Why We Switched From Bluehost To Cloudways – and How Easy It Was

Intro: This blog post is going to recommend to switch away from typical blog hosting providers like Bluehost to a relatively new cloud hosting platform called Cloudways. I recently did this and the experience was extremely good. Migrating each website took less than half an hour of my time (copying of files happened automated in the background!) – and the new service offered 3 days of free hosting – so I could find out whether everything went smoothly absolutely for free!

If you decide to go the same route, you can have another advantage that I didn’t have. We’ve become affiliates for Cloudways and can offer you a special deal: Get $15 in hosting credits if you sign up with the Promocode:

THESOCIALMS 

Until recently we hosted all our sites on Bluehost – and Bluehost provided an atrocious customer experience for us.

Download 14 Recipes to Drive Traffic to a New Blog. Click Here.

The situation became so bad that two weeks ago we had to switch – FAST. We were in the middle of a launch, and our sites were becoming so slow that clients complained “that our site was loading as slow as they would expect if we had the early 90s and we are surfing via a slow modem.”

This was costing us money – and we had to react fast.

The thing with switching a blog host is, that this is like your dentist appointments:

You know you have to go at it at some point, but you don’t know how much it will hurt you. And you also know that things will probably get worse every day you don’t go.

At least, that is what I thought – until I was surprised by one of the best switching-a-service experiences of my life. The host I will recommend to you is Cloudways. But more on that later!

Now that you have the perfect hosting setup you want tons of traffic: “The Social Traffic Code!”

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Reasons For Leaving Bluehost

Bluehost and equivalent services like Hostgator, Dreamhost, … are probably the most used services for people who start their first blog.

The reason is price – $5 per month is still a very compelling offer. And it’s what so many people use, so you can’t go wrong, right?

If you are happy with the Bluehost service then by all means, stay there. But if you are not – and many, if not most, aren’t, then you should switch. And better hosting doesn’t need to cost more!

Here are the reasons we had to leave Bluehost:

  • Increasing amounts of downtime – all our sites would go down randomly for anything between a couple of minutes to a few hours.
  • Sites were slowing down to the point of becoming unusable – for no visible reasons.
  • Slow and unhelpful support. Bluehost support may not be the worst in the business – but it’s close.

Are you experiencing the same thing? Then you should think about switching.

The Service I Chose – Cloudways

Further down, I’m going to tell you exactly how to perform the switch to Cloudways step by step. But first, I want to give you an overview of the Cloudways service, what it costs and what features it offers compared to Bluehost and why I chose them.

Cloudways is a cloud host. That means that “your server” will only be a virtual machine in a larger cloud infrastructure. Instead of an actual, physical machine, what you will get is defined by CPU cores, RAM, and bandwidth for your virtual machine.

Cloudways doesn’t have it’s own cloud infrastructure. Instead, it’s service runs on other cloud infrastructure providers. Cloudways offers Cloud servers on Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, Vultr, KYUP (container based hosting), and Google Compute Engine.

Confused?

No need: Cloudways offers you an easy to understand and use environment to run your server on cloud infrastructure – when you sign up you decide where your server is located and which cloud service it runs on.

It should be mentioned that while this may be a “virtual server” it is still a lot more of a “dedicated” environment than what you get with Bluehost – your RAM and CPU are not shared with others!

For a simple WordPress install, you should select to run your Cloud server on Digital Ocean (or maybe Vultr – but I never tried that…). Pricing for Digital Ocean starts at $7/month – so roughly equivalent to Bluehost and also Bluehost Cloud Hosting. And you don’t need to pay a year in advance to get this price!

The $7 package at Cloudways includes:

  • 512MB of RAM
  • 1 CPU core
  • 20GB of storage
  • 1TB of Bandwidth

Now, how far does that package get you?

Quite far… this package should be enough for WordPress sites with up 50,000 visitors per month – depending on your WordPress setup.

Now, you may think that Bluehost is offering “unlimited” plans, right? Well, unlimited isn’t so unlimited after all: If you are running a blog with 35k visits on Bluehost – you are probably already in trouble – slowdowns and downtime have to be expected. And upgrading a Bluehost account is not so simple and more expensive.

