Cloudways Review 2022

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Cloudways hosting is a cloud hosting management platform priced between $10 and $274.33 a month. You can choose from several cloud hosting data centers and get various features like website backups and WordPress integration.

I’ve used Cloudways hosting for about a year and felt it was time to post my review. So I’ll share my experience and combine it with other technical information. To help you determine whether you should use this hosting provider.

To help you determine this web hosting service’s worthiness, I’ll cover the following:

  • Pros and cons
  • What Cloudways is
  • Pricing
  • Speed, performance, and uptime
  • Features
  • Alternatives
  • Whether it’s worth it
  • Discounts

Let’s begin.

Cloudways Strengths and Weaknesses

Here are the pros and cons of Cloudways hosting:

Pros

  • 3-day free trial (no payment info. required)
  • No contracts required
  • A bazillion features
  • Exceptional performance
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing structure
  • 99.999% uptime
  • Free SSL certificates

Cons

  • No YubiKey or FIDO 2FA support
  • Limited trial period
  • Not for beginners
  • No domain name registration
  • You have to pay for good customer service
  • No money-back guarantee

What Is Cloudways Hosting?

Cloudways is a platform-as-a-service that gives you the means to host your website on one of various cloud hosting platforms. It’s an excellent WordPress hosting platform, and a means to host your own website.

You’ll manage everything on a Cloudways dashboard through servers and applications. So it works perfectly for you who have a portfolio of websites.

And what are applications?

They’re your content management system. You can add the following applications through 1-click installation:

  • WordPress
  • Magento
  • Laravel
  • WooCommerce + WordPress
  • Custom PHP app

It offers pay-as-you-go, hourly, and monthly rates to provide scalable and affordable hosting. So you’ll only pay for the resources you use.

But they don’t offer domain registrar services. You’ll need to buy a domain name from somewhere like Namecheap or GoDaddy before you can host your website.

Then you’ll need to add it to your application. That’s easy, though.

Just go to ‘Domain Management’ and enter your domain name.

Cloudways Pricing and Plans

Cloudways has different pricing per month based on the data center you choose.

Their Vultr and Digital Ocean data center options also offer Standard and Premium rates.

I’ll cover the differences in a moment. First, I want to cover the pricing schemes for their different plans and data centers. They charge monthly or hourly.

This guide will only cover their monthly rates.

Cloudways DigitalOcean data center pricing is as follows:

StorageStandard PricePremium PriceRAM
25 GB$10/mo.$10/mo.1 GB
50 GB$22/mo.$26/mo.2 GB
80 GB$42/mo.$50/mo.4 GB
160 GB$80/mo.$96/mo.8 GB
Cloudways DigitalOcean cloud hosting plans.

Cloudways Vultr data center prices include:

StorageStandard PricePremium PriceRAM
32 GB$13/mo.$111 GB
64 GB$26/mo.$232 GB
128 GB$50/mo.$444 GB
256 GB$100/mo.$848 GB
Cloudways Vultr hosting plan pricing.

Here’s the Cloudways Linode data center pricing structure:

StoragePriceRAM
25 GB$12/mo.1 GB
50 GB$24/mo.2 GB
80 GB$50/mo.4 GB
160 GB$90/mo.8 GB
Cloudways Linode pricing structure.

Cloudways Amazon Web Services (AWS) data center prices are as follows:

StoragePriceRAM
20 GB$36.51/mo.2 GB
20 GB$86.77/mo.4 GB
20 GB$176.26/mo.8 GB
20 GB$274.33/mo.16 GB
Cloudways AWS pricing structure.

And Cloudways’ Google Cloud (GCE) data centers are priced as follows:

StoragePriceRAM
20 GB$33.18/mo.1.70 GB
20 GB$73.50/mo.3.75 GB
20 GB$138.52/mo.7.5 GB
20 GB$225.93/mo.15 GB
Cloudways CGE pricing.

Their pricing scheme is a bit complex. But hopefully, I helped break things down. Here’s a screenshot that shows how their pricing page looks:

Cloudways hourly pricing screenshot

You can pay your Cloudways bill by having them automatically charge you or by prepaying funds. No matter the payment method you choose, Cloudways will let you use these payment methods:

  • PayPal
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express

If you’re skeptical about providing your bank card information, you could use a virtual card service like Privacy. That’s who I use.

Extra Cloudways Fees

Cloudways charges $0.033/GB of data you store through their offsite storage solution.

