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Cloudways vs RunCloud: One Clear Winner in 2024

Vlad Melnic Vlad MelnicWeb Hosting Expert
At a glance, Cloudways and RunCloud offer similar services. They both have a proprietary dashboard that makes cloud hosting easier to manage, and both let you work with popular cloud infrastructures like GCP (Google Cloud Platform), AWS, and DigitalOcean. But there is one major difference.

RunCloud is essentially a control panel that you can use to connect to and easily configure your server. For a developer who knows their way around a VM (virtual machine), RunCloud can make it easier to deploy and monitor websites and apps. But it’s not for beginners, since you have to provision and connect the server to RunCloud yourself, and you need a decent grasp of server commands to get by.

Cloudways, on the other hand, is a managed cloud service that takes care of all server-related tasks for you. To start working on your website, all you have to do is create an account with Cloudways, choose your preferred cloud infrastructure, and one-click install your favorite CMS. This makes Cloudways a better option for newbies, small businesses, agencies, and freelancers.

Of course, there are other differences between the two. To accurately compare them, I’ve researched and tested both services extensively. I can tell you right now that Cloudways came out on top on almost all counts. Click here to see Cloudways’ best deals, or read on to find out more.

1. Plans and Pricing

RunCloud Looks Cheaper, but It Doesn’t Include the Cost of Your Cloud

Neither Cloudways nor RunCloud is a traditional web host. The two providers do not have their own cloud infrastructures but rather help you manage other clouds. At a glance, Cloudways appears to be about twice as expensive as RunCloud. But let’s take a closer look.

With RunCloud, you have two costs: a subscription to RunCloud and the cost of provisioning a server from a cloud provider. You also have to create accounts with both services and manually connect your server to RunCloud.

Cloudways is simpler to use and ends up being much cheaper. Cloudways’ plans include the cost of a server from one of its partner cloud providers: DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, or GCP. In addition, you don’t have to set up or connect your server because Cloudways does this for you.

Cloudways includes all of its features on all plans, whereas with RunCloud, you have to buy the most expensive plan to get things like collaborative tools, a web application firewall, or unlimited access to Cloudflare DNS.

You should also keep in mind that RunCloud is not a managed service. It gives you the tools to make server management easier, but you still have to do everything yourself. Cloudways packs far more value from this point of view, because it takes care of website backups, security, and even performance for you.

RunCloud offers a 14-day money-back guarantee, which Cloudways doesn’t – but that’s because Cloudways works on a pay-as-you-go model, so you only pay for the resources you use. In addition, you get a 3-day free trial to test Cloudways’ platform before you commit to a plan.

2. Features

Both Are Great for Developers, but Only Cloudways Is Beginner-Friendly

There are two noteworthy differences between Cloudways and RunCloud in terms of features. First, Cloudways offers the same set of features for free on all plans, whereas RunCloud will ask you to upgrade to a more expensive plan to access some of its advanced tools.

Secondly, while RunCloud does offer several excellent features for developers, these are not as easy to use as with Cloudways. Take backups, for example. RunCloud allows you to schedule automated backups for your server, but you have to do it yourself. Cloudways, on the other hand, regularly creates server backups for you.

Both Cloudways and RunCloud have one-click installers for the most popular frameworks, including WordPress, Joomla, Laravel, and PHP. If you prefer to use WordPress, you also get a website staging environment where you can test changes before pushing them live.

Using either the Cloudways or RunCloud control panel, you can easily install and switch between several PHP versions. If needed, you can even run a different PHP version for each site.

In fact, both dashboards make it super easy to manage several websites at the same time. You get in-depth information about server resource usage for each site, and you can easily set up notifications to stay on top of projects that outgrow their resource limitations.

As for collaborative tools, both providers let you set up accounts for different members of your team, each with their own credentials and access levels. However, this option is free with Cloudways, whereas with RunCloud, you have to buy the Business plan. RunCloud’s Git auto-deployment (referred to as Atomic Git Deployment) is also locked behind its top-tier plan, while Cloudways includes a similar feature on all packages.

