What is SpinupWP?
SpinupWP is a fantastic tool that allows you to set up WordPress on a cloud hosting service like DigitalOcean, Amazon AWS or Google Cloud without needing any kind of advanced command-line knowledge or knowledge of setting up a server.
If you’re a WordPress freelancer, a small to medium agency, or a small company handling web development in house, you probably don’t have a systems admin with the kind of knowledge to set up, secure and manage a server.
SpinupWP removes this barrier to entry by handling the setup of the cloud server and providing a simple control panel for applying security upgrades, adding new sites, setting up SFTP accounts and so on.
If your website has outgrown shared hosting, but you’re put off by the often high costs of managed WordPress hosts or managed virtual servers, the combination of SpinupWP and a cloud hosting service could be the perfect option.
Better still, it’s made by Delicious Brains, one of the best known WordPress development agencies out there, and the creators of the fantastic WP Migrate DB Pro, so it’s made by people who work in and on WordPress day in, day out.
How easy is it to use?
I’m a WordPress developer by trade, and well-enough-versed with the command line to be able to use git, connect to a server via SSH, install packages, move things around, make backups, and so on.
But when it comes to actually setting up a server and making sure it’s secure, my knowledge very much runs out.
As a small WordPress agency working with clients on reasonably tight budgets, we’ve always hosted our staging sites on a shared Krystal account, and recommended that our clients set up their own Krystal hosting account on one of their shared plans once the site is ready to go live.
While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this approach, and we’ve never had any major problems with Krystal despite pushing some pretty hefty traffic to their shared accounts, we’ve still had the odd issue where sites slow down – either momentarily or for a few hours at a time – and I can only really put this down to a high load on the shared server. When you’re on a shared server, you’re sharing resources with your neighbours, so if one of their sites gets a big influx of traffic, it can sometimes slow you down.
I’ve always considered managed WordPress hosting to be too expensive for what you get – you’re usually still on some kind of shared platform, and you’re paying a premium for ‘visits per month’ and supposedly specialist WordPress support.
I don’t know when visits per month became a valid way to charge for managed hosting, considering a badly built, resource-intensive site receiving 10,000 visits a month could be far more taxing than a well-built, cached-to-the-eyeballs site receiving 2 million visits a month, yet the latter would attract phenomenal hosting costs on these kinds of platforms.
So a virtual server from the likes of DigitalOcean or Amazon AWS has always seemed like the perfect option – but there’s far too much of a learning curve, and I don’t want to spend my nights worrying that I’ve missed something when setting up the server’s security.
With SpinupWP, that’s all handled for you. They set up the server and firewall, install WordPress, configure cacheing, manage all of the difficult stuff, and leave you to handle development.
Sure, you’ve got to log in occasionally and hit the ‘Upgrade’ button to ensure that any security patches are applied, and occasionally restart the server – but that’s a small price to pay for everything else.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Of course, nothing’s perfect, and there are reasons that SpinupWP may not be right for you.
- Cheap, cheap, cheap. Their starter plan is just $9 a month for the first 3 months, and $12 per month after that. You’ll need to pay for DigitalOcean / Amazon AWS on top of that, and probably pay for backup storage as well, but it’s still likely going to be cheaper than anything you can get elsewhere.For one of our high traffic sites, we pay $12 a month for the Starter plan, plus just over $11 for a DigitalOcean droplet and a ‘Space’ for backups. The site easily handles around 1 million page views per month, and barely makes a dent on the droplet’s resources.
- Fast, fast, fast. As your site will be hosted on DigitalOcean, Amazon AWS or Google Cloud, it’ll be sitting on a super fast virtual server. On top of this, SpinupWP has its own built in cache, to make your sites load even quicker.I’m not running any seriously resource-intensive stuff, but our high traffic client sites run super fast and aren’t pushing the servers at all.
