I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
Launching a super-fast WordPress blog can be tricky and frustrating.
In fact, do a quick search on the WordPress plugin directory…
…And you will soon discover there are over hundred speed optimisation plugins.
WordPress is a magnificent open-source platform, but its performance is famously sluggish
So is it possible to launch a super-fast WordPress site that can load within 3 seconds? 2 seconds? 1 second?
That’s the question I’ve asked myself several times. I’ve been building WordPress sites for over seven years. And one thing that has been a challenge for me is to make my WordPress sites to load fast.
And here what would happen:
I’d get a fast WordPress, but the theme would break.
Or some plugin wouldn’t work properly.
I would spend hours trying to find the best way of using the plugin features such as minification, CDN, gzipping… but end up with no favourable result.
So when I discovered this new trick, I was ecstatic (even my wife thought I was on hallucinogens).
The Secret Method to a Blazing Fast WordPress Site
So within minutes, I launched a fully fledged Wordpress blog.
I installed all the plugins necessary for a newly launched WordPress blog.
I head over to Pingdom tools to test the speed.
The loading speed was less than a minute.
And the best part:
I used no caching plugin.
So what’s the trick?
The trick is to launch and host your WordPress blog on a cloud server.
There are many cloud hosting providers on the market. Some include:
- Google cloud,
- Amazon Web Services,
- Vultr e.t.c
If hosting WordPress on a cloud server sounds complicated to you…
…well, today is your lucky day.
I am about to walk you through a simple way to launch a WordPress blog on a cloud server.
You will also learn how to map your WordPress installation to your custom domain and how to install a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
Finally, I will show you how to submit your newly launched blog to Google without signing into Google Search Console.
So let’s get started.
Why You Should Ditch Shared or Dedicated Hosting
Hosting solutions such as dedicated or shared mostly depend on one server. In contrast, cloud hosting uses an unlimited number of servers to act as one system.
So why should you host your WordPress site on the cloud?
Is it better than having a dedicated server? Is it better than a shared hosting?
- It’s cheap – most cloud hosting services are affordable (some only charge you for the resources you use).
- It’s Scalable – With cloud hosting, you can reduce or expand the resources of your server in minutes. Your website will keep up with the traffic demand without wasting money on unnecessary resources.
- It’s reliable – Unlike shared hosting (where issues of one site may spill over to other websites on the same server), cloud hosting is more reliable. Each server is isolated.
- Easy to customise – When you spin up a server in the cloud, you can specify its location, operating system, processing power and configure the server to present your content in the best way.
- Your content is secure – With cloud hosting, your data is distributed across several servers. That means your data is protected against hardware failure.
With cloud hosting, you can tap into your server resources as much as you need to, depending on your website requirements at any stage. That can result in cost savings as you pay for what you use.
That can result in huge savings as you pay for what you use.
So which cloud hosting service did I use?
In my case I used DigitalOcean
DigitalOcean is a cloud computing company with powerful computers that are affordable. Starting from $5 a month, you can create a virtual private server (also known as Droplets or Containers) where you can deploy appropriate software in minutes.
But there is one problem with DigitalOcean:
Their platform isn’t for beginners.
DigitalOcean servers are complex to manage. They need an individual who has an experience in managing servers.
Not a server illiterate person like me.
So in my quest of looking for a solution, I came across Cloudways.
I couldn’t be much happier
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform. With Cloudways, you can create a virtual private server on DigitalOcean servers and deploy WordPress in minutes.
According to Immad, content producer for Cloudways,
Cloudways removes the technical barriers and helps you focus on creating a profitable online business strategy by providing you with an optimized cloud hosting experience. This hosting experience is a result of the customized caching formula developed by experienced developers which ensure that your websites load 100 times faster than other hosting providers.
