Cloudways Review: The Best Value for Managed Cloud Hosting Around?
Look on any SEO or web design group on Facebook, and you will likely see Cloudways being mentioned as an excellent hosting solution. But is it even worth setting up the cloud hosting provider? Or will you be left with a nightmare mess that takes time to clean up? Here's an in-depth Cloudways review to help you decide.
Cloudways offers one of the best-managed cloud hosting solutions available. The tool is easy to use with a clean and intuitive dashboard that simplifies server management. Users can quickly launch new WordPress applications via a one-click interface fully optimized to work with Cloudways. Overall, the company is a good choice for businesses looking for versatility and performance without the price tag of many alternatives. Check out Cloudways!
- Easy to use and intuitive interface
- Multiple options for server providers
- Professional support with multiple contact options
- Simplified pricing based on usage
- Limited to a three-day free trial
- No root access or server modifications
- Cloudways Review: Quick Take
- A Look At Other Peoples Cloudways review Takes
- Benefits of Cloudways vs Other Managed Hosting Providers
- Cloudways Review: Plans & Prices
- Types of Websites Supported
- WordPress Friendliness
- Ease of Use
- User Interface
- Cloudways Review of Performance
- Server Options
- Website Caching
- Website Staging
- CDN Options
- Scaling Capabilities
- Email Capabilities
- Customer Support
- Alternatives To Cloudways
- Cloudways Review: Final Thoughts
Authors Note: I’ve used Cloudways for over three years for many personal and client websites, including authority sites, local business sites, and eCommerce websites. So this review is based on extensive experience!
Cloudways Review: Quick Take
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform headquartered on the island of Malta. The hosting company has been in business since 2011 and, since that time, has grown to become a web hosting powerhouse with over three million customers globally.
The platform is geared toward small to medium-sized websites but offers solutions for businesses small and large. It’s a top-rated solution with agencies due to the ease of new server and application deployment and how easy the company makes it to manage client hosting.
One of the great things about using Cloudways is your many options when choosing server providers. You can select from Vultr, Linode, Google, AWS, and Digital Ocean. The Cloudways interface makes it easy for experienced users and beginners to set up and deploy applications.
- Easy to use and intuitive interface
- Multiple options for server providers
- Professional support with multiple contact options
- Simplified pricing based on usage
- Limited to a three-day free trial
- No root access or server modifications
A Look At Other Peoples Cloudways review Takes
One thing working in Cloudways’ favor is the many positive reviews on platforms like Trust Pilot and G2. The average rating across review platforms and websites is over four stars across thousands of reviews.
On G2, the company has been rated as the number one hosting provider for small to medium-sized businesses. The overall Cloudways review on the G2 website is 4.8 stars, with over three hundred reviews.
The same is true on the review platform TrustPilot with Cloudways clocking in at an impressive 4.5 stars based on over one thousand three hundred reviews. Of note is that the Cloudways review spread is heavily balanced toward the positive, with only seven percent of reviews marking the company as bad.
Overall, most of the Cloudways review entries I've read on review platforms have been positive, with users particularly favoring the quick response of support and easy-to-use server control panel.
Benefits of Cloudways vs Other Managed Hosting Providers
As noted in the above Cloudways review screenshots, one of the most significant advantages of using Cloudways over many alternative website hosting and managed cloud hosting providers is that they offer efficient and prompt service.
One of the main complaints with many hosting providers is the time it takes to receive support, especially during outages and downtimes when you need it most. With Cloudways, I’ve found that the company responds relatively quickly to small and large problems.
There is also the ease of deploying new servers or applications. I’ve used multiple other hosting platforms, so setting up new servers and deploying applications on them was always time-consuming. Overall, with quick deployment, an integrated caching application, offsite backups, and other benefits, Cloudways provides several attractive features over many other hosting providers.
Cloudways Review: Plans & Prices
The critical thing to understand about Cloudways is that it’s a managed cloud platform that provides an interface to work through other cloud hosting providers. Cloudways doesn’t have its own servers and will handle everything on your choice cloud service provider.
So, when first picking which plan you want and getting set up on Cloudways, you will need to choose which cloud server provider you want to work on. For most niche and authority site owners, Vultr High-Frequency servers (which I’ve used for over a year now) or Digital Ocean Premium servers (which I started with for two years) will suffice.
Digital Ocean Servers
Digital Ocean is a cloud infrastructure provider headquartered out of New York City. The company offers cloud infrastructure for small businesses up to larger enterprises.
