Cloudways Review. The Way To Go Cheaper, Faster But Riskier

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cloudways review vs other hosting options
Cloudways looks sort of great. Imagine that someone invented an aircraft carrier which is faster and cheaper than other alternatives. It looks very attractive, doesn’t it? But there’s a reason why it may be risky. I will come back to this at the end of my article in the conclusion section. And now let me tell you my thoughts on Cloudways hosting the traditional way, i.e. via a long read, looking from different perspectives 🙂


By the way, here’s a disclosure: There are affiliate links on this page. In other words, I get paid if you click on the links and make a purchase. All such links open in new window/tab; no software/program will be installed to your computer. (This is a standard notice required by hosting companies.)
Besides, my recommended hosts are on this page.

 

The story why I finally publish my thoughts about Cloudways

Back in 2017 a guy contacted me and insistently asked me to include Cloudways in my hosting recommended page and to describe the numerous benefits of the host he has been enjoying. The guy was a bit more than just insisting, on the edge of being irritating. Although I understood why he was so happy (finally getting a hosts that suits you is indeed exciting), this put me off this host to a certain extent as I don’t like aggressive peer-to-peer marketing.

Later I got a numerous emails from people saying how Cloudways is cool compared to many other hosts and wondering why I still have not published an outstanding Cloudways review on my site. But I hesitated to publish my opinion on Cloudways. This is so because I saw that the host was in a very actively growing phase. This is an extremely turbulent time period when a host can both rocket up and go downhill very quickly. So a review can be outdated and become not relevant very quickly. So, publishing a review of a host at that time would be rather a marketing material (that I always avoid), not a useful hosting review that stays to the point for a long time (as I want it).

I wanted to wait so that I could see what kind of hosting Cloudways is after the dust of a very rapid growth settles down. And now I can describe what niche Cloudways has taken.

Now, if someone asks me about Cloudways review, I will refer them to this article.

 

How to understand what a hosting is and is not

I believe that one of the most precise ways to get to know if a hosting is a good choice exactly for you is to understand what niche the hosting takes. And the other important point is to analyze it the more classic way – i.e. to see the hosting advantages and disadvantages, including analyzing numerous people’s reviews. Both these two points are intersecting. And I keep these two approaches separately in my mind as it lets me look at the hosting deeper.

Reading the description of a hosting and its features on the hosting’s website does not require a PhD. But seeing what is behind the marketing words on a hosting landing page requires some insights. To some extent, you can get these insights by reading people’s feedback.

Although negative and positive feedback of real users matters, it’s also very important to feel the accordance of positive and negative experience of people. Reading Cloudways reviews on sites like TrustPilot can give you some information. But this way is limited (and often it can be manipulated, this is a whole another story).

Going in social media and find out what people say is probably the best way to do your research. But it’s also may be biased (e.g. people not only share their sincere opinions, but they want to prove to themselves that they did a right choice moving to this or that host). Anyway, putting everything together can give you useful insights.

When analyzing people’s reviews pay attention to the context and word slips. For example, if in a public group Cloudways reviews are often appraisal, then pay a special attention to the feedbacks which has even a slight negative inclination. For example, if everyone genuinely recommends Cloudways to anyone who wants a general hosting recommendation, look carefully when someone modestly mentions that Cloudways did not work for them. Analyze such cases and see if there is a pattern in negative Cloudways reviews.

Reading hosting reviews and keeping in mind who is writing this or that review in each particular case for several months you will start getting understanding. You will start to feel for what kinds of users this host is more suitable and for whom this host could be likely a negative experience.

 

Cloudways review in a nutshell

Cloudways is like a mixture of an infrastructural hosting provider (e.g. DigitalOcean, Vultr etc), plus some software and services to make your life easier, plus human technical support. CW is like an advanced shared hosting provider based on cloud hosting technology (read “faster and cheaper”). Also, CW can be considered as cloud hosting reseller with added layers of software and technical support.

 
Why does Cloudways look like an attractive option compared to shared hosting and VPS? Because it uses cheaper technology (cloud infrastructure) and adds software (tools) for users which makes the server maintenance much easier compared to self-managed VPS hosting. And also because Cloudways offers human technical support too (which is the thing that shared hosting users got used to).

What is wrong with Cloudways then? In short, the issue is that trying to become a universal solution for masses (i.e. hosting that can anyone use) Cloudways spreads its advantages making these advantages less prominent.

