Update: Borderpolar has moved to Cloudways as of August 13th, 2021. We highly recommend them if you are looking for a reliable provider for business at scale. Please note that while we are affiliated with Cloudways, we don't have a sponsored deal with them. They were my personal choice after talking with multiple experts in the web hosting field (plus, I am a huge fan of cloud hosting). So an appropriate Cloudways review is in order.
Update: October 31st, 2021
We are now entering our fourth month on Cloudways and the website's uptime is 100% during this period. We have encountered no issues with Cloudways so far.
Disclaimer: This blog aims to deliver honest reviews first and foremost. While we are affiliated with most of the products or services we review, we will never oversell a reviewed item on purpose. As a testament to this, you can read my Bluehost review.
Cloudways review: Performance
Cloudways is one of the best web hosting providers as it offers a rare balance between affordability, performance, and reliability. Their service delivers fully managed cloud hosting for sites and hassle-free WordPress hosting.
Their platform-as-a-service cloud servers come with a fantastic feature set, and you can scale hosting resources as your website grows. Cloudways has optimized its infrastructure for speed, performance, and security.
Moreover, if you consider Cloudways as your future managed WordPress host, you can sign up for their 3-day free trial to understand how their platform works and whether it is suitable for you.
Time to First Byte (TTFB) is the time between the time the browser requests a page and when the first byte of information is received from the server. This includes DNS lookup and establishing the connection using a TCP handshake and SSL handshake if the request is made over HTTPS.
In simple words, this is what we call server response time. As you can see, our hosting provider gets a 5-star score in this department, according to bytecheck.
Cloudways Google Page Speed Insights
According to Google, PageSpeed Insights analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster. Our homepage gets an almost perfect score on Desktop, but our Mobile score leaves something to be desired.
This is an issue on our side as building blocks don't seem to serve next-gen image formats on mobile. A fixable issue that will get us to 95+; I just haven't figured it out yet.
Note that this fantastic performance overall is not just a result of Cloudways. While Cloudways deserves a significant portion of the credit, Cloudflare and WP Rocket are other tools that help us score this high.
What Is Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is where your site is stored on multiple servers, which lets you pull resources from various locations. This makes cloud hosting scalable, reliable, and flexible, perfect for sites that experience hikes and dips in things like traffic. At the same time, it guarantees site availability, contrary to shared hosting.
The most affordable Cloudways managed WordPress hosting plan starts at $10.00/month with Digital Ocean as the chosen cloud platform. However, I think they are even more ideal when you want to run your business on a larger scale, let's say after you hit 50,000-100,000+ visits per month.
The number depends on your current hosting provider, though. In our case, we were too late to migrate and suffered massive page load speed issues and even timeouts. Our page-load time has kept dropping since we moved to Cloudways, despite serving many users in countries with low-quality Internet connections.
About Cloudways – Overview
Founded in 2009 by Uzair Gadit, Pere Hospital, and Aaqib Gadit, Cloudways has its headquarters on the island of Malta in Europe. They also have offices in Spain and Dubai, and their 30+ staff helped 8,000 users from 43 different countries to launch 12,000+ servers, 25,000+ web apps.
Their mission at Cloudways is to provide managed cloud hosting services so that their customers can focus on running their businesses while Cloudways takes care of their hosting problems.
Cloudways is an excellent choice for those looking for managed WordPress hosting that offers a balance between affordability and great functionality.
|Cloudways address: 52 Springvale Pope Pius XII St. Mosta, Mosta, MST2653, Malta|
|Phone number: 44 330 001 0338|
|Official Cloudways website|
|Cloudways Facebook page|
|Cloudways Twitter account|
Managed WordPress Cloud-Hosting
Cloudways offers managed cloud-hosting services for WordPress sites on a cloud server. The cloud will replicate multiple copies of the website's data throughout your chosen data center in one of the 25 available worldwide locations. In essence, a cloud service is a large-scale distributed system where data is stored in replicas and served from different locations.
As a result, your website is served from a backup server if your main server malfunctions. This is what provides availability. To go even further, since your content is present in multiple servers, it's easy to scale up if there are spikes in your site's traffic and ensure load-balancing among the various servers.
In most cases, the cloud will be prepared for whatever challenges your website is going to bring.
