the SiteGround support staff saw that I haven’t utilized the free transfer option and recommended me to use it. Free website transfer is a great option for many WordPress users who got stuck with a web host just because they don’t know how to safely transfer a WordPress website.

7. Freebies on Signup

This is one of the best things about SiteGround. When you signup for the first time, you will get a free domain no matter what plan you choose. Moreover, on GrowBig and GoGeek plans, you will also get a free SSL certificate for one year. As I said earlier, if you want to transfer your existing website to SiteGround then the support staff will take care of it for free. All you have to do is submit a request for free transfer from the control panel.

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SiteGround Hosting Review – What Plan to Choose?

SiteGround offers three different hosting plans namely, StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek.

SiteGround Hosting Review - SiteGround Hosting Plans

SiteGround Hosting Review – Different SiteGround Hosting Plans

StartUp Plan

StartUp plan is more suitable for blogs or websites that use fewer resources and has low traffic, much like personal blogs or portfolio sites. As SiteGround states, this plan is a good match for websites that gets approximately 10,000 hits or visits per month. This plan is perfect if you are starting a new website or to test how things work in SiteGround.

On the StartUp plan, you can only host one website.

GrowBig Plan

GrowBin plan is the second level and has more resources than the StartUp plan. With its increased resources, it is more suitable for websites which approximately gets 25,000 hits or visits per month. Compared the StartUp plan, GrowBig plan users will have access to SiteGround’s premium features like WordPress special cache, 30 days premium backup solution, priority support, free SSL certificate, etc.

On the GrowBig plan, you can host however many sites you want to host.

GoGeek Plan

GoGeek plan has all the features of StartUp and GrowBig plan and even has more premium features. Moreover, on this plan, you will get more robust hardware and fewer users per server.

Some premium features include but not limited to support of staging environment, PCI compliance, priority support, premium backup and restore service (if needed, SiteGround support staff will manually restore your site), Sg-Git for WordPress, SSD storage of MySQL databases, etc.

This plan is more suitable for business websites or bigger sites which receive approximately 100,000 hits or visits per month.

On the GoGeek plan, you can host however many sites you want to host.

Note: though SiteGround shows approximate visits per month on every plan, it is not a hard limit.

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The good thing about SiteGround is after choosing the initial plan if your website grows and needs more resources and power then you can always upgrade your account with just a click or two.

SiteGround Hosting Review – Quick User Interface Tour

As I said before, when you sign up for SiteGround, no matter what plan you choose, you get a free domain. This saves you some bucks. Moreover, you can also choose which datacenter you want while signing up.

SiteGround Hosting Review - Datacenters in Different Places

SiteGround Hosting Review – Datacenters in Different Places

After signing up, log in to your SiteGround account. Here, under the “My Account” tab, you will find all the necessary details like your cPanel username, FTP details, account IP address, Name Server details, etc.

SiteGround Hosting Review - SiteGround Hosting Dashboard

SiteGround Hosting Review – SiteGround Hosting Dashboard

Under the “Extra Services” tab, you will find all the extra services. Those services include but not limited to, SSL certificate, premium backup service, HackAlert Malware Monitoring, etc.

If you choose the GrowBig or GoGeek plan, you are eligible for a one-year standard alpha SSL. You can redeem your free SSL certificate by click on the button “Get Free” next to “Standard Alpha SSL.”

SiteGround Hosting Review - SSL and Backup Options

SiteGround Hosting Review – SSL and Backup Options

To login to your account cPanle, just click on the button “Go to cPanel” in the “Information and Settings” tab and you will be taken to the cPanel where you can manage all your websites, domains, and other settings.

SiteGround Hosting Review - SiteGround Hosting cPanel

SiteGround Hosting Review – SiteGround Hosting cPanel

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SiteGround Hosting Review – Install WordPress in SiteGround

1. In the cPanel, you can install WordPress with just a few clicks using the auto-install script. To do that, find “Auto Installers” category and click on the link “WordPress.”

SiteGround Hosting Review - Select WordPress Application

SiteGround Hosting Review – Select WordPress Application

2. The above action will take you to the auto installer screen, simply click on the button “Install” and follow the on-screen instructions. You will have your new WordPress site installed in no time.

