The past year has been quite interesting, keeping in mind the changes it brought to the world. Cloudways also rode the change bandwagon and released some exciting updates throughout the year, and this blog highlights all those releases.
All updates shared a common factor: user convenience. They focused on improving speed and performance, saving time, and delivering a user-friendly experience. Let’s dive in to learn more about the new advancements Cloudways introduced in 2022.
Q1 2022 – Cloudflare Enterprise and Platform Optimizations
The year of the Water Tiger found us relentlessly working on major stack optimizations focused on performance. Cloudways, as a managed cloud hosting provider, is responsible for the maintenance and OS upgrades of the infrastructure you trust to host your applications. And that is exactly what we did.
Debian 10 Updates
We pulled our sleeves up and started the year strong by updating your servers’ operation system to Debian 10. This latest version brought performance and security updates and will be supported until June 30th, 2024. Also, it included minor fixes, tests, and lots of QA to ensure zero interruption of our service.
Nginx is among the most popular web servers in the market and is used by over 34.0% of all websites (Source: W3Techs). We fine-tuned our Nginx installation by performing approximately 15 optimizations for faster, better-performing WordPress, WooCommerce, Magento, and other PHP applications on our platform.
Biweekly Database Optimizations (InnoDB Storage Engine)
The lack of database optimization is a prominent reason for delayed growth in WordPress sites. As your technical partner, the Cloudways team took care of an important technical update on your behalf, converting your database’s MyISAM tables into Innodb tables.
The update made your sites respond faster every time a visitor interacted with them. You will also receive biweekly DB optimizations for WordPress, WooCommerce, and Magento on Cloudways, ensuring maximum database performance and reliability.
Another step to betterment: partial restore that puts more control in your hands. This new release opened the possibility to restore separate web files or the database, speeding up the process by working with smaller data sizes and resolving issues faster with a targeted restore when you know where the issue is located.
Reduced Backup Failures by 30%
We performed small but useful file and database backup improvements with precision, saving lots of time for users’ day-to-day operations.
For instance, when you select your cloud server, it comes with designated storage that you can scale up with a click whenever needed. But now, with local backup, the system will proactively deactivate the operation and notify you if there is insufficient space on your server. This protects your server from reaching its storage capacity and avoids potential interruptions.
The same is for database backups: if your DB backup exceeds your storage, it will proactively notify and guide you to properly scale up to accommodate it. Previously, it showed an error for which you had to contact support for help.
Finally, we ensured our backups were not affected when customers used plugins such as Blogvault and Wordfence. There were cases with several plugins maintaining insignificant but corrupted tables generating errors that caused our backups to fail.
Cloudflare Enterprise CDN Add-on
The last month of the first quarter ended strong with the release of the Cloudflare Enterprise CDN add-on. Starting at $4.99/domain per month and with tier pricing for web professionals and agencies, thousands of customers enjoyed enterprise-grade performance on their websites and robust security. Learn more about it here.
Thanks to @Cloudways and Cloudflare Enterprise, my blog has a 100 score on PageSpeed Insight for the first time with a theme that’s known to be super slow🥺 So happy to see the number! pic.twitter.com/ACNQ9WrSUP
— Maiko (@chestnutbakery) May 15, 2022
Q2 2022 – SafeUpdates in Beta and More
The second quarter of 2022 saw our team bringing the latest versions of MariaDB 10.5 and 10.6 to our platform, ElasticSearch version 7.17, and the much-anticipated PHP 8.1 version.
PHP 8.1 Version
This latest stable PHP version brought new features, performance improvements, better syntax, and more. WordPress users experienced a noticeable improvement in speed with faster execution times and less memory usage. We have also written a guide to help you upgrade to PHP 8.1 and learn more about its benefits.
Older, unsupported versions were deprecated without affecting existing servers using them, and we also introduced our deprecation and EOL policy that brought more clarity.
SafeUpdates for WordPress in BETA
WordCamp Europe found many of our customers signing up for the BETA of our newest WordPress maintenance add-on. And more than 300 BETA users played with SafeUpdates and helped us debug and improve it. We are extremely grateful to the Cloudways users for their interest and dedication toward our platform.
This is a great time-saving tool from Cloudways. One more reason to recommend it to my new clients.
— The Freelance Solopreneur (@freesolopreneur) December 20, 2022
Compared to third-party tools or features offered by competitors, SafeUpdates tackles the testing challenge very well. It is more than a backup tool, automating a multistep workflow of auto-detection, backup, staging testing & deployment.
Also, the SafeUpdates add-on manages to help agencies save approximately 40 hours a month from manual work, protecting their sites from crashing. Read the announcement blog post here.
API Limit Raise for Developers and IT
We increased our API request limits to better serve the customers who use our API to run and automate their workflows or to offer white-label solutions via a separate interface. You can find our API here.