This approach allows for the rapid deployment of computing resources, high performance, and service reliability, and Cloudways is among the leaders in the industry.
Cloudways & Cloud-Hosting vs. Traditional Hosting
Cloud servers ordinarily have a lower entry cost than dedicated servers. However, cloud servers may lose this advantage as a company scales and require more resources. Some features can increase the cost of both solutions.
Also, there are cases where even the entry cloud hosting cost is higher than dedicated hosting, e.g., Kinsta, another premium cloud hosting provider.
- A cloud-hosted site is stored on multiple servers rather than on a single server.
- The use of cloud computing improves uptime since an alternate server in the network can take over in case of system failure. With cloud hosting, you can expect close to 100% uptime. My personal expectation is 100%.
- Because your site is on multiple servers, you can migrate it easily in the case of any incidents. Essentially, it is virtually impossible to lose you rdata.
- It’s usually faster than traditional hosting; the server can detect your customers’ location and transmit content from the server nearest to your customer. However, this requires multiple data centers and replicas.
- In general, cloud hosts offer more security than traditional hosts. Cloudways uses a range of security techniques to process your WordPress site. Moreover, your site is hosted in one of the 5 most popular cloud platforms, so you can expect top-notch security on their part too.
- Cloud servers can scale rapidly, making them ideal for businesses that suddenly experience a spike in traffic. In most cases, you can increase your resources with a single drag and a click.
- SSD-based WordPress Hosting keeps your site fast with dedicated resources. SSD disks offer maximum speed and reliability than traditional disks while accommodating modern websites’ demands.
- With pay-as-you-go pricing, you're in control of your hosting expenses.
What are the Key Features of Cloudways Hosting?
Cloudways offers varying levels of processing power, memory, bandwidth, and storage space on its servers. Cloud hosting plans are available with as little as 10 GB of RAM, 25 GB of storage, a single processor, and 1 TB of bandwidth.
Here's how Cloudways keeps your WordPress site secure, fast, and easy to manage:
- If you are switching from another host, Cloudways will take care of your site's migration.
- CloudwaysCDN helps to reduce latency and improve response times when serving a WordPress website worldwide, thus improving website speed, an essential aspect for online stores. However, it can get pricier than Cloudflare.
- The auto-healing feature resolves any issues that arise, reducing the risk of your site crashing.
- Cloudways uses a dedicated firewall to secure your WordPress website.
- Cloudways' built-in cache mechanism includes Varnish, Memcached, and Redis that enhance the speed of your WordPress websites.
- Built-in Let’s Encrypt SSL secures communication between your site and your customers. SSL certificates allow you to gain your visitors’ trust and ensure that their data is transmitted encrypted. With Cloudways, you can deploy your SSL certificate with just one click.
- Optimized Stack – Cloudways' stack includes Apache and NGINX as web servers, PHP-FPM, and MySQL/MariaDB as databases for better performance.
- Breeze Plugin – Breeze is their in-house developed cache plugin pre-installed with WordPress websites for better performance. I'll best honest here, we were not big fans of Breeze as it is not very popular, so we stuck with WP Rocket and I doubt we will ever replace it.
- PHP Versions – Cloudways supports PHP 5.6.x and the latest versions of PHP 7.x so that you can test compatibility and switch versions accordingly.
- Two-factor authentication and suspicious login detection offer an extra layer of security against attackers.
- Application Isolation – Multiple WordPress sites hosted on a single server are isolated to prevent them from getting affected by the other website.
- Vertical scaling – You can scale up your server resources whenever necessary with a single slide and click.
- Easy set-up for new sites – deploy a new site and install apps on your server with a single click.
- Access to 24/7/365 expert support
Cloudways review: Launching your own cloud server
Cloudways lets you configure the specifications of your desired server directly from their hosting control panel.
Choose From 5 Top Cloud Providers
Before configuring your server, you must choose your cloud provider within the Cloudways console. In this scenario, the cloud provider is a company that offers Infrastructure-as-a-Service to Cloudways (in other words, access to data centers and cloud-based servers to host websites).
