Anybody who is looking to create a website probably knows what web hosting is. And lately, cloud hosting has been getting a lot of buzzes. Why is this? Companies are moving towards complete cloud-based functioning and architecture at a very rapid pace. Before moving into the Cloudways review, the numbers could not agree more
- HostingTribunal says about 90% of companies are already on the cloud! And the percentage of workload that is managed via the cloud has gone up from 45% to 60% in just ONE year (2018-2019). That is a 15% increase!
- NetGainCloud says an average employee uses 36 cloud-based services in their daily routine. And about 94% of companies state improvement in security after moving to cloud-based services
- AWS – Amazon Web Services is the leading cloud service provider in the mark at the moment. AWS accounts for a staggering 13% of Amazon’s total sales as reported by CNBC.
Cloud-based web hosting is gaining so much momentum that it can no longer be ignored. Every company should consider moving their services to the cloud at this point. If you are a total newbie to the world of web hosting, do not worry. We’ll take one step at a time and fill you in.
What is Cloud Hosting? How is it diﬀerent from traditional web hosting?
Cloud-hosting is a relatively new approach to web hosting and computing in general. It became popular with Amazon after 2006. It takes the approach of storing data in
‘multiple’ servers across the internet. This data can be managed with virtual machines. This brings with it several advantages over traditional web hosting.
- Scalability – The ultimate perk of Cloud hosting is how easy it is to increase the size and scope of web applications. Since data is hosted across multiple servers, it is easy to just add more virtual space but using more servers.
- Reliability – Since data is not stored in ONE server, it reduces the risk of complete failure.
- Flexibility and Eﬃciency – Since you do not need to purchase a complete server, you can only pay for how much space and computing you use.
- Improved disaster recovery options
But, do keep in mind that cloud-based web hosting is not for everyone. Although it has the above-mentioned benefits, there are a few risks too.
- Extremely sensitive data handling applications cannot store the data in the cloud.
- Some specific applications might have added latency when operating via the cloud
- Applications design and architecture might need re-work if migrating from non- cloud hosting.
So be sure to weigh the pros and cons of cloud hosting before you move your application or service on the cloud.
What is Cloudways?
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform where users can build, deploy, scale and manage all kinds of web applications. Cloudways allows you to host websites with diﬀerent cloud service providers. It is a simple, quick and user-friendly platform. It is a great choice for anybody who is thinking about moving to cloud-based web hosting.
Cloudways was founded by Uzair Gadit, Pere Hospital, and Aaqib Gadit in 2009. It is headquartered in Malta, Europe. It was an approach to bring cloud computing to the masses. It made it possible for non-tech savvy users to try their hand with hosting applications using the cloud.
Cloud computing and unmanaged hosting are complicated. Using AWS (Amazon Web Services), GCP (Google Cloud Platform) would take a lot of technical expertise.
Amazon and Google even have certification programs for professional cloud management. It is simply impossible for non-techie users to use the cloud without putting in an incredible amount of time and eﬀort.
Cloudways takes this away. Their tagline even reads ‘cloud hosting for everyone‘. It makes using the cloud simpler than it is. It serves as a bridge between the major cloud service providers (AWS and GCP). It adds a layer of abstraction to the process making it simpler and easier for smaller business who cannot always aﬀord to hire professionals. It also provides the choice of selecting the underlying cloud service provider of your choice. As of August 2020, the options are Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, Digital Ocean, Linode, Vultr and Kyup.
Cloudways has been mounting popularity and has been very eﬃcient in hosting applications. With the benefits of cloud computing in your pockets, you can push your business to the next level.
Cloudways Review – Major Highlights
Pricing in Brief
The pricing depends on the cloud service provider that the user opts for. There are diﬀerent kinds of plans based on the size of the memory, processor, storage, and bandwidth. The price increases with an increase in the above-mentioned features. The cost for each also diﬀers from one cloud service provider to the next. The cheapest is the Digital Ocean and the most expensive one AWS. The prices can be billed on an hourly or monthly basis.
They come with a set of hosting features that is common across all plans irrespective of size and cloud service provider. For prices and subscriptions in detail scroll down.