3. After installing the site, you can see the installed site(s) under the “Installations” tab on the “My Account” page.

SiteGround Hosting Review - WordPress Installed

SiteGround Hosting Review – WordPress Installed

4. You can login to your new website using the URL http://example.com/wp-admin.

In case you are wondering, here are few things that you should do after installing WordPress for the first time. Also, follow the best security practices to secure your WordPress installation.

SiteGround Hosting Review – WordPress Toolkit

One of the best things provided by SiteGround is the WordPress Toolkit which can be accessed both from the cPanel and the “My Account” page.

SiteGround Hosting Review - WordPress Toolkit

SiteGround Hosting Review – WordPress Toolkit

The WordPress Toolkit has all the necessary tools to do things like:

  • one-click admin password reset
  • IP address restriction
  • Fixing file permissions
  • Moving the installation folder
  • Configuring SSL certificate
  • Change website domain

and much more.

SiteGround Hosting Review - SiteGround WordPress Toolkit Options

SiteGround Hosting Review – SiteGround WordPress Toolkit Options

SiteGround Hosting Review – Conclusion

If you are looking for a quality web hosting with features that compliment the WordPress ecosystem then you should definitely try SiteGround. Of course, SiteGround is a little bit pricey. But, the price is well worth if you consider all the things like security, speed, and premium class support. Go see what plan suits your needs. Don’t forget to get 50% off on any of your SiteGround hosting plans.

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That’s all for now and if you are using or consider using SiteGround for your website then do share your thoughts and experiences in the comments form below.

Google Maps Widget Review: Adding Google Maps to WordPress Made Easy

Who doesn’t know the Google Maps? It helps almost all of us to find our way through the city jungle while providing useful information.

Such that, if you are running a business and want to provide your users or customers the way to easily find your office then you can use the same Google Maps to guide them. More often than not, the success of your business may hinge on how easily can your customers find their way to your office location.

The good thing is, Google itself provides you with the required embedding code to display the Map. However, it is not the most customizable or easy to use.

So, to make things a bit easier and user-friendly you can use the Google Maps Widget Pro. In case you are wondering, here’s how to use it.

Features of Google Maps Widget Pro

Google Maps Widget pro has several features built into it to make this much easier and faster. Below are some good features you will get using this plugin.

Do remember the below list is not exhaustive.

  • Google Maps Widget pro is available in both free and pro version.
  • Multiple thumbnail image formats including jpg, gif, and png.
  • The plugin supports multiple pins and custom pin bubbles.
  • No matter what type of map you are creating, there are 1500+ pins for you.
  • Hidden sidebar widget to easily create and handle shortcodes.
  • 4 different thumbnail and interactive map modes.
  • Fully customize and control pins on thumbnail maps and interactive maps.
  • Multiple thumbnail map colors.
  • Fullscreen lightbox support for interactive maps.
  • Shortcode support lets you add the map anywhere on your site.
  • Export and import widget tools and settings.
  • Lets you optimize the JS and CSS for faster loading.
  • and many more.

Download Google Maps Widget Pro

Installation and Usage of Google Maps Widget Pro

Like I said before, using Google Maps Widget Pro is simple and easy. To start off, download Google Maps Widget and install it like any other plugin. Once installed, open the plugin settings page by navigating to “Settings > Google Maps Widget.”

google-maps-widgets-pro-click-google-maps-widget-settings-link

Here, the first thing you need to do is enter the Google Maps API key. Thankfully, you can easily create your own API key from the Google Developer Console. You can find the detailed instructions here.

google-maps-widgets-pro-save-api-changes

Once you have the API, paste it in the blank field and click on the button “Test API Key.” If everything goes as it should, you will see a confirmation message something like this. Just click on the button “Ok” to close the dialog box.

google-maps-widgets-pro-api-key-accepted

The good thing about Google Maps Widget Pro is the plugin is configured optimally out of the box. That being said you can track the activities of your map in Google Analytics as Events. Just select the checkbox “Track with Google Analytics” and then click on the button “Save Changes” to apply the settings.

google-maps-widgets-pro-plugin-settings

Once you are done with the settings, you can add the Google Maps widget to your site. To do that, navigate to “Appearance > Widgets.”

google-maps-widgets-pro-select-widgets-options

Here, find the Google Maps Widget and drag and drop onto your widget area. This action will show you many options to configure the map.

