An Honest Cloudways Review From Your Average Joe

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Cloudways

Kyle Mann

Performance
Support
Features
Value
Usability

Final Verdict

Thanks to its unique cloud hosting approach, Cloudways offers excellent performance on a budget and is a great choice for anyone considering growing their own business or blog.

4.5

Are you thinking of hosting your WordPress blog with Cloudways? In this Cloudways review, I analyze the service from the inside out to help you decide if it's the best fit for you.

Cloudways has a unique approach to hosting that makes it stand out from other hosting companies. Cloudways does not provide its own infrastructure; instead, you choose from five different cloud hosting providers – Linode, DigitalOcean, Vultr, AWS, and Google Cloud.

These cloud hosting providers are installed right in the Cloudways control panel. Cloudways manages the server configuration and maintenance for you and provides you with loads of valuable tools for managing your site. As a result, you can get outstanding performance at an affordable price. 

Keep reading to find out if Cloudways is a good fit for your hosting needs, or if you should look elsewhere!

Cloudways Key Features

Cloudways review of features, pricing, performance, and support.
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As mentioned in the introduction, Cloudways uses a unique cloud-based approach to VPS hosting and offers a suite of features that rival those of more traditional shared hosts.

A hybrid stack of Apache + Nginx is configured on all Cloudways servers. Then, it integrates multiple caching layers, including Redis, Varnish, and Memcached, to improve performance even further. 

Cloudways automatically does all these things, secures your server, and keeps everything up to date for you. Beyond that, however, Cloudways offers the following additional features as well:

  • Free SSL certificates
  • Automatic server-level backups
  • On-demand single-site backups
  • Easy to use staging environments
  • Website duplication
  • PHP settings management
  • Server configuration settings
  • Migration tools
  • Cron job management
  • Free WordPress caching plugin (Breeze)
  • Built-in content delivery network (CDN)
  • SMTP at the server level for transactional emails
  • Bot protection technology
  • Basic server monitoring
  • Real-time billing and monthly cost calculation
  • Expert support help
  • Team member collaboration support

As you can see, Cloudways is a whole lot more than a simple control panel. Cloudways offers just about everything you get with traditional shared hosting, but with the power of a VPS.

Cloudways Pricing

Cloudways costs vary depending on your choice of cloud hosting provider and your server's resources. The cheapest option is the entry-level $10/month DigitalOcean server, which offers excellent performance right out of the box. 

It's important to understand that you will not be charged separately for the cloud hosting services, therefore, the price listed on Cloudways includes the underlying cloud hosting charges and the Cloudways fee.

An Honest Cloudways Review From Your Average Joe | cloudways pricing high frequency
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Note that Cloudways pricing is charged by the hour and that monthly prices are estimates based on resources consumed. This is what they refer to as their pay-as-you-go pricing model. As your website grows, you can also expect your bill to grow.

With that said, Cloudways includes a real-time billing estimator, so there are no surprises at the end of the month. And to be honest, the monthly prices shown above are almost dead accurate from my experience.

Cloudways Performance Tests

I recently performance-tested Cloudways against many of the most popular hosting services for WordPress. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the results. So much so that I migrated to Cloudways from SiteGround myself.

For my performance testing, I created identical websites on each host using Astra's mountain template, enabled all available caching technologies provided by each host, and then put each test website through a series of rigorous testing using tools such as GTmetrix, Pingdom, Loader, Sematext, WebPageTest, etc.

Long story short, after compiling all of the gathered data, Cloudways came out on top! I awarded each host a certain number of points per round based on their individual performance, and in the end, Cloudways trumped all others.

Here's a breakdown of the final results. Note that the higher the score shown below, the better.

Looking at the chart above, you can see that Cloudways took 1st place with 118 points. For managed hosting under $30/month, Cloudways outperformed all others and comes in at a price less than other “premium” WordPress hosts.

For more information on my performance testing procedure, including images, excel spreadsheets, and compiled data, check the complete article here.

Cloudways User Experience

Since Cloudways offers a unique user experience, let's begin by setting up a server and installing WordPress. Following that, I'll walk you through some of the tools Cloudways' custom dashboard offers you to manage your applications and servers.

Launching a Server and Installing WordPress

After signing up with Cloudways, you'll create a server and deploy an application. WordPress, Laravel, Magento, etc., are all examples of server applications. You can create an unlimited number of applications per server, only limited by each instanced server's chosen resources.

To create a server, you need to select your desired application (WordPress), enter your desired application name (changeable), enter your desired server name (changeable), and then select your desired provider. You can choose from Vultr, Linode, AWS (Amazon), DigitalOcean, and Google Cloud.

Easy way to install WordPress server selection.
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After selecting your desired provider, you need to select your server size (the allocated resources) and your desired server location.