Here comes the real beauty of cloud hosting: Up and downgrading servers by demand.

Should your current package on Cloudways be not sufficient for your needs anymore – you can upgrade to the next package with the click of a button: Within a few moments, more resources will be allocated to your server.

Or, if your post goes viral and you need additional resources for a couple of days – that’s possible too. Simply clone your server to a lower tier (this can be done even simpler through the container hosting solution KYUP that Cloudways also offers, or if you decided to put your instance on AWS or GCE – all options you have through Cloudways). Awesome, right?

But here is the biggest difference between Cloudways and Bluehost – at least for me: Support!

I’ve been in touch with Cloudways support via the onscreen chat box twice already. I simply opened the onscreen chat box and typed my question. Replies were instant. Repeat – instant. No waiting times. And they were also competent. Bluehost often takes hours to respond – and then is very unhelpful most of the time – to the point of flat out lying.

So, what does Bluehost offer that Cloudways doesn’t?

Two things worth mentioning here: Bluehost offers you to set up a domain for you. Cloudways, on the other hand, doesn’t. But that is not that much of a problem – if you are switching services right now, you can leave your domain on Bluehost for now and just change the CNAME record. Or you can migrate your domain to something like GoDaddy and create a CNAME record there.

We don’t use the email services provided by Cloudways – but if you need that, you can use Rackspace webmail on Cloudways. It costs $1/mail/month via Cloudways, while getting an email directly from Rackspace costs $2/mail/month.

Other than that – there is not much worth mentioning.

Cloudways Flawless User Experience – And You Can Try It For Free!

Cloudways’ server management UI – Easy, clean, intuitive

One reason I went with Cloudways was simply the 14 day trial on Digital Ocean servers. I simply thought – if this goes wrong I lost no money.

Bluehost and its competitors are based on CPanel for server management. CPanel might have been revolutionary when it was invented – but today it feels clumsy and dated.

Cloudways offers a lot more simple approach to server management – need a new WordPress server? 5 clicks, 3 minutes wait, and it’s there. The administration interface for servers is simply brilliant – everything is explained well and accessible with a few clicks.

But here is the biggest surprise – migrating from Bluehost was a breeze! I only followed the below steps and had my server migrated with NO DOWNTIME!

Now, it’s time to give you a walkthrough through the server migration!

How To Migrate From Bluehost To Cloudways With No Pain Or Downtime!

First, you need to sign up for Cloudways and create your first server in the cloud environment.

  1. Click Here to get to Cloudways. Click Sign Up anywhere on the Cloudways landing page!
  2. On the next screen select WordPress, click on “Digital Ocean” for the cloud provider, and set the server size according to your needs. (You will probably want to select the smallest server size for now – you can always upgrade later!)
  3. Wait for 6 minutes while Cloudways creates your server.

Here is a gif that will show you the complete process:

That’s it; your server has just launched with a complete WordPress installation. Cloudways automatically installs a server setup (including various layers of caching!) that runs very fast.

Now, let’s make the tricky part easy: How to migrate your existing site to Cloudways! This is what I was scared about – my mind produced endless scenarios of having to download and upload server backups, etc…

Well, for this process to work you don’t need any backups. (Well you should always have backups of your blog, but that’s not the point here!)

The magic happens because Cloudways provides a brilliant WordPress plugin, which will perform the migration for you. How cool is that?

  1. In the browser tab where you just registered for Cloudways, the page that is open now has a navigation bar at the top left. It has the following tabs: “Servers” and “Applications”. Both provide info that you will need in a minute.
  2. Open a new Browser Tab – keep the Cloudways Tab open.
  3. Go to the admin panel of your OLD WordPress installation on Bluehost (or wherever…). Select Plugins -> Add New.
  4. Search for the plugin “Cloudways WordPress Migrator”, install and activate it. Then go to the plugin.
  5. Here you will find the plugins settings.

    Here you will find the plugins settings.