Just enter the map address, map size, select the pin color, map type, etc., and click on the button “Save” to save the changes.

google-maps-widgets-pro-map-widget-settings

That’s all there is to do. You’ve successfully added Google Maps to your website.

google-maps-widgets-pro-map-added-to-sidebar

By default, the plugin will only display the Google Maps as a thumbnail image to reduce the loading time. However, as soon as you click on it, it will open the interactive map in the lightbox.

google-maps-widgets-pro-map-in-lightbox

Download Google Maps Widget Pro

Conclusion

All in all, if you are running a business or if you want to show your location on your WordPress site then the Google Maps Widget plugin is a must have. The plugin makes it easy and doesn’t bog down your site with unnecessary clutter or requests.

Moreover, the plugin is also available for free. So, do give the plugin a try. After all, with over 100,000 installs, a 4.8 rating is a good thing.

Do comment below to share your thoughts and experiences about using the Google Maps Widget pro to display maps on your WordPress website.

This is a sponsored post and we received compensation in return for writing the review. Although the review is sponsored, all opinions are our own.

Security Ninja: A No Nonsense Plugin to Protect Your WordPress Site

If you are running a WordPress site, it is important that you harden your WordPress security. The reason for this is simple. WordPress is pretty popular and there are millions of websites that are powered by WordPress.

This huge popularity and usage make WordPress a viable target for attackers. Many of us know this fact but it doesn’t mean that we are successful in protecting or hardening the site.

To deal with this, there are many WordPress plugins that help protect your site and the Security Ninja is one such plugin. In this article, let us find out the features of Security Ninja and how it helps you in securing your WordPress site.

Also read: 4 tips to protect WordPress admin area

What is Security Ninja

Security Ninja is a WordPress security plugin that makes it hard for attackers to compromise your WordPress site. The Security Ninja plugin is available in both free and paid variations. You can download the free version from the WordPress plugin repository.

The thing I like most about Security Ninja is that unlike other plugins, it is not bloated with unnecessary features and nag you to enable this and that. Moreover, it doesn’t make any changes to your site. You have full control over what to and not to implement.

If you want to, you can use this free tool to scan your WordPress site without installing any plugin.

Below are some important features that you will get with the Security Ninja plugin.

Features of Security Ninja

  • Performs daily checks to find any vulnerabilities and holes.
  • Prevention and protection from zero-day attacks.
  • Conducts 40+ different security tests.
  • Extensive and descriptive help on all the tests and their results.
  • You can use the included code snippets for quick fixes.
  • Add-on modules to monitor and tighten the security.
  • Remote Access feature that lets you manage Security Ninja functions of multiple sites from a single dashboard.

Different Modules in Security Ninja

The Security Ninja plugin has five modules that are available for all Pro users out-of-the-box. Here’s what each module does to protect your site.

Core Scanner Module: As most of you know, there are many core files in WordPress and they are important. In case you are wondering, this is important because more often than not, attackers try to hide their malicious code in the core files.

Such that, what Core Scanner module does is it scans for any changes in the core files and reports the changes.

 

security-ninja-review-security-scanner-in-action

Malware Scanner Module: As the name implies, the malware scanner module scans your site, including your plugins, themes, database, etc., to find any potential malware or suspicious code. The good thing about this module is it performs heuristic analysis and over 20 tests on each file.

security-ninja-review-malware-scanner

Scheduled Scanner Module: Security Ninja makes it easy to scan and fix your site. But it is not that ideal to manually scan your site each and every time. To deal with that, you can use the scheduled scanner module which enables you to automate the scanning and receive emails when it detects the changes or malware.

security-ninja-review-scheduled-scan-settings

Even Logger Module: If you are running a multi-author blog or a membership website then you may want to know what’s happening on your site. In those situations, the Event Logger module will help you a lot.

