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WP Engine and Cloudways are the industry’s most popular web hosts. Unless you’re a beginner, these two names are constantly mentioned in relevant hosting discussions in an online community.

But, as good and reliable as they are, several differences set them apart, making one a better choice for specific marketing needs and use cases. 

Even though both offer robust security features, easy scalability, and powerful server stacks, it’s important to understand which web host better suits your hosting needs based on budget, features, and technical knowledge. 

In this WP Engine vs Cloudways comparison review, I dig deep into their core hosting services, server infrastructure, performance, support, pricing, and security to equip you with adequate knowledge to make an informed decision.

Company’s Overview – Cloudways and WP Engine

WP Engine

Founded in 2010 by Jason Cohen, WP Engine quickly established itself as a leading force in the managed WordPress hosting industry. WP Engine’s mission centers around empowering businesses and individuals to thrive online through the power of WordPress. 

They achieve this by providing a robust platform optimized for WordPress performance, security, and scalability.

From its headquarters in Austin, Texas, WP Engine has grown into a global company with data centers strategically located worldwide. This ensures optimal website performance and low latency for users across the globe. 

WP Engine offers managed WordPress hosting plans catering to different website sizes and needs, including Woocommerce and features like automated migrations, staging, and real-time analytics.

WP Engine’s focus on security and performance is another key differentiator, with features like automated malware scanning, threat detection, EverCache™, and firewall protection providing peace of mind for website owners.

Overall, WP Engine’s combination of a strong company culture focused on innovation, a deep understanding of WordPress, and a commitment to providing exceptional customer service has positioned them as a premium choice for managed WordPress hosting.

Cloudways 

Cloudways, co-founded in 2012 by Pere Hospital, Aagib Gadit, Umair, and Uzair, took a different approach to web hosting. Their vision was to simplify access to the power and flexibility of cloud hosting, making it accessible to businesses and individuals of all technical skill levels.

The company, headquartered in Malta, has grown significantly in recent years, attracting diverse marketing professionals, from bloggers and small businesses to established enterprises. Cloudways’ commitment to innovation and ongoing platform development ensures users access the latest technologies and features.

Cloudways is not a traditional hosting provider per se. Instead, it is a managed cloud hosting platform, partnering with leading cloud providers like DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, Google, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

This allows users to choose the cloud infrastructure that best suits their needs while benefiting from Cloudways’ easy-to-use management layer.

Cloudways’ mission is to empower users to focus on their applications and websites while handling server management’s complexities.

The Cloudways platform offers features like one-click application installation, server management tools, automated backups, integrated CDN services, and pay-as-you-go billing.

This focus on user-friendliness and flexibility has made Cloudways a popular choice for businesses, agencies, developers, and individuals who want the power of cloud hosting without the technical headaches.

By providing a user-friendly interface, various cloud providers, partner integration, and a focus on affordability, Cloudways has successfully democratized cloud hosting, making it a viable and affordable option for a wider range of users.

Now, let’s fully dive into the WP Engine and Cloudaways comparison. 

Target Audience and Area of Expertise 

First, you must understand whether you’re a good fit for the web host. Most web hosts tailor their hosting service to a section of an audience, business, and individuals.  

Their hosting services, support level, and pricing structure are tailored to their target audience. This is why this WP Engine and Cloudways review will kick off with a discussion of their main hosting beneficiary. 

WP Engine 

WP Engine is focused on managed WordPress hosting. The service is dedicated to the WordPress and Woocommerce ecosystem, making it an ideal option for businesses looking for a WordPress-only web host. 

Looking at the service rendered and price points, WP Engine is not an ideal web host for beginners; it is more geared towards mid-size SMBs and large businesses needing enterprise hosting solutions. 

WP Engine boosts expertise in optimizing the WordPress platform for peak performance and security. Expert level support system and its custom EverCache™ make WP Engine a top choice for large marketing teams, web development agencies, and Fortune 500 companies. 

Cloudways

Cloudways offers managed cloud hosting solutions for various applications, including WordPress, PHP, Magento, Laravel, Woocommerce, and custom web development projects. This flexibility caters to a broader audience, including developers and users comfortable with a more technical environment.

It is more geared at businesses needing to host several websites within a hosting account, access to team collaboration tools, optimized server stacks, managed hosting, and premium support services. 

Cloudways is more suitable for beginners due to its pricing structure and easy-to-use dashboard. It gives you more control over billing and server configuration. 

However, the platform will benefit advanced users and businesses, such as agencies, SMBs, developers, eCommerce store owners, e-learning platforms, and enterprise businesses. 