We never had any serious front-end issues with our shared server as we had everything heavily cached anyway, but the speed jump in the WordPress back-end when we went from shared to a DigitalOcean droplet was insane.
- Easy backups. SpinupWP supports backing up to Amazon S3, DigitalOcean Spaces, Google Cloud Storage and Wasabi, and via the control panel you can easily specify which database and which files to back up, and at what time.
- Simple control panel. While it’s not exactly feature-rich, and won’t give you the level of control you might be used to from things like cPanel, SpinupWP comes with a clean, slick control panel that gives you access to simple tasks like:
- Enabling SSL – set up an HTTPS certificate in one click. No settings, just a quick toggle and SpinupWP will set you up a certificate and configure HTTP/2.
- Setting up SFTP and SSH users in seconds – and with the ability to choose between a Public Key and a Password.
- Backups – Control, restore and delete your daily backups
- Configure caching – Turn full page caching on and off, and set page and directory exclusions in seconds. You can also clear your cache on a page- or site-level from the WordPress back end.
- Basic authentication – Don’t want the world to see your site just yet? Turn on HTTP authentication in one quick click
- This is not managed WordPress hosting. If you run into an issue with your WordPress setup, they may be able to help you, but it’s not strictly their responsibility.They’ll help with the overall setup of your server and any problems you encounter there, but if you break a plugin or your theme, you’re probably on your own.
That’s fine with me, as this isn’t hosting for beginners, it’s hosting for seasoned WordPress developers and agencies – but if you’re just getting started with WordPress, you’re better off with a host that’ll hold your hand a little more.
- You may need the occasional trip to the terminal. I genuinely don’t need to SSH into my server much, but I’ve had to on the odd occasion. Whether it’s to manually restart the server, set up a 301 redirect (see below!) or manually backup a database (also see below!), it helps if you’ve got some command line knowledge. Remember, this isn’t managed hosting, and the limited control panel definitely isn’t cPanel.
- You can only back up one database via the control panel. SpinupWP is designed for WordPress sites, but there’s absolutely no reason you can’t throw anything else on there. With our biggest site, we’ve got WordPress and a large forum, meaning we’ve got 2 databases running on the same server.SpinupWP allows you to create as many databases as you want via their control panel, which is great, but when it comes to automated backups you’re limited to just the one. There’s nothing to stop you setting up a cron job to back up any others, but it’s a bit of a shame you can’t handle it all via their control panel.
You can also only schedule a backup once a day, but that’s probably enough for most users.
- Support isn’t 24/7. Delicious Brains is a small team, but they’re based across the US, the UK and Canada, meaning there’s usually someone online to help. They advertise that they respond to enquiries and support requests “at all hours Monday to Friday”, but that they don’t typically work on weekends.So if you’re looking for a company with guaranteed support at all hours of the day, and throughout the weekend, they may not be right for you.
- Nginx. It’s not a disadvantage per se, as it depends on what you’re used to – but as a developer who’s grown used to throwing various things into a .htaccess file, it was a shock to find out that SpinupWP spins you up an Nginx server, meaning .htaccess files don’t do a thing.Hard-coded redirects are handled by editing a server configuration file via the command line, which feels a lot more daunting. But there are plenty of user-friendly WordPress redirect plugins out there, so if you’re not comfortable ssh-ing into your server and opening vim or vi, there are still other options.
How to set up a server on SpinupWP
Just head to the Pricing page and explore their 3 tiers. Get started and it’ll walk you right through the steps to set up your server on your cloud hosting platform of choice, and send you into their slick control panel.
You can have the whole thing set up in under half an hour.
If you’re ready to get started, you can get a $50 credit for SpinupWP with this link. It will be applied to your account within 30 days of you signing up.
*I might receive a small commission if you sign up with the links in this article and remain a SpinupWP customer. This hasn’t affected my judgement on this review, and I’ve been using SpinupWP for well over a year on both client sites and my own sites, and genuinely love it.