Cloudways Review

Reviewed by: Jerry Low . .
  • Review Updated: Mar 29, 2019
Cloudways
Plan in review: Cloudways DO
Reviewed by:
Rating:
Review Updated: March 29, 2019
Summary
Cloudways is ideal for certain businesses, such as SaaS providers, start-ups, developers, or businesses that need more than just an informational website. The flexibility of scale in terms of both server power and data transfer is invaluable for elastic sites that demand agility. At the same time, they have customer support who are ready to spoon-feed you with solutions to any problems you might have.

The subject of today’s review, Cloudways, is a rather unique case. Instead of being an actual web hosting services provider, Cloudways is instead a systems integrator who helps people deploy their solutions on a variety of Cloud platforms.

It offers users a fair choice of various Cloud Platforms ranging from the very affordable Digital Ocean to pricey as heck Amazon Web Services (AWS). This means that actual performance is highly dependent on the platform rather than being the onus of Cloudways.

Of course, you are making the payment to Cloudways and part of those fees are meant to cover their management services and pay for add on features such as service migrations, user dashboards and the like.

Because of this unique position that they are in, what we will be looking at more closely than actual performance is how they are setup to help you manage the services you are paying for. This includes things like dashboard UI design, add on features such as firewall and Content Distribution Network (CDN), and of course, customer service.

About Cloudways

  • Headquarters: Mosta, Malta
  • Established: 2011
  • Services: Managed Cloud-based Hosting, Application deployment, Infrastructure management

 


 

Review Summary

 

 


 

Pros: What I like About Cloudways

1. Fast and Reliable 

While it is true that I have so far encountered good performance from Cloudways servers this is more a result of the infrastructure providers themselves. Each of them is bound to have their own performance advantages (and maybe quirks too!) so again, it is very provider-dependent.

Cloudways hosting uptime record

Host uptime record for the past 30 days in March 2019: 100%. Keep in mind that Cloudways does not own their infrastructure. Test site is actually hosted at Digital Ocean and managed via Cloudways.

Cloudways hosting speed test

Speed test: A+.

2. Integrated Dashboard

This is ideal for developers and/or agencies, or even perhaps companies which are planning to manage several of their own sites separately for some reason. They can offer each of their customers a choice of hosting platform which they can then manage from a single point.

Deploy and manage different applications (websites) on different cloud hosting platforms at one place. As the Cloudways tagline goes, it is truly “limitless growth without any restrictions”.
Manage core services for each server using the “Servers” page.

3. Powerful Addons

Back again to the point that Cloudways is an integrator, this also means that each platform can come with its own firewall as well as CDN services. This is something that can extremely helpful for new sites on Cloudways, which is again reflective of its usefulness for developers. It can literally be a one-stop-shop for them to push on to clients.

However, there is a caveat to this and that is the fact that seasoned sites wanting to move to Cloudways won’t find that helpful. For example, WHSR is already using CloudflareSucuri and MaxCDN (StackPath) and won’t benefit from moving away from those.

There are however other functionalities that come with Cloudways, for example:

Server cloning

One-click server cloning – Again, especially useful in a development environment.

GIT ready

Automated Git deployment (plug deployment logs) – I tested deployment via GIT and it works like charm.

Server monitoring

Server monitoring at Cloudways – Simple chart to determine when it’s the right time to upgrade.

Auto and on-demand backup

Easy server backup features – You can restore an application easily using the system auto backup.
Alternatively, you can manually download a backup copy of your server at anytime. Note that you can also setup backup frequency and retention periods on this control page.

4. Easy Scalability

One of the main advantages of Cloud-based hosting is that their plans are extremely scalable. This gives site owners the potential for extreme agility, but normally requires going through support or sales channels.

How much you can scale your resources depends on which platform you opt for when you sign up with Cloudways. Each platform has its own little quirks for scaling. For example, Digital Ocean only allows upward scaling. If you want to scale down, it is a lot more involved.

5. Easy for Collaboration

Cloudways has something it calls a ‘Teams’ feature which lets you add members to a collaborative group. This lets you not just combine members on to a project but also separate their access into distinct groups. For example, you might assign members to support or some others to have Cloud Console access.

Cloudways Team feature allows you to create Team member(s) with different levels of access to your account, servers and applications.

6. Managed Security

Again, going back to them being a system integrator, Cloudways takes good care of its accounts by overseeing security management. This takes a very big load off site owners who sign on with them. From 1-click free SSL installation to security patches and 2FA, there is pretty much everything most site would need here.

7. Free Trial

When it comes to a move as significant as that to Cloud hosting, it always helps for you to see for yourself what to be prepared for. In some ways, Cloudflare is even more distinct because of the unified dashboard which can link multiple Cloud Platforms.

This makes their free trial even more attractive and you don’t even need a credit card to sign up for it. The trial gives you complete access to all their features, so you’ll know exactly what you are buying in to if you decide to sign on with them.

8. Free white glove site migration

I tried Cloudways site migration service in January 2019. My WordPress site got fully transferred in less than 2 days – all I did was providing my original account info (domain name, SSH login, cPanel login, etc) and the tech support did all other work. It was a smooth process.