Pricing and Payment Models

Price and billing structure are determinant factors when choosing the right web host. You don’t want to settle with a web host that does not align with your marketing budget and expenses plan. 

Here, I look at how WP Engine and Cloudways make billing convenient for their customers and the praymnet structure.

WP Engine

WP Engine offers tiered pricing plans with varying hosting costs depending on the features included and the amount of traffic allowed. While their plans provide excellent value, they might be more expensive than Cloudways, especially for entry-level options with lower traffic volumes.

Here is a detailed WP Engine price list. 

PlanTraffic LimitsPriceStorage Bandwidth
Startup1 Site (25k Monthly Visits)$20/mon10 GB50GB
Professional3 Sites (75k Monthly Visit)$40/mon 15GB125GB
Growth10 Sites (100k Monthly Visit)$77/mon20GB200GB
Scale30 Sites (400k Monthly Visit)$194/mon 50GB500GB
CustomPremium Solution Start at $600/monContact SalesContact Sales

Note: These promotional price lists offer four months of free hosting for the first-year invoice. Subsequent hosting renewal will be charged at the regular price, higher than quoted above. 

Cloudways

Cloudways adopts a pay-as-you-go pricing model based on your chosen server, added services, and monthly resource usage. This can be more cost-effective for smaller websites with lower traffic, as you only pay for the resources you utilize.  

However, for high-traffic websites, the costs might scale upwards compared to WP Engine’s pre-defined plans. Still, it offers a more transparent approach to hosting billing.

Cloudways has several hosting plans, making it difficult to list them here. But for understanding, here are the entry level plans for each cloud provider. 

PlanRAM SizeCPU SizeStorageBandwidthPrice
DO1GB1GB1 Core25GB1TB$11/mon – $0.0153/hr
Vutrl 1GB1GB1 Core32GB1TB$14/mon – $0.0194/hr
Lin1GB1GB1 core25GB1TB$14/mon – $0.0194/hr
AWS Small2GB2 Core20GB2GB$38.56/mon – $0.0536/hr
GCE Small1.75GB1 Core20GB2GB$37.45 – $0.0520/hr

Note: These prices are for Cloudways entry-level plans on all its cloud service providers. Also, the prices are for the standard server. Premium servers are slightly higher. 

Performance Optimization and Hosting Features

WP Engine

WP Engine is built on NGINX server stack, with other components such as Varnish, Memcahed and Object Cache, optimized for WordPress specific hosting environments, making it unmatched by an average shared hosting server. 

One powerful performance feature is the WPEngine proprietary caching technology, EverCache™, which provides blazing-fast hosting speed for websites hosted on its servers. 

According to WP Engine testing, the EverCache™ technology is optimized for WordPress caching and boosts a 40% increase in page speed and performance

It doesn’t matter whether your website receives 20k visitors a day or 15k page views in a few minutes; performance never slows down. WPEngine EverCache™ ensures your site remains responsive and fast for all visitors. 

WP Engine also offers daily automatic and on-demand backup; you can restore backup data for up to 40 days. 

Cloudflare CDN is integrated with WP Engine hosting as part of your hosting plan. 

The features includes Cloudflare Polish, which automatically optimizes WordPress images using lossless or lossy compression format. It also converts images to WebP for supported web browsers. 

WP Engine also offers free SSL certificates and serves all assets from the Cloudflare CDN edge, reducing HTTP requests to the origin server and improving server response time. 

To further protect your site and ensure performance stability, WP Engine offers Smart Plugin Manager, which automatically runs a Visual Regression Test on recent updates for compatibility or issues. 

This plugin checks if a recent update hurts site performance. However, I learned this plugin is a separate purchase costing $100 yearly. 

WP Engine Smart Plugin Manager subscription page

In fact, WP Engine has several add-on purchases, like Page Speed Boost, Site Monitoring, Genesis Pro, and Global Edge Security. 

So, you might want to consider additional costs when purchasing a plan. 

Another important thing to note is that WP Engine guarantees 99.99% SLA for sites on its premium isolated servers. This might not be available for most WP Engines sites hosted on its shared hosting environments. 

Let’s look at how Cloudways optimizes its hosting server for optimized performance.

Cloudways

Cloudways offers a set of server stacks, powering its hosting infrastructure to deliver optimal user experience. 

Debian 11, nicknamed the bullseye, is the foundational OS all other components run. 

Aside from that, Cloudways uses Apache and NGINX servers, PHP-FPM, and MariaDB and runs these optimization services – Memcache, Redis, Object Cache Pro, and Varnish to provide a well-balanced optimized web server.  

