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RunCloud Hosting Review – Control Panel Tutorial

You may have read my UpCloud Review. I told you how to deploy a server quickly. What I didn’t tell you is how to install WordPress on that server.

The problem with UpCloud or Vultr or similar cloud hosting solutions is that they can be intimidating for rookies, especially when installing WordPress or other apps.

You may have noticed in the UpCloud review that there was no option for one-click installations. You have to do them manually through the CLI (command-line interface).

Unless you know your way around the CLI, and unless you are comfortable with Linux commands, this can be a very daunting task, and in the worst-case scenario, you can mess up everything.

That’s when you will probably think of getting back to a shared hosting service where you get a one-click installation. Or perhaps, choose something like Cloudways, which is a managed cloud hosting platform, and an expensive one, to say the least.

This is where RunCloud fits in. It gives you a cloud-based control panel to manage cloud servers and install applications like WordPress with a single click.

While RunCloud is also geared towards developers and network administrators, they ensured that a person like me with zero knowledge of coding or stuff can also handle it like a pro.

Before I walk you through the tutorial and the review, allow me to tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of using RunCloud, and its pricing structure. Once that is done, we can move on to what matters the most.

Let’s begin…

The Pros and Cons of RunCloud

RunCloud has many advantages and a few disadvantages. That’s the story everywhere.

There cannot be a service with advantages only. So, here is a quick list of the pros and cons of using RunCloud:

The Pros

  • Clean and smooth interface.
  • One-click installation of various CMS software.
  • Multiple stacks like NGINX only or Apache-NGINX hybrid stack.
  • Allows creating multiple WordPress staging sites.
  • Provides stating URLs.
  • Allows site monitoring.
  • Provides a lovely file manager interface.
  • Allows installing Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate with a single click.
  • Allows easy management of SSH keys.
  • Offers activity logs.
  • Has a site authentication feature that will allow locking/unlocking sites from the public.
  • Allows server monitoring.
  • Very reasonably priced.

The Cons

  • Many advanced features can overwhelm rookies.
  • phpMyAdmin is not installed by default.
  • They will not offer web hosting tech support. The platform targets developers who know what they are doing.
  • No support for OpenLiteSpeed WordPress installation.

The question that you would normally ask is that if there is no proper support, why should you be there in the first place.

The answer is that it is better to have a full-blown user interface where you can click around instead of having a bare-bones cloud VPS where you have to write commands.

It is easier to break your site by working with CLI (if you don’t know what you are doing) than breaking your site with clickable stuff. Just make sure that you are not clicking on things you don’t know or things that scare you. You should be safe!

Pricing Structure of RunCloud

RunCloud used to have four pricing plans that included a forever-free plan. They remove that. So bad!

The other three plans that they have now are the Basic, Pro, and Business.

The Basic plan will cost you $8 a month, Pro will cost you $15 a month, and the Business plan will cost you $45 a month.

Note that these prices are for the monthly pricing structure. If you opt for yearly pricing and pay upfront, you can enjoy 12 months of service for a price of 10 months.

But before you commit to a paid plan, you can always try out their services for 14 days without paying a dime. You don’t even have to attach your credit card for trying out their services (that’s something I LOOOVEEE).

Why Pay for RunCloud?

Let’s do the math.

Suppose you deploy 5 basic servers with UpCloud. Each of them costs $5. So, the total cost will be $25.

A $5 server will give you 1 CPU core, 1GB RAM, and 25 GB storage.

Now you want a one-stop solution for managing all servers with a nice control panel. So, you buy the Pro plan that will allow you to add unlimited servers. The Basic plan will allow adding only one server.

So, with server cost and the Pro plan, you need to pay $25+$15 = $40 a month.

What will happen if you use Cloudways – a managed cloud hosting platform to launch 5 such servers? I will assume that you choose Digital Ocean servers from Cloudways, which cost the least.

The basic server with 1 CPU core, 1GB RAM, and 25 GB storage on Cloudways will cost you $10. So, for 5 such servers, it will cost you $50.

That’s more than what you would pay by deploying 5 basic servers directly from UpCloud or Digital Ocean, or Vultr and then paying another 15 USD to RunCloud!

Of course, if you want to deploy only one server, Cloudways becomes cheaper. But here is the problem – Cloudways will not give you all those tools you will get with RunCloud. The biggest drawback will be the absence of a file manager with Cloudways.