An Honest Cloudways Review From Your Average Joe | cloudways select high frequency
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After selecting your desired options, the price is displayed at the bottom of the page, and you can click Launch Now to create your server.

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Managing Cloudways

The Cloudways dashboard has two primary tabs at the top:

  • Servers – Here, you'll find a list of all deployed servers.
  • Applications – Here, you'll find a list of all installed applications.
An Honest Cloudways Review From Your Average Joe | cloudways top bar
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First, let's explore our newly created server dashboard panel, and then we'll take a look at a WordPress application panel.

Managing Cloudways Servers

When you click on Servers from the top bar, you are presented with a list of all deployed servers on the Cloudways account. Clicking on a server from the list brings you to that server's management control panel.

An Honest Cloudways Review From Your Average Joe | cloudways server management
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In this section, you can do the following server-related tasks:

  • Change/edit master SSH credentials
  • Monitor server resources
  • Manage services such as Redis, Varnish, Memcached, New Relic, etc.
  • Manage server-level settings such as PHP version, memory limit, etc.
  • Manage SSH/SFTP/MySQL security settings
  • Manage server resources (vertical scaling)
  • Manage backup settings such as frequency and retention rates
  • Manage SMTP services

It's important to note that the server-level settings are quite extensive and provides an easy way to tweak many different server-level settings to precise specifications.

Managing Cloudways Applications

When you click on Applications from the top bar, you are presented with a list of all deployed servers on the Cloudways account. Clicking on an application from the list brings you to that application's management control panel.

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In this section, you can do the following WordPress application-related tasks:

  • Manage WordPress backend access credentials
  • Manage staging environment (push/pull live data).
  • Monitor analytics and event logs
  • Manage bot protection settings
  • Manage domain settings (set and add additional domains)
  • Manage cron job settings
  • Create and restore application backups
  • Generate SSH keys
  • Manage application settings such as Varnish, WebP, HTTPS redirection, etc.
  • Download migration tools
  • Set up Cloudflare CDN integration

Exploring Cloudways Tools

Let's take a close look at some key tools provided by Cloudways.

Staging Environment

In this tab, you can easily create a staging environment by clicking Launch Staging Application.

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Afterward, you can Pull live data from your live website, and make changes to your staging website as you normally would. When all changes are read, click Push to Push the changes to your live website.

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Backup & Restore

In this tab, you can take on-demand backups and restore applications as needed.

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SSL Certificates

In this tab, you can set up your free Let's Encrypt SSL certificate by entering your domain name and clicking Save Changes.

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Cron Job Management

In this tab, you can easily create and manage cron jobs.

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Cloudways Add-ons

Cloudways has several paid add-ons that you can enable if you so desire. Most of these are tailored more for enterprises, but many users such as myself will find the Rackspace Email hosting convenient and affordable.

Support Add-ons (starts at $100/month) – Advanced and Premium add-ons provide priority support and close partnerships.

Gmail SMTP (free) – Send outgoing emails reliably using Gmail's SMTP server

DNS Made Easy (starts at $2.5/month) – Make sure your website runs as fast as possible by using the fastest DNS provider

Application Upgrade (starts at $50/month)- You can update your website's core applications easily with the help of cloud experts

Application Migration (starts at $25/migration) – Let a cloud migration expert help you migrate your website without any hassle (can also be done for free with their migration plugin).

Rackspace Email Hosting (starts at $1/month) – Take advantage of a managed business email solution without sacrificing privacy or security

Cloudflare CDN (starts at $4.99/month) – Secure, private, fast, and reliable global network for applications

Cloudways Support

The support at Cloudways is pretty good, and the staff is always helpful; however, despite Cloudways' great support, you should realize its scope isn't as broad as other hosts.

You can rely on Cloudways to keep your hosting server and Cloudways platform running smoothly by default. You can contact Cloudways if you have any problems with the server or with Cloudways itself. 

Live chat support is available 24/7. To open a chat window, click the blue tab on the right-hand side labeled “Need a Hand?”. They're very friendly and personable.

On the other hand, Cloudways does not automatically provide complete application support by default. However, from my experience, Cloudways support will kindly guide you as much as possible if you need it.

With premium Cloudways support, you get access to Cloudways private Slack channel, phone support, and the following application benefits:

  • Troubleshooting of plug-ins and themes
  • Investigation of server error messages
  • Database related issues
  • Cloudways API troubleshooting
  • Performance optimization

For the most part, most users aren't going to need any of that, but it is worth mentioning that you should be extra cautious when poking around with your database because Cloudways might not be able to fix it through their standard support. You can always roll back your database in such an instance, though.

Personally, I have had excellent and timely interactions with Cloudways support as they have helped me numerous times with various tasks. The premium Cloudways advanced application support isn't cheap, but it's available if you pay extra.

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Cloudways Pros & Cons

Here's a quick glance at some of the pros and cons of using Cloudways.

Positives
Great value & performance
Easy to use
No arbitrary limits
Useful variety of tools
Negatives
No domain registration
Email & CDN cost extra
No webroot access

Cloudways Review Final Verdict

Well, I switch to Cloudways myself from SiteGround, and I wouldn't have done that if I wasn't 100% certain they would be a good fit for me. I've used and seen a fair share of WordPress hosts and Cloudways is by far one of my favorites.

You get VPS performance, tons of invaluable features, and handy server management tools, all at a great price. I contemplated switching to RunCloud but ultimately decided that the extra complications weren't worth it. In fact, the price and performance would have been nearly the same.

All in all, Cloudways is an excellent hosting provider for both new and advanced users looking for more bang for their buck! Just see for yourself.

Cloudways Questions and Answers

What Is Cloudways Hosting?

Cloudways, founded in 2009, is a multi-cloud managed application hosting platform where SMBs, Agencies, E-commerce, and Entrepreneurs can host and manage applications, leveraging top-tier infrastructure providers like AWS, Google, Vultr, DigitalOcean, Linode, etc.

Essentially, Cloudways is an all-in-one control panel for hosting and managing VPS servers. Unlike other control panels, the 3rd-party VPS servers are created and managed by Cloudways on your behalf right in their own control panel. There is no need to create separate accounts. It's all done for you!

This streamlined process creates a VPS hosting experience similar to traditional shared hosting in its familiarity and ease of use. All you need to do is sign up, create a server, and install applications such as WordPress, which you control and manage.

Why Use Cloudways

Not only is Cloudways the fastest managed hosting provider, but they also have excellent customer service and flexible vertical scaling to easily scale your website on demand.

How to Use Memcached on Cloudways?

Memcached is pre-installed and set up by default on the Cloudways platform. Currently, there are no options to disable Memcached, so there is nothing else to do here.

What Servers Are on Cloudways?

As of writing this article, Cloudways offers the ability to choose from Linode, DigitalOcean, Vultr, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform when creating a server.

How Does Cloudways Work?

Cloudways is technically a PaaS (platform as a service) that offers managed VPS servers through their own custom control panel. While it may seem complicated to newbies, Cloudways operates similar to traditional shared hosting providers.

Do You Have a Vultr Account When You Use Cloudways?

No, users are not required to have a Vultr account when using Cloudways, and a Vultr account (on vultr.com) is NOT created for users when they host applications through the Cloudways platform. Cloudways and Vultr.com are two separate entities.

Does Cloudways Charge More the More It's Used?

Yes, Cloudways uses a pay-as-you-go pricing model, so users are charged per hour, however, monthly costs are fairly easy to calculate, and Cloudways even provides Real-Time Billing for your convenience.

An Honest Cloudways Review From Your Average Joe | cloudways real time billing
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How to Move a Website to Cloudways?

Migrating websites to Cloudways is incredibly easy using their official migration plugin. When I migrated from SiteGround last year, I was up and running within 10 minutes, with no issues. Watch the video and see how easy it is for yourself.

How to Use Elastic Email Through Cloudways?

Cloudways has recently partnered with Elastic Email in an effort to provide fast and reliable email services to their platform. To use Elastic Email, you'll need to activate the add-on and then verify your domain by updating your DNS settings. Check the official guide for detailed instructions.

Does Cloudways Use SSDs?

Yes, all servers on Cloudways now utilize SSD (solid-state drive) technology.

Does Cloudways Have a Free Trial?

Yes, Cloudways offers a free 3-day trial without the need for a credit card. It's a great way to get the feel for everything before putting money down, something many hosts don't offer.

Is Cloudways Worth It?

Absolutely! If you're interested in the power of VPS hosting but overwhelmed by its more complicated nature, Cloudways is the answer. You could save a few bucks by going to the source directly, but if you don't have a degree in web administration, you'll quickly regret it.

Your only other options are other cloud panels like RunCloud, but the end price will be similar if not more expensive, and comes with a few extra steps and complications. In my opinion, Cloudways is absolutely worth it for the average joe such as myself.

Which Package Should I Use for Cloudways?

This is mostly a matter of preference, but if you can spare an extra $2/month, I recommend Vultr High-Frequency servers. Other than that, just be sure to choose a location closest to your target audience.

How to Clear Server Cache Using Cloudways?

You can clear the server (Varnish) cache using their free Breeze plugin, or by navigating to the Manage Services tab in your server control panel.

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Is Cloudways Just a VPS?

