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It is exactly six months (when writing this post) since I migrated to Cloudways hosting, the DigitalOcean server.

Now that I have thoroughly tested the platform and the hosting services, it’s the right time to write a Cloudways hosting review. 

This review discusses my initial hosting challenges with my former web host, Namecheap. Also, I discuss what led to my switch and performance changes since moving to Cloudways. 

I also show you this site’s traffic performance before and after migrating to Cloudways. This will allow you to know the impact of poor and good hosting on online business success.

If you’re considering switching to another web host but haven’t chosen, this review of Cloudways hosting might help you make an intelligent decision. 

You can learn more about my former web host, where I compare Cloudways with Namecheap’s cloud hosting plan.

Enough of the introduction; let’s get down to the facts. 

What is Cloudways? 

Cloudways is a managed cloud-hosting service provider offering fast, feature-rich hosting plans and responsive 24/7/365 customer support. 

It is a middleman between users and cloud infrastructure providers like Google, Amazon, and DigitalOcean.

Cloudways simplifies the process of hosting web applications on cloud infrastructure, making it a beginner-friendly and attractive option for those who want simple and managed hosting services without having to deal with server-side management. 

Built for digital marketing agencies, small businesses, e-commerce websites, and marketers with growing needs for fast-loading page time, 99.99% uptime, dedicated workflow, powerful web analytics, and advanced web security, including Cloudflare Enterprise add-ons. 

Reasons Why I Switch to Cloudways

There are several reasons why I had to look elsewhere for a better web host. 

For the past few years, my blog traffic hasn’t been much of a thing for the hosting plan. However, the blog grew in traffic and audience as time passed, so there was a demand for higher hosting specifications. 

Therefore, I switched to a higher hosting plan on my former web host with more RAM size and CPU power (0.75 Core and 768 MB CPU).

However, this didn’t solve some of my hosting issues. Here are a couple of poor hosting and performance issues I was having:

  • Frequently, downtime or connection timeout.
  • Annoying HTTP error 429, too many request warnings. 
  • Slow page speed and poor website performance for most user locations.
  • Denied access to install another cache mechanism (my host has its built-in cache function) 
  • Poor Google Core Web Vitals scores.

My former web host wasn’t doing too badly; the server speed was average, but it needed to be faster and more reliable. 

The more quickly your website loads for most users, the better you can rank and provide optimal user experience. 

Even if I had wanted to stay longer with my former web host, the poor CWV kept bothering me and needed urgent attention. I tried several methods to resolve CWV, but nothing seemed to work. 

To make it worse, the fact that I can not install cache plugins other than the built-in functions makes it impossible to try some of the premium recommendations, like WP Rocket, FlyingPress, or Perfmatter. 

So, I decided to switch and try other options to resolve poor CWV, page speed, downtime, and overall site performance. 

I have a few web hosts in mind, like WPX, Kingsta, and Cloudways. I decided to try Cloudways after reading in many online communities how exceptional their hosting service and support are. 

Cloudways is constantly mentioned or listed among the most voted in several online polls. Most Cloudways customers I have engaged with give good feedback and share positive experiences.

SEO-Signals-Lab-Facebook - Cloudways poll
SEO-Signals-Lab-Facebook - Cloudways hosting feedbacks and polls by users

Hundreds of user experiences and polls like this signify that Cloudways offers better and faster hosting speed than many competitors, including Siteground, WPX, Kingsta, etc. 

In a nutshell, I signed up for the Cloudways DigitalOcean server and migrated immediately after completing the verification process. 

Now, let’s walk through the Cloudways hosting review, from the ease of use to the pricing and support. 

Ease of Use

User experience is paramount to Cloudways company’s mission, which is visible in its approach to its dashboard design and access to essential hosting features. 

From the signup process to launching your first server, every step is carefully designed to make it easier for users to complete without requesting help. However, the support is just one click away if you need one. 

Here is a brief walkthrough of the process from launching your server to web applications within your Cloudways dashboard. 

After completing the signup process, you must launch a server and deploy your web application. You can install WordPress, Laravel, PHP, Joomla, WooCommerce, Custom app, or Magento. 