Ease of Use
Deploying a managed application on the cloud is simplified. All you do is the following
- Choose Application Type and Project Name (can content management software like WordPress or you can build your PHP app
- Choose Cloud Service Provider and parameters of the server
- And launch your server
The whole process barely takes 10-15 minutes!
Companies that operate on the cloud, need technical expertise and experience in using cloud services. Even if they do, as the size of the site scales there is increasing pressure to keep the application updated and relevant. Cloudways’ top-notch support helps companies use cloud services eﬃciently and without issues.
Performance and Security
Cloudways’ guarantees the best possible cloud computing performance for scalable applications. It also promises infrastructure security for servers with Bot Protection and 2-factor authentication for Cloudways account.
One-stop for servers using different cloud services
With Cloudways hosting it is possible to create and use multiple applications that use diﬀerent cloud services. You could create and manage an app that uses google cloud while at the same time managing a second app that uses AWS.
Features in Detail
Cloudways is known for its excellent support. In tech domains like web hosting, companies have extremely unique applications and performance parameters. And, technical expertise might not always be available from the company’s side. That is not a problem with Cloudways. There is customer support with highly trained experts available around the clock.
With Advanced or Premium Support Add-ons, Cloudways guarantees maximum support. This includes the following great features
- 24/7/365 Live Chat – With a chat-box on the bottom right of the UI, there is help just a text away.
- Online ticketing – Track more complex queries or issues online as we work on them. The support team creates tickets if a query is deemed more complex than what could be answered right away. Users can generate tickets themselves too. The standard response time is 3 hours.
- Server Customisation and Configuration – You can ask Cloudways to deploy PHP or other custom packages, help with caching configurations, or make server configuration changes.
- Application Level Issues – Plug-in or theme troubleshooting, investigation of server errors, help with database or email add-on, and performance optimisation.
- Proactive Application Monitoring – Users will be notified in case the server or stack goes down. Powerful application monitoring tools are built into the platform that allows users to keep track of traﬃc etc.
Types of Enhanced Support
Enhanced SLAs – Support is of 3 types in Cloudways. For extended support, you can purchase add-ons.
- Standard support – It is enough for most users. It’s free and includes 24/7/365 access to Live Chat guidance through any operation on the Cloudways Platform. Every request is routed to a specifically trained Support Team member.
- Advanced Support – For users with greater support needs when the application has grown beyond the standard level. This add-on speeds up response times and opens up a wider range of Cloudways expertise. Users get expert answers, deeper application troubleshooting, customisation support, and proactive monitoring, etc. The following are major advanced support features in addition to the standard package
- Priority Support – Advanced Support doubles live chat access. It also cuts down Online Tickets response time to 30mins from 3 hrs for high priority tasks. For normal tasks, it is reduced to 6 hrs from 12 hrs.
- Plugin/Theme Trouble Shooting – Problems with plugins and themes can be tracked down with the help of support engineers.
- Performance Database Optimisation – Cloudways helps with on- demand optimisation tweaks to ensure that the application is performing eﬀectively.
- Proactive Application Monitoring – If the server is down, the user team is alerted and the support team actively investigates the issue.
- Server Error Investigation – A support team will collaborate with the company’s team to identify common server errors like (500, 502, 503, etc).
- Customisation – Companies have specific needs and require customisation based on design architecture and functionality. Server/ Stack customisation like deploying additional packages, specific configurations is available.
- Dedicated Account Manager – A primary Cloudways personnel responsible for all queries and requests.
- Premium Support – For businesses that oﬀer mission-critical sites where every minute matters and real-time support is crucial. Comes with all of the Advanced Support with quicker response times, a dedicated Account Manager, a private Slack channel, and direct phone support. It comes with the following key features
- Priority Support – Initial response time is reduced further to 2 hrs for normal tasks. For high priority, tasks get help in 10 mins!
- Private Slack Channel – 24/7/365 private Slack channel connects the business team directly with Cloudways Senior Support Engineers.
- Phone Support – A 24/7 phone call support. Call Senior Support Engineers any time for in-person support.
|Live Chat and Ticketing||Yes||Yes (With faster response time)||Yes (With fastest response time)|
|Application Support||Yes (Get directions to existing documentation or knowledge base)||Yes||Yes|
|Proactive Monitoring||Alerts Only||Full Investigation||Full Investigation|
|Private Slack Channel||No||No||Yes|
Beyond Scope – Cloudways also defines what is beyond the scope of its help. According to Cloudways the following are out of scope for support
- Migrating your site from Cloudways to another service/hosting provider.