Q3 2022 – Joining the DigitalOcean Family and Reducing Design Time for Our Customers
Q3 welcomed the big news and a new chapter of Cloudways’ growth. In August 2022, Aaqib Gadit, our CEO, announced that Cloudways is joining the DigitalOcean family. Together with DO, our good partners since 2014, we continue to “make it simpler for builders and business owners to access the power of the cloud and change their corners of the world.” It was an exciting quarter for everyone affiliated with Cloudways and DigitalOcean.
— DigitalOcean (@digitalocean) August 23, 2022
Also, Q3 saw SafeUpdates moving from BETA to General Availability, but the highlight came early, in July, with the release of our Astra Pro bundle.
Astra Pro Free for a Year
Cloudways is so much more than cloud hosting, and our goal is to attack the website building, hosting, and maintenance challenges for our customers from different angles. Following previous partnerships with page builders and themes, our brand new Astra Pro bundle was launched on our platform on July 7th, 2022.
Optimized for speed and performance, the Astra theme lets users build and customize websites into works of art without an atom of coding knowledge. The Astra Pro plugin expands this functionality.
When users launch a website with Astra through the Cloudways platform, the premium Astra Pro license comes bundled, and it’s FREE for a year to use on as many websites as they wish. If you missed that announcement, you can find everything about Astra Pro on Cloudways in our announcement post. Or you can review this detailed review of the theme and plugin for more information on features and functionality.
Autohealing Expanded for Redis, Elasticsearch, and Supervisord
Tech folks appreciated that we extended our server monitoring to include Redis, Elasticsearch, and Supervisord.
In simple words, this means we’ve started to monitor these services for failures and restart them when needed, addressing the auto-healing need expressed by our users. If we cannot restart those services for you in an unlikely case, we will proactively notify you.
Our WordPress migration plugin is loved by both web professionals and non-tech business owners, as it allows them to migrate their WordPress sites from another host to Cloudways. Within minutes, you get rid of all performance issues on your old host by moving to Cloudways’ high-performance servers, saving your business and revenue.
We also added advanced options for tech folks who want to select or exclude specific tables or directories from the migration.
General Availability for SafeUpdates
During WordCamp US, SafeUpdates went out of BETA into general availability. In its first month only, SafeUpdates saved 4000+ hours of manual updates, tested more than 2000 times, and protected 1000+ websites from breaking.
We even prepared a fun infographic to celebrate a day in our lives with SafeUpdates, with our add-on taking care of maintenance for you behind the scenes once you activate it.
Q4 2022 – Black Friday Fever and Working Hard on What Comes Next
The last quarter of 2022, i.e., Q4, included November (the busiest commercial period for us and our customers). We ran Prepathon, crazy BFCM offers, and a tool to quickly calculate your hosting savings.
DigitalOcean’s New Sydney Data Center
We had been receiving requests to add an Australian data center, as DigitalOcean, our customer’s favorite choice for cloud hosting, was missing that location. So, we had to fulfill that demand as well.
A new state-of-the-art, interconnected DO data center opened its doors in Sydney, and we quickly started to offer this new location on Cloudways. Learn more about it here, and if you are based in Australia, or serve customers there, try it out today to deliver lightning-fast speed for your Aussie clients.
Web Hosting Savings Calculator
Tools make our lives easier, and as the hosting ecosystem is full of solutions catered to different needs and customers, we are dedicated to helping our customers. The Web Savings Calculator is a free tool by Cloudways that lets you compare the most popular hosting solutions in the industry and identify the best pricing plan for your hosting requirements!
Simpler Domain Management
No matter if you migrate a website or build it from scratch, the final step revolves around the domain name. And while we don’t offer domain name registration or DNS currently on Cloudways, our domain management page needed improvement.
This update is the first of a series designed to simplify domain management for our customers and make their lives easier. You can read more about the update here.
Breeze WP Caching Plugin Version 2.0.14
Our free WordPress caching plugin has come a long way with 25 applied fixes to improve compatibility with other plugins and themes. We have also added new functionality that has been rolling out all year.
We have also started to display an Autoload summary with Autoload total size and count, added more options in the database option tab, and now support DNS prefetch on pages.
Last but not least, a fresh UI in the first half of the year brought better accessibility and user experience. If you’re not using Breeze, check it out on the WordPress repository.
Secret Project in the Works
Yes, many of our resources are occupied in a new product coming soon in BETA, in Q1 2023! We’re fully occupied with its development and looking forward to announcing it to the world, so stay tuned!
2022 was a year of change for many people. And as we look back, it’s important to reflect on the progress we have made and the lessons we have learned. But it’s also crucial to look ahead into the future and consider what we can do to make the next year even better.
We look forward to what 2023 will bring and to all the new stuff we have in the pipeline here at Cloudways to supercharge your site’s performance and your business!
Also, we would like to thank all of you, our amazing users, connected communities, our teams, and last but not least, our competitors for keeping us on our feet, constantly pushing and innovating.
Have a happy, healthy, and successful 2023 everyone!
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Marianna Siouti is a Product Marketing Manager at Cloudways. She has over 14 years of experience in the hosting industry, in Marketing and Product. She is someone who falls in love with problems and works towards solving them with technology. You will find her working remotely from warm places, or on LinkedIn.