Object Cache Pro is a premium WordPress plugin that costs $95 monthly but comes freely with your Cloudways hosting. Thanks to the Cloudways + Object Cache Pro partnership, you don’t pay extra to enjoy the benefits of its cache performance.

Users can choose from five cloud providers – DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, Google Compute, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), allowing them to select a provider that best suits their needs in terms of pricing, geographic location, application, and desired features.

Cloudways server selection interface

This variety means Cloudways can provide more cloud server locations and hosting options, unlike WPEngine with Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services only. 

Note that the availability of server location in Cloudways depends on the cloud provider of your choice. For example, Linode has 23 server locations while DigitalOcean has 9 when writing this line.

Like WP Engine, Cloudways offers one-click application installation, automated and on-demand backups, an integrated Cloudflare Enterprise addon (which improves TTFB, reduce latency, loading time, and bandwidth cost), and a dedicated cache plugin – Breeze.

But this plugin is not as powerful as other popular choices like WP Rocket and NitroPack. You may want to test other options if you need more performance and file minification features. 

With its Cloudflare Enterprise add-ons, you have access to performance and security features, such as Polish and Mirage (image and mobile optimization), 200 edge networks, Scrapeshield, DDoS attack mitigation, Argo Smart Routing network, bot traffic protection, WAF, SSL certificate, all for just an extra $4.99 per month. 

The price reduces to $1.99 per month with more websites (25 and more) you host with Cloudways and connected to Cloudflare Enterprise addons.

With this, your website is secure with the best technology and optimized for performance regardless of where your visitors come from. 

Regarding performance, WP Engine and Cloudways are on top of their game. 

They use SSD storage drives, which are faster than traditional HDDs. Uses multiple cache mechanisms, like Varnish, Memcached, and Redis, in addition to built-in cache functions. 

Both web hosts make it easy to scale hosting resources during peak performance periods. 

Whatever web host you choose between WPEngine and Cloudways, performance should not be a concern. The use of Cloudflare CDN ensures your website loads quickly, improves time to first bytes and server response time, and resolves Core Web Vitals issues.

Ease of Use

WP Engine

WP Engine emphasizes a user-friendly interface that simplifies website management tasks. Their intuitive dashboard and streamlined functionalities suit beginners and users with limited technical knowledge.  

WP Engine handles server management and technical complexities, allowing users to focus on creating and managing their WordPress content.

Since WP Engine is focused on WordPress sites, efforts have been made to ensure the platform and custom control panel are tailored to WordPress functionalities. 

Cloudways

Cloudways offers a user-friendly interface, too, but managing server resources might require a slightly steeper learning curve than WP Engine.  

While basic functionalities are straightforward, users comfortable with server administration and technical configurations can leverage Cloudways’ features for greater control and customization.

For beginners familiar with the traditional cPanel interface, you’ll need a few moments to adjust to the Cloudways interface and server and domain management tools. 

WP Engine and Cloudways provide server management and administration via SSH and SFTP programs like Filezilla. 

You can manage website files, plugins, and database queries effectively. 

Security Measures

In terms of security, WP Engine and Cloudways provide airtight security protection, both at the server and application levels, to ensure your WordPress website is fully protected. 

At the barest minimum, you have a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt, dedicated firewall protection (Cloudways use Fail2ban in addition), a malware scanner, and protection against suspicious bots and traffic requests. 

Both web hosts ensure regular OS and software updates, automatic WordPress core, themes, and plugin-safe updates. 

Since both Cloudways and WP Engine use Cloudflare CDN, your website is fully protected against DDoS attacks, with multiple layer mitigation – 3, 4, and 7 – eliminating malicious bots and traffic.

However, WP Engine might have a slight edge in security because of its WordPress-specific platform. Its security features are tailored to the WordPress ecosystem.

But that’s not diminishing on Cloudway’s part; its robust security features, partnerships integration with Cloudflare, and using Fail2ban, an up-to-date PHP version, ensure your website is not vulnerable to attack. 

Customer Support

On several occasions, I have engaged with WP Engine customer care reps, mainly seeking inquiries into product offerings and hosting features. 

The support is very responsive, dedicated, and always ready to provide helpful answers to my queries.

But that is just as a potential customer.  

One thing that puts WP Engine above Cloudways regarding customer support is its WordPress focus expert-level experience. 

The WP Engine people eat, breathe, and sleep WordPress all day. They know the WordPress ecosystem like the back of their palm. 

This could be an advantage for WP Engine over Cloudways support, which is more diverse and answers support and technical questions for several content management systems. 

This could be a factor to consider if you require in-depth assistance specific to WordPress functionalities or troubleshooting issues related to the WordPress platform.

