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Before migrating to Rocket.net, I was with Cloudways for a few months; so in this Cloudways review, I will share my personal experience and the pros and cons of this managed cloud hosting platform.
Cloudways is one of the last three hosting providers I used to host this blog and they’re pretty fast, But I migrated to Rocket.net from Cloudways because Rocket.net offered Cloudflare Enterprise CDN.
However, recently Cloudways also started offering Cloudflare Enterprise which is close to what Rocket.net offers.
Table of Contents
- 1 Overview of Cloudways
- 2 Cloudways Specifications
- 3 Cloudways Pricing
- 4 Cloudways Interface
- 5 Performance of Cloudways
- 6 Server Load Test
- 7 Cloudflare Enterprise CDN with Cloudways
- 8 Cloudways Support
- 9 Other Features
- 10 Cloudways Pros and Cons
- 11 Cloudways Discount
- 12 Cloudways Alternatives
- 13 Final Verdict on the Cloudways
- 14 FAQs
Overview of Cloudways
Sliema, NA – Malta
Managed WordPress Cloud Hosting, Magento, Laravel, web apps, etc
Ticketing and chat
A vast number of servers from 3 different Cloud Providers
Bot protection, GeoIP blocking, Daily backups, Auto-Healing Servers
$1/month for each email address
Cloudways is one among the several managed WordPress hosting providers available in the market serving over 100,000 businesses; however, there is one thing that sets Cloudways apart from other hosting providers — that is the ability to choose users for any cloud server they like from three different cloud providers.
This makes Cloudways more powerful as users can choose data centres from several different locations, and high-performance servers such as AMD, Intel high frequency, etc.
Before the acquisition of Cloudways by DigitalOcean, Cloudways used to offer 5 VPS cloud providers but now they have stopped offering Linode and Vultr for new customers; which I think is the biggest downgrade as Vultr has popular products such as Intel High Frequency servers.
Nonetheless, you can still set up your website on Cloudways and customize it to run faster.
Cloudways DigitalOcean’s base plan of 1 GB RAM comes with 1 Core Intel processor and 1 TB bandwidth; this is way higher than many of the mainstream shared hosting providers in similar price brackets. Plus you’ll get 25 GB of storage on this package.
Ideally, the low-end plans are suitable for bloggers or agencies who want to host local websites with low traffic.
Additionally, you can host multiple websites as long as the server can handle them. Unlike traditional shared hosting, Cloudways’ cloud plan provides dedicated resources to each customer to avoid overloading; which means you will always have the whole server for yourself.
Unlike the many shared hosting providers, Cloudways charges hourly for the servers you use and you can cancel at any time by deleting the server without raising the Ticket.
This flexible pricing sets Cloudways apart from its competitors.
The Base Cloudways DigitalOcean server plan starts at $11/month ($0.0153 Hourly) and you can scale your server on the go!
AWS plan starts at $23.14 and Google Cloud servers at $22.47, with these powerful servers, you can host a high-traffic website without worrying about outages.
Cloudways provides an Intuitive user-friendly dashboard to its customers; unlike some unmanaged VPS, even a novice can install a server and build a website using Cloudways.
They’re also offering the beta version of the new generation interface which might get implemented later.
With the new interface, you can use more features like Cloudflare Full Page Caching and Advanced Server Cloning, which is impossible with the Classic Dashboard.
Installing a server or application is quite easy and can be done with a few clicks.
If you’re using WordPress, you will have the option to choose a clean WordPress install or an optimized one; The optimized one will come with a Cloudways-developed Breeze cache & Bot Protection plugins.
Cloudways recommends 2 GB or higher RAM for production websites. But in this instant, I will test the 1 GB server plan.
Performance of Cloudways
Nobody likes to browse a slow website; nothing is more annoying than a website taking forever to load; one main criterion to look at while choosing a web host is — Speed.
Like many mainstream hosts, Cloudways claims to be fast; let’s find out whether it’s true with the real-time test.
Speed Test (Without CDN)
In this Cloudways speed test, I’ve installed the $14/month DigitalOcean 1 GB server plan for my demo website; I picked the New York server location since most prefer U.S. data centres.
To make the test reliable, I’ve installed the GenetratePress eCommerce theme with all demo content and images.
As you can see in the above screenshot, the site hosted on Cloudways with default settings performed extremely well. The GTmetrix Structure score is showing less for not using CDN.
TTFB (Time to First Byte) is the time taken by the browser to deliver the first byte of data from the web server. In this instance, notice the TTFB is higher in every location apart from New York. CDN (Content Delivery Network) can solve this delay.
Server Load Test
Before I activate the CDN, I want to make sure whether the Cloudways server can handle a high-traffic website or not. So to do this, I am using a free tool called Loader.io.
I conducted two tests one after another; I sent 250 Clients over 1 minute. The first one had a response time of 40 ms and the second one was 32 ms.
The above test shows how Cloudways’ 1 GB RAM base plan can easily handle high traffic without crashing the server.
Cloudflare Enterprise CDN with Cloudways
Most of you are probably familiar with Cloudflare; Cloudflare has been providing CDN services for over a decade. Many hosting companies are offering the free Cloudflare plan within their control panel.
Unlike the free and other Cloudflare APO plans, the Cloudflare Enterprise plan is quite different; this plan offers high security (WAF), full-page edge catching, Argo Smart Routing, etc.
