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External Hosting - Why and why not?

How are you doing it? -

So I am thinking to start host client websites outside of webflow since it’s always another sell to pitch the extra monthly/yearly fees for their hosting. However, this has not been a problem considering the advantages of hosting with webflow and it’s superb Editor. But,- we are now looking to increase our revenue and making our agency more profitable and a way of doing this would be to consider external hosting - especially for non-CMS websites. I would like someone to please let me know about your process of doing this.

  1. Where do you host it?
  2. What is the disadvantages of doing this?
  3. Is there anything else to keep in mind?
  4. If we are to use another CMS for external hosting - what CMS would you recommend for someone that have never worked with any other CMS than webflow?

Also, please - if you have a specific work of line on how you work most efficiently (Wireframe > Design > Hosting) I am all ears.

Thank you kindly for helping out.

Might not be the kind of flow you are after, but some thoughts on our process anyway;

We still split our builds between Webflow and WordPress. We host our existing WordPress sites on a series of cloud servers which are managed services at server and application level by Cloudways. This is great for our WP sites, but we also run some static sites we’ve exported under their ‘php application’. We utilise the CloudwaysCDN too which is a flick of a switch at $1 a month per application (which translates to per site, as we segregate our sites by application install) and is as good as other CDNs we’ve used.

Things are fast, gives us the benefits of cloud, everything is managed for us, and we can charge the hosting we want and flex the servers as much as we want. We use mainly DigitalOceon servers - there’s a bit of a trade-off on operational functions compared to AWS/GCE but the performance is as good and the price difference makes it worth it for us. We use Constellix as our DNS management tool and utilise their API as a logical kill-switch for a site if a client payment fails a few times (which we manage via WooCommerce subscriptions).

If a client wants a contact form (of course, most do…) then we easily build that functionality into the form straight away ready for export, but we haven’t even thought about looking to handle CMS sites yet… I’d also be interested to find a manageable solution to this. We find the clients that tend to not use CMS tend to also not want their site updated much so the exporting and uploading process isn’t too painful really but it is very manual.

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Very helpful, thankyou. So I was looking into Cloudways and honestly - I am so confused. When it comes to the “old-school” way of managing websites I really consider myself being a beginner. I will try their trial right now. My next question would be: How do I connect a domain to the site I have uploaded(the static one exported from webflow)? Maybe this question should be in Cloudways forums and not Webflow. However, if you have the time to explain this it would be very hepful to us. Again, thank you kindly @iratefox

You can point your A records at the server IP you get given when you create one. That’s all that’s needed at a basic level to be honest.

If you wanted to go down the DNS management route then it can get much more complicated but it’s not necessary. We use it and have our own vanity DNS domain so we can switch DNS providers if we want, and we can switch their sites between servers without them even knowing, and gives us an opportunity to put in place some control/automation for account management.

The Cloudways forum doesn’t get many users, but once you have an account then their online chat is quite helpful.

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Just because you mentioned you’re a beginner, to be clear, you’ll need to create a server, create a “Custom PHP” application, then you’ll be asked for the domain details so their standard DNS entries can be made for you to point to the server using your A Records.

When you’ve got the application installed, find the public_html folder and bin off the index.php and replace with the new index file and other associated files.

This is a very basic run through, and their system guides you through it quite well, but happy to help out with any other questions.

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Thank you so much. It’s more than helpful and I appreciate you taking your time to help me out. So - beside from Cloudways we are looking into “misshosting” - they have a very affordable resellerprogram where you can host cPaneled wordpress sites aswell or just upload you own (just as with Cloudways) We will now consider choosing Cloudways or Misshosting I just need to get a better understanding of how Cloudways pricing works since it’s a bit confusing for me, still… Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn and I am willing to help back in any way I might be in need for: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stefanblendulf/

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I took a quick look at Miss Hosting and it’s difficult to see what you’ll actually get, in terms of resources, which is a common problem with this sort of hosting. It’s obviously a shared plan - and we don’t know how they allocate resources. If cPanel is familiar, that’s great and may be a good starting point to get going. It’s generally accepted that cPanel is slower to load, but recently the performance has improved significantly. The advantage with this setup is cPanel WHM where you can exercise some control over the accounts and have a management solution like WHMCS which may be of more value to you as a business operation.

We started on something similar via SiteGround but moved away after doing some tests and finding that for the same price spent on a DigitalOcean server from Cloudways we could halve the load times of some of our sites. Obviously, it’s more involved and with Cloudways you only get access to certain applications (for instance, we had to drop email support for some clients as it would be just one too many things to find a solution for) but we now have a streamlined output with rarely anything so custom that this is a problem, so it works for us as we have enough knowledge/experience to run this setup. I really like the fact that we can keep putting sites onto the same server and we can just keep vertically scaling that server.

We have a ‘standard’ plan and ‘enhanced’ plan which we run from just a handful of servers, where we have a baseline site installed on each that we performance check. We aim to keep the standard site around 1.5 seconds full load, and the enhanced site runs in about half the time. We can easily adjust our server sizes to keep this performance as our client base grows. We also have some clients on dedicated servers because their sites are quite heavy. All of this isn’t possible with a typical reseller hosting package, but it does generally consume extra time. This is the right balance for us, having certain things fully managed and being able to exercise full control over some aspects but you may find that Miss Hosting is right for you right now.

Maximise your trial with Cloudways, it doesn’t look like you can get a trial with Miss Hosting, or even a monthly plan, but do some research into whether cPanel is right for you and see if you can get some performance stats about Miss Hosting. It all might help you decide which host to go with if this is what you do.

I appreciate I’ve focused only on the hosting elements of your original post - hopefully somebody might be able to support more with the CMS thoughts and other workflows.

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Thank you again. I am starting to get an understanding of Cloudways, - just uploaded the first website and are waiting for the DNS so work for the pointing of the domain. Also I am starting to see the clear disadvantages of using something like misshosting.

Would you please let me know a bit more about how you did with forms?

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The forms are really simple - you just need to point it at the external service you’re going to use by adjusting the Action value.

We use an AWS end point for this with to utilise their email service and allow us to see usage.

I saw a post from the other day here which suggests Basin as a solution - would be worth checking this out: