I’ve been looking for website hosting that is the perfect combination of affordability and speed. And, as luck would have it, someone from Cloudways reached out to me to see if I wanted to take their cloud hosting for a spin.
Though I did get a credit to test out this hosting, you know that this is a no B.S. space. So, here’s my honest review of Cloudways – and why I’m still moving my sites to them.
**And as always, I’m an affiliate marketer and this post contains affiliate links, meaning I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on some of my links.
What Is Cloudways?
Cloudways is cloud-based website hosting made simple. Basically they help you manage the applications (i.e. WordPress) that you deploy on to your little cloud server.
If you’ve heard people talk about Digital Ocean and Digital Ocean droplets, but always thought that they were to technical for you then listen up.
Cloudways eliminates the need for server knowledge because they have one-click installs for WordPress, kind of like regular shared hosting.
And, it’s ultra affordable because it is a pay-as-you go website host, which means that you only pay for what you use.
How Does Cloudways Work?
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting service, which means they make it easier for you to use cloud providers (like Digital Ocean). When you sign up for Cloudways, you select a server where you want to install WordPress (or whatever other application you want to install).
What cloud provider servers does Cloudways have? You can choose from Digital Ocean, Vultr, Linode, Google Cloud Platform, and AWS.
First you select your server, then you pick the size that you want. For most of us, a 1GB server is more than enough.
Digital Ocean is the cheapest at $10 per month. And since this is a managed service, you pay more than if you went direct to the cloud provider. For example, going direct to Digital Ocean is $5 per month, but it’s $10 per month through Cloudways.
What a small price to pay to remove the headache of server management.
But How Do You Use Cloudways?
If you’re used to shared hosting with a cPanel, then moving to Cloudways might make you a bit nervous. I get that, because I used to be the same way.
Truth is, if you’re using WPX, then you’re already using a host that doesn’t have a cPanel. And so far, I haven’t encountered anything with WPX that I can’t do with Cloudways — I’m just saving a bunch of money on hosting.
So, I’ve been putting WordPress sites on my Cloudways servers and it’s super easy. You basically just install WordPress, then point your domain to your hosting and that’s it.
If you need to edit your .htaccess file or something like that, then you do need to use something like Filezilla but that’s really the only difference that I’ve encountered.
And I’ve been using Cloudways since February 2020.
Cloudways Data Centers – Which One Do I Choose?
If you’re like me, then this will be your first question. As you may know, all of the cloud providers (Digital Ocean, Vultr, Linode, Google Cloud Platform, and AWS) have different data center locations spread across the world.
So, how do you know which one is the best choice for your website?
Easy. You pick the location that is closest to wherever most of your traffic comes from for your site.
For instance, I have a Digital Ocean server in NYC and a Vultr server in Silicon Valley. I chose those two locations because I have sites where most of the traffic comes from California and New York.
If you’re having trouble deciding you can also look in Google Analytics to see where your second and third traffic source locations are before picking a server data center.
Benefits of Using Cloudways Hosting For Your Sites
Now that I’ve been using Cloudways for almost five months, I think I have a pretty good idea of the advantages and disadvantages of their service. So, here’s what I really like about Cloudways:
- Good for site speed (ultra fast)
- Cheap monthly price
- Good for scalability
- Servers can handle lots of sites on them
- Easy migration via plugin
- One free managed migration per account
- Free SSL
- Surprisingly easy to use
- Transparent pricing
Truthfully, before I was approached by Cloudways, I had already looked into their service in my quest to improve the site speed for my sites. So, a faster loading site was my #1 priority when I tested them out.
How fast is Cloudways site speed?
I actually wrote about using Cloudways previously with my image and ads heavy site here. The speed improvement compared to WPX was no joke.
To refresh your memory, here was my site speed on WPX before I moved the site to a Vultr server on Cloudways.
The worst thing about that WPX speed is that the site was using the WPX CDN and still that damn slow. And here was the “after” site speed after migrating the site to Cloudways.
And note that there was no CDN usage on the site when testing the speed at Cloudways.
Yeah, 3.2 seconds isn’t amazing for site speed, but when you’re running Ezoic’s shitty ads it’s pretty okay.