    Now, open the plugin on your OLD WordPress installation. Enter all the required info – you will find it in your browser tab with the Cloudways’ server management open. IP and password are under Server -> [Your Server] -> Master Credentials, while Folder is under Application Management -> Application Settings.

  6. Click on Migrate. Let the magic happen. This can now take anywhere between 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how big your WordPress site is. But your page is still available during this time.
  7. Enter all the required information and click on migrate... that's it!

    Enter all the required information and click on migrate… that’s it!

    Once the process is finished, you will find the current URL of your migrated copy of your blog under Application.

  8. To get destination site URL: Navigate to Access Detail tab of your WordPress application.
  9. Now, go to your application in your Cloudways account and enter your Domain under Domain Management -> Add Primary Domain
  10. Final Step: Enter/Update Cname Record at your domain registrar pointing to your new WordPress site.

If your domain is still on your Bluehost installation – you should be able to leave it there for now – or you can migrate it to another registrar. If you want to leave it on Bluehost, here is how to update DNS records on Bluehost.

If your domain is not on Bluehost, here are a few links: Creating a CNAME with Godaddy, Creating a CNAME with Namecheap, Creating a CNAME with Dreamhost

That’s it – you’ve migrated your blog.

There are a lot of things you can do to optimize your new hosting – implement CloudFlare, etc… But I am very confident that you will be a lot happier on Cloudways than you ever were on Bluehost or the others.

So, will you follow our lead and switch to Cloudways?

If you decide to switch to Cloudways – don’t forget to use the Promo code THESOCIALMS on signup to get $15 in hosting credits!

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This post is why we switched from Bluehost to Cloudways - why Cloudways is the best blog hosting platform for bloggers and how easy the switch was! web hosting, blogging tips, blog hosting, hosting provider, start a blog, blogging for beginners

  • http://tnnvtr.com Emilio López

    We recently signed up with Cloudways and completed the same process you explain to migrate our WordPress site. HostGator began to give us all sorts of trouble and in this day and age website owners CANNOT afford that—exactly, “unlimited” isn’t really unlimited with shared hosting! Loss of business to them, it seems they are slowly trying to catch up with companies like Cloudways but it is a bit too late I think. I am extremely happy with the process so far and I have decided to switch everyone over: time to move forward, into the future.

    • https://www.Cloudways.com Mustaasam Saleem

      Hello @tnnvtr:disqus
      I’m Mustaasam, the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways.
      Thanks for your valuable feedback. If you need any assistance, feel free to reach 🙂

      • http://tnnvtr.com Emilio López

        Thanks! I do have a few questions, what’s the best way to reach you?

        • TheSocialMarketers

          Seems like I missed this one – welcome to you both on The Social Ms. I’m not really seeing that they are catching up – with Bluehost things got worse every day!

          Jonathan

          • http://tnnvtr.com Emilio López

            My problems are with HostGator but I am sure BlueHost and all the other “old players” aren’t listening and people will continue to switch over. The bad news is that we are also transferring our emails and clients out of their service. Don’t get my wrong, HostGator is STILL an amazing company! But the needs these days go beyond cPanel-esque service.

        • https://www.Cloudways.com Mustaasam Saleem

          @tnnvtr:disqus Feel free to DM me on Twitter.
          https://twitter.com/MustaasamSaleem

          • http://tnnvtr.com Emilio López

            Thank you.

          • TheSocialMarketers

            I’m sure there is a solution for that on Cloudways! One thing I’m really impressed with is the speed of their support – I always get a reply within minutes.

          • http://tnnvtr.com Emilio López

            Awesome! 🙂

          • https://www.Cloudways.com Mustaasam Saleem

            @TheSocialMarketers:disqus Thanks for your valuable feedback.

  • http://abiro.com/ Anders Borg

    I’m also on Cloudways since a week or two, and am quite happy with what I get and how it behaves, but I react on the very low subscription costs and high specs (6 GB RAM?) for Bluehost cloud hosting. Was that an option for you when considering the switch? Are there similar downtime/support issues with their cloud hosting?