If you already have a website but you don’t want to transfer it yourself, you’ll be happy to know that both Cloudways and RunCloud can migrate it for you for free. The offer is only available for your first site, but Cloudways gives you a free migration plugin that you can use to easily perform any additional transfers yourself. Another win for Cloudways.

To help you quickly compare Cloudways and RunCloud, I’ve put their features head-to-head in the table below:

Cloudways RunCloud
Service Type Managed cloud Control panel for cloud servers
Free Domain No No
Free SSL Certificate Yes Yes
Disk Space 20GB to 3840GB

(more storage is available on custom plans)
Bandwidth 2GB to 20TB
Automatic Backups Yes, on all plans No
Control Panel Proprietary control panel Proprietary control panel
Email Accounts No No
Free CDN No No
Free Site Migration Yes Yes
Money-Back Guarantee No 14 Days

3. Performance

Cloudways Performs Slightly Better Than RunCloud

Since both Cloudways and RunCloud rely on other cloud infrastructures, your site’s performance depends on your provider of choice. For example, you can expect better website loading speeds with GCP, one of the fastest global networks in the industry, compared to DigitalOcean or Vultr.

That said, both Cloudways and RunCloud will help you configure your server with the right software to achieve optimal speed and stability.

RunCloud gives you several performance-enhancing tools, like the Nginx (or Nginx + Apache) web server, MariaDB databases, the Supervisor process manager, Redis, Memcached, and more. You can turn any of these features on or off with a few simple clicks.

Cloudways has all of the same tools neatly integrated into its dashboard, plus a few extras. CloudwaysCDN is one of the most noteworthy. Although you have to pay a modest fee to use it, the CDN can improve the performance of your website or app significantly, especially if you have visitors from around the world.

RunCloud provides a similar service in the form of Cloudflare DNS, which is free for a limited time if you’re on the Basic or Pro plans. To keep using the DNS after the trial expires, you have to buy it as an add-on or upgrade to the Business package.

Cloudways also has an in-house WordPress cache plugin dubbed Breeze, which is free on all plans. And if you’re building an online store with Magento, you’ll love Cloudways’ built-in Full Page Cache for faster loading speeds.

As for data centers, Cloudways gives you a choice of 65+ locations strategically distributed around the world. North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia are all covered, and you can always switch between data centers if needed.

Since RunCloud is essentially a control panel rather than a managed service, you can use it with almost any cloud provider. This also means that you have more options when it comes to data center locations, although you’ll have to check with each provider for a specific list.

Neither RunCloud nor Cloudways offer uptime guarantees of their own, so you have to check with each cloud provider for more information. That said, cloud infrastructures are inherently more stable than traditional shared hosting, so you can expect above-average uptime regardless of the cloud you choose.

Cloudways got an excellent score in our performance tests. To find out more, read our expert Cloudways review.

You can find out more about RunCloud in our expert review.

4. Security

The Only Place RunCloud Has the Upper Hand

In addition to the security features of your cloud provider, Cloudways and RunCloud have several tools you can use out of the box. For example, both services come with free SSL certificates on all plans, which you can turn on with a couple of clicks, straight from your dashboard.

You also get an OS-level firewall with both Cloudways and RunCloud, and you can turn on two-factor authentication to improve security on your account. If you opt for RunCloud’s Business plan, you even get a web application firewall to keep your websites and apps safe.

The big advantage with RunCloud is its Hack Fix Guarantee. If your website or app is compromised, the tech support team will clean up any malware for free. Cloudways doesn’t have a similar offer, which is why RunCloud takes the lead in security.

5. Support

Cloudways Is There for You 24/7, While RunCloud Offers Limited Support

Since Cloudways is a managed cloud service and RunCloud isn’t, there are major differences in the type of customer support you get with each. To begin with, Cloudways offers 24/7 support through live chat on all plans, while RunCloud answers inquiries only through tickets.

Furthermore, Cloudways gives you the option to buy one of two support add-ons. With Advanced support, your requests are addressed faster, and you can get help with more specific issues, such as website troubleshooting and customization.

Premium support comes with even faster response times, a dedicated account manager, direct phone support, and a private Slack channel. The cost is quite high, but if you’re hosting enterprise-grade websites with Cloudways, it might be worth it.