- Digital Ocean
- Google Compute Engine
- Amazon Web Services
Cloudways Server Configuration
After selecting a cloud provider, you can configure your server. You can set how many page views you expect to receive every month by sliding a slider on the control panel. Based on that information, Cloudways will recommend the ideal server specs for your hosting requirements.
Alternatively, you can set server specifications manually by specifying how much bandwidth, core processors, RAM, and storage you need. Finally, Cloudways will prompt you to select your server location. The server location options include:
- DigitalOcean: The UK (London), the US (San Francisco, New York), Singapore, Netherlands (Amsterdam), Germany (Frankfurt), Canada (Toronto), Bangalore.
- Linode: The US (Newark, Dallas, Fremont, Atlanta), the UK (London), Germany (Frankfurt), Singapore, Japan (Tokyo), India (Mumbai), Australia (Sydney).
- VULTR: The US (Seattle, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, New Jersey), the UK (London), Netherlands (Amsterdam), France (Paris), Germany (Frankfurt), Japan (Tokyo), India (Seoul), Australia (Sydney), Singapore, Canada (Toronto).
- AWS (Amazon Web Services): The US (Seattle, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, New Jersey), the UK (London), Netherlands (Amsterdam), France (Paris), Japan (Tokyo), India (Seoul), Australia (Sydney), Singapore, Canada (Toronto).
- Google Cloud Platform: The US (Iowa, South Carolina, Oregon, North Virginia, Las Vegas), Belgium, the UK (London), Netherlands, Germany (Frankfurt), Finland, Canada (Montreal), Mumbai, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan (Tokyo), Australia (Sydney), and Brazil (Sao Paolo).
After configuring the cloud server specifications, you can install WordPress from the “application management” tab. There are three available WordPress installation options:
- Standard WordPress hosting with built-in caching tools.
- WordPress Multi-Site.
- WordPress with WooCommerce hosting, for e-commerce websites.
Each installation comes with the W3 Total cache plug-in installed and configured to boost site speed and performance.
The Cloudways Console and its Features
Cloudways does not use the popular cPanel for its dashboard but offers its own unique interface for cloud hosting features.
Under the “Server Management” tab of the Cloudways console, you'll find many more settings. Scrolling further down that tab reveals more features that you can manage as desired.
The “Master Credentials” tab shows your credentials for SSH and SFTP access to your Cloudways server. You can also set your SSH public keys or even launch an SSH terminal in your browser.
The security tab allows you to manage SSH/SFTP access to your Cloudways web app. You can either allow all IP addresses, except for those blocked by the Cloudways security system. Alternatively, you can block all IP addresses except for those you add to the IP whitelist. You can also whitelist IPs that will have remote access to your MySQL server.
The Server monitoring section provides key information about your server status and health, like CPU, RAM, DISK, and bandwidth usage.
It also provides time-based graphs of key server stats like Auto-healing restarts, CPU idle time, Free Disk, Reads per second, Writes per second, Free memory, incoming & outgoing network traffic, APC fill ratio and hit rate, the Varnish & Memcached hit rate and fill ratio.
Cloudways lets you set up automatic backups of your cloud server images. You can choose your server backup settings and you can even perform a manual backup on-demand.
In this section, you can control Core Services that allow your application(s) to run. Changing these settings may break your web app's functioning, so you need to know what you are doing. You can enable/disable services like Apache, Nginx, Memcached, Varnish, PHP, New Relic, and Redis.
Vertical Scaling – Handle Traffic Surges
It's frustrating to pay for an ad, get a flood of traffic, then have your site crash because it can't handle so many visitors at once. With vertical scaling, you will be able to adjust your server resources at any time. The feature is excellent when dealing with short or long-term traffic spikes.
You can control the server RAM size and disk space via block storage. If you’re scaling up for just a short period, Cloudways offers a “Pay as you go” system so that you don’t have to pay for server resources you won’t need later on.
Settings & Packages
You can manage various server-level settings and packages, memory execution limits, upload limits, PHP execution limits, MySQL & Maria DB limits, and schedule server maintenance.
Other Tools and Settings
Cloudways provides a host of other tools besides those mentioned above. For instance, under the “Manage Services” option, you can configure services like MySQL, Apache, and cache memory. Under the “Migrator Tools” option, Cloudways offers a WordPress Migrator tool to help you move an existing WordPress site to their cloud hosting platform.