Cloudways is a managed platform, and still, it is a bit complicated. I have used Cloudways in the past, but now I prefer Digital Ocean because they support OpenLiteSpeed WordPress and allow one-click deployment with some basic CLI work that is too easy not to understand.

Anyway, getting back to RunCloud, the service is quite reasonably priced, and it won’t burn a hole in your pocket if you work with multiple cloud servers.

How to Use RunCloud?

In this segment, I will show you how to use RunCloud. For the purpose of this tutorial, I will use a server deployed with Digital Ocean.

Let’s begin…

Step 1: Create an account with RunCloud

You don’t need to buy any premium service right away. Start with a free trial that will last for 14 days. You don’t have to give your credit card details for the trial.

Visit this link to create an account. Once you create an account, you will get a confirmation email. You need to verify your email ID. Once the verification is complete, you will be ready to start.

Step 2: Add your server

Once you create an account, this is what you will notice:

Click on the “Let’s get started” button to see the list of server providers. This is what you will see:

Since I am using Digital Ocean for this example, I will select Digital Ocean. You can select whatever you are using.

Once you select a provider, you will see this:

You can build a new server, or you can connect an existing server. Since I already have an existing server, I will choose the option, ‘Connect via IP Address.’

You will instantly see some notes that can be intimidating. You can happily ignore them and add a server name and the cloud server’s public IP address.

This is what you will see:

Now click on the “Add this server” button. Once you do that, you will see the server configuration window. This is what you will see:

Once you enter the root password of your cloud server, you will see this screen:

This is going to take a while (about 15 minutes). So, watch a funny cat video on YouTube. It will relax you.

Once the process is over, you will see this screen:

The screen shows you a summary of the server deployed with the Digital Ocean.

If you want to install WordPress or any other web application on the server, all you have to do is click on the Web Application menu on the left and then click on the Create Web App button.

This is what you will see:

After you click on the Create Web App button, this is what you will see:

For this tutorial, I will install WordPress. But before installing WordPress, I will recommend that you go ahead and add a user. For that, click on the System User tab and add a user of your choice.

Once you add one user, go back to the Web Application tab and click on “1 Click WordPress.” You will see this page:

You need to give details. Start by giving the app a name – something that you can remember and recognize. You need to add a domain name, or you can use a test domain. You don’t have to buy any domain for that. RunCloud will provide it!

You then need to select a user, select the PHP version, and server type (Web Application Stack).

For Web Application Stack, you will have three options which are:

  • Native NGINX [this will not give you access to the .htaccess file, but the server will be faster]
  • Hybrid NGINX + Apache [this will give you access to .htaccess file, but the server will be comparatively slow]
  • Native NGINX + Custom Configuration.

Once you are done with the preliminary steps, you can scroll down to add WordPress site name, admin username/password, database details, etc. Some of them will be optional. So, you can just leave them as is!

Finally, install the WordPress application by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page. It looks like this:

That’s it!

In my case, I used a test domain that looks like this:

If you use your own domain name, you have to add A records to your domain registrar’s DNS management tool.

This is what it will look like if you are adding a true domain:

Since I used a test domain, this is I saw after installing WordPress:

From this screen, you can access the File Manager (option on the left menu). This is how the file manager looks like:

You can install free SSL by click on SSL/TLS option on the left. This is what you will see:

To access the site, click on the option which says ‘Domain Name’ on the left, and you can see the URL of the WordPress installation. This is what you will see:

Here is a closer look at the domain:

Clicking on the URL will take you straight to the website. This is what the newly installed website looks like:

You can set up a firewall, set NGINX rules, change the PHP version, create a staging site, and more! It is an all-in-one package! Yes, many advanced configuration options available, and they are more suitable for nerds! I will recommend not fiddling around with those options, because you may just mess up things!

That’s it! That’s how easy using RunCloud is. The web control panel is pure bliss, to say the least. It makes life easy, especially for those who are moving from shared hosting to cloud hosting.

While a few things may look daunting, carefully treading the path will ensure that your transition is as smooth as possible!

Alternatives to RunCloud

There are a couple of alternatives to RunCloud, but I won’t recommend them. A couple of noteworthy alternatives will be ZoomAdmin and ServerPilot. They have some severe limitation.

ServerPilot for instance will charge you $5 per month for each server you add. This will increase your cost exponentially. ZoomAdmin on the other hand is quite new with very limited functions.

You can try both, but at the end of the day, RunCloud is a clear winner.