The Event Logger module in Security Ninja can log more than 50events including but not limited to, plugin modifications, log in and log out actions, failed login attempts, post edits, changes in WordPress settings, changes to widgets, etc.

security-ninja-review-logged-events

Auto Fixer Module: The Auto Fixer module in Security Ninja helps you apply the quick fixes automatically with just a click or two.

Download Security Ninja

Installing and Using Security Ninja

As I said before, Security Ninja will not change anything on your site and you will have full control. That is what makes the plugin user-friendly and easy to get started with.

Just download the plugin from the official site and install it like any other WordPress plugin. After installing, navigate to “Tools > Security Ninja PRO” to open the plugin settings page.

security-ninja-review-navigate-to-sn-settings

If this is your first time, the plugin may show you warning messages that the scan has never run. On the settings page, run the first security scan by clicking on the button “Analyze” appearing under the Security Tests tab.

security-ninja-review-security-tests-module

The above action will initiate the scan and once completed, the results will be displayed.

security-ninja-review-security-scan-results

By clicking on the link “Details, tips and help” next to the failed result will take you to the quick fix screen. Here you will find the tips and code snippets that you can use to increase the WordPress security.

security-ninja-review-quick-fix-tips

From the Core Scanner tab, you can quickly and easily scan your WordPress files for any changes. The good thing is this tab will list all the core files that are modified. You can see the source file by simply clicking on the “View File Source” button.

security-ninja-review-core-scanner-results

To scan for malware, you can use the Malware scanner module from the “Malware Scanner” tab. Just click on the button “Scan files for malware” to initiate the scan.

security-ninja-review-malware-scanner

After the malware scan has been finished, you will see all the files that look suspicious to Security Ninja. By clicking on the down arrow button, you can see the flagged code.

However, not every warning you see here is a malware. There might be several false positives. If you think a file is not a malware, whitelist it by clicking on the button “Whitelist File.”

security-ninja-review-malware-scanner-results

From the Event Logger tab you see all the activities and changes made to your WordPress site. By default, Event Logger will not send you email reports.

If you wish to change this behavior then you can do that by clicking on the button “Settings” appearing at the top of the Event Logger tab. Just select the email notification priority, what events you want to get alerts for and click on the button “Save Changes.”

security-ninja-review-event-logger-settings

As I said before, you can automate the scanning process using the Scheduled Scanner module. Just navigate to the “Scheduled Scanner” tab and configure the settings as required.

security-ninja-review-scheduled-scan-settings

Also read: how to block comment spam even before it is posted to your WordPress site

Conclusion

All in all, Security Ninja is a neat little tool that can make your site more secure and safe. Moreover, the plugin is easy to use and has all the necessary features you will ever need. So, do give the plugin a try and see if it fits your needs.

You can also download Security Ninja lite from the WordPress plugin repository.

Download Security Ninja

Hope that helps and do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above plugin to secure your WordPress site.

This is a sponsored post and we received compensation in return for writing the review. All though the review is sponsored, all opinions are our own.

Cloudways Review – Is the Managed Cloud WordPress Hosting worth Your Money and Time?

When most of us hear about cloud hosting, we all have certain fear and uncertainty. In fact, most of us think the cloud is not for us. There may be several reasons like the complex configurations, need to look after the server and its security, etc. However, Cloudways is different. In this Cloudways review, lets us see if it is worth your money and time.

Let us find out the pros and cons in this Cloudways review.

So, What Cloudways Actually Is?

Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting service where you can select different plans from different cloud hosting services like Digital Ocean, Vultr, Amazon, Google Cloud Platform, and Kyup.

Cloudways Review - Cloud Hosting Plan

Cloudways Review – Different Cloud Hosting Plans To Choose From

As you can see, with Cloudways, you are not limited to one cloud service. For instance, you can create a $14 Vultr server for your main WordPress website and a sperate $5 Digital Ocean server for your staging environment. All of this is done under a single account and with just a few clicks.

Cloudways Review - Setting Up Server

Cloudways Review – Setting Up Server

Cloudways make this possible by acting as a middleman between you and the actual cloud service. All the while, making it easy to configure and monitor server resources.