A Step-by-Step Guide to a Super-Fast WordPress Site
So let’s get started:
Step #1: Sign up for an account
- Choose your industry you operate in (Digital agency, E-commerce, Other businesses, Blog, Freelance developer/ designer)
- Enter promo code (if you have one)
Click “I agree to Cloudways Terms of Service”.
Then click the START FREE button.
You’ll then get a welcome message from Cloudways as shown below.
Check your email client and follow the instructions on the email from Cloudways to activate your account.
Step #2: Add a server
Once you’ve activated your account, log in.
Now you’ll see the Cloudways dashboard.
Click on Add Server
Step #3: Choose the WordPress Version to install
Here you’ll select the application you want to install.
You’ve six choices. You can either install:
- the latest version WordPress version with no added plugins,
- Latest WordPress version with Woocommerce pre-installed and pre-optimized,
- WordPress multi-site version (Where you can create multiple sites from just a single WordPress installation),
- Non-optimized WordPress version (No Cloudways optimisation),
- Or a custom PHP App.
Step #4: Choose Server Provider, Pricing Plan and Location
After choosing your WordPress version, go ahead and
- Name your app (You can just use the name as your website),
- Name your server (Same goes here – use your site name),
- Select your project (This is a way of categorising your installation. It’s like creating a folder. You can change it later if you want to.)
- Choose your server provider and server size. You can scale your server size whenever you want.
PLEASE NOTE: I’ve found Vultr to be much cheaper to DigitalOceans for the same server size. I still have to do a test on both servers to see which one is faster.
Step #5: Launch your WordPress site
Once you’ve done selecting your server, click the green LAUNCH NOW button.
After a few minutes (2-13 minutes depending on the server provider), you should see the following pop-up message:
Server: has been created successfully.
You’ve just installed your WordPress site.
Wasn’t that easy?
So what’s next?
How To Access Your WordPress Admin
How do I access my WordPress admin? Where is my website address?
Head over to the Cloudways dashboard and click on your WordPress installation to get more details.
And this is what you’ll see:
Here you will get the full details about your fresh WordPress install.
- WordPress Admin Details – Your admin login details including the direct link to your WordPress Admin, Username and password
- SFTP Details on your right – These are the details you will need to connect to your server remotely via SFTP.
SFTP, which stands for SSH File Transfer Protocol, or Secure File Transfer Protocol…
...is a separate protocol packaged with SSH that works in a similar way over a secure connection. The advantage is the ability to leverage a secure connection to transfer files and traverse the filesystem on both the local and remote system. Source
Have an Existing WordPress Site? Here What to Do…
But I have an existing WordPress blog, what should I do?
Migrate it to Cloudways.
The migration process will copy all your website content (files and database) and transfer it to your Cloudways account you created above.
Here is how to do it:
Step 1: Install the Cloudways Migrator WordPress Plugin
Head over to your WordPress blog admin panel and login
Once you’ve logged in, click on Plugins option at the left-hand side and click on Add New option.
Now enter Cloudways WordPress Migrator under search option and hit Enter.
You’ll see Cloudways WordPress Migrator in the search results. Click on Install Now to install it on your website.
And then activate the plugin by clicking activate button.
Step 2: Getting your site ready for migration
Click the Settings link under Cloudways migrator plugin to access the setup page
and enter the details to start the migration process.
Now, you will see Cloudways migrator plugin page. Here you must enter the following details:
- Enter any email address you own.
- Your destination site URL – where your website is accessible.
- Enter your Application Folder Name. You can find the Application Folder Name in the Application Management tab.
- Enter your Server IP address.
- SFTP Username – Your Master username which you’ll find under the Server tab.
- SFTP Password – Your master password is also under the Server tab.
Click on Migrate button to start migrating your website.
Here’s how to find the Application Folder Name, as noted in point number 3 above.
Step 3: Migrate Your WordPress Website
After clicking on the migrate button, you’ll be redirected to this BlogVault screen:
According to Cloudways, the migration process takes about 1 to 4 hours to complete for a small website with a database between 500MB to 1GB.