- In general, anything that implies code editing – changing website content appearance, changing functionality, debugging and auditing code.
- Application-level security issues.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Also, all add-ons apply to the account level across multiple servers/stacks. The add- ons demand a minimum commitment of 6 months. It takes about 24-48 hours to activate a single add-on.
Performance measurement in cloud computing is extremely complex. It is heavily dependant on network latency based on the distance between the user and the cloud,
design/architecture and performance planning. With the correct architecture, it is possible to deploy an eﬃcient application.
But! The performance scalability is unlike any other. With increasing traﬃc and load, upping the capacity is easier than ever. With a set of unique sub-features Cloudways capitalises and guarantees great performance.
The following are some major features
- Dedicated Environment – All of Cloudways’ servers have dedicated resources. This maximises server and app performance.
- SSD-based hosting – SSD is 3x faster and reduces page load times for dynamic websites.
- Built-in advanced caches – Optimised stacks are available with ready to use caches like Memcached, Varnish, Nginx, and Redis.
- PHP 7 ready servers – All servers can use PHP 7 which is known to be significantly faster.
- Auto-healing managed cloud servers – Even in the case of website server crashes they auto-restart and heal without intervention.
- Pre-configured PHP-FPM – PHP FastCGI Process Manager improves load handling.
- HTTP/2 Support – HTTP/2 protocol uses a binary framing layer to increase eﬃcient resource usage. This improves response time and error occurrence.
- Cloudways CDN – Helps improve performance.
With cloud computing security becomes extremely important. The following are some important security features
- Dedicated Firewalls – All servers have OS-level firewalls to filter malicious traﬃc.
- Free SSL installation – SSL Certifications can be bought in 1 click.
- IP Whitelisting – Allows the user to whitelist IPs for easy collaboration with specific networks
- Security Patching – Regular OS level patches are made to keep security up-to- date.
- Two Factor Authentication – Users can enable 2-factor authentication for Cloudways account.
- Bot Protection – Via a 3rd party partner Malcare, users can get rid of unwanted traﬃc, exhaustive search attacks and DOS attacks.
Choice and Flexibility
Cloudways lets companies choose IaaS Provider (Cloud Service Providers). Currently, the options are Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, Digital Ocean, Linode, Vultr and Kyup.
Other parameters of the server that you can choose based on your requirements include:
- Block Storage – Increase storage space with just a few clicks. This is unlike traditional hosting where you might have to opt for another server with more space.
- Vertical Scaling – Applications can be scaled for RAM, CPU and storage with just one click.
- No Long Term Contract – There are no long term subscriptions. Only pay for what you have used.
- Multiple Application Launch – Launch a set of applications in the same server with 1 click.
- Database Options – Both MySQL and MariaDB are RDBMS software that is supported.
- Data Centres – Choose your closest data centre for minimum network latency. The closer the server to your potential audience the better is the performance.
Depending on the size of the application, diﬀerent companies require diﬀerent levels of workflows that need collaboration. Regardless of whether own a company with a dozen employees or if you are a part of an MNC that has dedicated teams for managing the server, Cloudways has you covered. Cloudways oﬀers the following collaborative features
- Git Integration – With web-hooks you can link up the production branch of your deployment repository to Cloudways. Any changes pushed is automatically updated in the live servers.
- SSH and SFTP – Use secure shell and secure file transfer protocol to safely update files on your app.
- Application and Server Cloning – Duplicate servers and sites in 1 click. All files and database data is automatically copied into new URLs.
- Single Team Account – Each member can be a part of multiple teams. Allows companies to eﬀectively split their workforce into teams.
- Projects – Group apps together based on projects to create a hierarchy. These can be assigned to specific teams.
- Staging Area – Unique staging environment to test changes in the application before deployment.
- Member Access – Team members can be given limited or super-user level access based on the requirement.
- Server Transfer – Transferring ownership to clients of the company developing it takes exactly 1 click.