Since the servers are maintained by the Cloudways team, you don’t actually have to worry about any security threats like regular operating system patches, firmware upgrades, etc.

Moreover, Cloudways prides themselves with their performance oriented servers with multiple levels of caching and server optimization techniques.

Cloudways cloud hosting service uses Nginx and Apache web servers with Varnish and Memcached caching system. If you want to, you can even replace Memcached with Redis. In fact, you can even choose between the database software between MySQL or MariaDB.

Cloudways Review - Multiple Levels of Caching

Cloudways Review – Multiple Levels of Caching

Of course, you don’t have to choose everything for yourself. Cloudways optimally selects everything for you. But, you have the choice to change the options if you know what you are doing.

A Few Questions You May Have about Cloudways

If this is your first time with Cloudways or with the cloud services then you might have some questions. Hopefully, you will find your answer below.

1. Do I have to pay for Cloudways and the cloud services like Digital Ocean, Amazon, Google, etc.?

  • No. You will pay according to the plans display in the Cloudways website and that’s it. You don’t have to pay anything extra for the cloud services.

2. Do I have to know server administration in order to use Cloudways?

  • No. Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting service. They will look after everything. All you have to do is select the cloud service, server size and hit the create button.

3. Do I have to pay the hosting charges upfront?

  • No. Cloudways will charge you on an hourly basis and you will make the payment at the end of the month. If you’ve created a server, used it for a few hours then destroyed it, you will only pay for that few hours. You don’t have to pay the full monthly charges like in normal hosting.

4. Does Cloudways support multiple apps?

  • Yes. Cloudways supports multiple apps like WordPress, Magento, Drupal, etc. In fact, you can install almost any PHP based application.

5. Is there any cap on how many websites can I install on a server?

  • Nope. You can install as may websites as you like. You are just limited by the server size and resources.

6. Is Cloudways optimized for WordPress?

  • Yes. In fact, WordPress websites installed on Cloudways run on par with websites installed on managed WordPress hosting services like WP Engine, Godaddy managed hosting, etc.

7. Do I need to contact Cloudways every time I want to change server settings?

  • If you know what you are doing, you can change most of the server parameters using the Cloudways console.

8. Do I have root access?

  • No, you don’t.

Cloudways Review – Features

Below is the list of all the best features you will get from Cloudways managed cloud hosting. However, the below list is in no way exhaustive. I’m just listing the features I like the best.

  • You can choose between multiple cloud infrastructures like Digital Ocean, Amazon, Google, Vultr, etc.
  • You can choose between 25+ data centers thanks to the multiple cloud infrastructures.
  • Supports a wide range of PHP based web apps like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.
  • One-click backup and restore.
  • All your data is stored on SSDs for higher performance.
  • Install all major web apps like WordPress in One-Click.
  • Built in support for the staging area and staging URLs.
  • Ability to create teams and assign them specific roles with specific permissions.
  • Built-in support for Git.
  • Multiple layers of firewall protection.
  • All the servers and their configurations are maintained by Cloudways folks.
  • Real-time monitoring of server resources.
  • Ability to upscale or downscale with just a click or two as per your requirements.
  • Unlimited domains.
  • Built-in Cron job manager to automate tasks.
  • Built-in support for Let’s Encrypt. With Let’s Encrypt enabled, you don’t have to pay expensive dollars for SSL certificates.

When it comes to support, you will have access to 24×7 chat support. As per the email support, the typical response time to high-priority requests is within 30 minutes and for normal priority, it can take up to six hours.

If you ask me, the response time for support tickets is really good. In fact, it is better than almost any other web host out there.

Cloudways Review – Control Panel

Unlike traditional control panel (like cPanel for example) that is available in web hosts like SiteGround, HostGator, A Small Orange, etc.., Cloudways has its own cloud control panel. From here, you can easily control almost all the server settings, monitor server resources, add or remove applications, etc.

Once you log into your Cloudways control panel, you will see a list of all your servers. As I said before, you can create multiple servers from different providers.

Cloudways Review - Active Server

Cloudways Review – Active Server

By clicking on the server, you will be able to access all the options that can be used to control and monitor your server. As you can see, on the main screen, you will be given the master credentials that can be used to access SFTP and SSH.

