Cloudways Hosting Review: Read About My Experience

Cloudways! Here’s everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask 🙊😆

It’s the hosting I use for all of my sites. I chose it after I did thorough research about the best managed WordPress hosting.

What’s so special about it? 🤔

Read about the Cloudways features, what I like about it, what I did not like – and how it works with Ezoic (a popular ad publishing platform) 🤓

Why I Chose Cloudways 👩

This hosting platform “came” together with my 🦄 Website when I bought it so I had a chance to see what they offer from a hands-on experience.

While doing that, I really, really liked the amount of control I had over my servers on Cloudways 😍 This was the first reason.

The second reason was that this hosting provider is quite popular among the members of the niche webmaster groups on Facebook. Everybody who used it seemed to like it a lot.

Initially, I almost chose WPX, another hosting provider that’s very popular on the forums.

I liked it because of the price. To host five websites, I’d pay only $25 on WPX (monthly payments). Meanwhile, having the five cheapest servers on Cloudways would cost me $50 😮

Then, I saw that on WPX, each staging site counts as a new site. This meant I’d immediately exceeded their cheapest plan limit since I love using staging environments. So I would have to go to the next tier that costs $45 😭

At the same time, I realized that on Cloudways, I do not need a separate server machine per site 🤓 Some of my sites are small with low traffic so I decided that I’d deploy them all on the same machine (it’s worked super well 👍)

Thus, I did the math again and saw that both of the hosting services would cost me the same. However, I would have much more control, flexibility, and easier scaling with Cloudways 🤷‍♀️

Hence my choice 🤷‍♀️

Now…

What Is Cloudways?🤔

cloudways logo

Cloudways is managed cloud hosting 👨‍💼☁👩‍💼

What’s Managed Hosting?🤓

In a managed hosting setup, a service provider manages servers and related hardware on a customer’s behalf.

They may set up and configure hardware and software, provide technical support, perform system maintenance, install patches, and provide monitoring and updates 👷‍♀️🏗👷‍♂️

The most obvious reason to choose managed hosting is that it saves time and/or money. It also allows people with low technical proficiency to have websites they otherwise couldn’t 😀

What’s Cloud Hosting?🤓

GoDaddy provides an overview of how cloud hosting works and its benefits:

As GoDaddy explains, cloud hosting distributes operations across multiple servers networked to act like one server 🎶

As a result, it’s far less troublesome when a server crashes. Cloud hosting also offers high scalability and lets you only pay for what you use  – or, more precisely, what you have allocated for your needs.

Usually, this type of hosting is also dedicated hosting. A dedicated server also comes with its own IP address, meaning you don’t have to share one with sketchy websites (a.k.a. PBNs) that could push down your SERP 😱

Features & Benefits Of Cloudways 😋

Managed Cloud Hosting 👨‍💼☁👩‍💼

Cloudways belongs to the cloud hosting type. It doesn’t actually host websites. Instead, it sells hosting from other companies and helps you manage it. 

Cloudways plans and pricing

You can choose from these five reputable hosts:

  • DigitalOcean 
  • Linode
  • Vultr
  • AWS (Amazon Web Services)
  • Google Cloud

Speed 💨

As you may know (and it has been backed up by such well-known digital marketers as Matthew Woodward), a slow website can lower your search engine ranking, increase bounce rates, reduce page views, and reduce conversions.

When Matthew tested various hosting companies for speed using GTMetrix and Pingdom, Cloudways ranked fifth and sixth place respectively. For GTMetrix, its page loading time was 1.85 seconds. For Pingdom, it was 1.58 seconds.

Research by Forrester Consulting for Akamai Technologies, Inc. found that the average online shopper expects a page to load within two seconds. So while the above page loading times aren’t the fastest, they’re good.

If you want to achieve maximum speed on Cloudways, it seems like Vultr High Frequency is the best. Many niche webmasters recommend this setup. I use Digital Ocean but only because it’s the cheapest option 🙈😆

Pricing 💸

Cloudways platform interface

Cloudways offers an affordable and transparent pay-as-you-go pricing plan. They don’t make you sign a contract, and all of their plans come with many of the same services and features, such as 24/7 support and free SSL.

They mention, however, that they charge $0.033/GB per server for offsite backup storage 😒

Also, email addresses are not included in the price 🙄 you need to pay $1 per email address. The emails are being served by external services and come as one of the add-ons.

For emails, you have a choice of choosing between Rackspace Email and Elastic Email. I use Rackspace Email just because it comes #1 on the list 🙈😆

Cloudways Add-ons
Cloudways email add ons

Customer Support 🗣

Customer Support

According to many customers on Trustpilot and my own experience, Cloudways support is excellent. You can contact Cloudways via live chat any day, at any time. They also have a ticketing system for complex issues.