For me, it has been between 10 -25 minutes.
Once the migration is done, the green status will show MIGRATION COMPLETE.
Now head over to your Cloudways app admin.
Under application, you should see the name of the WordPress app you’ve just migrated.
Click on the icon (a square box with the arrow pointing to the top right) to access your new site URL.
Once you click on the button, you should get to new blog’s homepage which looks like this:
Once you are happy with the results, follow the steps below to take your WordPress install load via your custom domain.
How to Map Your Domain on Cloudways The Right Way.
You’ve successfully installed or moved your WordPress site to Cloudways.
The next thing to do is to make your blog load under your domain name. By following these steps below, your site will be live in a matter of minutes, and you’ll be ready to kickass with your blog.
Here how to do it:
Step 1: Get your server IP Address
Log into your Cloudways Account. Click on the www link to select the application you want to map your domain to.
Then select the target application from the list.
Under Server Management, select Master Credentials.
Keep the Public IP address in mind. You will use it in STEP 3.
Step 2: Add your domain on Cloudways
Under Application Management area, click Domain Management on the left side of the screen.
Enter your domain name under PRIMARY DOMAIN.
The primary domain should be a Fully Qualified Domain Name (www.website.com, blog.website.com).
After you’ve entered the domain, click SAVE CHANGES button to save.
Step 3: Create an A Record Entry in Your DNS Provider Panel
Now you’ve mapped your domain name to your WordPress app.
The next step is to create an A Record entry on your DNS service provider.
An A record maps a domain name to the IP address of the server hosting the domain. The record is used to find an IP address of a computer connected to the internet from a name.
So how do you create this A Record?
It depends on your hosting provider, but in my case I use NameCheap.
And if your domain is registered with Namecheap, here how you do it:
1.) Log into your NameCheap account
Sign into your NameCheap account to access the dashboard.
Click the Manage button on the far left of the relevant domain.
Click on the RED ADD NEW RECORD button below. Once you clicked on it,
- Under Type, select A Record
- Host will be www,
- Enter the Cloudways IP Address (From STEP 1) under value and,
- Leave the TTL value as Automatic.
After you’ve updated the records above, you might have to wait up to 24 hours for you domain to propagate
Visit the site and enter your domain. The result you get should show your Cloudways IP Address.
In this case, the DNS Propagation has started but not complete yet.
How to install a FREE SSL on Your Blog
Do you want to install an SSL Certificate on your new blog?
Yes, you can.
And it free from Cloudways.
Cloudways comes packed with Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate. The only thing you need to do is to activate it on your dashboard.
But what is Lets Encrypt?
Let’s Encrypt is an automated, free and open certification authority. Launched under the flag of Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), it has issued certificates for more than 2.4 million different domains across the globe. This milestone took only 16 months to achieve. There is a good reason for it to be successful. The brains from Akamai, Cisco, Mozilla Foundation, and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took the initiative of creating a reliable, easy-to-use certificate authority. ISRG now has some serious support from Google Chrome, Sucuri, Facebook, and Vultr. Source
Sounds good? Let me show you how to do it:
1.) WARNING: Check if DNS Propagation is complete.
Check if your site DNS has propagated before installing the certificate.
Or else, the SSL Certificate will not be installed. You will receive an error message.
Visit www.checkmydns.net. Enter your domain name in the top left bar, select A and press SEARCH. You’ll then get results from multiple servers across the world.
All should have the same IP Address as the one on your Cloudways Account.
And there should be green ticks everywhere on the map. If everything looks that way on the map, then you’re in the right direction. Move to step 2.
If everything looks that way on the map, then you’re in the right direction.
Move to step 2.
If not, wait until the DNS propagation is complete.
2.) Log into your Cloudways account and select the application
Log into the Cloudways platform.
Click on Applications on the top menu. Select the application you want to install SSL certificate.