For example, in order to attract former shared hosting clients, Cloudways offers human technical support. And in the high-priced shared hosting segment technical support can be very expensive. So, in order to keep prices attractive, the hosts may decrease the quality of technical support (or better to say, sometimes the support is fine, sometimes it really sucks, which is true for Cloudways). Thus, former shared hosting clients (who paid a lot and got used to a high-quality human support) may get disappointed with Cloudways’ technical support.

Of course, Cloudways provides better speed compared to a typical shared hosting for the same price. And this is what attracts former shared hosting users.

As regards former unmanaged VPS clients, they may find Cloudways beneficial because CW offers human support. But the quality of support may not be always brilliant, and some people hesitate whether it’s worth using Cloudways, or maybe it’s better to use unmanaged VPS or infrastructural providers like DO, Vultr etc, and hire a technician.

Thus, Cloudways tries to reach as many people as possible which is understandable, but at the same time it can make too much people not very happy. In other words, Cloudways looks very promising (and for many people the host works really great for the price), but also many people feel like CW did not meet their expectations.

One of the aims of my article is to let my readers know who exactly is the right client for Cloudways so that you would not succumb the marketing of this host thinking that CW is great for everyone. Yes, almost any hosting wants to get as many clients as possible. But my idea is not to sell any host to anyone, but to guide a person to the right hosting, i.e. the hosting which suits this person better than other hosts.

 

Enough blah-blah. Getting to the point of Cloudways review now

In the previous section I already started my Cloudways review by giving you some insights. They are essential for understanding that CW is the right choice NOT for everyone. Now let’s dig into more details.

I think that instead of classic approach of presenting you features, advantages and disadvantages of the hosting, I’d go with a strategic comparison of Cloudways with other types of hosts. This makes a lot of sense because Cloudways has taken its place and has become popular exactly because CW took the niche between existing types of hosts which had been very much anticipated.

If you understand this argument (that Cloudways managed to get a highly anticipated spot on the hosting market), you will grasp the advantages and disadvantages of Cloudways easily and precisely. Let’s go.

 

CW vs shared hosting

Cloudways attracts former shared hosting clients by offering faster speed for the same price. What’s the catch? Well, cheap shared hosting business has a very low margin and mostly has low quality of service. At the same time expensive shared hosting has the advantage of offering better performance and support (as well as providing tools and add-on services like security, backups etc). But finding a shared hosting which is fast, not expensive, with a decent support and can handle lots of traffic is often a hard task or even impossible.

Cloudways really fits well into this niche and has something to offer, because CW is great from a speed point of view and because it provides handy tools. But the long-term quality of support is often can’t be compared to the technical support offered by best shared hosting for the same price. Another argument is that shared hosting is very easy to use by any person. Cloudways is harder (but still pretty feasible) to use for a person with no technical background.

Thus, it’s wrong to expect that Cloudways will give you best of the two worlds (both performance and great support for an affordable price). Cloudways (thanks to offering a technical support) comes into the mass shared hosting niche where other guys has been dominating. And CW has to compete against the best shared hosts not only by offering great performance (Cloudways is the winner here considering the price is equal), but also CW is expected to provide a great human technical support. And this is where CW has risks to fail too often compared to the greatest shared hosts.

In short, If you want faster speed for less money and you can cope with average support quality, but you don’t ‘have skills to maintain your own VPS server, Cloudways can be a great fit to you.

If you still think that you need technical support that does not let you down at any moment (and you have quite a low budget), then I’d suggest going with a shared hosting, but choose it wisely. Probably it makes sense to choose a shared hosting which is not very well-known, but which focuses on performance (has high-performance or semi-dedicated plans). Have a look at the shared hosts that I recommend on this page, or even a better place is this section (alternatives to SiteGround). It will be a better option for you than Cloudways.

Also, if you are using a shared hosting now and considering Cloudways, have a look at this case (“Where should I go after A2 Turbo plan”)


Resume: Cloudways wins in terms of performance here if considering the same money costs. As regards support, my opinion is that with great shared hosts you get better technical support.

A simplified roundup table with hosting recommendations:

 

Cloudways vs fully managed WP hosting like WP Engine, Kinsta, LiquidWeb etc

Cloudways is obviously cheaper for the same speed performance than these guys. The caveat of CW is that it gives comparatively less peace of mind because of less reliable technical support (that’s why fully managed WP hosts are expensive first of all). Another reason is that Cloudways has inherited the spirit of a “manage-yourself” hosting.