If you get the Advanced Support add-on, you also get:

  • Priority support for live chats and tickets
  • Application support, such as plugin or theme troubleshooting
  • Proactive investigation into server/stack issues
  • Customization support

Additionally, getting the Premium Support add-on gives you the fastest response times, a dedicated Account Manager, and phone and private Slack channel support from Cloudways’ Senior Support Engineers 👷‍♀️👷‍♂️

Security 👮‍♀️

Cloudways Security

Cloudways offers a variety of security measures to keep your website safe. These include dedicated, OS-level firewalls; free SSL installation; regular OS patches; bot protection; IP whitelisting; and two-factor authentication. 

User-Friendliness 🤗

Cloudways provides intuitive user controls with which you can manage your websites and applications, which WPTuts demonstrates:

As you can see at 13:16, Cloudways features a simple user interface with which you can manage a server. Everything you need is there, although multiple people have complained that Cloudways doesn’t have a file manager.

Cloudways client testimonial - use of use and peace of mind
Cloudways client testimonial - use of use and peace of mind

From my point of view, it’s not an issue since you can always connect via FTP using WinSCP or Filezilla. Both apps are free.

Free Website Migration 🆓

Cloudways says it will migrate your first website from any host for free. I did not use this service so I take this to mean it will manually do this for free 🤑

It also has a free Cloudways WordPress Migrator Plugin.

The descriptive text under a video for the plugin says, “You can manually migrate as many WordPress sites for free on Cloudways servers”  and this is factually true. I migrated all my websites using this plugin. 

To use the plugin, simply install it in your WordPress dashboard, select Cloudways Migrate in the left menu, and fill out the form with information from your Cloudways account. After agreeing to the terms of service and privacy policy, click Migrate.

A small website (with a DB of 500MB to 1GB) takes an average of one to four hours to migrate ⌚

Cloudways cautions that after this migration, you should purge your website’s Varnish cache from your console 🧹

To do this, go to the Manage Services section in your Server Management area. Choose Varnish and click Purge.

Cloudways Server Management area

For me, the plugin did a great job in 90% meaning I did have issues with it 😒

When I migrated this blog (LivingOffCloud), it lost all the emojis 😭

Something happens with the text encoding when it goes through the plugin 🤷‍♀️ In order to restore them, I had to do a direct database dump into the new instance of my blog 😒

Scalability ▫◽◻⬜

In cloud hosting, scalability allows customers to quickly increase or decrease server resources, such as bandwidth, storage, and RAM, as needed. This is extremely important to have as your website and traffic grow 📈

Cloudways offers server scaling, so your server won’t get overloaded by traffic surges, you can increase storage, and you can add data-heavy websites to your server ➕➕➕

Your scaling options depend on which host you use

If you use AWS or GCE/Google Cloud, you can scale your CPU and RAM up or down as needed ⬆↕⬇

With DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr, you can scale your entire server size upwards. To downscale it, you can use Cloudways’ server clone feature. You cannot downscale without creating a new smaller server 🙁

I use DigitalOcean so I cannot downscale without cloning 😣 Despite that, I really love the flexibility Cloudways gives over the server configuration. I like it being in control of how much resources I am paying for 👍

Test Your New Configurations On A Separate Server 🧪

I find it extremely convenient that you have the ability to spin up a server that’s exactly a copy of your existing one 📃📃📃 It is very handy when you need to test new versions of software running on your server, for example, a new version of PHP.

You create a new server with a copy of your site and then you just update the libraries and other configurations as needed. Then, you can test your new config to see how it affects your site – without disturbing the actual live website 🤗 

I did exactly that when I migrated to the latest version of PHP and Maria DB. It cost me about $10 or $15 or so to keep a testing server running for a few days 😀 In return, it saved a lot of brain cells and hours of missed sleep 😆

Other Features 👨‍🎤

All Cloudways plans come with a variety of features to optimize your experience. These include (but aren’t limited to):

CDN Add-on 🌐

For a monthly subscription of $1 per 25GB of bandwidth for one website, you can use Cloudways’ content delivery network to improve the performance of your website for visitors near and far.

It works by storing static assets, such as HTML, images, and videos. When someone visits your site, their nearest CloudwaysCDN location uses these to load the page faster.

I do not use it since I am very happy with the free Cloudflare CDN.

Automated backups 🔙🆙🤖

It’s important to create backups of your website or application so that if something goes terribly wrong, you’ll be able to easily restore it.

Cloudways lets you set up automatic backups so you won’t forget to do them yourself 🔙🆙

You can do it on the server level:

cloudways server backup

Staging environment 🤗

A staging site is a copy of your website that you can work on without affecting the live version 😋

You can make your changes live when you’re ready by pushing them to the main site – or you can update your staging from your main site by pulling.

cloudways staging management

Cloudways’ staging environment is private and password protected 🔐 Whereas other hosting providers charge money for their staging environments, Cloudways lets you use theirs for free 🤗

This is another of the features I love about Cloudways ♥ and I use the staging feature all the time.