Technically speaking, Cloudways is a VPS reseller as they only connect VPS servers to their control panel (along with tons of provided extras). The difference is that with Cloudways you don't have to create the 3rd-party servers separately. It's all done in-house, meaning that you only have one account with one bill. Technicalities aside, Cloudways is a VPS provider and provides VPS hosting services.

How to Change Application Name in Cloudways?

To change your application name, click the pencil icon from the application control panel. Click Applications from the top bar and select your application, then click the pencil.

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Cloudways CDN Uses What CDN?

Cloudways uses Cloudflare as their integrated CDN solution. You can activate it through the Application control panel by clicking the Cloudflare tab at the very bottom. Check the official Cloudways CDN guide for implementation.

Can Cloudflare Be Used With Cloudways?

Yes, Cloudflare can be set up with Cloudways' integrated CDN solution.

Should You Use Cloudflare With Cloudways?

Using a CDN isn't required, however, it is a great way to quickly deliver pages to anyone in the world. If your target audience isn't specifically local, it's well worth it in my opinion. Cloudflare is a good choice, but I prefer FlyingCDN.

Is Cloudways a Good Service?

Cloudways is a great service as they provide a unique solution to VPS hosting with incredible value. You get the performance of a VPS without all of the confusing instructions plus a wide range of tools for managing your server.

How to HTTP URL to HTTPS in Cloudways?

To redirect HTTP to HTTPS, navigate to the Application Settings tab from the application control panel, and toggle the HTTPS Redirection toggle button.

Is Breeze or WP Rocket Better for Cloudways?

For a free plugin, Breeze is okay for most, but if the budget allows, I recommend something more robust such as WP Rocket, or my favorite, FlyingPress (what I use).

How to Change Local Timezone of Cloudways Server?

Changing the Timezone PHP uses for all date-related functions is possible by using the Timezone parameter. This is possible through the settings & packages tab from the server control panel.

Where Is Cloudways Based?

As a startup in 2009, Cloudways was founded by three friends named Uzair Gadit, Pere Hospital, and Aaqib Gadit, who are based in Malta, Europe. Additionally, they have offices in Spain and Dubai.

Can You Pay Month to Month With Cloudways?

Yes, users pay month-to-month with Cloudways and can pre-pay in advance as well.

How Many Sites Can I Host Cloudways?

Using Cloudways, you can host as many websites as your server can handle depending on its configured resources. If you need more, you simply increase resources or launch another server.

How to Install SSL on Cloudways?

To install SSL certificates on Cloudways, navigate to the SSL Certificates tab from the application's control panel, enter the domain name pointed to Cloudways, and click Save Changes.

Can You Host Emails in Cloudway?

Cloudways offers email hosting through Elastic Email for as low as $0.10/month for 1000 emails and Rackspace Email for $1/month per email address.

How Does Cloudways Charge?

Like most VPS servers, users are charged per hour based on the server technology and the number of resources consumed. However, Cloudways provides real-time billing and an estimated real-time monthly cost calculation, so you know what to expect on your next invoice.

Who Owns Cloudways?

Cloudways is a privately owned company founded by Uzair Gadit, Pere Hospital, and Aaqib Gadit in 2009 with headquarters on the island of Malta in Europe.

How to Activate Varnish on Cloudways?

After logging in, click Servers from the top bar, and select your desired server.

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Select Manage Services from the left-hand side, and click to enable Varnish as shown below.

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How to Close My Cloudways Account?

To close your Cloudways account, navigate to your account settings, scroll all the way down, click to agree to the terms and conditions, and click Cancel My Account. Before you do that, however, make sure to create a backup of your website, delete all servers and applications, and remove all add-on subscriptions.

How to Access Webroot on Cloudways?

Cloudways does not allow webroot access at this time.

How to Check if Cron Is Running Cloudways?

To find running cron jobs on Cloudways, navigate to your desired application and click Monitoring > Analytics > Running Crons.

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How Many Small Sites Can Be Hosted on Cloudways?

You can install unlimited applications limited only by the resources of the server. Cloudways does not impose arbitrary limits on how many applications can be installed.

Conclusion

All in all, I highly recommend Cloudways if you're looking for a fast, reliable and affordable hosting option. They offer great customer support and have a ton of features that make managing your website a breeze. Give them a try today and see for yourself how much better they can make your life.

Let me know what you think about Cloudways in the comments section below. What are your thoughts on Cloudways? Good? Bad?

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About the Author

Forced out of Colorado because of the housing market, Kyle now writes WordPress guides out of his Florida apartment, hoping one day to return to the mountains from which he came.
Why I Left SiteGround and How I Found My Next Hosting Provider

After many years with SiteGround, I finally made the switch, and I'm glad I did. Read the full story here.

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