Have you heard about WPCloudDeploy? Recently, I got an email about this amazing new product in the WordPress Space. I immediately was hooked by the different takes on this product.
It’s a product which is truly different from other hosting tools I reviewed.
This very cool tool is called WPCloudDeploy. And it does things way differently. So let me introduce you to this WPCloudDeploy Review.
WPCloudDeploy is a WordPress plugin to manage your own WordPress hosting on a selection of cloud servers. As of 20th July 2022, this review has been fully updated with the latest feature additions!
Yes, you heard it right. WPCloudDeploy is a WordPress plugin. This plugin basically turns your WordPress into a control panel like GridPane or SpinupWP.
By the way, if you don’t know me yet, I’m Michiel. I am on the quest to find the Best of WordPress, and one part of that quest is to find the best WordPress hosting. That’s why you’ll find these elaborate reviews on my site.
The business of control panels
So what about control panels? It seems that these control panels for WordPress have become more popular in recent years.
Basically, a WordPress control panel allows you to run WordPress on your own server. A server from providers such as Vultr, Digital Ocean, Upcloud, Hetzner or AWS.
It does all the heavy lifting of administrating a server and keeping everything safe, sane and fast. If it does the job well, of course.
Control panels are particularly useful for more advanced users. However, a lot of beginners jump on the control panel trend. It’s much more powerful than shared hosting but usually less expensive than managed WordPress hosting. (If you like the idea of a control panel, check out the best control panels for WordPress).
Back to WPCloudDeploy
And WPCloudDeploy does this in an amazing way, which you will read more about in this review. As opposed to other control panels, you have, uhmm, control over this control panel as it can be installed as a WordPress plugin on your own WordPress website.
You heard it right. It uses native WordPress code (if that exists) and other things such as custom post types to create a control panel that can fire up whole servers and WordPress websites on the servers.
The only prerequisite: you need to have a running WordPress website first. Let’s dive further into this interesting plugin!
WPCloudDeploy has a twin, called FireupWp. It’s a managed version of WPCloudDeploy where you don’t need to manage the plugin yourself or need a fresh WordPress installation. It looks a bit better but it is almost identical in terms of features.
This is my conclusion if you don’t like to read whole pieces of text:
- WPCloudDeploy is a WordPress plugin that can be used to fire up new WordPress websites at well-known cloud providers. It has a great feature set, good performance and fine support. However, it has so many options that the usability of the interface is overwhelming, to say at least.
- WPCloudDeploy is a great tool for rolling out your own WordPress hosting business and using white-labelling as you can use WordPress, something you may be already familiar with. It can be integrated with WooCommerce to sell sites or whole servers.
- The idea of using a WordPress plugin for managing all your servers and sites may feel a bit weird and unsafe, but you’ll get used to it quickly. Otherwise, you may want to try FireupWP.
In this review, WPCloudDeploy did great in combination with Vultr. Get a Vultr VPS by signing up here.
Let’s have a picture!
Blabla, words, words. But what does WPCloudDeploy actually look like?
WPCloudDeploy Review: a WordPress Control Panel Reinvented
I’ve introduced WPCloudDeploy (which truly is reinventing the way you can approach a control panel). Now it’s time to get into the elaborate review!
I tested WPCloudDeploywith a Vultr High-Frequency VPS which is a server from the new line-up of Vultr. Usually, these servers perform great.
In this review, you can expect the following to be reviewed:
- Features: what features does WPCloudDeploy offer?
- Performance: how well will it handle users?
- Usability: is it nice to use?
- Support: can they manage my questions due time?
- Price: is the price matching the value offered?
Moreover, I’ll list a couple of the alternatives to WPCloudDeploy.
Who should be using WPCloudDeploy?
You may be wondering if WPCloudDeploy is the right tool for the job. I think it is, but it depends on who you are.
- In my opinion, WPCloudDeploy is aimed at WordPress professionals who manage many WordPress websites and/or want to set up their own hosting business.
- You need to be familiar with things such as VPSes, SSH and SSH keys to integrate the platform with cloud providers.
- Because it is a plugin, you have a lot of power in customizing WPCloudDeploy and the whole surrounding WordPress installation. To do this, it helps if you’re a WordPress professional.