Let me explain a bit about my previous argument.

Cloudways did a great job to bring infrastructural cloud hosting providers (DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode etc) much closer to a non-technical person. This is as much because CW developed software service (control panel, tools etc) that makes the life of a non-technical user much easier.

An ideal client of Cloudways should never contact the technical support (like there’s practically no support at DO, Vultr, Linode etc). In an ideal world, Cloudways could be a “manage-yourself-hosting-even-if-you-are-not-technical-person” hosting.

But we live in not an ideal world where software may malfunction, up-tier provider may fail, and what is more important – not technical people do require a helping hand anyways. And when these real-life factors meet together it becomes clear that in many cases using fully managed WP hosting (look here for my recommended ones) makes much more sense even if it’s more expensive. It’s just when having less headache must and does cost more.

However, if you have multiple websites and a modest budget, then Cloudways is a winner in this comparison with fully managed WP hosts, no doubt.


Resume: If you have budget, then of course go with a fully-managed WP host. You will get a better support and peace of mind for your money. But If you have multiple websites and restricted budget, then Cloudways is the winning option.

A simplified roundup table with hosting recommendations:

 

CW vs self-managed VPS

Cloudways is significantly more expensive than self-managed VPS providing the same speed performance. But for many people unmanaged VPS (or infrastructural cloud provider like DigitalOcean, Vultr etc) is just too complicated thing to do. That’s why Cloudways takes its niche successfully by providing handy tools and technical support which is in result cheaper than fully managed VPS with the same speed.

At the same time, if you have a comparatively beginner –level websites (i.e. it does not have tons of traffic), then I’d recommend going with powerful shared hosting plans(if you have multiple sites) or a managed solution (if you have one WP site). I mention these Cloudways alternatives for the same price in this section and below on that page.

If for some reason the mentioned options do not fit you, then Cloudways is indeed a good way to go.

Besides, if you feel that you can manage server yourself, or if you don’t mind to learn as you go, or if hiring a technician to manage your server makes sense to you, then an unmanged VPS or a cloud provider is a significantly cheaper way to get high performance.


Resume: If you don’t have Linux skills or time, Cloudways is a no-brainer. Otherwise (if you can manage your server or want to learn how to do it), then an unmanaged cloud host can be much cheaper to you in terms of direct costs. I’d also consider semi-dedicated shared hosting plans if you need an entry-level VPS-like performance (they are better in terms of technical support).

A simplified roundup table with hosting recommendations:

 

CW vs fully-managed VPS or Dedicated

Before all, I’d recommend going with a fully managed VPS or dedicated server, if you have budget for it. The reason is that this option gives you more peace of mind and let you focus on your business because you get better human support.

Cloudways comes into play for one main reason competing with fully managed servers: CW is cheaper. The trade-off is you are likely to get more technical issues with CW rather than with a decent fully managed VPS/dedicated server provider. Cloudways makes the hosting service cheaper by letting you user software (its platform) upon the affordable cloud providers (DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr etc). Whereas classic fully managed VPS/Dedi focuses on reliability of infrastructure and providing higher quality human technical support.

A lot of people want the power of VPS but do not have enough money to pay for fully managed classic VPS hosting. Moreover, people do not mind getting worse support. At least there’s still support and in many ways it’s really not bad, and you don’t need to read tons of documentation and get into Linux server management. This is really cool. Cloudways gives such people the hosting solution that satisfies them perfectly.

Having said that, I have to underline that from my point of view it’s a more reliable way to go with a fully managed VPS or dedicated hosting (my selected options are here rather than Cloudways. And under “reliable” I mean better human support when you need it . Yes, you will have to pay more for that compared to what you would pay with Cloudways.


Resume: Cloudways is definitely cheaper than fully managed VPS/dedi, but CW loses in terms of high-quality support.

A simplified roundup table with hosting recommendations:

 

CW vs self-managed cloud hosting providers

I included this section for integrity. Because anyone interested in Cloudways knows what major advantages Cloudways has over the infrastructural cloud hosting providers such as DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, Google Cloud and AWS Amazon.