- Migration Plugin – For WordPress sites, an exclusive plugin allows migration of the site from another hosting service to Cloudways extremely simple.
UI and Controls
You should appreciate Cloudways’ unique and simplified cloud configuration controls. An elegant and simple UI empowers great functionality. Under the Servers tab, all servers are listed with their size and configurations. The applications tab does the same for all project applications. The applications can be grouped and viewed as projects under the projects tab. A few powerful things that you can do with the UI are
- Server Settings and Packaged – All server parameters can be viewed and changed by navigating to (Servers->Your Server Name->Settings and Packages)
- Application Settings – All application parameters like address, root folder etc. can also be tweaked by navigating to (Applications->Your Application -> Application Settings).
- Varnish Settings – Configure and change the HTTP accelerator to customise it to your needs.
- Backups – All backups are automated. The restoration takes, you guessed it, 1 click! (Servers->Your Server Name->Backups)
- Cron Job Manager – Schedule a script to run at a particular time or recur after a set timeout (Applications->Your Application -> Cron Job Manager)
- WP-CLI – A powerful command-line interface to control WordPress websites.
- Quick Stop – Stop an application from running with just 1-click.
- Queue Manager – Integrated supervised queue manager for Laravel applications.
These are just a few major features from the control dashboard for servers and applications. The UI is designed to minimise confusion and promote easy navigation.
Cloudways’ has a few functionality add-ons if there is a need for it. These are paid features. A few key add-ons are
- CloudwaysBot – It provides real-time insights about the application via email, Slack, HipChat or Custom-APIs.
- Cloudways API – Build custom solutions to manage Cloudways servers using REST API. Full documentation for developers can be found here. You can even check out how it works with an API playground. Sweet!
- Application Migration – Migrating from other hosting platforms can be tricky. Cloudways experts help migrate sites completely with minimal downtime. Every account gets one FREE migration if it is with SSH, SFTP, FTP, cPanel, or hosting credentials. A full guide to the same can be found here.
- Sending E-mails – Configure external SMTP service to deliver bulk emails to the user base. Prices start from around $0.10/month. Here is a full guide.
- Rackspace Email – Cloudways partners with Rackspace Email Service to oﬀer mailboxes creation, aliasing, mail forwarding and adding catch-all addresses for the domains owned. Find the oﬃcial set-up guide here.
- Application Upgrade – Upgrading applications via a staging area. Cloudways takes full responsibility for 0-downtime, error-free up-gradation. It starts from
$50 for WordPress apps, $125 for Joomla to $250 Magento per upgrade.
- Easy DNS – solves DNS issues. If due to a DNS error site goes down, all traﬃc is redirected to a secondary IP. Here’s the activation guide.
- Support Add-ons – As seen in the support section, they oﬀer improved customer support for critical applications.
Deploying your site is only the first step. Maintenance and updates are critical phases that follow deployment. Once up and running companies need to ensure users have a fluid experience. Servers have limited resources and once the limit is reached, the application starts to under-perform. Constant site traﬃc monitoring and testing with a set of metrics are crucial. Cloudways oﬀers a few standard features to assist companies in doing so.
Allows monitoring the usage of various resources in the server in realtime. A few metrics that are useful in this sense are,
- Idle CPU – Shows the amount of available processing capacity that is left. It is advisable to upgrade the server once the metric hits 20% or below.
- Free Disk – The amount of free disk space that is left in the server. An up- gradation is recommended when it crosses 95%.
- Free Memory – The available amount of free RAM. When it goes below 100MB it is time for an upgrade.
The Summary Tab all-important server information is organised in one page. This includes
- RAM usage (updates every ~5 mins)
- CPU usage (updates every ~5 mins)
- Bandwidth usage (updates every ~30 mins)
- Disk usage (updates every ~30 mins)
New Relic is an Application Performance Monitoring software that brings real-time monitoring of web servers. It is possible to gain in-depth insights from Relic by using custom visualisations. It brings a whole new array of metrics for business intelligence such as the total number of logins, signups, orders placed, etc.
The data is extremely precise and lets teams spot performance bottlenecks and potential issues. It supports multiple programming languages and this can trace errors
easily in almost all types of applications. It can also help identify which external services are slowing WordPress down.
