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Running MainWP on Cloudways

If you read my post, Installing your MainWP Dashboard on a DigitalOcean Droplet, you will notice 2 things, I am NOT a server admin and setting up a Digital Ocean for MainWP could be a pain in the neck.

I’ve been constantly intrigued by cloud hosting and when I wrote the DigitalOcean post back in October 2016 I planned on writing a series with DO and other cloud services like Vultr but it was just too time consuming setting up the servers and then not even being sure I was setting them up right.

And, then I was approached by Mustaasam Saleem, the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways, offering me a chance to test Cloudways and their offerings, I was immediately interested since testing Cloudways was on my list to test for a few months now and it allows me to scratch my cloud hosting itch.

Notice: Neither myself nor MainWP receives any compensation for sign-ups with Cloudways.

Part 1: Who is Cloudways?
Part 2: How easy is it to install the MainWP Dashboard?
Part 3: Server Tweaks
Part 4: Testing the Cloud Hosts
Part 5: Cloud Host Speed Results
Part 6: Speed Result Graphs
Part 7: Conclusion

What is Cloudways?

Cloudways acts as an intermediary between people like me with little to no server knowledge and some of the best cloud hosting services out there.

Without Cloudways if you try to go through most cloud hosts yourselves you will find that support is either not available or they have just online tutorials. This is one of the ways they keep their prices so low. You’re also on your own when it comes to installing scripts and keeping your server up to date.

That’s where Cloudways comes in. They manage and provide support for DigitalOcean, Vultr, Amazon Webservers (AWS), Google Cloud, and Kyup for just a couple dollars more per month over the cloud hosts basic cost.

How easy is it to install the MainWP Dashboard?

This is why Cloudways really shines compared to trying to add a WordPress installation yourself to the services they support. Here’s a quick walk through on setting up your MainWP Dashboard

Once you have logged into your Cloudways backend you’ll see an option to Add Server

Clicking add Server brings you to your Deploy Your Managed Application screen where you can select your Application. In our case we’ll select WordPress.

Then enter your a Name for this application, a name for the server and add a project which allows you to sort and categorize your servers

Now let’s select who we want our cloud host to be. You have the options of DigitalOcean, Vultr, Amazon Webservers (AWS), Google Cloud, and Kyup. We’re going to select Digital Ocean, with a 1GB server located out of New York. If you look on the bottom left you can see real time adjustments to your monthly costs as you click through cloud hosts.

Once you have made all your selections just press the “Launch Now” button on the bottom right of the page.

At this point you’ll be brought back to the Servers page and you will have an approximate time of how long it will take for your server to be made.

Once your account is setup you’ll see a www section, when you press that you are brought to your Access Detail page.

On the Access Detail page you will find your staging URL and your default login and password for your new WordPress site, I confirmed with Cloudways that you can use this as your Dashboard URL for as long as you want!

That’s it your WordPress site is set up and all we need to do is login and install the MainWP Dashboard Plugin! 

 

Server Tweaks

Adding Let’s Encrypt

Let’s assume your using the temporary URL for your Dashboard and let’s now set up a Let’s Encrypt certificate to protect your Dashboard. Just like everything with Cloudways it is super easy.

From Left hand menu select SSL Certificate
Make sure Let’s Encrypt is selected and add your email and your staging URL from your Access Details page (if you decided to use that)
Press Install Certificate

Wait a few moments and Let’s Encrypt will be installed on your WordPress Application.

Adding Redis

Redis is a form of object caching that will make your WordPress wp-admin faster which is great if you have a large number of sites on your MainWP Dashboard since it allows some queries to be cached. There is a few steps to setting up Redis correctly so I will turn it over to the Cloudways Tutorial to walk you through.

Testing the Hosts

As I did with the PeoplesHost Dashboard tests I turned the testing over to Luke Cavanagh, a WordPress performance Engineer.

Also as with PeoplesHost tests this is going to be a little bit different then other tests you might of seen online about the importance of front-end speeds cloud hosts can offer. If you want to a great write up on front end speeds and server performance for the Cloud hosts Cloudways supports I recommend reading “How to choose the best WordPress Host for X Theme

Testing Procedures

What Luke is going to test is the backend and their services can handle working with 25 Child sites also on the same server (26 total sites).