RunCloud doesn’t offer any support add-ons, so you’re stuck with ticketing. In addition, support is limited to RunCloud features and operations. If you have an issue with your CMS (content management system) or a specific plugin, you’re on your own.

Cloudways Wins by a Considerable Margin

RunCloud might have a bit of an advantage in terms of security, but when it comes to pricing, support, features, and performance, Cloudways is clearly in the lead. Don’t get me wrong: RunCloud is still a decent option if you’re a developer looking for an effective control panel to manage your own cloud servers. But for everything else, you should check out Cloudways’ current plans.

Keep in mind that unlike RunCloud, Cloudways is a managed cloud service. You can avoid the need to create a separate account with your chosen cloud provider, and your subscription already covers the infrastructure costs. If you’re looking for a convenient way to leverage the cloud’s speed and stability without managing your own server, Cloudways simply makes more sense.

Plans and Pricing
Managed cloud service, the price of the cloud infrastructure is included in the plans, pay-as-you-go, cheaper overall compared to RunCloud
Cloud control panel designed for developers, cloud infrastructure is not included in the plans, slightly more expensive than Cloudways, 14-day money-back guarantee
Key Features
One-click installer for all the popular frameworks, several PHP versions, resource management tools, collaborative tools on all plans, staging environment, free transfer for your first website/app
One-click installer for popular frameworks, several PHP versions, resource management tools, collaborative tools on higher-tier plans, limited staging environment, free transfer for your first website/app
SSD storage, CloudwaysCDN for a modest fee, built-in caching, a choice of 65+ data centers around the world
Cloudflare DNS on the Business plan, built-in caching
Free SSL certificates, automatic daily backups, OS-level firewall, completely isolated applications
Free SSL certificates, firewall, hack fix guarantee, you have to schedule your own backups
24/7 support via tickets and live chat, priority and phone support available as an add-on, extensive knowledge base and community forum
24/7 support available through tickets only, but response times are not specified; extensive knowledge base


Which is better, Cloudways or RunCloud?

It depends, since the two offer very different services. RunCloud is essentially a control panel for cloud servers. It’s great for developers who want an easy way to deploy and monitor apps, but it’s not the most beginner-friendly option out there.

Cloudways, on the other hand, is a premium managed cloud service. Unlike with RunCloud, you don’t have to provision or configure your own server, nor do you have to know any server commands to create a website. In addition, Cloudways takes care of server-related tasks, security, and performance for you. You can launch your server, install your favorite CMS, and start working on your website within minutes.

That said, there are even simpler (and cheaper) options out there. If you don’t necessarily want a cloud solution, check out our list of the best web hosting services for some great alternatives.

Does Cloudways offer WordPress hosting?

You can one-click install WordPress on any Cloudways plan, and you get an in-house cache plugin to improve your website’s speed. However, Cloudways does not offer managed WordPress hosting. You’re in charge of updating your CMS and plugins, and you have to pay extra for a support add-on that includes assistance with WordPress-specific issues.

You’re likely to find a better option on our list of the best managed WordPress hosting services.

Is RunCloud good for small businesses?

RunCloud is primarily aimed at developers who already know their way around a cloud server. It offers several tools that can make server management easier, but you have to use these tools yourself, which is not great for a beginner.

Cloudways is a more suitable and affordable option for small businesses, agencies, and freelancers. As a managed cloud service, it takes care of server-related tasks for you so that you can focus on your website and core business instead.

Can I use cPanel with Cloudways?

No, Cloudways has a proprietary control panel designed specifically for cloud servers. If you’re used to cPanel, you’ll find that Cloudways’ dashboard is significantly less cluttered and easier to navigate. It lets you handle resource monitoring, enabling SSL certificates, adding the CloudwaysCDN, managing your apps, and other essential functions with just a few clicks.

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Ben Rose
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A note about runclouds support: i use runcloud for more then a year now with more then 20 sites. when i want support i email them directly to the support mail and it never took them more then 5 minutes to answer (and i'm talking serious technical expert answers). so i think this point of the review isn't so accurate.
2 Reply
I also have RunCloud for over 2 years, but my experience with support is much different. I agree their techs are usually very good, but response times varies from a few hours to next day. I've never got a response in minutes like you.
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