- The latter makes it great if you want to start your own hosting business and have client logins, but manage the way things look like.
If you want to discover more WordPress hosting reviews, don’t hesitate to view this great overview in my WordPress Hosting review database.
WPCloudDeploy’s great features
I seriously love the feature set of WPCloudDeploy. It’s one of the most comprehensive sets of features for a control panel I’ve seen so far, on a level with Runcloud, GridPane or Cloudways. Let’s dive into a couple of them!
One feature that stands out here is the white-label functionality. Why? It’s a WordPress plugin. It can be run on Multisite. And finally, it has some access-management features.
With that and a decent amount of WordPress experience, you can use WPCloudDeploy to set up a custom hosting panel for your clients easily. As a developer, you can even hook into it and change many things.
And that makes this plugin something like owning your own pre-configured control panel. Awesome! Let’s have a deeper dive into the features.
A Sneak Peek into Good Features
So, what features does it all offer?
- Automated administration of Servers and setting up servers; with integrations for Digital Ocean, Vultr, Linode, Upcloud, AWS, Exoscale, Alibaba ECS and Hetzner
- Easily adding and removing WordPress sites from within WordPress.
- Support for Nginx and OpenLiteSpeed (beta) as the web server.
- White-labelling options, to use WordPress as a back-bone for client logins and registration.
- Deletion protection for servers and sites.
- Limit websites to a certain size (in MBs), a very useful feature that is not supported (yet) by many other control panels.
- Server (transactional) emails are supported.
- Unlimited servers and websites, just as many as you can handle.
- Disable switch for websites to easily disable websites.
- Adjust the layout using WordPress, with any customizer plugin or custom code.
- Team and user manager, with finetuned permission levels to restrict access to certain servers, websites or even certain tabs and possibilities within these.
- Group servers and applications into categories.
- Some basic statistics dashboards on events happening, sites running and so forth.
- (Customizable) Front-end display of your site and servers.
- Integration with WooCommerce, which is amazing – it allows you to sell servers and sites using WooCommerce, making it very easy to set up your own hosting business.
WPCloudDeploy has some amazing Devs Goodness
WPCloudDeploy has a couple of features that make it interesting for developers.
- SSH Access and a list of useful SSH Commands
- Multiple cache options, including object caching, Nginx Page Caching or OLS Caching.
- The ability to add Custom scripts for deployment.
- Synchronizing or syncing of multiple servers or applications for high-availability set-ups.
- WP-CLI, the command line interface for WordPress, is preinstalled.
- Support for multiple VPS or cloud providers.
- Site cloning, staging functionalities, and moving sites between servers.
- Easily change domain and replace database values when updating a domain.
- phpMyAdmin is not installed but can be installed with a single click
- Cron job manager based on native Linux cronjobs; which is a much better way to run cron jobs than opposed to how WordPress usually does it.
- HTTP authentication possibilities, protecting a site with a password.
- Multiple SFTP users for each website.
- A good amount of hooks and filters to modify the plugin with.
- Change a lot of configurations from the interface, such as the PHP version, PHP values and so forth.
- Command logs for any level; and these can be easily downloaded from the interface.
- Possibility to integrate various monitoring options, such as Monit, Goaccess, Monitorix and Netdata.
- Rest API integration, extending the rest API provided by WordPress.
Unfortunately, there is no way to deploy scripts from a Git Repository (yet).
What also stood out positively was a couple of the safety features included:
- Remote and local back-ups, by default AWS S3 is supported by default, but using the command line other providers are supported as well.
- SSL powered by S3 (do I still need to mention this?).
- Possibility to set-up Fail2ban to prevent hackers brute-forcing your server
- Firewalls on two levels: Server (UFW) and Application (6G or 7G in one click).
- Malware and virus scanning for larger servers (1GB+ ram) using ClamAV.
- WPCloudDeploy’s code is open source and has been audited multiple times, and has proven to be very secure and coded well.
One great feature is that WPCloudDeploy has a fine-grained permissions system that allows any user to access certain servers or sites. What WPCloudDeploy also offers is the possibility to add more users and group them into teams (actually it’s using the user’s functionality of WordPress).
With this functionality, certain permissions can be granted for these teams and users and servers & sites can be assigned to them. Even custom user roles can be added.
