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 (our review). 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.
If you signup (with a credit card) to Cloudways using our exclusive coupon “WHSR10”, you'll get $10 credited into your account instantly. The lowest Cloudways plan costs $12 per month – so basically you can try them at (almost) zero risk for 30 days.
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Of more interest at ScalaHosting is their Managed VPS Hosting 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.
Now in new partnership with Digital Ocean and Amazon AWS, ScalaHosting has turned its business model into PaaS play – just like Cloudways. The same Digital Ocean plans cost cheaper at Scala – making them a strong contender to Cloudways.
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.
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.
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.
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 hosting server 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.
Where SiteGround is concerned, users are generally assured of top-notch performance backed with solid customer support. 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.
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.
The biggest reason why you might want to choose an alternative to Cloudways is simply due to cost. Cloudways is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) platform and this inherently brings some notable disadvantages in higher fees.
While the management interface can vastly simplify Cloud command and control – how much exactly is that worth to you? It may make sense in some scenarios, but that’s definitely not always the case.
Let’s take a look at one example that can demonstrate this clearly.
That’s double the fee for the same amount of resources. In addition, the extra cost is simply for the management interface and tools provided on Cloudways – not actual server management.
Unless you absolutely want to use Cloudways for some reason, there are many other viable options that won't double your cost.
As you can see from the options I’ve shown above, there are many alternatives to Cloudways in the market. Aside from the glaring factor of Cloudways pricing, there are other important reasons to go with another option instead.
Those seeking PaaS solutions like Cloudways will inevitably find that buying direct will open up a wider field of choice. By choosing Cloudways, you’re essentially excluding the potential to select from hundreds of alternatives – at almost any price point imaginable.
Despite having a decent product, Cloudways is one of those companies that try 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.
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.
Although Cloudways offers greater manageability, it is nonetheless a rather generic solution. If you know your needs it is possible that you can find much better options that specialize in certain solutions. WP Engine and Kinsta are excellent examples of providers in niche spaces.
The biggest reason to opt for an alternative lies in Cloduways pricing. It’s understandable that expertise, research and development, or even hardware costs money. However, this extra cost does not always bring the most benefit for users.
If you need a powerful web hosting solution, PaaS is not 100% always the ideal fit. Consider your needs carefully and see what alternatives exist in the market before leaping into something you might struggle to get out from.