Feb 2021: It seems our preferred hosting provider for small business, Siteground, is pulling out of selling into New Zealand. Our many clients using them are still well supported as always, but they’re simply not signing up new NZ customers. (Australia is still okay). They tell me it’s a business decision, mostly around the issues of managing our GST with every new signup and renewal…. Sad really.
Cloudways Hosting to the Rescue
However this unexpected event forced us to look elsewhere for a replacement for new clients or those looking to upgrade their host to something better. Cloudways quickly became the obvious choice. In fact with their VPS Cloud plans [suitable for WordPress] starting from US$22 [being NZ$30] per month. They’re very good value for money, often little more than a much slower, less reliable ‘shared’ hosts here. Just having the ability to pay monthly with no contracts, is a plus for many…. Speed is insanely fast for the price, with good upgrade options and support if you need it. Perhaps even better than Siteground! Stunned.
Note if you run a busy shopping site, their larger US$40-50/mth plan is likely required as ecommerce sites generally need more computing resources than pretty brochure or blog sites. But even this cost is still under half the cost of equivalent offerings here in NZ and you can often run several small business websites on the one account too.
The other surprise is how much better Cloudways is than any other platform we’ve used. Sure, it took us a couple days to get our head around their controls and tools as it is when you buy a new car, just finding where everything is. But looking back, it all makes perfect sense and I can easily setup multiple server, domain and optimised WordPress applications in a day.
The other thing is that Cloudways don’t actually host anything themselves, but are developers who provide a slick front-end portal and toolset for you to select your cloud computing provider, be it Digital Ocean, Linode, Google, Vulr or Amazon. Also select the continent you want to host on. There are performance differences between these 5 cloud providers though. Some are certainly better value than others. It’s worth noting that Cloudways isn’t the only one doing this. Runcloud.io have a very similar system of managing these same cloud providers and work out cheaper overall. But Cloudways is still my preferred pick of the two.
Cloudways – Better Security & Management Tools
We’ve run separate hosting accounts on all 5 of the above over the years, but the setup was always a pain and management clunky, with a huge learning curve for each cloud provider. Not so when the same is setup using Cloudways. Yes, there is a small price premium, but Cloudways bundles in extra services, security and performance tweaks. Transfers from other hosts is a breeze too. One large (1.2GB) site we recently moved took a couple hours in the background, but with no major problems – Which is rare with big site migrations. Their flexible configurations, worker management and project tools are incredible too, making life easier for small business, developers or the large corporate users. Amazing stuff guys. Pleased we re-discovered them.
Sad about Siteground though, but every ‘cloud’ has a silver lining! This one is closer to gold….