I like their offsite backup storage. Though it took me a while to realize I actually had it. As stated in the name, they’ll store your website in an offsite location.

So if you don’t already have a storage solution, I recommend this feature. It’s also great for websites that don’t have too many uploaded videos. As that leads to a smaller site.

When billing you for their backup, they’ll round charges in $0.50 increments [1]. That means if you used $2.71 worth of storage, they’d charge $3.

A bit ridiculous. But small websites won’t notice an enormous price jump.

You’ll also need to pay to migrate applications to Cloudways. These prices are as follows:

PlatformPrice
WordPress, WordPress Multisite & WooCommerce$25 per application
Magento, PrestaShop, & Drupal$125
Joomla$99
PHP$199
Cloudways application migration fees.

BUT:

You can migrate 1 site for free.

Cloudways app. migration fees

And you can pay for content management system (CMS) application upgrades. These fees are as follows:

CMSPrice
Joomla$125 per upgrade
Magento, Drupal, & PrestaShop$250 per upgrade
WordPress Multisite & WordPress$50 per upgrade
Cloudways application upgrade fees.

Let’s move onto add-ons.

Cloudways Add-on Prices

Here are some add-ons you can get for Cloudways:

Add-onPrice
Cloudflare Enterprise add-on1 domain: $4.99/mo.5–10 domains: $3.99/mo. each10–25 domains: $2.99/mo. each25+ domains: $1.99/mo. each
DNS Made Easy$2.50/mo. for up to 5 domains
Advanced Customer Support$100/mo.
Premium Customer Support$500/mo.
Rackspace Email Hosting$1/mo. per mailbox
SafeUpdates1–5 applications: $3/mo.6+ applications: $2/mo.
Cloudways add-ons pricing.

I believe the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on offers the best value.

As it includes features like:

  • Intelligent firewall (WAF)
  • 100 GB Enterprise CDN: CDN overage fees are $0.20 per 10 GB
  • Wildcard SSL support
  • Prioritized routing
  • Polish image optimization

It’s beneficial for sites that already use Cloudflare. Though you can already use Cloudways and Cloudflare in tandem, you can optimize your website’s speed and security with this add-on.

You may have to worry about the overage fees if you have a website heavy with media. But you can reduce your website’s bandwidth consumed by using WEBP images. And by using Cloudflare’s free Hotlink Protection tool [2].

The former maintains high-quality images while lowering image sizes. The latter prevents other websites from snatching your images.

DNS Made Easy gives you DNS management and failover tools. The latter tool gives your website visitors a backup in case your original DNS server goes offline.

I’ll cover the paid customer service “add-ons” in a bit.

Rackspace Email Hosting provides enterprise-grade email hosting with guaranteed uptime and vaguely described security features. The price isn’t bad.

SafeUpdates automatically tests and updates WordPress plugins. That means before updating a plugin. It’ll test the speed impacts the update will have on your website.

Cloudways Uptime & Performance

Cloudways claims to have a 99.999% uptime guarantee and provide a 50% decrease in website loading times [3].

I switched from EasyWP to Cloudways and noticed a couple second decrease in my website speed. However, I used Epic ads at the time. This severely impacted my speeds and prevented me from producing quantifiable results.

And because I forgot to test it. But that doesn’t make much of a difference in your scenario. Everyone’s websites will have varying code, WordPress plugins, or other things that affect website speed.

Cloudways Features

Cloudways’ various features include:

24/7 customer supportPHP 7.3-ready  serversWebsite backupsVarnish caching
Cloudflare EnterpriseBot blockingAnalyticsCloudways API
Cron Job managerWebsite staging environmentSFTP and SSH accessSupports all PHP types
No contractsWeb Application Firewall (WAF) through CloudflareAccount TOTP 2FABuilt-in SSLs
HTTP 3 supportRedis supportSSD-based hostingCloudways CDN
Cloudways botBreeze
Cloudways cloud hosting features.

The following sections will briefly cover each feature and who they’re best for.

Account, Server, & Application Security

Account 2-factor authentication (2FA) is disappointing. While hosting providers like Namecheap offer vastly superior Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) security 2FA options, Cloudways doesn’t.

They only make it so you can use a Time-based one-time password (TOTP) 2FA. While TOTP is vastly superior to other 2FA methods (like SMS), it isn’t the most robust way to protect your account.