Cloudways Bot Notifications
Cloudways Bot notifies users about potential updates, space deficit and performance issues automatically.
Complete Pricing Analysis
The pricing is versatile and mostly justified. It depends on the IaaS provider and other parameters of the server. The available IaaS providers from cheapest to most expensive are
|Features/IaaS||Digital Ocean||Vultr||Linode||Amazon Web Services||Google Cloud Platform|
|Server Size||1,2,4,8,16,32,6||1,2,4,8,16,32,6||1,2,4,8,16,32,6||Small,||Small, n1-|
|4,128 (in GB)||4, 96 (in GB)||4, 96, 128, 192||Medium,Large,||std-1, n1-|
|(in GB)||XL, 2XL, 4XL,||std-2, n1-|
|,24XL, CO||std-8, HC2,|
|Large, CO XL,||HC4, HC8,|
|CO 2XL, CO||HC16, n1-|
|4XL, CO 9XL,||std-16, n1-|
|CO 12XL, CO||std-32, HC32|
|18XL, CO 20XL|
|Features/IaaS||Digital Ocean||Vultr||Linode||Amazon Web Services||Google Cloud Platform|
|Locations||London, SFO, Singapore, NYC, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Toronto, Bangalore||Seattle, Silicon Valley, LA, Dallas, Chicago, Atalanta, Miami, NYC, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, Toronto||Newark, Dallas, Fremont, Atalanta, London, Frankfurt, Singapore, Tokyo, Toronto, Singapore, Mumbai, Sydney||North Virginia, North California, Ohio, Oregon, Montreal, Ireland, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Stockholm, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Bahrain||Iowa, South Carolina, Oregon, North Virginia, Belgium, London, Frankfurt, Netherlands, Montreal, Mumbai, Singapore, Taiwan, Tokyo, Sydney|
|Storage Size||Non customisable||Non customisable||Non customisable||Application Web Files : 10GB – 1024 GB Database : 10GB – 1024 GB||Application Web Files : 10GB – 1024 GB Database : 10GB – 1024 GB|
|Price for all minimum value configuration||$0.0139/hr||$0.0153/hr||$0.0167/hr||$0.0507/hr||$0.0461/hr|
We have already seen the advantages of cloud computing over traditional web hosting. Cloud hosting has the edge in terms of reliability, scalability and performance. Here’s a summary of all the major pros that Cloudways brings
- Ease of Use – Elegant and beginner-friendly user interface and simplified controls. Brings cloud computing to the general populace.
- Improved Performance – With optimised architecture Cloudways guarantees improved performance.
- Server and App Monitoring – More insight in terms of business intelligence.
- Multi-cloud Management – Choice of diﬀerent IaaS Providers.
- Great Customer Support – Highly experienced support team available for all kinds of issues.
- Aﬀordable – Pay for only what you use.
Even though cloud hosting seems like the thing to go for, and Cloudways seems to be the easiest to start with, you shouldn’t rush into it. There are a few things you need to keep in mind
- Some Experience Needed – Even after simplification, it takes some level of experience to gain enough insight about cloud computing. Requires constant and dedicated learning to some degree.
- No DNS Service – Cloudways does not oﬀer DNS services. You will need to use a separate DNS service provider.
- No Domain Name Registrations – Unlike most web hosting platforms, registering emails and domain names is not possible with Cloudways.
- No Classic C-Panel – Most web developers and system admins are used to the traditional cPanel. cPanel has been the go-to dashboard for almost 90% of web hosts. Cloudways has its simplified dashboard instead.
A Few Alternatives to Check out
When it comes to managed cloud hosting services, it doesn’t get better than Cloudways. But there are other similar managed cloud hosting platforms. Some of the major players in the cloud hosting game are
- Simplified pricing structure with Standard, Professional and Premier subscriptions.
- Another key diﬀerence is Liquid Web works with cPanel which is mostly preferred by web hosting users.
- Great security with integrated firewall and full encryption of data at rest
- A Simpler pricing structure that starts at $80/month.
- Management of sub-accounts to manage clients’ sites.
- Better support than Cloudways in general.
- Aimed at WordPress site owners.
- Only oﬀers cloud solutions with Google Cloud Platform.
- Oﬀers WordPress hosting with public cloud hosting.
