About Jason Chow
Jason is a fan of technology and entrepreneurship. He loves building website. You can get in touch with him via Twitter.
Cloudways is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider. It acts as a conduit between users and various Cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Linode, and Vultr. Offering fully managed accounts, it is a decent option for users who seek convenience.
However, the PaaS model isn’t suitable for everyone.
For one thing, it usually comes at premium pricing, even by Cloud standards. Even though you can get a starter plan on Cloudways for as little as $10 a month – there are strong alternatives available.
InterServer has a lot of experience in the web hosting business. It offers everything from shared hosting to reseller plans, Cloud VPS, and dedicated servers. All four of its data centres are located in the US.
Their VPS plans are cost-effective to run through, using a combination of CentOS along with the Webuzo control panel (it’s free). VPS accounts are sold in ‘slices’ with increasing amounts of resources. If you take more than four slices, they will manage the account for you.
Basic VPS plans are available for not much more than shared hosting, starting at $6/mo. In general though, prices for more comprehensive plans are more in line with what other companies in the industry offer.
Of more interest at ScalaHosting is their managed VPS plans. While most web hosts today will rely on Plesk or cPanel, ScalaHosting has developed their own version – SPanel. This control panel is highly cPanel compatible, making it suitable for those migrating to the platform.
ScalaHosting also has other advantages for their customers including SShield and SWordpress Manager. The former provides real-time AI-driven cybersecurity for VPS accounts. The latter helps WordPress users manage their accounts more easily.
ScalaHosting’s pricing structure is easy to follow – there are four plans available for both their managed and unmanaged VPS offerings. Advanced plans include better resource provisioning but come with the same features overall. ScalaHosting managed VPS starts from $9.95/mo.
TMDHosting has a rather impressive range of products on offer, covering every need from blogging to eCommerce. Security features are pretty impressive as well – You are not going to find a whole lot of web hosts that have a dedicated team actively monitoring the systems.
TMDHosting VPS packages are Cloud-based as well. There are five to choose from, the lowest of which already offers a significant amount of resources. They start at an impressive 40 GB of SSD space, 3 TB of traffic, dual CPU cores, and 2 GB of memory.
TMDHosting VPS starts from 19.97/mo. With almost all accounts here, you can enjoy a wide range of freebies. Some of them include features that might come as a chargeable extra on other hosts – for example backups and restoration, spam protection, and a domain name.
Where SiteGround is concerned, users are generally assured of top-notch performance backed with solid customer service. They don’t fool around with any of their plans and offer only the best – with the accompanying price tag.
For VPS they have only Managed Cloud solutions and start these off at a whopping $80/mo. For that you get 3 CPU cores along with 6GB of memory and 40GB of SSD space. If pre-packaged isn’t what you need, there is the option to build your own package.
SiteGround VPS starts from $80/mo. With SiteGround Cloud hosting, customers can add more power with either just a few clicks of the mouse or automatically scale bandwidth or memory to meet demand. It’s the essence of agility that Cloud is famed for.
A2 Hosting is an industry veteran and while not the best of the best, offers users a reliable solution. Their VPS come in great variety – particularly the distinction between managed and unmanaged plans.
A2 Hosting unmanaged VPS plans offers single CPU core along with 20 GB SSD storage, 2 TB of traffic and 512 MB of memory. Of course, this means that the responsibility of everything is on you, from server setup to deployment and maintenance.
What you can look forward to here is steady service at a price that won’t break the bank. If you don’t feel comfortable handling everything yourself, you can always hop on to a managed plan at any time.
A2 Hosting unmanaged VPS plans start off at a mouth-dropping $5/mo which is cheaper than what some shared hosting plans go for.
Bluehost has a pretty limited selection of VPS plans and these are neither at the ultra-low or ultra-high end of the range. In fact, they are slap bang in the middle of what most users would consider the VPS scene.
Taken in context with their shared hosting plan though, their VPS does offer a clear leg up. This means that for users who are Bluehost fans, there is a pretty clear upwards progression path that’s not as confusing as at many other places.
BlueHost VPS starts from $18.99/mo.
Vultr is one of the Cloud platforms that’s available via Cloudways. This is an excellent example of why you might want to buy direct from them instead of Cloudways – the price. Comparing similar plans at both ends, you’ll find buying direct from Vultr will literally halve your cost.
Of course, you don’t get the intermediary management platform that makes Cloudways so attractive for Cloud. However, it does mean that for the more technically competent, you can potentially save heaps of money.
Vultr starts from $2.50/mo with 10 GB SSD storage, single CPU core, 512 MB of memory and 500 GB of traffic.
Where Cloud is concerned, DreamHost has a bit of a unique take on the situation. Instead of having plans set in concrete it offers users various instances that come with a maximum price tag per month. This means you can potentially save more.
You can run their Cloud instances as hard as you want, but they’ll only bill you for a maximum of 600 hours. This makes DreamHost Cloud a very strong value proposition if you need hosting that’s really intensive.
Another benefit is their inclusion of free bandwidth with all Cloud instances. This is normally limited on virtually all Cloud plans.
DreamHost starts from $4.50/mo. You get single CPU core, 80 GB SSD space, and free bandwidth.
WP Engine is the first more unique cloud hosting provider on this list. This stems from the fact that it only focuses on the WordPress market. That’s right, unless you run WordPress, WP Engine isn’t the right choice for you.
However, for the many of us that do want to use this platform, WP Engine is one of the best at what it does. In exchange, they charge top dollar and plans start at $25/mo. For that, you still get pretty limited resources that are suitable for smaller sites of up to approximately 25,000 visits per month.
WP Engine key’s strength lies in performance and support. Since they focus on WordPress users, they are able to maintain a team that’s dedicated to this platform alone – meaning you get the best of what’s on the market.
WP Engine's Startup plan starts from $25/mo (discounted price).
Kinsta is a top competitor to WP Engine and looks towards the same, specialized WordPress market. Driving their plans on the Google Cloud Platform, Kinsta is both highly effective and scalable as well.
Average run-of-the mill users should stay away since Kinsta plans don’t come cheap. An entry price of $30/mo will get you 10GB of space, some basic resources, and the permission to run a single WordPress site.
Of course, they package in free SSL and CDN which is great for WordPress-based sites. Plus you get the same kind of expert WordPress support that’s available on WP Engine.
Kinsta's Starter plan starts from $30/mo. The plans here stretch up quite a bit with pre-built packages topping off at $1,500/mo.
As you can see from the options I’ve shown above, alternatives to Cloudways don’t necessarily come cheap. However, there are quite a few reasons why you might want to opt to buy directly. The most important of which is that you do not get locked into the Cloudways ecosystem.
Aside from that, by looking for a direct Cloud solutions provider, you’re opening up a much greater range of choices for yourself. There are literally hundreds of Cloud hosting providers in the market to choose from.
Some, like WP Engine and Kinsta, are very specialized and suitable for niche markets. Every bit helps and if going with one of these gives you an edge, why not?
Despite having a decent product, Cloudways is one of those companies that tries to lock you into their product. To understand the concept, think of the Sony memory stick and how Sony users were originally forced to use that.
Similarly, Cloudways eschews common tools like cPanel and Plesk, getting users to use their own Click&Go Cloud console. Without going into detail about the capabilities of this, you are still stuck with that once you get in.
Cloud hosting is a vast market and the prices can vary greatly, so look for something that works to your best interest.