Cloudways user dashboard - application selections box

As of writing this line, Cloudways no longer offers the Vultr and Linode cloud servers for new customers. 

At this stage, there are a few things to consider:

  • Your preferred cloud server provider.
  • Web application software.
  • Server location and size.
  • Billing method (Hourly or monthly).

Once you select, click the Launch Now button at the bottom right corner. Your server and web application will install, and you can begin working on your website. 

Primarily, your Cloudways dashboard has two main functions, which open access to several other settings for each function. 

  • Server management 
  • Web application management

Server Management.

You can also hover on the side panel to reveal this and other functions within your Cloudways dashboard.  

Cloudways user dashboard

Assuming you want to access server-side management settings, you must click the Servers tab function. 

When you do this, it will open up the settings and allow you to manage details like:

  • Backup
  • Vertical scaling
  • Security
  • Public IP
  • Master credential (SFTP and SSH access details)
  • Server username and password.
  • Service management (Apache, MySql, Varnish, NewRelic, Ngnix, etc. 
  • SMTP configuration for outgoing email delivery. 
Cloudways user dashboard - Server settings page

These settings allow you to manage all that concerning server-level tasks and management. 

You can have multiple servers within a Cloudways account; no limit is imposed. 

Web Applications Management

The application tab lists all your web applications deployed with Cloudways servers. For example, if you have WordPress sites on a server, you will see them listed under the Application tab. 

Clicking on an application within the list opens up its settings and configurations. This is where you access application-level settings such as: 

  • Application admin dashboard details (Username and password)
  • Staging managements
  • Domain name management
  • Web application security features
  • SSL Certificate
  • Cloudways migration tools
  • Launching database access 
  • Cloudflare Enterprise
  • Backup and restore tools
  • Setting up cron jobs and optimizing their performance. 
  • Deployment sites via GIT
  • Applications settings, and more.
Cloudways user dashboard - application settings page

Other notable Functions 

Cloudways has additional settings for managing your hosting account and adding more features. If you hover on the side drawout panel, it reveals other accessible functions. 

Cloudways side panel for more function

Here, you can access the Cloudways add-ons, which include a free Astra Pro theme license for one year. Other add-ons include Elastic Email, Rackspace Email, Application migration, DNS Made Easy, Cloudflare, Support add-on, and Safeupdates.

Cloudways Key Hosting Features

Cloudways uses a unique approach and a combination of infrastructure and relevant partnerships to offer its cloud hosting services, from its dashboard to applications running on your web servers. 

Here, we look at the web stack deployed on your Cloudways server.

Server Stacks

For Cloudways users after November 2nd, Debian 11, “Bullseye,” a free and open-source Linux operating system, serves as the foundational OS upon which all other Cloudways stacks are built and deployed. 

Your Cloudways server stack consists of the following components: 

  • NGINX– An open-source web server built for stability, performance, and load balancing. Default with your Cloudways server. 
  • Apache – The Apache web server and the default Apache modules are available on your server. You can request a module if it is not available on your server. 
  • Varnish – Reverse proxy caching and HTTP accelerator design to help dynamic content websites speed up content delivery. 
  • Memcache – Provide efficient and optimal database performance by caching database queries, session caching, API caching, images, files, and metadata. 
  • PHP – Cloudways servers are configured by default to use PHP 8.1. Upgrading to the latest version can be done via the settings page. 
  • Database – MariaDB 10.5 comes as the default Cloudways Database stack. To learn why Cloudways prefer MariaDB to MySql, check the blog post. 

All the core services on your server can be found on the server settings management service page. You can restart, turn off, and activate a service at will. But be cautious not to break your site.

Core Cloudways services running on the server

If you don’t know what a service means or you don’t know its function, please leave everything as it is.

Cloudways Autonomous

Cloudways recently launched a new hosting product (Cloudways Autonomous) that allows high-traffic WordPress sites to run an online business, completely relieving them of hosting issues and management. 

Cloudways Autonomous hosting is a complete beast; it automatically scales server resources horizontally according to website traffic and resource demand. 

Cloudways Autonomous hosting feature list

It uses advanced load-balancing technology (server redundancy, failover mechanism, multiple servers) and guarantees WordPress sites a high uptime availability (99.99% SLA), ensuring your website is always online regardless of hardware or server error.

