Reviews and expert opinion Cloudways

Mark Holden
Mark Holden
Web Hosting Expert

Cloudways offers cloud hosting via other cloud infrastructure platforms. But it will manage those cloud hosting services for you, so you can just install WordPress (or a different CMS) and go. If you want to run a site without the hassle of managing a server yourself, Cloudways is a solid, affordable cloud-based service. You can take advantage of the 3-day free trial to see if it’s right for you.


Overview

the Cloudways home page
To be fair, that’s a compelling sales pitch

The Power of the Cloud, with None of the Hassle

As a pioneer in – and popularizer of – cloud hosting, Cloudways offers users serious advantages, including incredible uptime, extremely flexible scalability, and overall better performance than traditional web hosts.

Why should you even consider cloud hosting in the first place? Well, clouds allow multiple servers to host your site, creating a built-in redundancy that amplifies the speed and security of your site. Plus, cloud hosting allows you to quickly scale your site up or down in response to traffic surges. But if you’ve ever tried to set up cloud hosting on your own, you know it isn’t always the easiest to understand or use.

Cloudways allows you to ignore the annoying technical complexities and focus on building your site. In other words: you can choose Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, or one of several other infrastructures to host your site, and Cloudways will actually manage your cloud hosting for you.

You could be an individual freelancer building your portfolio or a self-employed entrepreneur who sells robot pants and needs an online store. You could be the manager of the local hair salon and bait shop, and you just need to get your WordPress site on some reliable cloud hosting. Whatever the case, Cloudways’ managed hosting plans are designed to help you get your content onto the cloud easily and reliably.

Features

4.9

Flexibility, WordPress Specialization, and Strong Security? Check, Check, and Check Again!

One of Cloudways’ strengths is its flexibility. Not only can you choose from a range of top cloud providers, Cloudways also helps you manage everything, including WordPress and your server security.

But before we get into the good stuff, there’s one downside to note: Unlike most traditional hosts, Cloudways does not offer email or domain registration. So if you want your own email address on your domain, you will need to find an outside email solution. However, Cloudways does have an elastic email add-on and an SMTP add-on that you can use to configure an external SMTP service for email delivery and management.

Cloudways features
Cloudways makes some big promises. Can it really deliver?

Simple, Affordable Hosting Plans Keep Things Simple

Cloudways offers hosting on top of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud providers such as DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Linode, and Vultr. Like with traditional shared hosting, Cloudways lets you choose from several predesigned hosting plans, each with its own combination of bandwidth and storage.

Just pick your cloud hosting provider, pick your plan, and go.

You even get to decide whether you want to pay by the month or by the hour. And no matter what you choose, you can host as many sites and applications on that plan as you wish (provided, of course, that you don’t exceed the bandwidth/storage limits).

Dead-Easy, One-Click WordPress Hosting

Cloudways is designed to make WordPress hosting mindlessly easy. You get:

  1. One-click installation, backups, and restores
  2. A built-in cache plugin
  3. The ability to migrate as many WordPress sites as you want for free with the WordPress Migrator Plugin
  4. The ability to scale your WordPress server

WordPress hosting with Cloudways is easy as pickle pie. Okay, that’s not a thing as far as I know, and it probably shouldn’t be. The point is that it’s very easy.

And if you want to test your WordPress website (or websites) before you go live, Cloudways allows you to create a staging area. Here, you can clone your site and test to your heart’s content without disrupting your site visitors’ experience.

Account Management Is Here for Teams

Cloudways allows you to create different accounts for team members and, if necessary, limit their access to different aspects of your servers. This makes it perfect for development teams where, for example, your system administrator needs access to the actual hosting settings, but your web designer only needs access to the actual WordPress files.

Being able to adjust the level of access for different team members is useful both for security and simply for preventing accidents.

Cloudways collaboration features
If you work in a team, you’ll love Cloudways’ collaboration features.

You Can Never Have Too Much Protection

Cloudways also covers your financial and technological backside with commonsense security features.

This is accomplished with two-factor authentication, regular OS patches, firewalls, and “auto-healing servers.” (Basically, “auto-healing” means that the servers themselves will take pre-programmed steps to get your site back up and running if it goes down.)

If the worst ever happens, there are automatic backups too (though they’re not precisely free – more on that below). You can set the frequency of the backups, anywhere from every hour to every week, or on demand.

You also get free SSL certificates, which is always a bonus. (For the non-nerds, that means all information sent to and from the website is encrypted. This protects your site visitors’ data. Also, Google gives an SEO bump to sites with SSL.)See full list of features

Ease of use

4.8

One-Click Users Everywhere, Rejoice

I’d say Cloudways is designed to make your life as easy as possible in general. The control panel consolidates everything you’ll need, from the aforementioned one-click WordPress installs to storage and RAM scaling. Let’s have a closer look at some of the details:

Free WordPress Site Migration

While Cloudways is not totally beginner friendly, it’s still a lot easier than doing everything yourself. For example, if you don’t have the time to teach yourself website migration, the Cloudways engineers will migrate your site for you.

Hassle-free WordPress migration
Cloudways’ free WordPress migration service can save you a lot of time and headaches

They’ll only do this for free once, but it’s still a very useful thing. If your current host just can’t handle the popularity of your Frank Sinatra* fan blog, Cloudways will get your site back up and running with little fuss. If you’ve already used your one free migration, Cloudways has its own dedicated plugin so that you can migrate your own sites with ease.

*I feel like I shouldn’t need to tell Gen Z to look him up, being the ultra-famous singer he was… but just in case, there you go.