Yes, Good Performance!
Performance reviewing is always one of the fun parts to test! And WPCloudDeploy does very well, but slightly worse than its competitors such as Runcloud, Ploi, GridPane and SpinupWP.
Technologies Used by WPCloudDeploy
WPCloudDeploy connects to your server and installs a powerful stack with the latest versions of Nginx, MariaDB and PHP. Optionally, it will also support OpenLiteSpeed, which is also praised for its performance.
In addition, it setups caches for NGINX, Memcached and Redis.
A mouthful of technologies – but it’s just what you need to run a fast WordPress website.
I test each hosting company (or Hosting Plugin in this case!) in a similar way. I set up the same typical bloated ThemeForest theme with WooCommerce. This represents the average WordPress website well (in my opinion). In this case, WPCloudDeploy was tested with servers from 2 different providers (Vultr and Upcloud). Some of the tests I perform are:
- Load-time testing with Pingdom, GTmetrix and WebPageTest
- TTFB (Time To First Byte) testing with Sucuri Performance Check
- Stress-testing with Loader.io and h2load
- WordPress performance testing with a custom written test, WP Benchmark and WP Performance Tester.
These are some common tests you’d see on other blogs, such as GTMetrix, Pingdom and WebPageTest. But these metrics don’t say a lot. That’s why I also load test the server on how many simultaneous users it can handle without crossing the 2 seconds loading barrier.
The performance results
Tadaaa, here we are! This is probably what you’ve been waiting for! The results. Let’s have a look:
Maximum simultaneous visitors: 600-800
WPCloudDeploy in combination with a 1GB/1C Vultr High-Frequency Server can handle up to 800 concurrent visitors. The 1GB/1C server provided by Upcloud could handle up to 600-700 users.
Providing you have caching turned on, of course.
In one minute, it handled a range of 36000- 48000 requests with an average response time of 131-233ms (which is great!). What can I say? These are pretty good values!
Maximum simultaneous visitors (uncached): 11
Both servers I tested can handle a maximum of 11 concurrent users with reasonable response times. This is equal to or better than most other control panels out there.
As you can see, a server can handle much more users when caching is turned on. With caching turned off, the average response time is much higher (1874ms) with fewer requests (544 in total). Testing uncached users is important as this reflects situations such as webshops, where caching is not always possible.
Time to First Byte: 74ms
Using the performance tools from Sucuri, the lowest time to first byte value was 74ms, which is a good value. The average TTFB for all locations worldwide was 0,531 seconds.
Pingdom Load Time Averages: 0.471 seconds (cached), 0,770 seconds (uncached)
Pingdom load times from the closest location (Frankfurt) averaged 0.471- 0.573 seconds. When caching was turned off, the load time increased to 0,77 seconds.
WP Performance Test Score: 846 queries / second
WPCloudDeploy could perform 846 queries per second with an execution time of 1.182 seconds on the Vultr High-Frequency server. Moreover, the server scored 7.064 on the performance test.
The UpCloud server scored a bit lower, with 10,251 as the server score and 595 queries per second.
WP Benchmark Test
WP Benchmark is a tool that benchmarks your server and WordPress performance on various metrics. WPCloudDeploy a 6.7, with is average. Also, it performed the following for some relevant metrics (these metrics measure how long a site takes to perform various tasks):
- Large Text Data Processing: 7 seconds
- Binary Data Processing: 8.2 seconds
- Large Database Import: 12.8 seconds
- Simple Query: 4.2 seconds
- Complex Query: 4 seconds.
Except for the Large Text Data Processing and Complex Query, these scores were not top of the list.
H2Load: 1332,83 (cached), 12,47 (uncached) queries / s
H2load is a benchmarking tool that can be used to do load-testing. With the default WordPress theme, a site on WPCloudDeploy could handle:
- With caching: 1332,83 queries per second
- Without caching: 12,47 queries per second.
Especially the uncached value is great.
On WebPageTest, the page loaded on average in 5.55 seconds and with GTMetrix, it had very irregular loading times, ranging from 1.9 to 6 seconds.
That is a big deviation from the usual figures and also doesn’t reflect the other metrics well.
Performance Battle: How does WPCloudDeploy Perform?