So, there is no need to manually scale server resources like CPU, RAM, and storage space during high traffic spikes or viral campaigns. Also, you do not need to sit in front of your computer monitoring traffic fluctuations to scale down or up the resource. These are handled automatically. 

Powered by Kubernetes infrastructure, Cloudways Autonomous hosting offers consistent and reliable hosting and handles any number of concurrent website users without downtime or server error. The hosting plan is built to handle high website traffic simultaneously without compromising on speed and server performance. 

In addition, the Cloudflare Enterprise solution is integrated into Cloudways Autonomous hosting, providing excellent web security features, global CDN services, Edge page caching, and other powerful Cloudflare optimization features. 

This is an excellent hosting option for large eCommerce sites, marketing firms, mission-critical sites, and any business that wants to focus on scaling without getting involved in server or resource management. 

Check this page’s pricing options for more detailed information on the Cloudways Autonomous hosting traffic limits and the number of websites allowed in each package. 

Cloudflare Enterprise

While briefly mentioned above, it is worth diving deeper into how the Cloudflare Enterprise solution improves your WordPress site’s performance, security, and user experience on Cloudways.

Hosting with Cloudways means enjoying the Cloudflare Enterprise addon at a discounted rate.

Cloudflare Enterprise add-on price with Cloudways hosting

Imagine how much you’re saving on Cloudflare Enterprise, considering Cloudflare Pro and the Business plan cost $20 and $200 monthly when billed for the annual plan.

In addition to saving, you also enjoy Global load balancing, prefetching URLs, Enterprise DDoS mitigation, Custom cache key, and Cache by tag or host, which are features included in Enterprise but not in Pro or the Business plan.

Learn more about Cloudflare integration with Cloyudways here.

It comes with the Cloudflare Algo Smart Routing (a premium feature), DDoS attack mitigation, WAF (Web Application Firewall), Global Rate Limits, and HoneyPot security, stopping malicious bots traffic before reaching your website server. 

The Cloudflare Enterprise add-on also includes Edge Page caching, which provides a caching mechanism for the entire website. This allows your entire website to be cached at Cloudflare Edge and improve its Time to FirstByte (TTFB) in all locations. 

Additionally, Cloudways integrates Cloudflare global enterprise CDN, Image, and mobile optimization with Polish + Mirage, compresses, resizes, and optimizes images for mobile devices, serves WebP image format for compatible browsers, and strips exit gif data.

It also has Brotli compression to provide enterprise-grade performance for your applications. 

It does not stop there; Cloudflare Enterprise also enables ScrapeShield and file minification settings to add more hosting performance and security layers to your applications.

Cloudways-Cloudflare Enterprise Settings page

These applications, settings, or software are constantly running on your server or application to ensure 24/7/365 quality hosting service.

Object Cache Pro

Another significant benefit of hosting with Cloudways is the partnership with Object Cache Pro, which comes freely with your hosting. Object Cache Pro is a premium WordPress caching plugin costing $95 monthly. 

Cloudways partnership announcement with Object Cache Pro - blog post

The plugin is advanced or superior to Redis, improving cache performance and resource usage. It is optimized to work excellently with Woocommerce, Jetpack, Yoast SEO, and WordPress. 

Note: Clouways automatically installs Redis as a drop-in plugin in your WordPress plugin’s list. So you do not need to manually install and activate it. Check the WordPress drop-in plugin tab for confirmation.

Mainly, Object Cache Pro helps improve the logged-in user experience, dynamically generates pages, improves database queries and performance, and effectively speeds up WordPress performance.  

Luckily, you don’t pay extra to use the Object Cache Pro with your Cloudways hosting; it comes freely for every subscriber to Cloudways 2GB server size and above. This is a significant advantage for WordPress users who are hosting on Cloudways. 

You’re sure your WordPress site is optimized with every possible cutting-edge caching, compression, and performance technology.

Cache Performance and Security Analytics

If you require insight into Cloudflare add-on usage and stats, Cloudways presents a detailed dashboard to show cache performance and security analytics. 