Cloudways Review - Ease to Use Server Management Console

Cloudways Review – Ease to Use Server Management Console

On the top right corner, you will get a list of all the apps installed on this particular server. By clicking on the app name, you can get the application settings.

Cloudways Review - Installed WordPress Sites

Cloudways Review – Installed WordPress Sites

From the Application Settings panel, you can activate Let’s Encrypt, manage your domain, create Cron jobs, request migration service, add or activate add-ons, restore backups with one-click, etc.

Cloudways Review - WordPress Account Details

Cloudways Review – WordPress Account Details

For instance, from the SSL certificate tab, you can easily enable Let’s Encrypt with just a click. The good thing is, Cloudways automatically renews your Let’s Encrypt certificate (generally, the certificate will be expired in 90 days). If you want to, you can even add your own SSL certificate.

Cloudways Review - Free SSL

Cloudways Review – Free SSL

Moreover, Cloudways has a special WordPress plugin that makes it easy for you to transfer your existing website from your old host to Cloudways.

Cloudways Review - Free Migration Tool for WordPress

Cloudways Review – Free Migration Tool for WordPress

>>>>SIGNUP using this link and Get 14 DAY FREE TRIAL to try Cloudways (for Digital Ocean only, no credit card required).

Cloudways Review – Installing WordPress

If you’ve ever used cPanel’s one click installation, it is that easy to install WordPress on Cloudways.

1. To install WordPress on Cloudways, launch your server, click on the menu icon located on the bottom right corner and then select the option “Add Application.”

Cloudways Review - Add New Application

Cloudways Review – Add New Application

2. Now, select WordPress version from the application type drop-down menu, name you application and then click on the button “Add Application.”

Cloudways Review - Enter Application Details

Cloudways Review – Enter Application Details

3. That’s it. You’ve installed WordPress on Cloudways. Simply open the application on your server, navigate to Domain Management and then add your domain to complete the setup process.

Cloudways Review - Add Your Domain

Cloudways Review – Add Your Domain

4. If you want to migrate from the other host then use the Cloudways migration tool. This tool helps you to transfer your website.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle then use this like to signup and get a free migration from experts at Cloudways.
Cloudways Review - Migration Tools

Cloudways Review – Migration Tools

Cloudways Review – How’s the Support?

Cloudways support is really good. With every web host I use or test, I do a variety of things to test their support and see if they can help with basic WordPress troubleshooting. Cloudways is no different.

Here is my experience with Cloudways support.

To optimize image uploaded to Bloggersignal, I use the WordPress plugin EWWW Image Optimizer.

For this plugin to work properly, you need to have certain modules like jpegtran, optipng, gifsicle, etc.., installed on the backend. However, since I don’t have the root access, I fired up the chat session and asked the Cloudways support to install those modules for me.

As per their support system, I expected the reply within six hours as it is not a high-priority request. However, to my surprise, I got the reply within half-hour letting me know that the requested packages are installed on my behalf on my server.

Cloudways Review - Support Email

Cloudways Review – Support Email

As you can see, the support is pretty good and you can rely on them for your needs.

Cloudways Review – Site Uptime and Site Speed Report?

Site uptime is one of the most important things of many bloggers out there. Of course, no one wants to suffer random downtimes from time to time. This is because the downtime is not only uncomfortable to your site visitors but it can also affect your site’s search engine rankings.

As of writing this, Bloggersignal and my other website are hosted on Cloudways. In fact, it has been over two months. So, below is the site uptime report from Pingdom for last 30 days.

Cloudways Review - Site Uptime

Cloudways Review – Site Uptime

As you can see from the above image, the uptime is 100% and the response time is also pretty good.

When it comes to website loading speed, as you can see from the below image, the site is loading in less than one second. That loading speed is on par with managed WordPress hosting services like WP Engine. I think the performance grade and the load time speaks for itself.

Cloudways Review - Site Speed

Cloudways Review – Site Speed

Cloudways Review – Where It Lacks?

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Cloudways has its own cons including but not limited to.