I have gathered some nice data on performance for some of the alternative WordPress control panels which match WPCloudDeploy (if it has alternatives though…).
Nevertheless, WPCloudDeploy performs generally spoken a little worse than GridPane and SpinupWP, similar to Ploi.io and better than ServerPilot and Runcloud (in some occasions).
Use the selector below to pick a performance metric and see how it actually compares.
Usability: it’s better than it may look (but it can be tweaked)
In my opinion, WPCloudDeploy does not look as well as the other control panels. There is a simple reason for that: WordPress enforces its layout on it. This can be, however, both strength and a weakness.
This makes a lot of sense since I think WPCloudDeploy is also aimed to customize a lot of things yourself. By the way, FireupWP is their managed service and does look better.
However, it does a great job with descriptive hints and actually works much better than it may look at first sight. Simply said: it’s not as shiny as the other panels, but does the job very well.
The biggest drawback in terms of usability is the sheer amount of options that can be set, and how these are grouped. At first sight, this may look very overwhelming.
WPCloudDeploy uses the custom post type view of WordPress for displaying servers and applications.
That gives a good overview, but sometimes not all text and information are aligned very well. What I also think is that the application overview has many tabs which may be a bit overwhelming at first sight.
Similar to servers, sites also have an overview and a detail page – following the WordPress custom post type model.
WPCloudDeploy has a couple of other nice tools which make management a lot easier. Think of tools such as cloning websites, adding new administrator users from the control panel, changing PHP settings from the interface, grouping servers and applications and adding authentication.
Changing a Domain
Throughout the panel, a set of custom tools are appearing. One of the tools I find particularly useful is the change domain function.
Many control panels offer this functionality, but don’t let you make a dry run or quick change. The explanations make it very insightful what is happening when you change a domain.
Team and User Manager
I spoke earlier about the Team Manager. Basically, this manager allows adding teams. Per team, users and their permissions can be configured.
This is a very useful feature if you’re collaborating
Some helpful hints
It made the interface more clumsy, but also more helpful! Yep, I’m speaking about hints. In many sections, there are hints provided by WPCloudDeploy.
Some screens are void of hints but are very clean in that sense.
It’s also great that SSL can be enabled with just one click!
Redirecting on Site Level
Another useful feature is the redirecting feature, which allows you to add redirects per site. Compared to using a WordPress plugin, this has performance benefits.
Another feature that enhances usability is the availability of SSH and command logs. This keeps track of what happened to a server and application and is particularly useful if you are a developer. And very useful if things go south.
In addition, debug and error logs on the file level can also be enabled (and downloaded).
WPCloudDeploy includes a couple of panels that show the most important statistics related to your servers or WordPress websites.
Next to the charts, there is also a statistics dashboard:
Changing and Syncing General Settings
In the general settings screen, some common settings can be changed. And the interesting part is that you can sync these settings to another installation of WPCloudDeploy, thereby acting as a backup panel.
Another advantage is that almost any (general) setting can be changed, from settings for Cloud Providers to server settings to site settings.
Front-End Display and Customization
Another useful usability feature – open to customization – is the possibility to display servers, websites and notifications on the front-end. And you can even deploy new servers and sites on the front-end.
Obviously, these are only visible if you are logged in and permitted to see the details, but this is another functionality that demonstrates that WPCloudDeploy can be used to set up your own hosting business.
The fact that WPCloudDeploy is created with WordPress, allows for wild customization and design improvements. You can find a great example here.
There are a couple of odd things happening which I think should be improved.
- The application, server and settings screen has way too many tabs (and features?).
- Tabs and screens look crowded with a lot of information, restructuring the hierarchy of information would make it a lot better.
If you want to change backup settings for all applications for a server, you have to do it at the application level. A bit weird.This is improved since version 2.9.0!
- If you delete a server, it’s really deleted. But you can still restore it in the interface (and that doesn’t bring the server back). However, you can also add server and app records to keep track of this.
What does FireupWP look like?
I talked about FireupWP a couple of times. You know, the managed version of WPCloudDeploy. But what does it look like? Here you go!
I found the support of WPCloudDeploy very knowledgeable, but support is now only possible over email/tickets.
What I like about the support for FireupWP is that they specifically state the maximum amount of hours they will respond in.