And for reference, I have this site here on an old Siteground account (if you wanna run a post through GTMetrix) but I’m not running ads or anything resource intensive (and I use Cloudflare).
What I Don’t Like About Cloudways Hosting
If you do a search for Cloudways reviews online, then there is on recurring theme that you’ll see — people saying that the support is terrible.
How is Cloudways support?
Honestly, I haven’t had to use the support much but when I have had to use it they have been quick to reply and helpful. That being said, Cloudways does have paid support where you get the type of support you’re used to from most web hosts.
Cloudways paid support is not cheap though, so I don’t recommend you moving to them if you’re the sort of person who uses tech support a lot. I actually have a couple of sites that need more support on the regular and I’ve moved those to BigScoots.
Does Cloudways offer email hosting?
Another thing you might not like about Cloudways is that they don’t give you free email hosting. However, they do have a deal with Rackspace where you can get email hosting for just $1 per month (per email address).
You also gotta pay up for transactional emails (like those ones Wordfence sends out when you have a plugin that needs updated) via Elastic Email. Technically you can set this up for free with your own SMTP provider, but that’s too technical for me and Elastic Email is dirt cheap.
Should You Use Cloudways?
Heck yeah, you should! Honestly, I wish that I hadn’t been to wary of the lack of a cPanel and moved sites to it sooner – sure would have saved me some money!
They have a free trial, so I suggest that you take it for a test drive. Their support documentation on getting started is excellent.
Still Got Questions? Cloudways FAQs
Moving your site to a new hosting account is a big deal, trust me, I know. So, here’s the answers to some other questions that you might have.
Where I can find more Cloudways reviews?
Cloudways is one of the few hosting companies that lets people post reviews on their Facebook page – even bad ones. Read them here.
Does Cloudways offer backups?
Yes, they do offer off-site backups at an additional cost.
What’s the Cloudways backup pricing?
They charge $0.033 per GB of backup storage, and it is rounded up to the nearest $0.50. Here’s what that looks like on my most recent bill –
Does Cloudways have a cPanel?
No. You have to use something like Filezilla in place of cPanel’s File Manager. And you add domains to your server direct from the Cloudways console.
Cloudways vs DigitalOcean – what’s the difference?
DigitalOcean is cheaper ($5 compared to $10 at Cloudways), but Cloudways saves you time and server-knowhow. You get exactly the same server, but it’s just easier to manage it at Cloudways.
What’s the best Cloudways server?
DigitalOcean is a popular option, but I also like Vultr because they have more data centers. My Vultr server is only $1 more per month than my DigitalOcean server at Cloudways.
Cloudways vs GoDaddy – how do they compare?
Lol, are you serious? GoDaddy is shit hosting, and I can say this with experience because I’ve used it with some PBNs in recent years.
GoDaddy is slower, less user-friendly, and more expensive in the end.
Cloudways vs Bluehost – how do they compare?
Like GoDaddy, I’ve used Bluehost for years for PBN hosting. In fact, I only cancelled my Bluehost account last year.
Sure, Bluehost has a cheap sign up cost but those savings are not worth it because your site will be slow and their dashboard is not very user-friendly. Bluehost is the only host that I hate as much as GoDaddy.
And Bluehost support is terrible, in my experience.
Cloudways vs Siteground – how do they compare?
This one is a bit trickier because Siteground isn’t bad at all. Here’s my thoughts on this as someone with a Siteground account and a Cloudways account:
- Cloudways is faster than Siteground
- Siteground has better support (though lately they’ve been getting bad reviews in this aspect)
- Siteground is really only worth it with the new account sign up fee, not worth it at all for renewal
- If you outgrow Siteground’s Go Geek plan, then Cloudways is MUCH cheaper option for you
Do I Really Use Cloudways?
Yes, I do. But I also have an old Siteground account, a WPX account, and a BigScoots account.
Am I Only Recommending Cloudways For The Affiliate Payout?
No, I honestly use it myself and recommend it. The truth is that I could make a lot more money recommending Bluehost and other shitty web hosts than I do recommending Cloudways.
I make $30 upfront per paid signup at Cloudways and then 7% if they person stays signed up and paying. So, while the money is nice, I’m honestly telling you that this is legit.
And remember, they have a free trial, so I suggest that you take it for a test drive.
Hey, I’m Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.