Cloud-based web hosting services are standard nowadays, but Cloudways does some exciting things with its cloud hosting that distinguish it in a growing field. It lets you choose from one of five platforms, including Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform, offers wallet-friendly pay-as-you-go plans, and even lets you sign up for a test drive without having to pay a credit card. The lack of features, such as domain registration and included email, dullens the shine a bit. Still, this excellent cloud hosting service is worth considering. Here is our Cloudways review.
When you first visit Cloudways, you will be asked to use their three-day free trial without entering any credit card details. What you are not told, however, is that you can only get a server of up to 2 GB. What is useful is to figure out the features you need (the size of the server, the cloud provider, and the application you want to use) and get the price calculated in real-time at the bottom of the screen. Available cloud providers are DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform. You will need to verify your account using your email address and phone number before proceeding.
Your CloudwaysBot is your “server assistant” that lets you know everything related to your server (such as when it’s turned off), security issues, billing, and sending tips and tricks – and it can be integrated with HipChat and Slack for instant notification. You will also be asked to refer a friend and receive $20 as part of their referral program, giving them $15 to sign up.
You will need to register a domain separately, but Cloudways will give you a temporary URL for your most basic needs. The control panel is relatively complicated and aimed at more experienced users, but even novices can quickly familiarize themselves with the functions they need and safely ignore most others. A WordPress installation only takes a few clicks and covers most website building needs, but keep in mind no email.
Cloudways Review: Creating a website
Cloudways may not have the typical web hosting elements, but building a site is a relatively simple matter. WordPress was my favorite CMS when testing, and the service created a server in just seven minutes. I logged in with my Cloudways references, selected a theme, adapted how pages and messages appeared, and added images. It was a hassle-free experience.
This specific WordPress flavor is of the managed variety, so your installation gets the white-glove treatment by automatically updating the CMS, performing automatic daily backups, and providing real-time site monitoring and WordPress-specific security. Cloudways also has convenient one-click cloning (so you can quickly duplicate your apps and servers) and staging areas (so you can test website elements without putting them live on your site).
With Cloudways, customers can monitor applications hosted on a server separately. This application-level monitoring consists of two parts: Analytics and Logs. Analytics displays traffic information, PHP requests, MySQL requests, and Disk usage. Logs, on the other hand, show the access log and error log of your website.
Cloudways Review: Performance
When it comes to speed, users of Cloudways are unlikely to have problems – a GTmetrix test shows that the time it takes to load the main website is less than average at 5.7 seconds and only takes seven requests. Users’ experience may vary depending on the plan they buy, but the hourly rates mean they can experiment with what they need and how much they are willing to pay for it.
Because Cloudways offers data centers from other providers to their users, they don’t make up-time promises on their website – which would have to be traced back to the cloud services they use. But we’ve still put their main website through a two-week test, which hasn’t recorded any downtime but has recorded many oscillations in response speed. On the whole, however, since users are not hosted directly with them, this should not take this away from their score.
Cloudways Review: Pricing and plans
Cloudways approaches pricing slightly differently than most web-hosting providers, which means the exact prices are challenging to determine. They have a pay-as-you-go system of only charging for what you use, and they charge by the hour – meaning you can add or remove features from your account and only be charged for the time you use them. A general overview of prices shows that they start at $10 per month, but a three-day free trial is available.
They also cost per server, not per website, and include a free managed migration in each plan. Offsite backup hosting is charged an additional $0.033/GB per server.
Cloudways has a 24/7/365 support system, but additional features such as proactive research, private Slack channel & phone support, and custom support cost you extra – the Advanced plan starts at $100/mo while the Premium plan starts at $500/mo.
While you can contact support at any time via live chat to talk to a person over the phone or Skype, you need to schedule a meeting via their contact form. Still, there are many questions in their FAQ, while almost everything you can think of has a particular article in their Knowledgebase. The latter is especially friendly for beginners, as it has a collapsible section explaining the technical basics used throughout the article.
There is also a user community forum with contributors answering questions, but that is not particularly active.
Cloudways Review: Final words
There is much to love about Cloudways. The service has flexible cloud hosting plans, fast setup times, top-notch web-based customer support, and outstanding uptime. It’s a company you can count on to keep your site up and running for services that offer these items. What’s more, some people won’t like the strange way of getting a customer service employee on the phone. If those reservations are not dealbreakers, however, give Cloudways a chance. You may find that it offers precisely what you need to get and keep your website online.
Cloudways offers reliable and versatile hosting that is a bit out of the beginner's league.
- Very easy to set up.
- Excellent uptime.
- Supports numerous apps.
- Several flexible account tiers.
- Pay-as-you-go plans.
- No domain registration option.
- Email costs extra.