The Control Panel Keeps You Up to Date

Cloudways’ control panel has a monitoring feature with more than a dozen real-time options to keep an eye on your server, which is something that few other providers give you. In addition, its control panel features vertical scaling, advanced app control, server cloning, cache controls, and more perks that Plesk and cPanel do not include.

CloudwaysBot Has Your Back When Those Humans Are Busy

Cloudways also has CloudwaysBot, the world’s first personal smart hosting assistant that keeps you up to date on the health of your website and cloud server. CloudwaysBot can be integrated to deliver notifications through Slack, email, or an API.

These alerts can be about anything from auto-scaling your storage and bandwidth to the general health of your hosting. It’s stuff you’ll want to know.

And if you’re confused about anything, Cloudways’ knowledge base contains comprehensive information about everything related to the platform and services.See if Cloudways is Right for You

Performance

4.5

With Its Own Customized Caching System, How Can Cloudways Go Wrong?

Cloudways offers users a unique optimization technology called ThunderStack, which combines features from several server technologies to give you fully optimized managed WordPress hosting, and guarantees better speed.

The Cloudways CDN also improves server speed, as does the fact that Cloudways has more than two dozen data centers around the globe, allowing you to choose the region best suited for your site.

Note that Cloudways does not have a specific guarantee or any compensation if it does not meet a certain uptime goal. That said, each cloud hosting provider does have an uptime guarantee that you’ll want to check out before signing up. To help you make your choice, Cloudways keeps an up-to-date log of its performance on a special dedicated page.

In the end, your actual site performance will be dictated only partially by Cloudways. It also has a lot to do with how your site is built and which cloud infrastructure your site is on.

performance service management
Through Cloudways’ dashboard, you can purge, disable, and restart caches with just one click
Check Out Cloudways Performance

Support

4.3

Cloudways’ Agents Are Eager to Help, If Not Always Able to Help Completely

Cloudways offers 24/7/365 support for “guaranteed peace of mind.” Cloudways customers and prospects can email support, request a call from Cloudways support, or chat live with customer support staff. Response times are quick, usually between 30-60 seconds.

However, only customers with full accounts can submit help tickets. Trial customers need to upgrade to access this help feature. All paying customers get access to standard 24/7/365 live chat support from a trained team member… but for advanced support, you’ll need to purchase an Advanced or Premium support add-on.

The Request a Call form
Cloudways allows users and prospective customers to request a call via an online form

My Live Chat Experience Was Pretty Great

Cloudways’ friendly customer support agents are more than ready to answer your questions. My exchange with a Cloudways agent began on a friendly footing and only got better from there. The agent took the time to ask questions and clarify what I needed before making a plan recommendation.

Live chat conversation
It’s nice when customer service actually listens to you

Without being asked, they even gave me a clear definition of what a CDN is, just in case. This sort of attention to beginners is not only helpful, it’s essential to running a good business.

Live chat conversation
Give out definitions like Halloween candy, I say!

The support agent wasn’t always quite as helpful as one might hope. That is, there were a couple of things the agent didn’t get around to explaining. It didn’t completely ruin the experience for me, but it was disappointing nonetheless.

Pricing

4.6

A Reasonable Pay-As-You-Go System

Cloudways lets you pay monthly or by the hour – it’s your choice.

Of course, if you go through Cloudways, you’ll be paying more than if you went to the cloud providers directly. However, what you’re paying for is the Cloudways control panel, security, and support assistance. You’re paying for the WordPress-specific features that will help your site load faster and run smoothly, like an R&B singer covered in butter.

With Cloudways, you can easily scale your hosting plan up or down as needed, so you’re never paying for more server resources than you’re actually using. This feature isn’t unique to Cloudways, but it’s good to keep in mind. At the end of the month, Cloudways bills you for the amount of resources you’ve used in that period of time.

You can test out Cloudways’ services for free with its three-day trial. Three days isn’t a lot, but you’ll at least get an idea of how the service works. Also note: Cloudways does not offer a standard 30-, 60-, or 90-day money-back guarantee, but it’s kind of moot anyway thanks to the pay-as-you-go pricing.

You can also add funds to your account to prepay for the services you need. In this case, you can sort of get a refund. Cloudways will refund unused prepaid account funds, if a request is made within three months of adding the funds.

And another thing: Cloudways does not offer free backups. You are charged per gigabyte of storage used, no matter what server provider or data center location you choose. Again, this makes sense for the company’s pricing model, but it’s something to keep in mind. You may want to clean out old backups periodically, to save money.

User reviews

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Comparison

How does Cloudways match up to the competition?

HostingerCompare 4.9 Compare
InterServerCompare 4.8 Compare
CloudwaysCompare 4.7 Compare
BluehostCompare 2.5 Compare

Bottom line on Cloudways

If you want the power of cloud hosting but prefer not to fuss with the technical details of setting your site up all by yourself or hiring a developer to do things for you, Cloudways’ managed hosting services will help you leverage the power of the cloud for your own nefarious purposes … I mean, for your own website.

If you’re not sure if Cloudways is the right solution for you, you can find some excellent hosting solutions for the simplest website to the most complex project in our list of the top web hosting services in 2020.

Mark Holden
Mark Holden
Mark is a full stack web developer specializing in HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, MySQL, and PHP. When he's not busy building websites or geeking out over the latest addition to his ever-growing gadget collection, he enjoys playing drums for his progressive rock band. He can also make a mean Spanish omelet.

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