Using the “Application Add-on” section, you can install application-specific add-ons for DNS management, transactional email services, and so forth. Also, the Cloudways console offers extra tools such as backup restoration, SSL certificate installation, and GIT integration, to name a few.
Is Cloudways Good for E-Commerce Hosting?
Cloudways Hosting includes a wide range of e-commerce-friendly features designed to make selling your wares online a piece of cake. The company currently hosts over 10,000 e-commerce stores.
The host boasts 100% reliability with super-fast page loading times as low as two seconds thanks to a combo of Memcached, Apache, Varnish, Nginx, and Redis. Cloudways' e-commerce options also come complete with a user-friendly console, unlimited storage, managed security, and backups.
Supported E-Commerce Platforms
Cloudways Hosting supports several popular e-commerce platforms, including Magento, WooCommerce, Prestashop, and opencart, which you can use to sell your goods and services online. You can install Magento and WooCommerce with just one click.
Cloudways promises one-click installation of Magento in a move designed to take the fuss out of installing the open-source e-commerce platform. The hosting provider is also optimized to run Magento stores at high speed, meaning higher conversions for your company. Additional features include multi-SSL deployment alongside built-in SSH and Git Environments.
WooCommerce is another popular e-commerce platform supported by Cloudways hosting. Cloudways facilitates WooCommerce hosting with advanced caching technologies for an optimized store and better conversion rate by offering a solid foundation powered by industry-leading IaaS cloud providers.
Meanwhile, the host’s WooCommerce hosting plans also include features including WP-CLI support and one-click server scaling so that you can grab some extra resources for your businesses during busy periods.
Cloudways Performance and Uptime
Cloudways has partnered with some of the top cloud providers in the industry. As a result, you can count on them to provide over 99% uptime when hosting your website on their WordPress cloud servers.
WordPress sites hosted on Cloudways have 40-50% better load times. This is made possible by Cloudways’ proprietary VMAN technology, which deploys Varnish, Redis, Memcached, ElasticSearch, MySQL, MariaDB, Apache, and Nginx to optimize site speed.
Cloudways review – Site Speed: Will my Site Load Fast?
Page speeds are critical to small businesses as poor loading times can affect your company’s Google search rankings and drive impatient customers away. Cloudways boasts super-fast page loading times thanks to their cutting-edge technology stack, created for maximizing speed:
- MySQL/MariaDB for databases
- SSD (solid-state drives) for storage
The combination of multiple available data center locations, along with Cloudway's optimized stack and CloudwaysCDN, or the option to use your CDN like Cloudflare or WP Rocket CDN, will ensure industry-leading performance for your website.
You will even have the option to use the StackPath CDN (content delivery network) — which uses a global network of 65+ PoPs (points-of-presence).
Those datacenter nodes store copies of your website. When someone visits your site, the system automatically detects their geographic region and delivers your site from the network node closest to them.
Cloudways Application Management
Moving away from just server management Cloudways allows you to manage your site at an application level. You can set your WordPress administrator panel password, your MySQL access credentials and you can set multiple SSH and SFTP credentials for your application.
You can also monitor your traffic and check your site's analytics including PHP requests, MySQL Queries (along with a summary of the slow queries), running cron jobs on the application server, and disk usage.
There is also a section for “Bot Protection”, where you can see the blocked traffic and blocked logins.
Domain Management allows you to set your primary domain along with additional domains. Unfortunately, Cloudways does not offer domain registration services, so you will have to buy the domain name from another provider.
Moreover, you can add, edit, and remove cron jobs. You can set the frequency cron jobs run and more.
Finally, you can take care of backup and restore, along with git deployment, set your application's general, PHP FPM, and Varnish settings, use the free WordPress automated migration tool, and control CloudwaysCDN (not available for trial accounts).
Website Security, Firewalls and Defense Mechanisms
Server security is something that Cloudways take seriously, which is why the new WordPress Managed Hosting Click and Go platform safeguards cloud servers with sophisticated firewalls. Cloudways technical experts deploy what they call “security hardening techniques” to safeguard servers from hacking attempts.
As mentioned earlier, Cloudways offers automatic site backups, and you can choose how frequently you want your server to backup data.