Here’s a real-life example. A “hacker” performed a phishing attack on Cloudflare and had the Cloudflare team member enter a TOTP code on a phishing website. That way, the attacker could get the TOTP code [4].

But since Cloudflare requires employees to use FIDO2-compliant security keys (like YubiKeys), the attack was thwarted.

As for server and application security, you’ll find many features like:

  • Free SSL certificates
  • Bot protection: helps prevent Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks
  • Firewalls
  • Prevents remote access to your database: except for whitelisted IPs

Cloudways gives websites a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate that automatically renews. If you already have a custom SSL certificate, you can install it.

Otherwise, their website lists “security features” every website should have.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Even though that’s related to data privacy.

HTTPS; do websites even use HTTP now?

Suspicious device login notifications. I’d hope Cloudways would have this.

Cloudflare and Cloudways

You can integrate your Cloudways and Cloudflare accounts for $1.99–$4.99 a month (depending on the number of domains). And you’ll gain many features, like:

  • Enterprise CDN: 200+ locations from Cloudflare’s Global Content Delivery Network
  • Image and mobile optimization: adjusts image quality and uses Cloudflare’s Mirage to optimize mobile devices
  • Managed web application firewall (WAF)

You can still use a Cloudways website with the free version of Cloudflare without paying. That’s what I do.

It was a pain to set up, though. I had to use customer support’s help to eliminate the many DNS errors I encountered.

Website Backup Features

Cloudways offers the following server backup options for websites:

  • Backup frequency and retention: how often you want to back up your website and the duration of the time Cloudways stores your backup
  • Local backups: stores a backup of the website on your server
  • * Offsite-backup: stores files in an off-site Remote Storage Network
  • On-demand backup: backs up your server immediately
Cloudways server backup options

Cloudways uses Amazon Bucket Storage for off-site backups. They’ll charge you $0.0333 per GB of off-site storage. And it doesn’t matter what cloud server you’re hosting your website through.

I use around 2.18 GB of off-site storage, which equals around $0.07.

Then there are the application backup and restoration options. Cloudways makes it easy to restore your application.

Cloudways application backup options

There’s not much else to say about this feature. It’s simple to set up and automated.

Cloudways Support Options & Quality

Cloudways’ support is responsive and easy to reach. In my experience, it took a couple of different customer support team members to fix my issue.

My biggest gripe with Cloudways is that you have to pay for these customer support areas:

  • Senior tech. support: experienced technical support staff
  • Customization support: help in deploying some specifications (i.e., varnish) and PHP packages

For support in both of these areas, you need to pay $500 a month. Support with customization only requires $100 monthly. While these sound like a rip-off to me, they may benefit some companies.

Particular businesses MAY pay significantly more money per month for senior technical support with web hosting or app deployment. So these add-ons may offer benefits.

You can contact Cloudways for free by requesting a call or using their Live Chat feature

Customer support staff will help you in the following areas:

  • Website infrastructure support
  • Adding, cloning, scaling, or backing up servers or applications
  • Configuring certain plugins

You’ll likely receive a response for high-priority tickets in 3 hours. And 12 hours for regular inquiries.

Is Cloudways Easy To Set Up?

Cloudways on their own is easy to set up. Let’s go over how to create a website through them.

Create your Cloudways account, and you’ll find yourself on a page to set up a server. Click ‘Add Server.’

Cloudways account creation menu
Cloudways 'add server' feature

Select your application. You can choose among WordPress, PHP, and other CMS platforms. Pick your server hosting platform, its storage size, and where you want your server located.

Cloudways server setup

You can scale your website later.

Upon creating your server and application, you set up your application through the application manager. Some of what you’ll need to do include:

  • Log into your WordPress admin. panel: Cloudways will give you the login information under ‘Domain Management
  • Add your SSL certificate
  • Optimize your site: increase your PHP version and install Redis and Varnish (if needed) and 

You’ll also need to deal with editing your domain and email registrar’s DNS records. I can’t help you here.

The steps you’ll need to take depend on your registrar.

Cloudways Alternatives

Here are some cloud hosting alternatives to Cloudways:

ServicePriceBest For
Cloudways$10/mo.–$274.33/mo.Scalability
SiteGround$14.99/mo.–$400/mo.More plan options
DreamHost$2.59/mo.–$15/mo.Small business websites
Kinsta$35/mo.–$16,500/mo.Robust WordPress hosting
EasyWP$4.99/mo.–$13.88/mo.Best budget pick
Cloudways alternatives compared.