    • TheSocialMarketers

      Hi, welcome on The Social Ms!

      We had 2 primary concerns when making the switch, first was that we were disappointed with their service and the server performance on standard hosting. But it was their completely bogus customer support that led to us not even considering staying within their product line.

      Cloudways doesn’t have that problem, I never waited for more than a few minutes before I was in touch with someone truly helpful through chat, and even if the problems turned out to be more complicated than expected, I always had all my problems solved within a couple of hours.

      Jonathan

      • http://abiro.com/ Anders Borg

        Thanks. That’s very good to know. I moved 6 existing applications (well, 5.1) from pure DigitalOcean VPS to two servers (still DO, but under Cloudways management) and that worked nicely. In the short term I’ve been able to step down a notch on performance due to higher efficiency, so there should be plenty of room for scaling. The monitoring feature is way beyond what I’m used to, and support’s been good. Customers will pay for the hosting, with a premium, so costs will be covered. Now it’s become feasible to spin up several branded variants of the same service, if I find business for that.

  • Dominic Mondal

    Currently I am hosting my coupon site CouponMonkey on Cloudways. Migration was very using a simple WordPress plugin built by them. Over all nice service.

    • https://www.Cloudways.com Mustaasam Saleem

      Thanks for your kind words @dominic_mondal:disqus !

  • Poormansfriend

    Genuine reviews by real people https://www.facebook.com/pg/cloudways/reviews/. Please don’t get fooled by biased reviews by affiliate ghosts on the internet.

    My reviews after using cloudways for more than 6 months.

    I have spent a lot of time trying to find a good Hosting service for my blog [pmfias(dot)com]. Godaddy was expensive. Bluehost and Hostgator had no genuine reviews. Finally one of the nice guys on Quora recommended Cloudways [Which hosting plan/company is best for predominantly Indian Traffic website with 5,000 – 10,000 visitors a day? goo(dot)gl/PDvJiq].
    After testing and using it for a month…
    Pros
    1) Don’t have to be a geek to manage a server via cloudways. Basic knowledge of shared hosting is more than enough.
    2) Migration is a breeze. They have a wonderful plugin that does all the heavy lifting.
    3) Support is top notch (both pre and post purchase)
    4) Cloud infrastructure means downtime is ZERO.
    5) Transparent Real Time billing. [No hidden charges. Payment is postpaid. I got 10$ credit too (coupon stuff)]
    6) Server management is a layman stuff. It is just pressing few buttons. [Cloning, Vertical Scaling are all pretty simple and straight forward. Downscaling is a bit complex in DO and few more]
    7) Has various layers of caching. Varnish caching is wonderful. Varnish + WP Rocket + Cloudflare = Below 2-3s load time can be easily achieved for any ordinary website. [Varnish has compatibility issues with WP Rocket CSS, JS magnification and Concatenation. Merge + Minify + Refresh plugin should be used for this purpose]
    8) Straightforward SFTP credentials to use Filezilla.
    9) Cloudways can store upto 8 backups outside the server (They use Amazon Cloud Infrastructure to store backups). Both Real time backups and scheduled backups are allowed. 1GB backup takes only few minutes. 1 on demand backup can be stored on the server for downloading via SFTP (Filezilla).
    10) Every type of resource usage (CPU, RAM, Disk space etc.) can be monitored in real-time.
    11) One can analyze the overall performance of the website (load times of each plugin, page and more) using New Relic (Basic, free add on)
    12) Free SSL certificae
    Cons
    1) The server doesn’t send transactional emails. One has to look for external services like SendGrid (12k emails free/month. No credit card required. It can be added as a free add on cloudways).
    2) Documentation is not comprehensive enough (In most of the cases it may not matter).

    • http://abiro.com/ Anders Borg

      9: Backups are efficient, as only the app and database are backed up, and the application environment is left alone, as it’s under Cloudways’ control. I use GoodSync to pull down backups daily.

    • https://www.Cloudways.com Mustaasam Saleem

      Thanks @Poormansfriend:disqus for compiling the list 😉