  • No root access (understandable, but still)
  • Not being able to add custom sub-domains to Let’s Encrypt
  • No better way to clone servers, etc.

However, the pros outweigh the cons and unless you are an advanced user, you don’t even need the root access, need to clone servers, etc.

That being said, unlike other web hosting services, Cloudways has an open service improvement page where you can submit your own ideas. If your idea is good enough and will improve the service for many other Cloudways users, they will take it up and implement it.

A few examples for this would be the addition of MariaDB, ability to rename application folder, support for PHP-FPM, etc. All these ideas are pitched by users and are implemented by Cloudways team.

Cloudways Review – Conclusion

Even if you are a beginner to WordPress or blogging, Cloudways hosting is really easy, super fast and good for you. You don’t have to worry about complicated settings and your website will be fast. Moreover, unlike traditional web hosts, you don’t have to pay for the hosting upfront.

So, do give Cloudways a try and I can say for sure that you won’t be disappointed.

If you want to try out Cloudways then use this link to signup and then use the promo code CLOUDWAYS2 to get one month free. Yes, no credit card required.

Signup for Cloudways Now

Hope the Cloudways managed cloud hosting review helped you. Do comment below if you have any questions or if you have any experience with Cloudways managed cloud hosting.

GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting Review

Not so long ago, GoDaddy released their Managed WordPress hosting platform with some interesting features and affordable pricing. In this quick and detailed review, let us get to know more about what GoDaddy has to offer and how good it is when compared to other managed WordPress hosting platforms.

What is Manage WordPress Hosting?

WordPress is one of the easiest blogging and/or CMS platform available to the date, there is no denying that. But manually managing a WordPress blog can sometimes be tiresome if you just want to focus on producing quality content, building your business, social media marketing and so forth.

To deal with this, you need quality web hosting that is specially crafted for WordPress users and is fully managed by the geeks behind the scenes.

That is called managed WordPress hosting. Almost all the managed WordPress hosting providers will provide a lot of features that are tailored for WordPress and will also take care of several things like installing WordPress, migrating WordPress site, regular backups, WordPress security, caching, general WordPress problems, maintaining servers, etc.

Simply put, managed WordPress hosting reduces the stress of maintaining and protecting a WordPress site and you don’t have to worry about it. You can just focus on building your site or business.

GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting Review

Over the period of time, Godaddy changed a lot and is now providing reliable services while still being affordable. Besides from the regular hosting packages, GoDaddy is now offering the managed WordPress hosting services.

In fact, GoDaddy does everything a managed WordPress host should do and even does some things better in some instances. Whether you want to create a new WordPress site or migrate existing site, GoDaddy’s custom wizard will make it a lot easier and even offers personalized assistance if you ever need.

For starters, there are four different plans to choose from GoDaddy managed WordPress hosting. The plans range from $6.99 to $24.99.

Just like any other managed WordPress hosting platforms, GoDaddy do not place any limit on resource usage but depending on the plan you’ve selected, you are limited in terms of total monthly unique visits, SSD disk space, number of websites you can host, etc.

Once you are done signing up, installing a new WordPress site in GoDaddy managed WordPress hosting is pretty easy and straightforward. In fact, it doesn’t take more than a few clicks.

godaddy-managed-wordpress-histing-review-setup

Even if you want to migrate your existing WordPress site, GoDaddy has a good migration tool at your service. Just enter your current host’s FTP details and GoDaddy will migrate your website in no time.

The great thing about GoDaddy is that you have an option to setup or migrate your WordPress site to a temporary domain. Once you are done and think everything is fine and dandy, you can add your own domain name in place of the temporary domain name.

This temporary domain feature is pretty handy if you are migrating an existing site as you will face no downtime whatsoever.

Besides from all the regular stuff, below are some of the best features offered by GoDaddy managed WordPress hosting.

GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting Features

1. Speed: Since the hosting servers are specially configured to only host WordPress sites, you get the top notch speed and response times. Moreover, GoDaddy uses load-balanced servers with server-side caching and SSDs for storage. The server-side caching ensures that you don’t have to rely on WordPress caching plugins like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.