Cloudways just makes it very easy to use very affordable but technically complicated these cloud hosting providers. You don’t need to be a Linux expert or spend hours on reading the documentation or handling the risks of getting your website down for unclear reason. Cloudways makes it possible to use true cloud hosting which is indeed affordable and fast even if you are totally non-technical person. In addition you get a human technical support.

Yeah, Cloudways looks so sweet and very attractive from this perspective (getting best performance for very affordable price without being a Linux administrator). But keep in mind the following counter-arguments.

The point is that trying to seize as maximum market as possible (and to please all types of clients), Cloudways diminishes advantages for a single client. For example, the clients who want to use CW as an alternative to DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode etc are looking first of all for experienced and efficient support which are not needed often. But since Cloudways also serves beginner users who need to contact support very often, CW has to increase its number of support stuff. It makes the support less efficient and sometimes irritating for more technically experienced clients.

In other words, Cloudways to some extent becomes less attractive than those shared hosts which focus on more experienced users (those shared hosts are not very well-known). By providing powerful (high-performance, semi-dedicated) plans such shared hosts are also attractive and play on the same ground as CW. For example, the examples of such shared hosts that I recommend are here (presented as SiteGround’s GrowBig plan’s alternatives).

However, if you want a more powerful plan than shared hosts (even than their semi-dedicated plans) can offer, then Cloudways is a great option. In this case you get not only the performance, but also the technical support which are not available with up-tier providers such as DigitalOcean, Linote etc

At the same time, if your requirement to speed are pretty high, then consider as an option to use a cloud provider (DigitalOcean, Vultr,Linode etc) but also hire a server administrator. Maybe in your case it will be a cheaper or/and more controllable option in terms of your server maintenance.

Besides, if you don’t want to spend money hiring a server administrator, then consider the option of using a cloud provider (DO, Vultr,Linode etc) with a control panel SaaS (e.g. ServerPilot). You will not get the human technical support for the hosting needs in this case. But if you are technically-minded and love automatization and tools, and if you think that you can deal on your own, then this option can suit your well. You do not need to be a Linux server administrator. By the way, the next section considers this option vs Cloudways.


Resume: Cloudways is definetely more expensive than a cloud hosting like DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode etc. But if you do not have skills or time to manage Linux server yourself, then CW is the only option among the two. Alternatively you can consider more expensive options with the same speed: a a fully managed VPS/dedi, powerful shared hosting plans (best for multiple sites) and fully managed WP hosts (best for one site in terms of price).

A simplified roundup table with hosting recommendations:

 

CW vs self-managed cloud hosting providers + control panel SaaS

Whereas infrastructural hosting providers such as unmanaged VPS or cloud options like DO, Vultr, Linode etc are the fastest and the cheapest (and the hardest to maintain), a control panel service like ServerPilot in addition to such cloud host makes the life much easier. Even a non-technical person can deal with it.

And this option (e.g. DO + ServerPilot) still costs much less than traditional fully managed VPS options (which should be great in terms in human support too). Cloudways, which can be considered as a sort of cheaper fully-managed VPS alternative, also in most cases is more expensive than DO + ServerPilot.

When comparing CW and the unmanaged cloud + Control panel solution, the prices is the easiest part of the comparison. Depending on the number of applications and your server requirements it’s easy to point out which option is more attractive.

But Cloudways comes with a technical support. And although it’s not as brilliant as some fully managed VPS/Dedi hosts have, the existence of technical support makes the deal, and Cloudways is the preferred choice in many ways. For many people it’s much better to have a tech support (even if it were “hit-or-miss” for complicated issues) than not to have the support at all.


Resume: Cloudways is more expensive (if you don’t have tons of applications) than a cloud hosting like DigitalOcean, Vultr etc plus a control panel SaaS like ServerPilot when considering the same performance. But since CW goes with a human technical support, this is a no-brainer for most people. CW is the winner in most cases.

A simplified roundup table with hosting recommendations:

 

Extensive conclusions (read at least this chapter)

I understand that reading all the text in my comparative Cloudways review can be long and daunting. That’s why I put these super short and clear theses here that can help you put your thoughts together:

  • CW is faster than classic shared hosting providers for the same price.
  • CW is less reliable than classic hosting providers (I mean the great ones) for the same price. It regards regarding technical support quality.
  • CW is much easier to use than infrastructural providers like DO, Linode etc (CW can be used by non-technical user, although shared hosting providers are still a bit easier to use than CW).
  • CW is slower than unmanaged VPS for the same price.
  • CW has worse tech support than fully managed VPS (that’s why the latter is more expensive for a similar performance).
  • CW is a lower budget solution compared with fully managed WordPress hosts (considering similar performance), but the latter bring much more peace of mind.
Here’s an important note. When I mention general types of hosting, e.g. “shared hosting”, “fully managed VPS” etc, I do NOT mean any shared hosting etc. I mean the best ones that I know and which I recommend on this page.