- Only oﬀers cloud solutions with AWS and Microsoft Azure.
- Provides advanced DevOps and workflow automation.
- Versatile web hosting service provider – for both small-scale and enterprise-level users alike.
- Has a good range of pricing options from $25/month to custom subscriptions for unique solutions
- IaaS service providers that are supported include AWS, GCP, Cloudflare, HubSpot and New Relic.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Web Hosting?
Web hosting is providing storage space for a web application in a server on the internet. Back in the old days, to host a website, companies had to own a computer or server that was connected to the internet. This server which stored the website data had to be running 24/7 to ensure the website’s availability.
Later some companies began oﬀering web hosting services, that provided users with the necessary infrastructure remotely. So any small-scale user can upload their website data via web UI or FTP. For more complex and large scale websites, the web hosting services oﬀer database solutions. These are paired with back-end scripting app development platforms (PHP, NodeJS, Ruby on Rails, ASP.NET etc).
What is the diﬀerence between Cloudways and Cloud Hosting?
Cloud hosting is the process or service that uses multiple servers to host applications and websites. Cloudways is a platform that provides cloud hosting as a service. So simply put, you can use Cloudways to cloud-host your websites.
What is managed cloud hosting and unmanaged cloud hosting?
Unmanaged cloud hosting is the services provided by AWS, GCP, Linode etc. that are IaaS providers. It is possible to cloud host directly via unmanaged cloud hosting but they require some degree of technical expertise and experience with cloud. Managed cloud hosting adds a layer of abstraction on unmanaged cloud hosting services. This reduces complexity and is relatively easier to use for non-technical or amateur users.
Do they cost the same?
Firstly, cloud hosting usually costs more than traditional web hosting.
But note that unmanaged cloud hosting services are much cheaper than managed cloud hosting services like Cloudways. The price for servers with the same configuration (size, processing etc.) in Cloudways is almost twice the price as in their respective unmanaged cloud hosting services. If for users with enough technical experience
What is cloud hosting and how does it work?
Cloud hosting is deploying websites and web applications across multiple servers on the internet. These are controlled via virtual machines. Unlike web hosting that stores multiple websites in one server, cloud hosting stores one web application across multiple servers. Diﬀerent kinds of files (images, text etc) are stored in diﬀerent servers that are optimised for specific purposes. With the correct architecture, this could improve the eﬃciency and performance of your website!
What do other hosting review platforms say about Cloudways?
“Founded to Let Businesses Focus on Clients — Not the Details of Hosting” “Cloudways aims to provide top-tier support and performance based on the best possible user experience”
“Cloudways’s WordPress caching plugin Breeze is one of the fastest and easiest ways to boost site performance”
G2 – 4.8/5
G2’s user-based reviews have been extremely positive. According to G2’s reviews, Cloudways has excellent customer support and performance features. Some even describe it as the ‘best managed cloud hosting service provider’ in the market.
Bitcatcha – A+
Bitcatcha rates Cloudways performance with A+ and 100% uptime. Bitcatcha recommends Cloudways for its scalability and reasonable pricing. It is described as having a unique set of features seen in no other hosting services that have been reviewed.
Capterra – 4.8/5
“For those who are looking for hosting with minimum management hassle so they can focus on business”
Further ratings – Ease of Use (4.6) and Customer Service (4.5)
GetApp – 4.76/5
GetApp recommends Cloudways for small, medium and large businesses. It has about 97% positive reviews and a rating of 4.7 for value for money.
Which are the top cloud hosting providers?
To host your website in the cloud you could go for managed cloud hosting services or unmanaged cloud hosting services. For the users with experience in cloud hosting, the top unmanaged cloud hosting services are
- Amazon Web Services
- Google Cloud Platform
- Digital Ocean
For the general user base looking for managed cloud hosting, some popular platforms are
- WP Engine
What is the diﬀerence between cloud hosting and VPS?
A VPS (Virtual Private Server) is similar to traditional web hosting. But instead of storing multiple websites in a server, it reserves an exclusive server (ONE server) for you. This means more customisation and lesser reliability.
In cloud hosting, instead of one server, you get to use multiple servers to store the site’s resources. Here there is increased reliability as resources are stored across multiple servers.