Round 1: How Do Cloudways and SiteGround Compare on Pricing?Getting started with a new hosting provider shouldn’t be a complex process. Cloudways understands this, allowing you to sign up for a three-day free trial without having to enter your credit card details. As a Platform as a Service (PaaS) provider, Cloudways works on a pay-as-you-go basis. When you sign up, you get to choose the size of your cloud server as well as the type of cloud server. There are six cloud server options available, including DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). As you adjust the size and type of server, you’ll be shown the approximate monthly price for your service. The prices shown on the Cloudways pricing page are based on the smallest server on the DigitalOcean cloud server, so your hosting could end up costing more than the pricing page suggests it will. SiteGround’s pricing is fairly transparent. Unlike many other hosts, the quoted monthly price is not dependent on you signing up for two or three years. Instead, you will simply have to pay, up front, for 12 months of hosting—and the price you pay is simply 12x the quoted monthly price. There are no hidden charges.
And the Winner Is…SiteGround. There’s no hidden charges with SiteGround and you know exactly what you’re going to be paying each month. While Cloudways’ pay-as-you-go pricing model may be more flexible, you can end up paying significantly more than you would for comparable plans on SiteGround.
Round 2: How Easy Is It to Set Up Your Hosting?When it comes to managing your server with Cloudways, you need to have enough technical knowledge to understand how changing the settings will affect your website. To make your website live, you’ll also need to understand things like domain mapping and DNS settings. There’s no simple way to get your website to point to the right domain, but Cloudways does provide a (basic) knowledge base article to help with this. Cloudways doesn’t offer domain names, so if you need one, you’ll have to purchase it elsewhere. But installing an application like WordPress is a matter of selecting a few options and allowing Cloudways to do all the hard work; the process takes less than 10 minutes. You can set up a staging area in a few clicks, too. In comparison, SiteGround offers a setup wizard that makes getting started really simple. There’s also a comprehensive tutorial in the help section. When you sign up with SiteGround, you have the choice of either purchasing a new domain or using an existing domain. If you choose to buy a new domain through SiteGround, all the necessary configurations will be taken care of for you. Because SiteGround uses the popular cPanel to allow you to manage your hosting space, it’s much easier to find the settings and features that you need. Cloudways has its own control panel, that is more complex to navigate. Tools such as a file manager, email setup tools, one-click installers, DNS management, and much more are easily accessible in the cPanel interface. If you’re not familiar with cPanel, SiteGround has a tutorial that gives you all the information you need to effectively manage your web space.
And the Winner Is…SiteGround. You need far less technical knowledge when it comes to setting up your hosting space with SiteGround compared to Cloudways. If, however, you’re looking for a more hands-on hosting solution and you’re comfortable with technical aspects like domain mapping, then Cloudways’ pay-as-you-go PaaS hosting could be right for you. Just be aware that you’ll have to spend more time getting to know the control panel to get the most out of your hosting.
Round 3: Cloudways’ Caching Issues Cause Reliability ProblemsSiteGround offers a 99.99% uptime guarantee. In many cases, you get 100% uptime. SiteGround also includes a free CDN (content delivery network) to make your website load faster. All SiteGround servers are optimized for speed and use SSD drives. In tests, SiteGround delivers exceptional speed even when there are over 50 visitors on the website at the same time. Server response times are great, and you can choose the data center that is closest to your target audience’s location to ensure a consistently fast server response time. SiteGround also offers SuperCacher with three levels of caching tools. Level 1 is a static content cache—and is the only level available on the base StartUp plan. All three levels are available on other plans. Level 2 is a dynamic data cache (NGINX) and Level 3 is database queries cache running on Memcached. These more advanced types of caching can dramatically improve the performance of your website. Cloudways is often considered to be faster because it doesn’t use cPanel. It uses built-in advanced caches such as NGINX, Varnish, Memcached, and Redis. However, some users have experienced problems with Varnish abruptly “breaking” the website. The risk of having your website go down for long periods could be a serious problem. If your website goes down because of a problem with Varnish, this isn’t necessarily a problem with Cloudways itself, but rather something you can fix by clearing the cache in the control panel. Because of this, Varnish-related downtime isn’t considered in Cloudways’ 99.9% uptime claim. You can, of course, choose not to use Varnish on your website. Like SiteGround, Cloudways uses SSD-based servers and includes CloudwaysCDN for the best possible experience for your website visitors—wherever in the world they’re located. Because Cloudways uses different cloud hosting solutions, the actual speed and reliability of your website can depend on the plan you choose.
And the Winner Is…SiteGround. With advanced caching features to speed up your website, SSD storage for your website data, and a nearly 100% uptime record, SiteGround offers the speed and reliability that you need for your web hosting. Although Cloudways’ speed may benefit from the service not using cPanel, and its range of caching options may improve speed even further, the issues with Varnish causing downtime seriously compromise Cloudways’ reliability. It doesn’t help that there’s no automatic notification when there’s a problem or that you’re expected to clear the Varnish cache yourself. Want to know more about SiteGround? Don’t miss our expert review.
Round 4: When It Comes to Features, SiteGround Leaves Cloudways BehindThere are a number of features you should check when choosing your host. These include bandwidth, storage space, the number of domains you can host, and website migration.
|Bandwidth||Data transfer is charged on a pay-as-you-go basis||Unlimited|
|Data Storage||Varies depending on the plan that you choose—starts at 10GB||Between 10GB and 30GB, depending on the plan you choose|
|Domains||Multiple—depending on the options you choose during the signup process||Unlimited on all plans except the base StartUp plan|
|Migrations||Free migrations are offered at certain times—these offers change throughout the year, so check before signing up||Free professional migration on all plans except the StartUp plan|
|Other Included Features||