Cloudways offers users both Standard and Premium server options with the ability to choose the space you need.
Digital Ocean Standard Server Pricing on Cloudways
Standard servers are a good option if you are just getting started and don’t expect a lot of traffic or hosting smaller websites that don’t need a lot of space.
Digital Ocean Standard Premium Server Pricing on Cloudways
Premium servers are a better option if you want the room to scale and would like to guarantee a fast and quality experience for people visiting your website.
Vultr is another cloud infrastructure provider similar to Digital Ocean, with easily deployable cloud server solutions. The company offers a good solution for users looking to get fast speeds and guaranteed uptime and stability.
Vultr Standard Server Pricing on Cloudways
Like Digital Ocean’s standard servers, the Vultr standard server option offers a good starting point for smaller websites that don’t yet need larger space and bandwidth for high traffic.
Vultr High-Frequency Server Pricing on Cloudways
The Vultr High-Frequency servers offer a fantastic solution for websites that want high speeds with stability. This is a good cloud server option whether you are just getting started or have an established website with steady traffic.
Linode is an American-based cloud hosting and Linux server provider headquartered in Philadelphia. The company is a subsidiary of Akami Technology and offers reliably fast and stable cloud server solutions.
Linode Cloud Server Pricing on Cloudways
Unlike Digital Ocean and Vultr, Linode offers a single range of servers at a similar price point to the other two options. They provide a solid uptime guarantee with good security and stability.
Amazon AWS Servers
Amazon AWS is the on-demand cloud computing platform offered by Amazon. The platform is one of the world's largest cloud computing infrastructure providers and represents over 30% of the global cloud market share.
Amazon AWS Server Pricing on Cloudways
Hosting on an Amazon AWS server is a solid option if you have a larger website with high traffic and need a solution that can consistently handle the sustained usage.
Google Cloud Servers
Google is the primary competitor to Amazon AWS and represents another of the largest cloud infrastructure providers in the world. The company represents over 9% of the global cloud market share behind Amazon and Microsoft Azure.
Google Cloud Servers Pricing on Cloudways
Like Amazon, Google Cloud servers are an excellent choice if you have a larger website with higher traffic numbers and need a highly stable solution for cloud hosting.
Types of Websites Supported
One of the great things about Cloudways is that you can host a wide range of website types using the cloud computing platform. Users can work with the following application types using a 1-click installation process:
- WordPress (including WooCommerce and Multisite)
- PHP applications (including Laravel)
In addition to the above application types, users with advanced know-how can work through the PHP stack to install other applications and frameworks. These include:
- Yii 2
- Symfony 3
- Zen Cart
As you can tell, Cloudways offers an extensive range of options regarding applications and frameworks suitable for both beginners needing a basic WordPress site to advanced users requiring a more customized approach.
For WordPress users, which is most of the people here at Niche Pursuits, Cloudways offers an easy-to-use solution allowing you to spin up new WordPress applications through an intuitive 1-click interface.
You have multiple options for setting up new WordPress applications, which makes using Cloudways even easier.
This standard WordPress installation includes plugins from Cloudways to help your website perform better. These plugins include:
- Breeze caching plugin
- Bot Protection (powered by MalCare)
The Breeze caching plugin is automatically configured so that your website will work efficiently and optimize caching performance.
While there are better-caching options, Breeze does an okay job and should suffice for most beginner users looking for a simple solution.
WordPress Multisite Install
WordPress offers multisite capabilities for running multiple websites more conveniently from a single dashboard.
This can be a handy option for the many people running multiple niche or authority websites who don’t want to constantly sign in and out to manage each one.
The Cloudways multisite installation will load with caching and bot protection plugins. If you don’t want these on your websites, they can easily be removed from the WordPress plugins page.
WordPress Clean Install
The WordPress clean install allows you to one-click install a completely clean WordPress installation without any of the plugins or optimizations present with the regular or multisite installs.
This is a better option if you already use your own plugins and don’t need the caching or security plugins from Cloudways. Traditionally, this is what I use when creating a new authority site. My go-to plugin stack typically includes:
- Oxygen Builder
- WP3 Total Cache
- Google Site Kit
- Squirrely SEO
- All In One WP Security
- Short Pixel
- Asset Cleanup
- WP Media Folders
To make new application deployment easier, I keep a clean install with these plugins that I can easily and quickly clone and spin off into a new website.