Cloudways site migration service rocks!

 


 

Cons: What I dislike about Cloudways

1. Limited server control

This is a topic of debate as to whether it is good or not, but personally I find that the lack of control over servers is inconvenient. Since to date everything I have noticed about the Cloudways environment is leaning towards developers, having those limitations is even more baffling.

Even for something as basic as setting up a cron job, I had to go through Cloudways support staff for assistance. There was a pre-set form to fill out which was useful, but still required me to wait for it to be done – a few days of a wait!

For newbies, this is helpful but for me or even many developers it would be a waste of time – time which many of them would be accountable to their clients for.

2. Support issues

Having said the nice things about having support as in the case above, they also have their off days. While in general their live chat staffs are very helpful and knowledgeable, there were not always able to resolve some issues.

Waiting for support via the ticket system is like pulling teeth, except that your teeth will come out faster than you will get help via the ticket you submit. Support tickets can take up to a week to get a response.

Even when the issue is resolved, there is usually silence as to what happened or how it was fixed. That left me with many questions in my mind like; was it my fault? What did they do? Did they mess with something that would break something else I don’t know about?

Example: Took me 6 days to wait for a response from the support (and my issue was “suddenly” resolved).

3. Breeze cache plugin can be better

As with having their own firewall and CDN, Cloudways also comes with caching in the form of their Breeze WordPress plugin. Again, while this may seem like a good thing it is of dubious benefit to seasoned site owners.

I tested Breeze out and found it not exactly to my expectation. In fact, it caused issues with my site on several instances.

 


 

Cloudways Plans & Pricing

Cloudways PlansRAMCPU CoreStorageBandwidthPrice
Digital Ocean
(Entry Plan)
1 GB1 Core25 GB1 TB$10/mo
Digital Ocean
(Popular Plan)
4 GB2 Core80 GB4 TB$42/mo
Linode
(Entry Plan)
1 GB1 Core25 GB1 TB$12/mo
Linode
(Popular Plan)
4 GB2 Core80 GB4 TB$50/mo
Vultr
(Entry Plan)
1 GB1 Core25 GB1 TB$11/mo
Vultr
(Popular Plan)
4 GB2 Core60 GB4 TB$44/mo

 

Because Cloudways is not the main provider of the various platform-based services it provides, prices (as well as everything else) vary depending on your choice. There is a choice of five main service platforms – Digital Ocean, Linode, VULTR, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.

In raw pricing alone Digital Ocean comes with the cheapest stepping-off plan at $10 per month with 1GB of RAM, single processor core, 25GB storage and 1TB of bandwidth. However, because these are all Cloud services the sky is virtually the limit of what you can scale up to.

Irregardless of these prices, it is important to note that whatever platform you sign up with through Cloudways you are paying double of what that provider would charge you if you signed up with them direct. This isn’t a scam, but is the price you pay for the many services Cloudways is providing for your convenience.

Cloudways Promo Coupon

If Cloudways sounds good to you so far, use the WHSR10 promo code and you’ll get $10 credit on your account!

Free $10 credit using exclusive coupon WHSR10.

 


 

Verdict: Is Cloudways Right for You?

From personal experience I have found Cloudways to be a mixed experience. The best thing about it for me was in terms of performance on the Cloud infrastructure. It was easy to use and there were a ton of tools already in place. Yet at the same time, I miss the control I get to have with traditional VPS hosting.

The experience will differ of course, based on your individual situation as well as which provider or plan you are currently on. I feel that the core is there – the Cloud platform and everything else is a hit or miss depending on need.

Who Should Host With Cloudways?

This platform seems ideal for certain businesses, such as SaaS providers, start-ups, developers, or businesses that need more than just an informational website. The flexibility of scale in terms of both server power and data transfer is invaluable for elastic sites that demand agility. At the same time, they have customer support who are ready to spoon-feed you with solutions to any problems you might have.

My two cents is that Cloudways uptake needs to be carefully considered based on need. I can’t see most simple business sites or blogs requiring this level of power to operate.

Cloudways Alternatives

Cloud hosting is not necessarily superior to VPS hosting since there is also the possibility of white-glove scaling with a good VPS service provider. VPS plans can also be cheaper than Cloud plans (which means much cheaper than Cloudways)

Traditional VPS Hosting

SiteGround and InMotion Hosting are two sources of traditional VPS hosting. Both of them offer various tiers of VPS plans that are quite as capable as Cloud hosting plans. For example, SiteGround VPS hosting starts at 2 CPU cores with 4GB of memory and can go up to 4 cores with 8GB memory at $80/mo (same price with DO similar plans at Cloudways).

Cloud Hosting with cPanel

Hostinger and TMDhosting both have shared hosting based on Cloud technology. The former is especially interesting because it allows entry to Cloud hosting at fantastic prices starting from as low as $7.45 per month with 2 CPU cores and 3GB of memory.

About Jerry Low

Founder of WebHostingSecretRevealed.net (WHSR) - a hosting review trusted and used by 100,000's users. More than 15 years experience in web hosting, affiliate marketing, and SEO. Contributor to ProBlogger.net, Business.com, SocialMediaToday.com, and more.