Cloudways is a relatively new player in the web hosting space but they’ve come up with a very interesting angle—they make it easier for people to host websites (especially WordPress) in the cloud. But, are they any good? Are they a host worth trying? We’ve got a lot of experience with Cloudways, so let’s jump into this Cloudways review and take a look at the specifics.
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What is Cloud Hosting?
Before we get too far into the review, let’s take a look at what cloud hosting actually is (it’s more than just a buzzword).
Cloud hosting is essentially hosting that pulls its resources (storage, memory, CPU) from a network of virtual servers rather than one physical machine. There’s a lot of redundancy built into cloud hosting and that helps to make it more reliable and also to ensure that people abusing server resources don’t affect other people on the server as much as much as they would in a shared environment.
Although many hosts try to advertise that their shared hosting is “cloud hosting” it’s often not—it’s usually more of a “clustered hosting” situation. Again, the difference is that true cloud hosting doesn’t involve sharing a single server but a setup where resources are split up over many different virtual servers. So, that’s something to keep in mind when you see hosts saying that their customers can “host in the cloud.” In reality, that may just be trying to take advantage of a hosting buzzword.
Another interesting fact about in the cloud is that it’s typically cheaper than hosting in a shared environment. The reason for this is that cloud hosting is typically unmanaged, and there is very little support. Also, there are fewer physical machines to manage so that also helps drive the costs down. Really, the main downside to cloud hosting is that it can be difficult to manage for someone who doesn’t have a lot of expertise in dealing with virtual servers (you can also read more about this on the Cloudways site).
Cloudways—Making the Cloud Easier
Essentially, what they do is put their management interface on top of a cloud instance. This allows their customers to control the virtual server with nearly as much ease as a traditional shared hosting setup. On top of that, they offer managed support just like any other shared hosting company for extremely cheap prices. Yes, they add a small amount to the price of a cloud server, but it’s really not that much.
Another nice thing is that you can pick from a variety of cloud providers such as Digital Ocean, Vultr, Amazon, etc. This allows people to choose a provider they want, server specifications, and then spin up an instance with the Cloudways management software on top of it—it’s really simple and a great idea.
Reviewing Cloudways: Pros & Cons
As with any hosting company, there are pros and cons. We really think Cloudways does a good job overall, but we’d like to go over the good things and negative things about them a in a little bit more depth. Click here to see some of their testimonials.
They make the cloud easier
Cloud servers can be a pain to setup and maintain (as mentioned earlier). Again, the nice thing about Cloudways is that you don’t need to need to be an expert in spinning up virtual servers to host a site in the cloud. Another key feature is their Magento hosting. Honestly, we’re surprised more companies haven’t come up with a similar business model that allows people to access the cloud easier. It’s a fantastic alternative to shared hosting with the power of the cloud behind it.
Their support is surprisingly good
When it comes to support, we were honestly surprised at how good it is. While they don’t have telephone support (they’re based out of Malta), they do have chat and ticket support. We really like hosts that have chat support in addition to ticket support compared to hosts that have ticket support only. Sometimes it’s nice to get in touch with support right away rather than waiting for a reply to a ticket. It’s also nice not to have to go back and forth in a disconnected dialogue with a technician via a ticketing system when a problem can be solved in real-time in a chat.
Their pricing is excellent
When it comes to pricing, they are very hard to beat. For only $5/month, you can spin up a Digital Ocean instance (including their fees) with 512MB ram, 1 processor core, 20GB storage, and 1TB bandwidth. Honestly, that’s really hard to match and while it’s debatable whether or not 512MB of ram is enough to handle WordPress (we think 768MB is really the minimum for fast performance), if you have a lean installation it’s possible that it could work smoothly. Even their 768MB Vultr instance is only $9/month which is incredibly cheap. That’s VPS-level power for a fraction of the price with fully-managed support. Really, that’s a deal that’s hard to find and one of the biggest reasons why we’re currently (at the time of writing) hosting a few sites with them.
Their interface could be a little better
As we mentioned, it’s awesome that Cloudways provides an easy way to manage the cloud with support, but their interface could use a little work. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s something that could be improved. They know this though, as they’re working on a 2.0 version of it that may already be released by the time you read this.
Their pricing options can be a little confusing for those new to hosting
If you’re new to web hosting, it’s possible that Cloudways might be a little confusing to you, especially if you’ve only used a shared hosting environment before or done fully-managed hosting. If you have any experience with server pricing though, the options should be pretty straightforward.
Who Cloudways is Best For
Cloudways is an excellent option in terms of a hosting company, and they’re really best for people who have at least some experience using a web server. Now, as we said all throughout the review—you don’t need a ton of technical expertise by any means, but to be a good fit for Cloudways, you should be at least familiar with hosting terminology and how to install and setup a basic WordPress site from scratch—if you’ve done that, then Cloudways is a great value that is very hard to beat.
Would We Recommend Cloudways? Yes!
When it comes to hosting, Cloudways is an amazing value and we’ve found their servers to be extremely fast and very reliable. At the time of writing, we’re hosting two sites with Cloudways and know colleagues who are hosting multiple sites with them as well. They’re reliable, inexpensive, and a solid host—we can completely recommend them (and that’s not something we do often).