Cloudways cache performance analytics

You can track critical data relevant to cache performance for your wesbite, such as: 

  • Total requests served
  • Number of Cloudflare served requests.
  • Request served by the origin server. 
  • Cache Status Overview – Revalidated, Missed, Expired, Dynamic, Hit, None, and total cache request.
  • You can check requests by sources, such as file type, Device, URL path, Countries, and Edge Status codes. 
  • You can also check top security events by source, including IP address, User agents, ULR path, host, countries, and HTTP methods. 

As per website security analytics or insight, Cloudways lets you use error logs to analyze:

Cloudways security analytics data
  • Total security events
  • Managed Challenge
  • Blocked
  • Event by services – Custom rules, rate limits rules, security level, and managed rules. 

However, at the time of writing, data log access (cache and security analytics) is limited to the last 72 hours.

Listing all the available features will make this Cloudways hosting review lose its objective, be excessive, and reduce its value. Below, I have listed other notable features you might want to look at.

  • Automatic server-side backup and one-click on-demand restore points. Cloudways charges $0.033 per GB for off-site backup, regardless of server and backup location.
  • Free Cloudways cache and performance plugin – Breeze.
  • SMTP server configuration for transactional emails.
  • DNS management
  • Client billing feature – an ideal function for agencies managing multiple clients and needing to process recurring billing.
  • Staging sites
  • Free SSL certificate
  • HTTPS/3 protocol support with Cloudflare.
  • Team collaborations and access control features.
  • Website monitoring and analytics.
  • Global CDN (Content delivery network) by Cloudflare 
  • All Bot protection from Cloudflare Enterprise.
  • SSD storage
  • Auto healing – resolve server-side issues automatically.
  • Dedicated server resources.
  • Options to install Redis for extended performance.
  • Phone support access for premium support add-on. 
  • Proactive application and server monitoring. 
  • WAF (Web Application Firewall
  • DDoS Protection with Cloudflare Enterprise solution
  • Install multiple applications or WordPress sites in one click. 
  • Choose from over 60 global data centers
  • Switch between different PHP versions.
  • Support for MySQL and MariaDB on all applications.
  • And more.

You can check the full Cloudways features via this page.  

Hosting Performance Test 

Unlike many other articles reviewing Cloudways hosting using a test or demo site to show performance results. This article relies on practical experience with a production site, a site where I managed to grow my business and earn a living. 

This site has 250+ published articles, thousands of images, 14 active plugins, and several other resources.

So, this Cloudways review is not based on experimentation, but on a live site I managed. 

If you’ve been following through, do you remember the list of hosting issues I had with my former web host? 

After migrating to Cloudways, the first impact I noticed was faster web pages. This is even before I install WP Rocket or activate the Cloudflare enterprise add-on features. 

I use the DotCom Web Server Performance Testing tool. Testing from four different user locations shows a faster server load time of 450 milliseconds. 

Dotcom web server testing tool reports for CyberNaira

My former web host averaged 790 milliseconds. Which is fast, but compared to Cloudways, it is slower. 

Another significant improvement is the “HTTP 429 many request error” warnings. Since I migrated to Cloudways, this error has never resurfaced.  

And the connection timeout was a thing of the past. Users no longer see the connection timeout error page when accessing my website pages. 

Most importantly, the site web pages now have good scores on Google Core Web Vitals testing tools. Here is what most web pages average when testing with Pagespeed Insights and GTmetrix

Mobile Test.

Page Speed Insight CWV scores for CyberNaira mobile

Desktop results

Page Speed Insight CWV scores for CyberNaira desktop

There is no good thing if the improvement in performance and speed does not translate to more traffic from Google. 

Here is a comparison of the traffic data for the last six months of the Search Console. 

GSC traffic reports - Six month traffic data comparison

For more data accuracy, I signed up for Cloudways on the 21st of April, 2023. I’m writing this review of Cloudways hosting on the 23rd of October, 2023. 

That’s exactly six months of using Cloudways before writing this Cloudways hosting review. 

Performance GSC traffic report After migrating to Cloudways hosting

The graph shows the traffic trend flattened in the first six months. After Cloudways, things show signs of improvement and an upward traffic trend. 