It’s difficult to compare EasyWP and DreamHost with Cloudways. Cloudways offers significantly more features and serves different purposes. So I won’t compare the 2 platforms below.

However, I will compare other options.

Kinsta vs. Cloudways

Kinsta and Cloudways have wins in these areas:

Kinsta is better for these reasons:

  • Money-back guarantee
  • Free Cloudflare Enterprise
  • Easy onboarding process and Cloudflare integration
  • Free CDN
  • No paid customer support

You’ll want to choose Cloudways in these scenarios:

  • More affordable plans
  • Hosting types for more platforms (i.e., Magento)
  • More tech. support options
  • Doesn’t ban WordPress plugins
  • Low website backup fees

Cloudways is an obvious choice if you need hosting for applications that aren’t WordPress. But Kinsta focuses on 1 platform and does it well. WordPress.

Both platforms don’t lead to slow websites and have 99.99% uptime guarantees.

Kinsta doesn’t allow you to use many WordPress plugins like LiteSpeed Cache and All-in-One WP Migration [5]. Fortunately, they support WP Rocket (my plugin of choice).

But the thing that gets me is. You pay a lot for a hosting platform, then are limited to the plugins you can use? While in my experience, most WordPress plugins suck. But still, with those monthly fees, I’d want more freedom with the plugins I can use.

At least you don’t have to pay for technical support plugins like with Cloudways.

Cloudways vs. SiteGround

Let’s put SiteGround and Cloudways head-to-head:

Cloudways beats SiteGround in these areas:

  • Scalable
  • More server locations
  • Transparent pricing
  • Granular website control
  • Better Cloudflare integration

SiteGround wins in these spots:

  • Includes a free CDN
  • Has email accounts
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • More customer service options
  • Affordable plan options (under $5 a month)

Cloudways works better to give you more control over your website and offers better scalability. But doesn’t offer many affordable plans and the ability to buy domains.

I couldn’t find any mentions of SiteGround offering off-site website backups. Cloudflare wins in this area.

But they don’t win with customer support. So SiteGround is a better option for less technically savvy website owners.

Is Cloudways Worth It?

Cloudways is worth the costs for numerous reasons. It offers reasonable website backup costs, a relatively straightforward application setup, and an easy means to scale your website.

I’ve used many domain hosting services like:

  • Namecheap
  • EasyWP
  • DreamHost
  • InMotion Hosting

I’d never go back to those platforms. The only platform I’d consider again is Namecheap. It simplifies domain registration and has better account security.

Otherwise, I’m okay with paying at least $10 monthly for Cloudways. Though I was initially stressed when integrating it with Cloudflare, customer support fixed my issue.

About a year later, things have been smooth sailing. I haven’t needed to contact customer service.

Cloudways Promo Codes and Discounts

New Cloudways customers can apply for 30% off 3 months of any Cloudways hosting plan. Information that you’ll need to enter to receive the coupon includes your email address, website URL, and answers to a couple of questions.

Upon filling out their form, they’ll email your discount code.

However:

You may not find yourself ready to commit to their plans. In that case, take advantage of their 3-day free trial.

It doesn’t require a credit card and allows you to test their services.

And if you use my Cloudways referral code, you can get a $25 credit toward your hosting.

FAQ: Cloudways

Here are some commonly asked questions about Cloudways cloud hosting.

Is Cloudways Good for Ecommerce?

Cloudways is great for ecommerce because of its website backup features and easy WooCommerce and Magento integration.

Which Server Is Best on Cloudways?

The best Cloudways server depends on where you want to host your services.

Is Cloudways Shared or Dedicated?

Cloudways provides cloud servers with dedicated IPs [6].

How Reliable Is Cloudways?

Cloudways has a 99.999% uptime guarantee. It’s easy to scale, the customer service is decent, and can handle a lot of website traffic.

Conclusion

Though I pulled out a fist full of hair when first using Cloudways, I eventually got used to it. As it requires some technical knowledge to set up.

Ever since, the service has sped up my website, eased the worry of website backups, and made managing websites easier overall. I worry a bit about the account login security, though. Due to a lack of security key-based logins.

I recommend Cloudflare to anyone with WordPress websites who wants affordable and scalable cloud hosting.

If you’re a freelancer who needs more software to optimize your productivity, check out some of my other recommendations.

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About Tee

Tee began first experienced the wonders of traveling when visiting Vietnam. Afterward, he went crazy and ventured to at least… More about Tee