Dedicated WordPress hosting services have become very popular over the last couple of years. These companies cater exclusively to WordPress users and aim to provide a higher level of support that other hosting companies.
They offer a fifteen day trial so I was able to take a look a close look at their service and see what they offer.
Setting Up Themecloud
All you have to do to get started with Themecloud is choose a username and enter your email address and a password. Once you do this, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your email address. Clicking on the link provided will verify your email address and display a link to the Themecloud dashboard.
Themecloud has a clean user interface.
In the top navigation menu you will see a link to the main dashboard, a link to the marketplace, and a menu that allows you to view your profile or sign out.
Underneath you will see the dashboard is split into three main areas: Websites, snapshots (backups), and templates.
The marketplace is one of the most interesting features of ThemeCloud. It lets you install a variety of WordPress designs. Some of these are free, others will cost you a fee.
When you click to add a new website, you get to choose whether you install WordPress from scratch or choose to have a template installed.
In the next area you can enter the name of your website, the administrator email address, and the website title. You can also define your website language and whether search engines such as Google can index your website content.
Those of you who are just curious about what Themecloud has to offer would be better off testing the service using their fifteen day trial. The trial allows the installation of one website, 500 monthly visits, and 1GB of storage. Unlimited snapshots of your website are provided too.
The trial is not really a practical option for a live website as it only allows around sixteen visits per day. Of course, it wasn't really designed for that; the trial is there to help show you what Themecloud can do.
The other hosting plans available are the personal plan at $10 per month, the pro plan at $30 per month, and the business plan at $80 per month.
All plans feature unlimited backups of your website, but each plan is also sold on a website by website basis. No plans are available that allow multiple websites to be installed. This means that if you select a second website, you simply have to choose an appropriate plan for that particular website.
The difference between these plans is the level of traffic permitted and the level of storage provided. The personal plan allows 5,000 monthly visitors and 5GB of storage, the pro plan allows 25,000 monthly visitors and 10GB of storage, and the business plan allows 100,000 monthly visitors and 20GB of storage.
Their pro plan should be sufficient for most small WordPress blogs as it permits up to around 800 to 850 visitors per day. It is worth noting that at $30 per month, the pro plan is one dollar more expensive than the personal plan that WP Engine offers with the same specifications.
On the other hand, their business plan is $19 cheaper than WP Engine's equivalent (though WP Engine allow up to ten installs on that particular plan).
As you can see, there is not much between Themecloud's pricing and that of its competitors. Therefore, the real difference comes down to features and usability.
Managing Your Websites
All of your websites are listed in the home page of your dashboard. There are quick links here to the front end of your website and to the admin area.
Clicking on the website name at the left hand side will take you to the website configuration page.
Themecloud lets you make changes to your website, preview them, and then deploy them. You can make website restorations from this configuration area too.
I have been using hosting control panels such as cPanel for many years. One of the reasons I have always avoiding using a WordPress hosting service myself is because it removes a lot of the options and control that I am accustomed to with more technical hosting control panels.
Though I understand many people do not need or want full control over many technical hosting features. They simply want their hosting to be efficient and when they need something done, they will ask the hosting company to do it.
Whilst I have not used Themecloud's support, I can vouch for the user friendliness of their hosting interface. You will feel comfortable using it after only a few minutes. This will allow you to focus more time on developing your website.
More Than Hosting
Themecloud offers more than managed hosting for WordPress users. Their hosting plans are provided with a lot of additional features that help make your website faster and more secure.
I was particularly pleased to see the inclusion of anti-ddos protection as it is something I had problems with in the past. Most hosting companies do not offer this feature.
ThemeCloud also features Google PageSpeed optimisation, support for single sign ons (SSOs), and a web application firewall.
Backups are made every day to Amazon S3 and can be restored at any time. It's great to see them backing up to an external location as most hosting companies back up data to the same location as the main server.
Support is provided twenty-four hours a day via online chat and email. They aim to answer all support queries within eight hours, but hope to answer them sooner.
Two of the most important factors of a good hosting company are uptime and quality of support.
Unfortunately, for a reviewer like myself, it is difficult for me to accurately test uptime and support unless I have used a hosting service extensively myself. Though my dealings with Themecloud so far have all been professional and friendly (which hopefully suggests that they do place emphasis on giving good support).
What I can speak about is how simple Themecloud is to use. Beginners will love the simplicity of the Themecloud interface, as will those of you who do not want to waste time tinkering around with technical settings and options.
If you want a hosting company to host your website and provide support on WordPress related issues whenever you need it, I recommend checking out Themecloud. They are easy to use and provide a lot of great features.
Thanks for reading.