Ease of Use
During my three years of using the platform, I’ve found Cloudways incredibly easy to use. The caveat is that I’ve only used it for WordPress websites, so I have no experience with Magento or custom PHP applications.
A few people here may find the C Panel alternative frustrating. However, having not used C Panel in over five years, I’ve seen little issue.
Everything is intuitively labeled on the backend, with almost everything you need to manage your server or application only a click away. Some examples of this are:
Application access details:
Staging management for applications:
Installing an SSL certificate:
Backing up or restoring a previous version of an application:
These are just a few examples of everyday activities that are extremely easy to perform with Cloudways that I’ve found more challenging with alternative hosting platforms.
While some brand new users may find things difficult to do, the platform is straightforward to work with once you get the hang of things.
As previously noted, almost everything you could want to do is only one or two clicks away with server and application management. Even better, spinning off new servers and applications is incredibly easy, and Cloudways allows you to launch as many applications or servers as you need.
While the interface is a bit different than many alternative hosting providers, it doesn’t take long to become accustomed to the platform due to its ease of use.
One final thing to note is that the support is quite easy to get a hold of. While we’ll discuss the support further down, the interface for getting a hold of the Cloudways support team is intuitive and always a click away.
Despite the comparatively low operating price and easy-to-use interface, Cloudways isn’t lacking in features.
Aside from the commonly found features you get with most other hosting companies, such as one-click installs, Cloudways offers a robust feature set perfect for simple and complex websites.
Some of the core features that make Cloudways a solid hosting solution include:
- Free SSL certificates
- Free WordPress caching plugin
- Auto healing managed cloud servers
- Built-in advanced caching
- Cloudflare CDN integration
- Dedicated server environment and resources
- Pre-configured PHP-FPM
- Free Magento full-page cache
- Image and mobile optimization
Along with the features that all come standard with Cloudways, there are several other features beneficial to users, including:
- 24/7 live chat support
- Server customization and configuration
- Premium support options
- Proactive application management
- Dedicated firewalls
- Two-factor authentication
These are a small list of the overall features that users of Cloudways can benefit from. The platform offers hundreds of features across categories such as security, collaboration capabilities, performance, support, integrations, and more.
With security being of primary importance when choosing a hosting provider, it’s good to know that Cloudways offers industry-leading security standards. Some of the features that users can count on to protect their servers, applications, and accounts include:
- Bot protection for WordPress websites
- Two-factor authentication on all accounts
- Regular updates and security patches
- Dedicated firewalls
- Free and paid SSL certificate options
- IP whitelisting capabilities
- Application isolation
- User role management
- Advanced database security
- End-to-end encryption
- Advanced DDoS protection through Cloudflare add-on
- Web application firewall through Cloudflare add-on
There are other features that Cloudways has implemented to make sure users are protected from hackers and other online threats. I was also unable to find any instances of data breaches or major hacks after exhaustive research.
One thing to be aware of is that no matter how secure Cloudways is as a platform, all of that won’t matter if proper risk management isn’t observed for your applications.
For WordPress users, this means understanding the many weaknesses of WordPress and how to mitigate these through both plugins and hardening your installation.
It’s also critical to observe proper procedural security and take steps to minimize harm, such as secure and complex passwords, keeping plugins updated, working with reputable plugin providers, etc.
Cloudways Review of Performance
In terms of performance, during my Cloudways review, I found the platform quite good. The page speed tests on a fresh WordPress install are near perfect for mobile and desktop, which is expected from a clean install.
That said, I should point out that out-of-the-box tests using their Cloudways optimized WordPress install don’t fare as well. The desktop speeds remain the same but mobile performance drops.
This is one reason I use a clean install and optimize with my plugin stack versus their out-of-the-box optimizations.
While all the above stats are good, the real test comes with a built-out website hosted on the server rather than a blank WordPress installation. So, to test out the speeds after a website was added, I’ve used the Bakery Template from the Elementor site library template on the clean WordPress install (note: I typically use Oxygen Builder or Kadence Blocks but Elementor is more widely used.)
As noted above, you have five different options for choosing server providers, which provide a lot of flexibility. With many hosting providers, you are limited to using their servers or setting up a dedicated server if you need something more personalized.
