ThemeCloud is a new managed WordPress hosting company which uses the Docker platform to host your sites in the cloud. They are looking to simplify the hosting experience by offering blank WordPress installs or WordPress already setup with your choice of theme from their marketplace. The marketplace offers a number of free and premium themes from well-known theme companies, I noticed they have included by MediaPhase theme which you can use for free on their service.
If you are a theme author you can submit your own themes to be sold on the marketplace, they are currently accepting new authors so check out the information below to see how you can do this.
- Scalable platform - Our Docker based hosting platform smoothly handles traffic peaks.
- Marketplace - Start from beautiful pre-built websites designed by renowned theme developers.
- Managed updates - We carefully manage core and plugins updates for you!
- Previews - Our unique technology lets you instantly preview your backups and snapshots.
- PageSpeed module - Your website is automatically optimized thanks to Google’s PageSpeed module.
- SSO - Forget about post-its and memos, you can securely log into all your websites in one click from Themecloud.
- Centralized FTPs - You can access all your websites via FTPs thanks to your Themecloud’s credentials.
- Daily backups - We backup your website every day on Amazon S3 so your data stay safe whatsoever.
- One-click restore - Restore any backup in one click! You can even duplicate your website on an other domain.
- Anti DDOS - We protect your project 24/7 against any type of DDoS attack, regardless of duration or size.
- Firewall - Our web application firewall protects your site from XSS and SQL injections.
- 24/7 support - Contact us 24/7 by chat or email. We answer in less than 8 hours but will generally do it right away.
How to Use the Service
To get started, head over to the site and signup for a free account - you can try out the service free for 15 days which includes 500 visitors, 1GB of storage and unlimited snapshots.
Once you have activated your account via email, head back to the site and click the "New Website" button where you will be prompted to install a blank WordPress or you can choose a pre-built website from the marketplace.
If you choose the marketplace option, you will then be taken to a screen which lists all their current themes with "categories" and "types" in the sidebar. Hovering over a theme will tell you if it is free to use or whether is a premium theme which requires additional payment.
Once you find a theme you like, click through to it's page where you can see more information about it along with a "demo" link and an "install" link.
Click the "install" button and you can enter some info about your site - a subdomain ending in "themecloud.me", admin email, website title and language.
Choose the free option and the system will begin setting up your new website with your chosen theme.
Your website is then available live and you can login to the WordPress admin and begin using it as usual. Your WordPress installation comes with a number of pre-installed Widgets and Plugins which the theme author decides when creating the template for sale. I chose the "Sensible" theme which included the following plugins:
The nice thing about selecting a theme from the marketplace is that you get a fully set-up website with all the content in place so it looks exactly the same as the demo so you can use it as a starting point to begin customizing for your needs.
If you go back to your dashboard you will see the site you created listed, these are known as "snapshots" and you are free to add as many of these as you like by simply clicking the "New Snapshot" button.
Becoming an Author
If you wish to add your own theme to the marketplace, ThemeCloud are currently accepting new theme authors. To create your own template, you can use ons of the free themes like Twenty Fifteen as a starting point or you can use a premium theme - to add your own premium theme you must be the author of that theme or have explicit permission to do so.
To submit your theme you should create a free account on the site and create a site - setup the site as you wish by installing the theme, the theme options, importing demo content and so on. There are a number of plugins included by default which must be kept - you can also add any combination of free plugins, or premium plugins, again you must be the plugin author or have permission if you wish to use these in your template.
Once you are done setting up your site, create a new "snapshot" on the websites listing page.
Once that is complete, click the "publish" button and on the next page you can begin filling in the information about your theme. Give it a name and choose a button color which is used in the header of your demo site, choose a text color for the demo header and then upload an author logo.
Next you can set the options for your marketplace listing, here you can upload a preview image, short description and long description.
There are quite a few things to fill in here so take your time, filling out a theme for your theme, theme URL, theme author details, price and category for your theme.
You can also fill out details which will create a button for your own website allowing people to purchase your theme on ThemeCloud.
There is a 15 day free trial available for you to test the service out, it includes unlimited snapshots. For a live site, the service begins at $10 per month for 1 website with 5000 visits and 5GB of storage, the Pro plan includes 25000 visits and 10GB storage for $30 and the top plan is $80 per month for 100000 visits and 20GB storage.
I must say, I really liked ThemeCloud - its really easy to use and takes out a lot of the hassle of WordPress for newcomers to the platform. ThemeCloud hits that spot between regular managed WordPress hosting and completely hosted solutions like WordPress.com by allowing custom themes and plugins but with the ease of use of a hosted service. Being able to pick a theme and have it installed exactly the same as the demo site will be great help to people who have struggled with setting up more complex themes in the past - you know your installation will be identical as it was created by the theme author.
This looks like it could be a good source of additional income for theme authors if the service takes off, the template submission process is really easy and you have a great amount of control how your theme will be setup for the users. I intend to add a few more of my themes to the service to see how they do - it will definitely be worth it if it results in a few sales and should grow over time if ThemeCloud can do a good job bringing on customers.
The WordPress hosting space is a highly lucrative but competitive area of business and it takes a brave company to enter this space now as it is dominated by some large companies with big budgets to compete against. I like ThemeCloud though, they are providing a slightly more unique take on WordPress hosting and their product works well. The website needs a little more work - I would like to see more information provided about it, for example, I would like to know more about the infrastructure and the company itself - adding an "about" page would be a good start if they are to breed more trust in the service.
Give it a try for your self.