A2 Hosting and Cloudways are two of my favorite brands in the web hosting industry. One is an industry stalwart with reliable performance; the other is a relatively newer brand sitting exclusively in a niche segment. If you’re considering a web hosting plan, I highly recommend you look at either.
There are hundreds of prominent companies crowding the web hosting marketplace. Many make bold claims about being the best. As someone who’s tried everything from the best to the worst, I have little patience for those claims.
At a Glance
Whether it is A2 Hosting or Cloudways, both companies hold a good record in the web hosting industry. Let's take a closer look at each of them.
|Web Host||A2 Hosting||Cloudways|
|Server Plans||Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, |
Managed WP Hosting
|Cloud Hosting, Managed WP Hosting|
|WP Plans Pricing||$11.99 - $41.99/mo||$14.00 - $1035.00/mo|
|Free SSL Support||Yes||Yes|
|Paid SSL||RapidSSL - $49.99/year||No|
|Customer Support||Live chat (Sales), Telephone, Email||Ticketing service, Live chat, Telephone|
|Telephone No.||+1-734-222-4678||+44-330 001 0338|
|Payment Support||Credit Card, PayPal,||Credit Card, Debit Card, PayPal|
|Free Trial||30 Days||3 days|
|Energy Sources||Traditional + Offset with Green Cert||Traditional|
|Server Location||North America, Asia, Europe||North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Oceania, Africa, Middle East|
|Use Cases||Beginners, Cheap Solution, Small Business, International Sites, Freelancers, |
Multiple Websites, Eco-friendly Websites,
Web Developers, EU-only Websites, Asia-only Websites, US-only Websites, eCommerce
|eCommerce, Large Websites, Advanced WP Users, |
Web Developers, EU-only Websites
|Learn More||A2 Hosting Review||Cloudways Review|
|Order||Click Here||Click Here|
A2 VPS Hosting is Better…
A2 VPS Hosting is better than Cloudways in terms of:
- Cheaper entry price to VPS
- Additional hosting-related services
- Run on cPanel system
- Email accounts are included
A2's Unmanaged VPS Hosting Plans are Cheaper
Unmanaged VPS plans at A2 Hosting are cheap. There's no other way to describe them. Unlike some VPS providers that offer low-capacity VPS, the minimum specifications on A2 Hosting Unmanaged VPS start from 1 CPU core, 1 GB of RAM, and 150 GB of SSD storage.
All the VPS plans (both Managed and Unmanaged) come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Its Runway 1 plan starts at $4.99/mo.
Additional Speed Features Included
A2 Hosting covers the A-to-Z of web hosting services. That includes the standard free SSL, domain name inclusion on some plans, email on all hosting plans, etc. Whatever services you need for hosting a website can be found at A2 Hosting.
The one thing it provides that you won’t easily see elsewhere is its “Turbo” plans. The Turbo servers come with AMD EPYC processors and NVMe drives. While the AMD processors are an apples or oranges preference, NVMe drives certainly offer increased speeds compared to industry-standard SSD drives.
Runs on cPanel System
Their VPS plans run on the very familiar cPanel system that most website owners should be able to handle easily. However, you should know that the VPS version of cPanel on A2 Hosting comes slightly stripped-down. For example, they don’t include any resource monitoring features. Your only recourse is to resort to an external server monitoring service, like New Relic.
Email Hosting is Included
Unlike Cloudways, all A2 VPS Hosting plans come with email support. Although each email account on Cloudways will only cost you an additional $1, A2 Hosting provides unlimited email accounts for free.
Cloudways is Better…
Cloudways is better than A2 VPS Hosting in terms of:
- Choices of Cloud hosting providers
- Better server performance
- Powerful management dashboard
- Powerful Breeze caching plugin
- Easy scalability
Choice of Three Notable Cloud Providers
One of the essential elements of Cloudways is that you get to choose from a series of three notable Cloud providers. On the budget side, you can consider Digital Ocean. If you demand the maximum performance, there are Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services.
Much Better Server Performance
A2 Hosting offers Unmanaged and Managed VPS plans. Since Cloudways is a Managed Cloud provider, I’ll be comparing it to the Managed VPS on A2 Hosting. I ran the performance tests with identical website content and without Content Distribution Network (CDN).