Cloudways offers you the choice of cloud infrastructure providers and provides an intuitive interface for working with your server. Server providers include:
- Digital Ocean (Standard and Premium)
- Vultr (Standard and High Frequency)
- Google Cloud
- Amazon AWS
I noted above that I’ve been using Vultr for my websites for a few years. This was after initially getting set up on the Digital Ocean standard servers. I was quickly able to transfer everything to the Vultr High-Frequency servers and have had zero issues since.
Overall, Cloudways provides server options and allows you to set up custom configurations based on your specific needs.
One of the primary reasons Cloudways can perform so well is that caching is applied at both the server and application levels.
For server-level caching, Cloudways utilizes Varnish and a few other performance features. Application caching is conducted through WordPress plugins, primarily around Breeze in the case of Cloudways.
Overall, the platform offers solid solutions for website caching that ensure your application loads quickly for the end user. That said, I prefer to use an alternative to the Breeze plugin for caching.
I prefer to use W3 Total Cache, but WP Rocket is the better choice for many users. There are also several other solid WordPress caching solutions, including:
- WP Super Cache
- Hummingbird Page Spee Optimization
- WP Fastest Cache
- Comet Cache
- WP Optimize
Cloudways makes it very easy to monitor your application analytics, access, and error log data server side. This can provide a solid backup to your analytics solution of choice, which, for most people, is likely to be Google Analytics.
Using the monitoring section of the Cloudways dashboard, you can glean a wide range of information, including:
- Traffic by IP requests
- Bot Traffic
- URL requests
- Status codes
- PHP performance
- Database level statistics
- Cron job statistics
- Disk usage
- Access logs
- Error logs
This information is readily accessible through only a couple of clicks and allows you to filter data by time.
Another handy feature that makes Cloudways a solid choice for serious website owners is the ability to quickly and easily deploy staging copies of your website.
Using a simple one-click setup, you can create staging copies of websites that allow you to make edits to your website without risking the live site. After you’ve made changes, you can one-click push the staging copy to the live site.
Like many other features on Cloudways, creating backup copies of your website is made simple through the dashboard.
The platform makes it simple to create backup copies and restore your website if anything goes wrong. Using a simple dropdown menu, you can restore your website to the desired date through a one-click interface.
Along with automatic backups, you have the option for on-demand backups through the dashboard. You can also set up server-level on-demand backups to snapshot all of the applications on your server if desired.
Cloudways offers direct integration with Cloudflare CDN from the dashboard. Using the Cloudflare CDN, you have access to a broader range of performance and security options that can help improve both your website and end-user experience.
Even better, Cloudways makes it easy to set up all of this without visiting Cloudflare. It should be noted that Cloudflare Enterprise is a paid service, so if you want to use the Free version of Cloudflare, you will need to set that up manually through the Cloudflare website.
Pricing for the Cloudflare Enterprise option is quite affordable through Cloudways, and I’ve found it well worth the price.
Some of the features of the Cloudflare Enterprise solution include:
- Advanced intelligent firewall
- Priority DDoS protection
- Image optimization
- HTTP/3 support
- Mobile optimization
- Advanced compression algorithms
All this can help your website run faster for end users and help you with speed and performance optimization.
As with many hosting providers, Cloudways makes it easy to scale your hosting to accommodate growth. You can easily accomplish this through the dashboard, a significant benefit that can save you time.
Select the next level you need to scale your hosting and click the scale now button. Everything else is handled for you, so you don’t need to worry about dealing with support or migrating anything. You can even downscale if necessary.
No hosting provider is perfect when it comes to uptime. Be very wary of any company promising 100% uptime. That said, Cloudways offers a 99.99% uptime guarantee based on previous performance.
You can easily track uptime through their system status page and even view historical issues and outages, which are pretty sparse.
I honestly have never had issues with outages in the three years I’ve been with the company. The few significant outages that have happened were resolved quickly enough that they didn’t even register on my radar.
Overall, I would say that Cloudways' uptime is likely in line with many of the other providers I’ve used and is nothing to be concerned with if you are thinking of switching your hosting over or setting up new applications on the platform.
After a thorough Cloudways review, this one area I found lacking. While the company does offer email solutions for your website, it comes at a premium price.
With Cloudways, you have two options for managing your email through the platform. You can choose from Rackspace email or Elastic email. While these both cost money, they are easy to set up through the dashboard.
The Rackspace email solution will cost a flat $1 monthly for a single email address and offers unlimited usage. If desired, you can also set up alias emails, mail forwarding, and a catch-all email address.