Certainly, hosting isn’t the only factor for the upward traffic trends; other site optimizations and improvements were made, like installing WP Rocket and switching from Astra Pro to WP Kadence. 

A poor web host will not help your other optimization efforts have noticeable impacts, if any. 

You should read my review to learn why I switched from Astra Pro to WP Kadence and how it helped resolve the site’s Cumulative Layout Shift. 

Here’s what I recommend for faster website pages: sign up for Cloudways and get WP Rocket. The combination can be the difference between a site that loads slowly and a speedy one. 

Cloudways Support

I believe support is one of the strengths or areas in which Cloudways excels as a company. The support has been responsive, timely, and supportive on every occasion I had to request help.

However, you must understand the scope or specifics of Cloudways support.  

While Cloudways offers free 24/7 live chat support for all its customers, there are limitations to what the support can hop in and look at based on your level of support. 

Cloudways offers three levels of support:

  • Standard.
  • Advanced.
  • Premium.
Cloudways support type details

For example, standard support does not include applications and proactive resolving of server or stack-related issues. 

Standard support users can request technical support for the servers and the platform Cloudways provides.

Only Premium and Advanced support users can request technical support for applications installed on Cloudways servers. 

What this means is that if you have issues with your WordPress application relating to the blog itself and you require support, Cloudways will only point you to guides on their blog, 

However, if the problem is related to servers or the Cloudways platform, you will get all the support required to resolve the issues. 

Sometimes, Cloudways does offer application support for Standard users. I have requested help several times, which was quickly looked into. 

You can check the extra bucks required to purchase Advanced and Premium support add-ons on the page if you need such a support level.  

Cloudways Pricing

Cloudways’s DigitalOcean server offers the cheapest hosting plan in terms of price and hosting specifications. 

It starts at $11 monthly or $0.0153 hourly and offers 1GB Core, 25GB SSD storage, 1GB RAM size, and 1TB bandwidth. 

Other cloud infrastructures cost more and offer more hosting resources for the starter plan. 

Amazon Web Server costs $38.56 with 2GB RAM, vCPU 2, 20GB storage, and 2TB bandwidth. Google Cloud costs $37.45 for its entry-level plan on the monthly billing option and gives you 1.7GB RAM, 1 vCPU, 20GB Storage, and 2TB bandwidth.  

  • Starting price – $11/monthly
  • RAM 1GB
  • Processor 1 Core
  • Storage 25GB
  • Bandwidth 1TB
  • Starting Price – $38.56
  • RAM – 2GB
  • vCPU – 2
  • Storage – 20GB
  • Bandwidth – 2GB
  • Starting price – $37.45/monthly
  • RAM – 1.75GB
  • vCPU – 1
  • Storage – 20GB
  • Bandwidth – 2GB

Choosing your preferred billing option is one of Cloudways’s advantages over competitors. Cloudways lets you choose the billing methods that suit your budget. Hourly or monthly? Choose which option you want. 

The hourly billing is ideal if you want to launch a marketing campaign for a few days or weeks. Otherwise, monthly billing is the best option.

Check the pricing page for a complete Cloudways hosting plan and price breakdown. 

Things to Know About Cloudways Hosting

Certain things about Cloudways services might improve your user experience or help you prepare to use the platform. 

File Manager/cPanel

Cloudways does not have a file manager. For users who are used to having cPanel with File Manager, Softaculous, and others, you’ll need to connect to your web server using an SFTP program like Filezilla

Master credentials for SSH or SFTP servers can be found on your server settings page. If you need to get the required connecting port to the server, ask the Cloudways customer rep.

Email Hosting

No email hosting, too. But I honestly don’t see this as an issue. Generally, I advise keeping your website and email hosting separate. 

If you need to migrate web hosting anytime, you don’t have to start configuring the email client to work with your new domain name server, which can be tedious. 

I use Private Email with Namecheap for email hosting. Though Cloudways offers Rackspace and Elastic Email for a fair price, I haven’t used any. So, I have no experience discussing them. 

Billing Structure or Plan

Your hosting prices are not fixed, and Cloudways does not have an annual billing plan; you’re billed month to month. Your monthly billing depends on resource usage at the end of the month. 