Surprisingly, A2 Hosting offered quick connection times marred by extremely sub-standard Time to First Byte (TTFB). While some may consider these speeds “acceptable,” it's slightly hard considering the cost of A2 Hosting VPS plans.
Duplicating the website over onto Cloudways, I immediately noticed a massive difference. Connection speeds were faster, but the few milliseconds were not overly significant. What made a more considerable difference was the huge boost I saw for time to first byte (TTFB).
In terms of pure speed, Cloudways has my thumbs up.
Powerful User Dashboard
The Cloudways system is proprietary, but you’ll be shocked at how easy it is to manage things. Even for migration, the automated tool they include for WordPress websites works quickly and flawlessly. It took me minutes to migrate four websites onto two different Cloudways servers.
The management dashboard is well-segmented, allowing you easy access to the most potent features needed. That ranges from server restarts to backup and package management and configuration. It’s easy enough for anyone used to GUI control panels.
Cloudways also allows account administrators to work with a team to administer their hosting accounts. This feature is something that larger companies should note. It will enable multiple users per account with managed access to specific server instances.
Powerful Breeze Caching Plugin
Perhaps the most impressive part of Cloudways lies in its Breeze caching plugin for WordPress websites. I’ve seen multiple web hosting companies try to leverage something like this, but Breeze is the only one so far that lives up to the hype. I consider it nearly on par with commercial options like WP Rocket.
Easy to Scale Up with Cloudways
Cloudways is very easy to scale. It just takes a moment to change your settings in the dashboard. The catch is that scaling down isn’t so simple (unless you opt for Google or Amazon) and needs some technical finesse with site cloning.
Cloudways is a pay-as-you-go service, so you don’t need to cough up your hosting fees in advance. They’ll invoice you each month and either deduct your payment card on file or Cloudways balance funds (if any).
Verdict: Cloudways or A2 Hosting?
Resources are expensive, but the reality is that most people won’t need that many. If your website consumes as many resources as you provide, something is wrong somewhere. My test website on Cloudways runs on its $26/mo plan and sees average monthly traffic of around 50k unique visitors.
Yet it performs better than my previous A2 Hosting VPS plan despite costing around half of what I used to pay. If you need fast and robust hosting, I highly recommend Cloudways. Don’t be fooled by “Cloud Hosting”. The Cloudways platform is so simple that almost anyone can use it.
More About A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting is a web hosting company that has been around since 2005 and has been helping businesses grow since the beginning. It’s built a formidable reputation based on excellent customer support, reliable infrastructure, and dedication to providing cutting-edge technology. This company calls Ann Arbor, Michigan, home.
A2 Hosting Customer Support
A2 Hosting has a varied team when it comes to customer support. Being a customer of theirs for over two years, I’ve interacted with the good and the bad. The good ones will resolve your problems quickly and effectively.
Unfortunately, the bad will leave you frustrated and angry. I recall once that I gave up on a support agent who was not reading emails correctly and worked to resolve the issue myself. A negative support review escalated the case to a support manager, who condescendingly regretted my poor experience.
A2 Hosting VPS Plans & Pricing
|Features / Plans||Runway 1||Runway 2|
|RAM||1 GB||2 GB|
|SSD Storage||150 GB||250 GB|
More About Cloudways
Cloudways offers managed cloud hosting services with simplicity as their watchword. It was founded relatively recently (by web hosting standards) in 2012 by Aaqib Gadit and Pere Hospital. As a Platform as a Service (PaaS) provider, Cloudways works with five key partners; Digital Ocean, Linode, Vultr, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services.
Cloudways Customer Support
Having yet to experience the need for customer support at Cloudways, I instead trolled the airwaves for what others have said. Trustpilot reviews indicated most users are happy with Cloudways (89%), with a small number complaining about slow support ticket resolution.
Cloudways Plans and Pricing
Many consider Managed Cloud hosting expensive, but Cloudways plans start at a very modest $12/mo. Naturally, that scales up as you add more resources. If you opt for one of the premium providers like Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services, prices will start at over $30/mo.
|DigitalOcean (DO)||Cloudways + DO||Vultr||Cloudways + Vultr|