Disclaimer: As a customer of Cloudways, we can earn credits towards our hosting costs by referring clients to Cloudways via links like this one: “Rescue your friends from old-fashioned hosting and get $20 for each referral. Your friends also get $15 as soon as they signup.,” So if you click on that link and sign up for CloudWays, we will get $20 off our hosting and you will get $15 towards yours. But should you? That depends…
First of all, what is Cloudways? Cloudwyas a cloud of clouds of sorts. It allows you to launch managed instances of servers from DigitalOcean, AWS, Google Cloud, Vultr and Linode, all in one place, for pretty cheap. Seems great, right?
Well, it can be, but only if you are pretty technical and can get around in the command line, with which many WordPress site owners might not be so adept. Yes, you can get by without it, but the GUI is fiddly and confusing in places. So, what you save in dollars when compared to say WP Engine, you might just make up for in frustration.
Take a recent issue we had. We were running out of disk space on our Digital Ocean instance. DO offers block storage so we added what we thought was 16Gb of storage – the minimum. But we must not have read the fine print carefully enough. This actually DECREASED our storage from 25Gb to 16Gb, taking our MySQL database offline in the process! Tech support was minimally helpful but they did eventually get the database back online once we deleted enough backups.
How is this possible? Well, the caveat is that when you add block storage, your apps and data all move to the newly added drive and the original drive becomes inaccessible. So if you ADD 16 GBs to a 25GB drive, you will end up with a 16GB of storage and 25GB of useless space. Therefore, in order to actually increase disk space, you have to increase it above and beyond what you already have. As it is we are now paying MORE per month, for LESS storage. Not much, but still. And to get back to the original 25Gb we would need to pay extra for more block storage- again not much, but still- it is annoying.
Now, we could clone the original instance and put everything back onto a new instance with a 25Gb drive. But that would involve re-mapping all the domains, re-pointing all the DNS records and re-installing all the SSL certs. We manage a lot of domains, so that would take hours that we don’t have to spare.
To see how gracious CloudWays would be about our less than ideal experience, we asked for a small credit – just enough to make up for the difference in cost to add the block storage. They said no. So, bear that in mind if you are considering hosting with CloudWays. They may offer credits to get new customers, but not to keep customers happy- at least not in this situation.
Now, remember what I said about the command line? It may be possible to make that inaccessible drive accessible with a few Linux commands. We will need to dig into that- perhaps for another post. But for the average WordPress site owner, that may be too much effort- especially when you can get “unlimited” storage for less at a traditional host like Bluehost.
Bottom line, if you have the money, we still recommend WP Engine. We use CloudWays because we have a lot of domains and it was going to get too expensive with WP Engine. Plus, we wanted to try them out.
Will we stick with them? That’s for another post…