Rocket.net was one of the first web hosting providers to offer the Cloudflare Enterprise with Full-page caching. While Rocket.net has integrated this service within its regular hosting plan, Cloudways offers it as an Add-on package.
With Cloudflare Enterprise, your site will gain access to 200+ unique global locations that will serve your content more quickly to your audience.
You can get the Cloudflare Enterprise plan for up to 5 websites with Cloudways for $4.99/mo; this package includes 100 GB Enterprise CDN, edge caching, WAF (firewall), Image optimization, Brotli compression, SSL, DDoS mitigation, etc.
With Cloudflare Enterprise, your website load times can be reduced by 70% thanks to the edge page caching infrastructure; this helps you improve your Core Web Vitals score and rank higher on Google.
Speed Test (With CDN)
Now it’s time to test our demo site with the Cloudflare Enterprise CDN; for this, I have to activate the Cloudflare add-on in the Cloudways’ Application dashboard.
Cloudflare Enterprise add-on costs $4.99/month with 100 GB of bandwidth per domain. Once you enable this add-on, you need to add CNAME Record(s) on your domain registrar to work. Once the DNS of your website is propagated, the Active status will be shown on the dashboard.
Another good thing about this is that you can control the Cloudflare Enterprise CDN settings without leaving the Cloudways dashboard.
You will also have the ability to Purge Cache, view Bandwidth consumption, etc.
Now let’s do the speed test with CDN and see the difference in performance.
As expected, the performance of the website dramatically increased with CDN. The structure scored 97 because I haven’t done any optimization like Setting an explicit width and height on images to reduce layout shifts.
Also, the TTFB across the globe has significantly decreased; even though this server is located in New York, the TTFB in places like India & Singapore is less than 65 ms which is quite the difference considering they’re located on the opposite side of the earth.
As I mentioned, I’ve used Cloudways in the past and in those periods I haven’t faced any major issues but Cloudways always resolved most of my queries.
Since Cloudways was a Pakistani company before the acquisition by DigitalOcean, you will see a lot of Pakistanis in the support team.
Cloudways offers quite a lot of features, I will list some useful ones below:
Cloudways takes automated daily backups of your Applications as well as your servers so that you won’t have to worry about something going wrong with your website.
Additionally, you can manually perform an on-demand backup as well; you will also get an option to choose a local backup.
Cloudways also gives you the ability to access your server remotely via SSH. You can also use FTP leints like FileZilla to manage your files.
You can test your Applications or websites with the Cloudways staging Environment before it goes to production.
You will get a monitoring section within the dashboard to keep an eye on the traffic and bots with access logs and error logs.
Bot protection protects your site by blocking the hackers and bots trying to harm your site.
You will get a free Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL with auto-renewal.
Cloudways Pros and Cons
- Unmlitted Applications
- Cloudflare Enterprise CDN add-on
- Free Website Migration
- Automated backups
- 1-Click Server Cloning
- Auto healing servers
- Staging Environment
- Object Cache Pro for free on a 4 GB or higher server
- Affordable pricing which starts at $11/mo
- Doesn’t support LiteSpeed
- Doesn’t have a file manager; has to depend on FTP clients like FileZilla
- Little confusing for beginners
- Email addresses cost $1/mo with an add-on service
Cloudways has provided me with an exclusive coupon that will give you 20% OFF for the first 3 Months on your purchases.
If you found this review helpful, consider using my affiliate link to purchase your hosting plan.
Some of the Cloudways alternatives that have similar features:
Kinsta: Kinsta offers similar managed hosting features; even though they offer free Cloudflare CDN, it’s not the Enterprise one.
WP Engine: WP Engine hosting is dedicated to WordPress websites and they offer their own CDN.
Final Verdict on the Cloudways
I think just for the affordable Cloudflare Enterprise alone, Cloudways hosting is worth trying. Brands pay thousands of dollars for Cloudflare to use their Enterprise products. It’s good to see that the hosting companies are implementing the Edge caching with Cloudflare.
You can also read the Trustpilot reviews of Cloudways which managed to maintain 4.6 stars over the years; this shows the consistency.
Will I go back to Cloudways from Rocket.net? No, although it is slightly expensive, I am quite happy with the hassle-free setup Rocket.net offers. However, I think Cloudways is the best option for anyone who wants to host a large number of WordPress websites.
Does Cloudways have a trial period?
Yes, you can test the Cloudways server for three days without giving your credit card.
Can I launch multiple servers from different Cloud providers?
Yes, with Cloudways you can simultaneously launch multiple servers from different providers and install unlimited applications.
Is it possible to change the server location with Cloudways?
You can change the data centre location any time you want.
Does Cloudways support LiteSpeed WordPress?
No, currently Cloudways doesn’t offer a LiteSpeed Web server and uses Apache to run WordPress sites.
Does Cloudways support CMS other than WordPress?
Yes, Cloudways support Magento, Drupal, Laravel, and PHP apps!
Cloudways is a managed solution to unmanaged Cloud hosting platforms; it offers managed hosting for WordPress and other CMS applications with a fully optimized stack and built-in cache. Additionally, you will get the Cloudflare Enterprise CDN with an add-on!
Price Currency: $
Application Category: Web Hosting