Application-level security refers to those security services that are invoked at the application level as opposed to the network level. It provides an additional layer of security to prevent your online business from external threats.
The Cloudways Affiliate Program
Yes, Cloudways does have an affiliate program. You can earn up to $6,000 a month with a choice of two commission structures: “Slab” or “Hybrid.” Cloudways will supply you with affiliate links, banners for your website, exclusive deals to promote, and seasonal campaigns.
Cloudways has an impressive program. They provide you with a dedicated affiliate manager and quality learning resources.
You may want to consider this if you have a design agency, are a blogger, or are a freelancer in the website design and development business or some other tech arena.
The “Slab” Commission Structure
|Customers||Commission per sale|
|6 – 20||$75|
|21 – 45||$100|
|46 – 80||$125|
The “Hybrid” Commission Structure
It is better to use the hybrid affiliate program calculator to figure out your potential earnings as a Cloudways affiliate. You can have a look at what the Digital Ocean 1GB plan can earn you in the table below, but you pretty much can make around $415 per customer in the first year and $7.70/mo for the rest of their subscription duration.
|CUSTOMERS/month||First-year earnings||Lifetime monthly earnings|
How is Their Customer Support?
Getting help from Cloudways is easy. You can contact the support team via phone call, live chat, or email.
Alternatively, you can find answers to billing, sales, or technical queries on their support page, which comes full of knowledgebase articles and answering FAQs.
Pros and Cons of Cloudways
Is Cloudways a good managed WordPress hosting solution?
- A 3-day free trial is available for the cloud servers that feature 512MB and 1GB of RAM. No credit card information is necessary, so you won't have to worry about canceling before the 3-day trial expires.
- Cloudways Console is a user-friendly control panel for managing your server. It includes plenty of valuable features, the most notable being server monitoring and scaling tools.
- Automatic site backups are easy to configure and can be scheduled as you desire.
- The Pay-as-you-go pricing system ensures that you only get billed for what you need after scaling server resources.
- Apart from WordPress, Cloudways offers hosting solutions for many other content management systems such as Magento, Joomla, Drupal, and Moodle.
- Cloudways offers one site migration at no additional cost.
- Unfortunately, you cannot use Plesk or cPanel. Cloudways is a Platform-as-a-Service company, so they provide their console to help you manage applications hosted on cloud servers.
- Cloud-based hosting is not for everyone because it requires a certain degree of expertise. If you want to avoid technical details altogether, you would probably be better off with a traditional managed WordPress hosting service from reputable companies like Bluehost, DreamHost, SiteGround, WPEngine, or InMotion.
Cloudways review 2021: Summary
Cloudways is one of the few companies that offer an outstanding balance between affordability and great functionality for cloud-based managed WordPress hosting. Their WordPress cloud servers come with a fantastic feature set, and you can scale hosting resources as your website grows.
If you’re still on the fence about hosting your WordPress site on a cloud server, then sign up for the 3-day free trial that Cloudways offers to test their platform.
Cloudways review: Plans & Prices
Flywheel offers a range of scalable managed WordPress hosting plans. Cloudways is a platform-as-a-service, and you can choose to host your WordPress site on a cloud server from DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud Platform. Below is an overview of their monthly plans (using DigitalOcean’s cloud servers) and the current price list. For the latest and most up-to-date prices, visit the Cloudways website.
You can also
Note: Cloudways offers “pay-as-you-go” billing: each month, you only pay for the resources that your website consumed. In our case, while we are on the $100/month VULTR High-Frequency 3-core & 8GB plan we will pay around $50 for August 2021.