However, as a Cloudways user myself, using WordPress, the support has been excellent so far. There is no sign of inefficiency or inadequate knowledge of the WordPress platform. Whenever I contact Cloudways support for help, my issues are resolved promptly and efficiently. 

Nonetheless, they offer 24/7 online support, help guides, blog posts, tutorials, and videos.

WP Engine offers phone in-call.

Cloudways doesn’t offer phone support but schedules appointments via phone. After completing the form, you can schedule a call with the Cloudways sales team. 

There is more to Cloudways support you must know. Cloudways offers three levels of support – Standard, Advanced, and Premium. 

Standard support is free and available for all users; Advanced ($100/mon) and Premium ($500/mon) offer extra and priority support for server-level and application troubleshooting and inquiries. Learn more about Cloudways’ support level here.

Cloudways customer support price list

While on the page, go through the “Out of Scope” section, which explains situations where Cloudways support is not intended, no matter your support level.

Cloudways out of scope support sections

WP Engine extends chats and phone support to users on the Professional, Growth, and Scale plans. The startup plan limits support access to online chats only. 

Scalability and Future Growth

WP Engine and Cloudways infrastructure is designed to scale seamlessly as website traffic grows. 

They offer upgrade options to accommodate increased traffic volume and ensure your website maintains optimal performance in high-traffic periods. 

Both hosts can scale your server resources vertically (increasing processing power and RAM) or horizontally (adding more servers) based on your website’s needs. 

This allows for granular control over your hosting environment. 

So, even if your business is just getting a few thousand visitors but suddenly spikes to several thousand hits daily or in some minutes, your server automatically scales up resources to handle the high traffic volume. 

But you need to be aware of the extra charges that come with exceeding your bandwidth and traffic limits. 

As per Cloudways, you need to check the hourly server rate for your specific cloud provider. 

On its part, WP Engine charges $2 for every 1,000 extra visitors over your allowed limits. 

In summary, your business is foolproof from sudden growth and scalability. WP Engine or Cloudways, both options, is a reliable web host for scalability and future growth. 

Additional Considerations Between WP Engine and Cloudways 

Free Trials and Money-Back Guarantees 

WP Engine does not offer a free trial of its hosting plans, but you have a 60-day money-back guarantee policy, providing some peace of mind if you’re unsatisfied with their service. 

Cloudways does offer a free 3-day trial, with no credit card required. You can sign up for free and try the platform.

However, unlike WPEngine, there is no money-back guarantee policy once you subscribe after the trial period. I guess that’s the reason for the free trial offer. 

Staging

You can deploy your application on a test hosting environment for development, debugging, or test updates or design of your website and application. 

Staging is present in both Cloudways and WP Engine hosting. 

Domain Name Management 

Cloudways and WP Engine are not domain name server hosts or registrars; you must register your domain name with a registrar like Namecheap, Domain.com, or Hostgator

Then, configure the DNS to point to your hosting server in either of the two web hosts. 

Free Migration

WP Engine offers both manual and automated plugin migration to its platform from any web host. You can move your site in one click to WP Engine and continue with your business within a few minutes of completing the process.

Check the whole process for more in-depth details on the automated migration tool and do-it-yourself process.

Cloudways also offers a seamless migration process via its WordPress Migrator plugin. I used this plugin to migrate from Namecheap to Cloudways – the experience was excellent. It takes only a few minutes to move the entire WordPress database.

However, you can request your first and only free migration from Cloudways support. Subsequent migration request needs payment, but I advise you to use the free WordPress migratory plugin. The process is easy.

Focus on Environmental Sustainability

If environmental responsibility concerns you, consider that WP Engine has made significant strides toward utilizing renewable energy sources to power its infrastructure. 

Cloudways also offers some eco-friendly options depending on the cloud provider you choose.

Conclusion – Choosing Between WP Engine vs Cloudways 

Ultimately, the best choice between WP Engine and Cloudways depends on your needs and priorities. 

Here’s a quick recap to guide your decision. 

Choose WP Engine if you prioritize a user-friendly experience and top-tier performance specifically optimized for the WordPress ecosystem.

Your website requires robust security features and automatic updates and values exceptional 24/7 customer support from WordPress experts.

On the other hand, consider Cloudways if you’re a developer, agency, SMB, or comfortable with a more technical hosting environment and desire greater server control.

You’re on a budget and require a pay-as-you-go pricing model for a smaller website or a more transparent billing option. 

If you need cloud hosting for applications beyond WordPress and require flexibility, choose a cloud provider based on your business needs. 

By carefully considering the factors outlined in this in-depth comparison, you can make an informed decision and select the managed WordPress hosting provider that empowers your website to thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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