To test the MainWP Dashboard speeds we selected the 1GB ram versions for Digital Ocean , Vultr and Kyup. We used the smallest ram we could for Amazon and Google Cloud, 1.75 GB and 1.70 Gb respectively

We will test syncing time, uploading 3 plugins and updating the three plugins (75 uploads and updates) . The three plugins used for testing are Akismet, If Menu and Contact Form 7.

Luke has also included a Gist link to the detailed server information used during the testing if you want to dig deeper into the server setup.

Testing Speeds

Default: This is running the Sync, Plugin install and Plugin Update on the default server and MainWP Dashboard set-up.

High Speed:If you read my post Speeding Up MainWP for Fun and Efficiency! you know that if you have solid Dashboard and Child site hosting you can tweak your MainWP Advanced Settings to make MainWP even faster. This extra interesting since we are testing 26 sites on the same server.

Tweaked Settings for High Speed Test
Maximum simultaneous requests per ip: 0 (for unlimited threads)
Minimum delay between requests to the same ip (milliseconds) 200
Redis installed
256MB memory in PHP
256MB memory limit defined in wp-config.php
APC 64MB
OPcache 96MB
HTTP/2 enabled

Cloud Host Speed Results

Digital Ocean

Pricing: $17
Default Speed:
Syncing 25 sites: 36 seconds
Installing 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 installs): 19 Seconds
Updating 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 updates): 54 seconds
Server Setup

High Speed:
Syncing 25 sites: 19 seconds (-17 seconds)
Installing 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 installs): 17 seconds (-2 seconds)
Updating 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 updates): 15 seconds (-39 seconds)
Server Setup

Vultr

Pricing: $11
Default Speed:
Syncing 25 sites: 44 Seconds
Installing 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 installs): 23 Seconds
Updating 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 updates): 60 seconds
Server Setup

High Speed:
Syncing 25 sites: 42 seconds (-2 seconds)
Installing 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 installs): 18 seconds (-5 seconds)
Updating 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 updates): 18 seconds (-42 seconds)
Server Setup

Amazon Web Services

Pricing:$36.04
Default Speed:
Syncing 25 sites: 38 seconds
Installing 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 installs): 13 Seconds
Updating 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 updates): 54 seconds
Server Setup

High Speed:
Syncing 25 sites: 14 seconds (-24 seconds)
Installing 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 installs): 9 seconds (-4 seconds)
Updating 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 updates): 15 seconds (-39 seconds)
Server Setup

Google Cloud Platform

Pricing:$34.17
Default Speed:
Syncing 25 sites: 44 Seconds
Installing 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 installs): 18 seconds
Updating 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 updates): 62 Seconds
Server Setup

High Speed:
Syncing 25 sites: 14 seconds (-30 seconds)
Installing 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 installs): 14 seconds (-4 seconds)
Updating 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 updates): 17 seconds (-45 seconds)
Server Setup

Kyup

Pricing:$21.11
Default Speed:
Syncing 25 sites: 42 seconds
Installing 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 installs): 31 seconds
Updating 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 updates): 42 seconds
Server Setup

High Speed:
Syncing 25 sites: 15 seconds (-27 seconds)
Installing 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 installs): 15 seconds (-16 seconds)
Updating 3 plugins on 25 sites (75 updates): 17 seconds (-25 seconds)
Server Setup

Speed Result Graphs

Syncing Speeds

Install Speeds

Update Speeds

Conclusion

All of Cloudways cloud hosting providers responded very well to 26 sites running on their smallest service available. Once you look at the results everyone is pretty close in time in both default speed and high speed settings so I’m going to remove your higher priced options of Amazon, Google and Kyup.

That leaves us Digital Ocean and Vultr who both performed excellent with Digital Ocean being much faster at syncing while also being slightly faster installing and updating plugins however it is $6 per month more expensive then Vultr

Toss-Up
I’m going to call this one a toss-up where you really can’t go wrong with either Digital Ocean or Vultr. If you want speed select Digital Ocean, if you prefer as inexpensive as possible choose Vultr.

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Dennis Dornon on Twitter
Dennis Dornon
Co-founder at MainWP
I am neither a coder nor a designer. My coding confession.
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