Cloudways Digital Ocean Plans & Pricing
|Server Name||RAM||Processor||Storage||Bandwidth||Monthly Price|
|DO1GB||1 GB||1 Core||25GB||1TB||$10/mo|
|DO2GB||2 GB||1 Core||50GB||2TB||$22/mo|
|DO4GB||4 GB||2 Core||80GB||4TB||$42/mo|
|DO8GB||8 GB||4 Core||160GB||5TB||$80/mo|
|DO16GB||16 GB||6 Core||320GB||6TB||$135/mo|
|DO32GB||32 GB||8 Core||640GB||7TB||$230/mo|
|DO48GB||48 GB||12 Core||960GB||8TB||$315/mo|
|DO64GB||64 GB||16 Core||1280GB||9TB||$395/mo|
|DO96GB||96 GB||20 Core||1920GB||10TB||$555/mo|
|DO128GB||128 GB||24 Core||2560GB||11TB||$715/mo|
|DO192GB||192 GB||32 Core||3840GB||12TB||$1,035/mo|
Cloudways Linode Plans & Pricing
|Server Name||RAM||Procesor||Storage||Bandwidth||Monthly Price|
|Linode1GB||1 GB||1 Core||25GB||1TB||$12/mo|
|Linode2GB||2 GB||1 Core||50GB||2TB||$24/mo|
|Linode4GB||4 GB||2 Core||80GB||4TB||$50/mo|
|Linode8GB||8 GB||4 Core||160GB||5TB||$90/mo|
|Linode16GB||16 GB||6 Core||320GB||8TB||$150/mo|
|Linode32GB||32 GB||8 Core||640GB||16TB||$250/mo|
|Linode64GB||64 GB||16 Core||1280GB||20TB||$470/mo|
|Linode96GB||96 GB||20 Core||1920GB||20TB||$680/mo|
|Linode128GB||128 GB||24 Core||2560GB||20TB||$860/mo|
|Linode192GB||192 GB||32 Core||3840GB||20TB||$1,205/mo|
Cloudways VULTR Plans & Pricing
|Server Name||RAM||Processor||Storage||Bandwidth||Monthly Price|
|VULTR1GB||1 GB||1 Core||25GB||1TB||$11/mo|
|VULTR2GB||2 GB||1 Core||55GB||2TB||$23/mo|
|VULTR4GB||4 GB||2 Core||80GB||3TB||$44/mo|
|VULTR8GB||8 GB||4 Core||160GB||4TB||$84/mo|
|VULTR16GB||16 GB||6 Core||320GB||5TB||$139/mo|
|VULTR32GB||32 GB||8 Core||640GB||6TB||$225/mo|
|VULTR64GB||64 GB||16 Core||1280GB||10TB||$385/mo|
Cloudways AWS Plans & Pricing
|Server Name||RAM||Processor||Storage||Bandwidth||Monthly Price|
|AWS CO Large||4GB||2vCPU||20GB||2GB||$158.26 /mo|
|AWS CO XL||8GB||4vCPU||20GB||2GB||$252.73/mo|
|AWS CO 2XL||16GB||8vCPU||20GB||2GB||$395.02/mo|
|AWS CO 4XL||32GB||16vCPU||20GB||2GB||$641.82/mo|
|AWS CO 9XL||72GB||36vCPU||20GB||2GB||$1353.82/mo|
|AWS CO 12XL||96GB||48vCPU||20GB||2GB||$1721.02/mo|
|AWS CO 18XL||144GB||72vCPU||20GB||2GB||$2455.42/mo|
|AWS CO 24XL||192GB||96vCPU||20GB||2GB||$3189.82/mo|
Cloudways Google Compute Engine Plans & Pricing
|Server Name||RAM||Processor||Storage||Bandwidth||Monthly Price|
|GCE Small||1.70 GB||1vCPU||20GB||2GB||$33.18/mo|
|GCE n1-std-1||3.75 GB||1vCPU||20GB||2GB||$73.50/mo|
|GCE n1-std-2||7.5 GB||2vCPU||20GB||2GB||$138.52/mo|
|GCE HC4||4 GB||4vCPU||20GB||2GB||$187.48/mo|
|GCE n1-std-4||15 GB||4vCPU||20GB||2GB||$225.93/mo|
|GCE HC8||8 GB||8vCPU||20GB||2GB||$366.33/mo|
|GCE n1-std-8||30 GB||8vCPU||20GB||2GB||$412.70/mo|
|GCE HC16||16 GB||16vCPU||20GB||2GB||$563.43/mo|
|GCE n1-std-16||60 GB||16vCPU||20GB||2GB||$721.94/mo|
|GCE HC32||32 GB||32vCPU||20GB||2GB||$923.32/mo|
|GCE n1-std-32||120 GB||32vCPU||20GB||2GB||$1290.30/mo|