The alternative option, Elastic email, will vary in pricing based on how many emails you plan on receiving each month. Options range from one thousand to one million emails monthly, allowing you to scale as needed.
I use neither of these options and run all of the websites I need email for through Google Workspace. Overall, I think it’s a more versatile option and provides more features for not much more in cost. I highly recommend using Google Workspace over the Cloudways email solution if you need branded email for your website.
One final point to talk about for a thorough Cloudways review is customer support. On this, I’ve had nothing but good results and been quite satisfied.
For all plans, customer support is restricted to live chat which is available 24/7. There is a premium add-on for priority and phone support if you want it, though the prices are pretty high.
I’ve never had any issues using just the live chat solution. Still, I suspect I would be inclined to pay for the premium support option if I were running an enterprise-level website or another high-income website.
Overall, the Cloudways support staff has always been quick to reply, and I’ve yet to come across issues they could not resolve.
Alternatives To Cloudways
Having used it for over three years, I give Cloudways an A+ approval. It’s been an incredibly reliable hosting provider and quite versatile.
That said, no Cloudways review would be complete without a list of potential alternatives. So, here are a few Cloudways alternatives you can try if you aren't ready to move to the new cloud-hosing platform.
SiteGround is one of the best web hosts and one that I highly recommend to anyone serious about building their website. I advise clients of my web solutions company use the platform.
One of the main benefits of working with Siteground is its numerous features, including a free SSL Certificate, enhanced security and data protection, out-of-box caching, on-demand backups, and more.
Compared to managed WordPress hosts like Kinsta, SiteGround presents a much more affordable hosting solution. You can also benefit significantly from heavy discounts during the first year, up to 73%.
If you're looking for managed WordPress hosting, WPX Hosting is among the best options out there. The service offers many benefits, including malware removal, average thirty-second response times, free site speed optimization, and free fixes when your site goes down.
Be aware, though, that WPX hosting is a premium service provider, and the price for hosting reflects this higher level of features and resources (you may wanna check out WPX vs Siteground). Their cheapest plans start at over $20 per month for five websites which is twice what you will pay with Cloudways.
Kinsta is another premium-level hosting provider better suited to serious users looking to grow a WordPress website. The company has been operating for several years and has a strong reputation for its managed WordPress hosting.
Like WPX Hosting, it’s a top-level hosting company, so you can expect to pay a premium price for hosting. Their plans start at over 30 dollars for their lowest hosting plan, which allows for one website.
Despite these higher prices for hosting, Kinsta is still one of the most recommended WordPress hosting providers. It's been used by companies like Flippa, Skillrush, and Tripadvisor and offers a solid money-back guarantee as an assurance for trying their service.
Find out more in our full Kinsta hosting review here!
WP Engine is a premium managed WordPress host similar to WPX and Kinsta. If you're looking for a high-performance WordPress hosting service, then WP Engine is one of your best options.
It hosts top-level businesses, including Pandora Internet Radio, Thompson Routers, Yelp, Sleep Number, and many others. Like WPX and Kinsta, hosting with WP Engine will cost you more than most alternative hosting providers. That said, the price matches the features and service.
If you're serious about growing, you should consider hosting with WP Engine. Features include proactive threat protection, automatic WordPress and PHP updates, one-click staging and backup capabilities, customizable themes and workflow features, and more.
Dreamhost is the first hosting platform I used after moving on from cheaper providers like Bluehost. They offer a very solid solution that’s quite affordable for beginner users. Out of the five listed alternatives, it will be the closest in price to Cloudways.
You can choose a few different hosting solutions, including managed WordPress, shared hosting, virtual private servers, dedicated servers, and cloud hosting. Their support is top-notch, with all their support staff highly trained to diagnose and fix technical issues. Check out our comparison of Siteground vs Dreamhost.
If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to Cloudways, I highly recommend Dreamhost.
Cloudways Review: Final Thoughts
After a thorough Cloudways review, I think the hosting provider is one of the best on the market for cloud hosting solutions. The company has done a lot to create an intuitive yet feature-rich dashboard that makes managing your cloud servers easier.
While this isn’t necessarily the best solution for first-time website owners, the learning curve is relatively low, and the company provides plenty of tutorials for gettings started.
The pricing is also very reasonable, allowing you to host multiple applications and scale resources on-demand. If you’re looking for a new hosting provider and want something fast yet affordable and versatile, I highly recommend Cloudways.
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