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Cloudways vs DigitalOcean: Which One Is Actually Better in 2020?

Vlad Melnic

Choosing between DigitalOcean vs Cloudways comes down to whether you’re a system admin who has the skills to configure a hosting server from the ground up, or you’d prefer someone else to handle the technical side of cloud hosting for you.

Cloudways doesn’t maintain or operate hosting servers, like DigitalOcean does – instead, it offers a managed hosting platform that helps users navigate one of five existing infrastructures – including DigitalOcean. This means you can use Cloudways to manage your DigitalOcean hosting for you, and enjoy both DigitalOcean’s excellent hardware and Cloudways’ easy-to-use interface.

Click here to see Cloudways’ best plans, or read on to find out if a different solution would be better for you.

1.  Plans and Pricing

DigitalOcean Saves You Money, but Cloudways Saves You Time

DigitalOcean allows you to host websites or applications using a droplet, or set of resources, which includes CPU, storage, RAM, and bandwidth. Its shared CPU plans are affordable, but what is the true cost? In this case, a shared CPU plan means splitting resources with other users, and you’re also on your own to configure and manage your virtual host.

With Cloudways, you can choose DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for your infrastructure. DigitalOcean is the least expensive option to pair with Cloudways, and it’s a third of the cost of AWS or GCP.

Using Cloudways with DigitalOcean costs twice as much as using DigitalOcean on its own. However, unless you have some serious developer experience, Cloudways’ managed cloud hosting is a better option – it takes care of configuration and other technical tasks so you don’t have to. It’s also much cheaper than hiring someone to take care of your server for you.

Cloudways also offers a 3-day free trial as well as a pay-as-you-go option, so you’re not tied into a long-term contract.

2.  Features

DigitalOcean Has Tons of Tools, but Cloudways Helps You Use Them

Both DigitalOcean and Cloudways give you predefined firewalls, free private networking bandwidth, and unlimited team accounts. However, Cloudways throws in some extra freebies, such as one free website migration, automatic backups, a staging environment, unlimited containerized applications, and built-in caching.

As part of its managed offer, Cloudways also includes pre-configured servers, firmware upgrades, and live chat.

CloudwaysDigitalOcean
Hosting TypeManaged cloudShared/Dedicated cloud, other advanced cloud solutions
Free DomainNoNo
Disk Space20 GB to 3,840 GB25 GB to 4,800 GB
Bandwidth1 GB to 12 TB1 TB to 12 TB, unlimited outgoing transfers sold by GB over plan
Automatic BackupsYesYes, for a fee
Control PanelProprietaryProprietary, but you  can upgrade to cPanel, Plesk, CyberPanel, and more for a fee
CDN (Content Delivery Network)YesNo
Free Site MigrationYesNo
Money-Back GuaranteeNo, but there is a free trialNo

3.  Performance

DigitalOcean Has Lots of Potential – Cloudways Helps You Take Advantage of It

With DigitalOcean, it’s up to you to make your performance great. Users configure, install, optimize, maintain, and tweak absolutely everything. If you have the know-how, great. If you don’t, you can expect sub-par performance.

Cloudways makes all that go away by ensuring everything is preconfigured to meet best practices and providing the most modern tools and technologies. In addition, with Cloudways, you choose your provider and the data centers they offer. DigitalOcean’s data centers are in North America, Europe, and Asia. With Cloudways, you could opt for an AWS or a GCP infrastructure and choose from data centers in places like Brazil, Australia, and Eastern Europe.

DigitalOcean guarantees an excellent 99.99% uptime, while Cloudways refers you to the service-level agreement (SLA) of the infrastructure of your chosen provider for specific uptime guarantees.

Cloudways achieved an excellent score in our performance tests. To learn more about its strengths, read our expert Cloudways review.

DigitalOcean scored well too – but slightly below Cloudways. To find out where it fell behind, go to our in-depth DigitalOcean review.

4.  Security

Both Cloudways and DigitalOcean Have Excellent Security

Cloudways’ plans include dedicated firewalls, security patching on a regular basis, two-factor authentication, and one-click Let’s Encrypt SSLs.

If you opt for a DigitalOcean plan managed by Cloudways, you also benefit from everything the former has to offer, including default end-to-end encryption, and droplet monitoring and alerts.

While DigitalOcean does not offer free DDoS (distributed denial of service) protection, you can get it if you buy its proprietary CDN add-on. DigitalOcean also offers free one-click Let’s Encrypt SSLs.

5.  Support

Cloudways Delivers Where DigitalOcean Falls Behind

Both DigitalOcean and Cloudways have 24/7 support, as well as substantial knowledge bases containing almost anything you want in terms of guided tutorials and help documents.

Unless you buy DigitalOcean’s Premier Support, the only option that includes live chat, your support options are limited to email and tickets. And even then, DigitalOcean is only focused on whether the droplet is running. Anything else isn’t their concern.

Cloudways’ complete service is the winner here. In addition to ticket support, live chat agents are always available. If you need more complex debugging, Cloudways also has an Advanced and a Premium support add-on.

Making the Cloud More Accessible to Everyone

Cloudways’ managed cloud service gives you more value than DigitalOcean’s bare plans. Web hosts like DigitalOcean offer little in the way of managed services, extra features, and actual support, which is why Cloudways makes more sense if you’re not comfortable going through server configurations.

However, DigitalOcean is still a viable option if you have the technical knowledge, or if you have a good server admin on your team.

Before you decide on either DigitalOcean or Cloudways, keep in mind that neither is currently in our top 10 hosts. To see which web hosts made the cut, read our list of the best web hosting services.

Here’s a summary with the main takeaways of each section:

DigitalOceanCloudways
Plans and PricingFlexible price range based on the number of managed virtual machinesAffordable options for managing a series of cloud infrastructures
FeaturesUnlimited collaborator accounts, free private networking bandwidthPre-configured servers, automatic backups, free website transfer, staging environment
PerformanceCaching technology, SSD storage, 99.99% uptimeEasy-to-use advanced caching and SSD storage, 99.99%-100% uptime guarantee through third-party SLAs
SecurityPre-configured firewalls, encrypted storageCustomizable firewalls, security patches, encrypted end-to-end communication
Support24/7 basic support via email and tickets; live chat on premium plans; knowledge base24/7 support via email, tickets, and live chat; phone and advanced support on premium plans; knowledge base and resource center
 

FAQ

1. Is Cloudways better than DigitalOcean?
It depends. Cloudways’ managed cloud hosting offers more features and support than DigitalOcean’s bare plans. However, if you have advanced knowledge of server administration, DigitalOcean’s inexpensive unmanaged plans might be a better option for you.

Since neither one of these hosting services made it to our list of the top-rated web hosts, you might want to check that out before you make any final decisions.

2. How much does Cloudways cost?
Depending on what cloud you choose – AWS, GCP, DigitalOcean, Linode, or VULTR – Cloudways’ prices will vary. On average, Cloudways is roughly double the cost of the unmanaged cloud resources of your choice.

Cloudways offers a three-day free trial. Note that you can’t set up the CDN without paying and that there’s no money-back guarantee.

3. Does Cloudways offer fast hosting?
Cloudways manages some of the best cloud infrastructures currently on the market, all of which are optimized for ultra-fast loading times. On top of that, Cloudways includes advanced caching technology for free.
4. Does Cloudways use cPanel?
Cloudways does not use cPanel. Instead, it has a proprietary control panel that includes additional features. With Cloudways’ control panel, you get free migration, cache controls, elastic search, advanced app control, and more. 

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