If you want to, you can also use third-party CDN services like MaxCDN or CloudFlare for increased reliability and speed.

Of course, just like any other managed WordPress hosting provider, GoDaddy blacklisted certain WordPress plugins that duplicate the existing GoDaddy features or that can cause performance issues.

2. Security: Being a managed platform, GoDaddy has its own security team that monitors the servers 24/7 and blocks any unwanted or malicious requests or hack attempts.

Every installed WordPress site on the server is in its own bubble so that even if a WordPress site on the server is compromised for whatever reason, other sites will be fine. Moreover, GoDaddy also performs server-side patches for WordPress so that you won’t run into risks.

3. Clean and Minimal Dashboard: GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting dashboard is pretty minimal and clean. All the different options are categorized accordingly and you can easily find any option you want with just a few clicks.

godaddy-managed-wordpress-histing-review-settings-panel

4. Daily Backups and One-click Restore: Regular backups are an important part of any WordPress site and you should never ignore that job. Even if you ignore, GoDaddy takes nightly backups of your WordPress site and stores them for 30 days so that you can revert back whenever you need.

In case you are wondering, you can restore any backup on any given time with just one-click.

godaddy-managed-wordpress-histing-review-backups

5. Staging Environment: One of the best things about Godaddy Managed WordPress hosting is the Staging Environment. In case you don’t know, Staging environment enables you to make a clone of your website so that you can test any new features, plugins or themes.

With just a click of the button, you will have your own test WordPress site with a temporary domain name. When you are done testing or building on the staging environment, you can easily import those changes.

godaddy-managed-wordpress-histing-review-staging

6. Automatic Updates: GoDaddy will take care of all the core WordPress updates so that you don’t have to worry about the sudden security releases or patches.

7. One-Click Migration Tool: If you want to migrate your existing WordPress site then GoDaddy does provide a handy One-Click migration tool. Just enter your current host’s FTP details and GoDaddy does the magic of migrating your site.

8. Free Domain: If you purchase an annual plan with GoDaddy, you are eligible for a free domain. This is handy if your are just starting a site as you don’t have to spend extra in the name of a new domain.

9. Support: GoDaddy has no live chat support and I wouldn’t bet on their email support. But the phone support is good and no matter what your support issue is, it will be solved in just one phone call. I’ve personally used it a couple times and the representatives are knowledgeable about WordPress and responded quickly.

10. WordPress Walkthroughs and Training Videos: Last but not least, GoDaddy has some pretty useful and basic WordPress training videos that help you configure basic WordPress settings.

Uptime and Site Speed Reports

Now, to the meat of the review. As of writing this, Bloggersignal is hosted on GoDaddy managed hosting platform and I personally never faced an issue. Of course, there are couple downtimes (5 minutes each), but nothing major.

Below is the one month worth of site uptime report from Pingdom. As you can see, there are no downtimes in the last one month. The big response time spikes you see in the below report are completely my doings as I messed with a some plugins.

However, the average response time is pretty good when you compare it with regular hosting providers.

godaddy-managed-wordpress-histing-review-uptime

Along with a good uptime graph, site speed is also pretty important and GoDaddy does a good job in this area. As you can see, Bloggersignal is loading under one second. Occasionally, the loading speed spikes to two seconds.

No matter what hosting provider you are with, make sure that your WordPress site loads under three seconds.

godaddy-managed-wordpress-histing-review-site-speed

What about Cons?

The only cons I could find about GoDaddy managed WordPress hosting are, there is no support for multi-site and you just cannot rely on their email support.

Conclusion

I personally loved how GoDaddy changed the things around and the managed hosting platform is pretty good for anyone who what a hassle-free WordPress experience. GoDaddy takes care of everything from the security to backups to updates so that you don’t have to worry about them.

Particularly, the pricing is really budget-friendly when compared to other managed hosting providers like WP Engine, etc., and you get all most all the features that are special to managed WordPress hosting platform.

Do I recommend this for serious bloggers and business owners? Considering my personal experience – yes, I do recommend GoDaddy managed WordPress hosting.

Get GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting Now!

Hopefully that helps and do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using GoDaddy managed WordPress hosting.