Cloudways send invoice notifications during the first week of the following month. You must pay this invoice within a few days; otherwise, your application will stop working. 

Funding your account before the due date is the best way to ensure no service interruption due to unpaid invoices. Make sure you have sufficient funds to cover expected hosting costs. 

Who Should Use Cloudways?

Cloudways, unarguably, offers excellent hosting services, high server performance, and good value for money. However, it might not be the right hosting choice for everyone. 

There are instances or situations where Cloudways isn’t the ideal web host for you, and you should consider other Cloudways alternatives with hosting features and plans that fit your budget, technical knowledge, and website needs. 

Here are some ideal situations where Cloudways does not fit your plan. 

  • Cloudways isn’t for you if you’re a beginner with no experience in website hosting and all the technical jargon like CNAME, DNS, A record, etc. This is because Cloudways is not designed for new website owners; its target audience is growing businesses and agencies needing high-quality web hosting with excellent support. 
  • Another situation where Cloudways might not fit is when you need both domain and hosting registered with a web host. Cloudways does not provide domain name registration services, so you must register your domain name with a registrar and point it to your Cloudways hosting. 

Besides this, Cloudways is an excellent web host if you’re looking for managed cloud hosting that is good value for money. Unlimited website hosting, automated daily backup, and powerful cloud hosting infrastructure from the top brands in the industry without paying the high cost. 

However, if now is not the right time to try Cloudways, you should consider alternative web hosts like Hostinger, HostGator, Domain.com, Nexcess, LiquidWeb, and shared hosts like Namecheap

Cloudways Pros and Cons

Before signing up for Cloudways hosting, let’s discuss its pros and cons in this Cloudways hosting review. 

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • You’re in control – choose your server and size.
  • Pay-as-you go. Pay only for what you use.
  • Free automatic backup.
  • Flexible billing option
  • Free trial periods. No credit card is required.
  • Dedicated support system.
  • Unlimited website hosting.

Cons

  • It needs a bit of a learning curve.
  • Does not come with an email account.
  • No domain registration services.

FAQ – Clooudways Review

Is Cloudways Good for WordPress?

Cloudways is one of the best-managed WordPress hosting providers. Aside from its remarkable speed and uptime performance, Cloudways offers secured hosting and excellent user services.

Is Cloudways any Good?

The ability to scale your hosting plan as your website needs grow makes Cloudways suitable for any business size and needs. You can choose from the hourly, monthly, or annual plan. So you don’t have to be stuck to a long-term contract if you don’t need one.

Is Cloudways Good for eCommerce?

Cloudways offers businesses a simple interface to build with your choice of application – WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, PHP, and Laravel.
Whether you’re an eCommerce site, shop, blog, agency, or small business owner, you can build your dream business with Cloudways hosting.

How fast is Cloudways hosting?

Cloudways is faster than other web hosts offering similar hosting packages and prices. If you’re a beginner, consider the DigitalOcean server, which is more affordable and offers the best value for money for blogs with low traffic.

Which Cloud Infrastructure Provider Does Cloudways Support?

Cloudways only supports DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud. It used to support Vultr and Linode, but this has been discontinued for new customers as of May 2023.

Can I Migrate Existing Blogs to Cloudways?

Yes, you can migrate your blog from other web hosts to Cloudways. WordPress users can use the Cloudways migration plugins to move their blogs easily to Cloudways without any technical support.

Other CMS websites like Joomla can also be migrated to Cloudways for free. However, you should contact the support if you’re migrating more than a single blog and require Cloudways support.

Conclusion…Cloudways Hosting Reviews

If managed cloud hosting is what you’re looking for, I advise you to check out Cloudways.

From beginner-friendly hosting plans to mission-critical website hosting needs, Cloudways offers affordable hosting plans that cut across businesses of all sizes.

Try Cloudways hosting today.

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this cloudways hosting post.It is very useful for me.Thanks again.keep sharing.

  2. its really amazing but i am using siteground hosting and i think its the best wp hosting

    1. Hi, Suhail,

      Siteground is no doubt one of the industry’s best hosting platforms. However, there are many others with top-quality managed WordPress hosting solutions too. And Cloudways is just one of them, especially when it comes to cloud hosting.

      Thanks.

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