 
Cloudways is recommended if:

  • If you need better speed than you can get with a shared hosting for a similar price. But be ready for less reliability in terms of support with CW.
  • If a fully managed VPS is too expensive for you. CW is a good choice as a compromise between price and technical support providing you great speed performance.
  • If you need more installations/visits per account than you can get with fully managed WP hosts, and semi-dedicated shared hosting is not powerful enough for you, and fully managed VPS are too expensive for you.
  • If you would love to go with a cloud providers such as DO, Vultr etc but you do not have enough technical knowledge to handle server maintenance yourself, and control panel software such as ServerPilot is not suitable for you for any reason.

When I definitely would NOT recommend Cloudways:

  • If you require a top-notch technical support. In this case, if you also need great speed performance, then I can suggest going wither with a fully managed WordPress host or fully managed VPS/Dedicated server.
  • If you don’t plan to use a human technical support at all. In this case I’d recommend going with a infrastructural cloud provider such as DO, Vultr etc with a control panel Saas such as ServerPilot.

As regards other cases, if you hesitate choosing between Cloudways and a more classic hosting provider, then I’d suggest going with a classic provider (consider semi-dedicated shared hosting which has comparative prices as smaller plans of CW).

But if you appreciate CW’s technical advantage (e.g. the tools or options), or need more server resources (compared to semi-dedicated shared hosting plans) then Cloudways is likely the right choice for you (fast and affrodable).

As you can see from my Cloudways review, although this host seems like an ultimately superb choice, it has a weak point. It has weaker than expected technical support. At the same time, Cloudways has won its popularity exactly because it offered a human technical support in addition to handy tools above the cloud providers such as DigitalOcean, Linode etc.

In other words, Cloudways wants to get as many different types of clients as possible, whereas it’s a dream solution just for specific users or the users with quite special needs and/or restrictions. That’s why I do not list Cloudways as one of my unconditionally recommended hosting on this page. But I can recommend it to you provided you understand its restrictions.

Let me put my core idea in one more way. Here’s why I do not recommend Cloudways to everyone and why I do not include CW on the page where I recommend several hosts to anyone:

  • Tech support can be hit or miss (not permanently great support as with expensive fully managed WP host). This is not compulsory that you will meet under-qualified support. But in my opinion, the chances of getting a mediocre support are considerably higher than with a fully managed VPS’s (which are more expensive though) or with great shared hosts (which can be not fast enough if you need several vCPUs).
  • Server issues when hosted with CW are more frequent compared to fully managed hosting solutions (fully managed WP hosts, fully managed VPS).
  • CW is a bit more complicated to use compared to fully managed hosts (CW has inherited the spirit of do-it-yourself hosting but made it easy with handy tools and existing human support).


Here are the table with alternatives to Cloudways for express comparison:


As a one-passage resume:
Cloudways could be definitely a much better choice for most people compared to other alternative hosting solutions out there, but Cloudways needs to have better support. But better support would make CW significantly more expensive and less competitive in terms of price. After all, this is the strategy of Cloudways that made it popular among lots of users (and many people do really love this host for speed, the tools and the working human support option). But at the same time Cloudways’ strategy of targeting the mass market made the host not so ideal and not so ultimate hosting solution.

P.S.: And yeah, as regards the aircraft carrier put in the title image. No matter how fast and powerful the ship is, it’s the crew (the technical support) that keeps it really efficient. And since Cloudways manages to be fast, offers human support and is affordable and quite easy to use at the same time, it means that there should be a catch somewhere. And in my Cloudways review I wanted to mention that the “aircraft carrier” (the host) can be risky because not all of its crew could be qualified enough. Nevertheless, this is one of the most prominent vessels out there. Can’t be ignored.

You can download a PDF version of this article (749 KB):


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  1. currently i am on hostinger. I was looking for other hosting service . Is there any Offer from bluehost.

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