Social Proof ⭐

After scouring the internet, I found many Cloudways reviews. Most of them were on Trustpilot, which ranks Cloudways 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Cloudways ranking on Trustpilot

Here’s a particularly great Cloudways review by Frank O:

Client review for Cloudways

And here’s one by Nicolas Umana:

Client review for Cloudways

Here are two from G2:

Client review for Cloudways
Client review for Cloudways

On both sites, an overwhelming majority of reviews were positive.

What Else You Need To Know About Cloudways 😮

When Subscribing For The First Time 1️⃣

Since Cloudways provides a free trial, I suspect that it might be abused by PBN builders or something like that. 

So when you subscribe to it, it may happen that you trigger their security check and they may ask you to provide some identifying information such as an ID document, a link to the Facebook account, etc 🙀

So far, I know about one case like that.

If it happened to you, you can reach out to their support to ask what the problem is. Or, you can simply reply to their email saying that if they do not want your money, you can go to their competitors 😂

Cloudways And Ezoic 💲

Cloudways has an excellent caching infrastructure

On the server side, it consists of the Varnish cache I talked about earlier. On the website side, it has Breeze, a caching plugin that gets installed automatically after your site is migrated.

Unfortunately, if you use Ezoic, you cannot use these features since Ezoic is not compatible with them 🙁

You need to disable both Varnish and Breeze if you want to get maximum speed when running Ezoic 🚅

Alternatives To Cloudways 〽

WPX Hosting 1️⃣

Though it’s somewhat pricey, there’s a lot to love about WPX. For example, it had the fastest page loading times of all the hosting companies Matthew Woodward tested with Pingdom and GTMetrix in 2019.

WPX also has its own content delivery network. This can enable a website to run quickly for users anywhere. 

However, because the CDN works through caching, it would benefit some sites much more than others. A typical WordPress blog, for example, will load much faster. In contrast, a website with many dynamic elements (such as an e-commerce site with shopping carts) won’t. 

WPX’s customer service appears superb. They take an average of 30 seconds to respond to live chat messages, and their reviews on Trustpilot are overwhelmingly positive.

One of WPX’s many advantages is that if your site goes down, WPX will fix it for free.

Additionally, you can transfer unlimited websites to them for free (if you have enough open website slots in your account). However, they charge $98 if a site they migrate is also having its domain changed

Interested in WPX? Check it out here.

➕ Pros:

  • Fast page load times
  • Speedy live chat response 
  • Detects and removes malware for free.
  • Unlimited website transfers to WPX

➖ Cons:

  • Relatively pricey 
  • Counts staging sites as websites
  • Only for WordPress sites
  • Only three plans to choose from

SiteGround 2️⃣

SiteGround is great for WordPress users. You can quickly launch a new WordPress site with their automated installation feature and WordPress Starter. Additionally, their automated WordPress Migrator lets you migrate WordPress sites to SiteGround for free. For security, you can schedule automated updates for WordPress software and plugins.

As for prices, SiteGround’s non-cloud hosting plans start out discounted. You can save money by starting a low-traffic website with one of these and moving it to another host when it’s more successful. 

If you compare their cheapest managed cloud hosting plan to Cloudways’ $80/month plan with DigitalOcean, you’ll notice that Cloudways offers similar features for a lot less.

Going by customer reviews on TrustPilot, SiteGround’s customer support is excellent. However, Matthew Woodward’s research shows SiteGround’s page loading times to be slower than those of Cloudways and WPX.

Interested in SiteGround? Check it out here.

➕Pros:

  • Convenient WordPress tools
  • Initially discounted prices for non-cloud hosting
  • Excellent customer service

➖ Cons:

  • Their regular prices aren’t the best
  • Slower page-loading than Cloudways and WPX
  • Fewer plans than Cloudways

FAQs ❓

What is Cloudways?

Cloudways sells managed cloud hosting services with five web hosts: DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS (Amazon Web Services), and Google Cloud.
Each of its plans comes with 24/7 support, free SSL, free migration, automated backups, and more. 

How long is Cloudways trial?

Cloudways offers a 3-day trial, which you can use without a credit card, to help you get acquainted with its platform.To continue using Cloudways after the trial, upgrade to a Full Account.

How to access files in Cloudways?

You can’t access an application’s files through the control panel. However, Cloudways supports Secure Shell (SSH) and Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). It means you can use FTP clients such as WinSCP or Filezilla.

Hope You Enjoyed My Cloudways Hosting Review😁

Why spend time or money managing your own server when a hosting company will do it for you?

Cloudways provides managed security, automated backups, 24/7 monitoring, and other features so you can focus on your business. it beats up its competitors in terms of flexibility and cost.

It also provides fast page loading times and (according to Trustpilot) excellent customer support.

Click here to try Cloudways. If you’d prefer a different hosting company for your WordPress site, WPX and SiteGround are also good options.

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