As introduced, support is possible over tickets and email. I prepared some beefy questions for support and I estimated the response time.
It took 58 minutes to get the first reply, which is great for ticket-based support. All of the questions were answered with great detail and professionalism.
Almost any functionality of WPCloudDeploy is documented in their online documentation. At first glance, it may be a bit hard to find but you need to scroll down to the footer of their website and there it is!
They don’t have a very extensive blog as some of the major managed WordPress companies have, but in my opinion, that’s fine.
A note on safety concerns
So you may have been thinking, that using a WordPress plugin to manage hosting and servers, can it be safe? Aren’t other control panels safer?
This was one of my tough questions and there is a surprising fact on safety. In comparison to other providers, the code base of WPCloudDeploy is open for reviewing which may enhance safety. And obviously, their code is written using good security practices.
Again, since you’re installing a plugin on WordPress, you need to make sure that your WordPress is up to date and that no other vulnerable plugins are installed as well.
Let’s move on to pricing! After all, money is something that matters to many of us. WPDeploy has two yearly pricing plans:
|$299 / year||$699 / year||$999 / year|
|Unlimited sites and servers||Unlimited sites and servers||Unlimited sites and servers|
|Only Digital Ocean||DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, Upcloud||All Cloud Providers|
|All Core Features||All Core Features||All Core Features|
|WooCommerce Integration||WooCommerce Integration|
|Supports Multisite||Supports Multisite|
|Supports Server Synchronizing|
For the value of what you get, WPCloudDeploy is very reasonably priced if you’re going to use Digital Ocean. The full package is much more expensive and is particularly useful if you’re running a lot of servers and websites outside Digital Ocean.
In the latter case, $999 a year can be a bit expensive compared to other control panels. But it’s definitely a steal if you compare this to managed hosting providers – if you dare to run WordPress on your own servers.
In addition to the costs of WPCloudDeploy, you have to pay for ‘renting’ a cloud server. Obviously. Usually, these start at $5 a month.
What about Fireup WP?
Its twin FireupWP, created by the same company, has the following pricing plans:
|Basic: $19.99 monthly||Pro: $39.99 monthly||Agency: $99.99 monthly|
|5 servers, 25 sites||99 sites, 25 servers||Unlimited sites & servers, 3 admins|
|Digital Ocean Only||Digital Ocean, Linode, Vultr||Digital Ocean, Linode, Vultr, AWS EC2 & Lightsail, Hetzner, Exoscale|
|Page Caching & Memcached||Page Caching, Memcached & Redis||Page Caching, Memcached & Redis|
|All basic features||2-factor authentication||Multisite-support|
There is also an enterprise plan of $999.99 which supports unlimited administrators, Azure, Google Cloud and Alibaba ECS, and server syncing.
You may find FireupWP more attractive if you don’t want to manage the plugin yourself, but it’s also more expensive for unrestricted use.
The 5 Best WPCloudDeploy Alternatives
WPCloudDeploy can’t be really compared to anything out there yet. It’s the first WordPress plugin able to manage servers, and sites and set up a hosting business.
That having said – it mostly relates to other Control Panels out there. Here is a list of what I think are the closest alternatives to WPCloudDeploy:
The Review Verdict: Try WPCloudDeploy! It’s Great.
After this stream of WordPress, I hope you’ve got a great insight into what WPCloudDeploy is like. It’s time to close off the WPCloudDeploy review with the final verdict.
WPCloudDeploy is an amazing WordPress plugin that makes it very easy to install and manage WordPress on a virtual private server of Vultr, Digital Ocean, Linode or Amazon.
In my experience, WPCloudDeploy is functioning very well. It has a lot of great features, only lacking a native staging feature as an important feature. The performance is really good and also support has proven to be helpful, and fast.
The usability side can use some improvements – parts of it being forced to use the layout and structure of WordPress. Once you get the hang of it, it works well.
The real power is that WPCloudDeploy is using WordPress, which means if you’re a WordPress professional, you can easily use it to set up your own hosting business (and panel) by just using WordPress!
While WPCloudDeploy takes a lot of responsibility and effort in managing servers away, it will be still your servers that you have to manage. That’s a great advantage, but also something to be aware of. Don’t hesitate to try this for yourself.