3.) Install The Let’s Encrypt Certificate
On the left menu under Application Management, Select SSL CERTIFICATE.
Select the Let’s Encrypt Certificate under SSL MANAGEMENT.
And then enter:
- Enter your Email Address (Associated with the domain)
- Domain name (you can enter one with or without WWW)
Now click on the INSTALL CERTIFICATE button.
You’ll then get a screen as shown below. The process might take a few minutes to complete.
Once you see the Auto Renewal option on the right side, the process is complete.
4.) Check if the SSL Installed Correctly.
Visit https://www.sslshopper.com/ssl-checker.html to check if the SSL certificate is installed correctly.
On the SERVER HOSTNAME blue bar, enter your domain name and click CHECK SSL button. You would then get the result shown next to the green ticks.
Here’s a Quick Way To Customize Your Blog
Now you’ve installed WordPress on DigitalOcean via Cloudways.
Mapped your branded domain to your WordPress installation.
Installed an SSL certificate.
You visit your new WordPress blog, and you see this:
That isn’t nice to see, right?
Getting a beautiful WordPress blog isn’t as hard as you think. There are thousands of professionally designed WordPress themes available for free. You can use them to customise your blog the way you wish.
There are thousands of professionally designed WordPress themes available for free. You can use them to customise your blog the way you wish.
Interested to know how?
Let me show you.
1.) Log into your WordPress Admin
Visit your WordPress admin page. Log into your WordPress Admin with your details from the Cloudways Platform.
Log into your WordPress Admin with your details from the Cloudways Platform.
2.) Install a FREE WordPress Theme
Once you’ve logged into your admin area, click Appearance. Then click THEMES menu.
To search for a new theme, click on ADD NEW button.
You’ll then see a list of themes from various categories such as:
- Featured themes,
- Popular themes,
- Latest themes,
Instead of choosing a theme from these categories, you can search for one that’s specific to your needs.
To do that, click on the FEATURE FILTER. Choose the options you’d like your theme to have under layout, features and subject.
Choose the options you’d like your theme to have under layout, features and subject.
Then click on APPLY FILTERS button.
And you’ll get the result as shown below.
Here, we’ll choose TREVILLE theme…
…and install it by clicking on INSTALL button. Once installed, click ACTIVATE to activate the theme.
3.) Activate and Customize Your Newly Installed Theme
Once you activated the theme, your site will look as shown below.
But you might want to:
- Upload your logo,
- Change to your colours,
- Modify the font and more.
So how do you do that?
With a Customizer.
With the Customize, you can change and preview many of your blog appearance settings.
From a Custom Header Image, menu to widgets and more.
Here is a Simple Method to Submit Your WordPress Blog to Google (without Signing in)
Getting your blog to show up on Google isn’t as hard as you might have thought.
Google and Bing have created tools that make it easy to submit yours site for indexing.
Google recently launched a new way that lets you send your URLs to their index directly on their search results page.
How do you access it?
Type submit URL to Google on the search bar and click submit.
Google will then display a box at the top of the search results where you can submit a URL to Google’s index.
On the box, enter the URL you want to submit for indexing and click SUBMIT.
After you’ve submitted your URL, you’ll get a response…
Page submitted to Google Search.
Beneath the response, there is also a message that advises you to use Search Console to monitor your site search traffic
With this tool, you can submit any URL to the Google index.
Google will then decide whether to index your site or not. And also there no guarantee if your URL will be indexed and shown in their ranking.
Having a fast-loading website is just the beginning of your blogging process.
The guys at Cloudways have made it easier. Even better, no more stress about setting up caching plugins. From here, you need to move onto keyword research.
Write long-form, high-quality articles answering the questions linked to those keywords.
Promote your articles and build links to your blog.
But as Jeroen De Flander once said,
“a strategy, even a great one, doesn’t implement itself.”
So go ahead. Execute your plan. And start writing.
You don’t need guts. You just need to start.