Cloudways is a Malta-based web hosting company that offers a managed hosting platform for users to host their websites and applications on various cloud infrastructure providers, including DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, and Google Cloud. The platform is easy to use and allows users to deploy their website with just a few clicks, and supports a variety of open-source tools such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Laravel, Magento, and PHP. Cloudways operates on a pay-as-you-go pricing structure, making it a good option for small-to-medium-sized businesses and users with limited budgets.
Overall, the pros and cons of hosting with a service like Cloudways will depend on your specific needs and goals. It’s a good idea to carefully consider your budget, resources, and technical expertise when deciding whether cloud hosting is the right choice for you.
Let’s tackle in detail the key features of Cloudways.
1. Custom control panel
After you created an account, you can manage your servers through Cloudways’ control panel. It’s unlike the typical cPanel of most hosts, but Cloudways’ custom control panel is intuitive and modern by itself. Through this panel’s menu, you can access Servers, Applications, Teams, and Projects.
Let’s talk about the settings found under Applications. Once you have set up a server, you can add applications any time; for instance, WordPress.
You will then enter the Applications page. You can set up many things here through the tabs. One relevant tab is for domain mapping.
If you don’t have a domain name to be mapped or you haven’t registered one yet, you’ll be provided a temporary URL by Cloudways. This way, you can start building a website and access the control panel, as shown here.
There’s also a page for one-click SSL installation where you can install free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates. You can also get your certificates then install them here.
Recovery is also a one-click operation, and it’s located under the Restore tab.
Once you’re done with setting up an application, you can now work on running the usual aspects of your website under Servers.
You can check your login credentials under Server Management.
There’s a page for monitoring CPU usage. This is very important as consistently high usages could affect your website’s performance.
The services running on your server are listed under Manage Services. Here, you can start, stop, and restart one or many services at any time.
You can configure PHP settings, PHP and MySQL versions, and other server-level settings under Settings & Packages.
In the Security section, you can block certain IP addresses from gaining access to your resources.
If this isn’t enough, any expert users can log into the server via SSH to check and tweak the settings. Cloudways also provides cloud-based firewall as protection against malware and other types of cyberattacks.
Backups will run daily by default, but you can change the schedule.
Lastly, there’s an SMTP tab for setting up outbound emails from your server.
A great collaboration feature, Team provides you a way to add team members and assign them full or limited access to your website.
2. Staging and cloning
For changes you want to test first before making them permanent on your website, Cloudways’ staging will be a handy feature. Deploy a staging area, do the test, and when the changes look good, you can push the changes to your actual website. This way, you won’t need to worry about introducing harmful changes that you can’t reverse.
Cloning is somewhat similar to staging. You can make several clone sites when you’re changing to new servers or showcasing your website to clients.
3. Advanced caching
Cloudways gets its server infrastructure from five cloud providers: DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, and Google Cloud. All these providers are known to provide SSD-based VPS and dedicated servers, which ensure fast server performance.
Apart from this cloud infrastructure, Cloudways takes advantage of several caching mechanisms to optimize servers. The company uses an in-house caching plug-in called Breeze. This plug-in can be easily set up, enabled, and disabled. More importantly, it supports Cloudway’s own content delivery network called CloudwaysCDN.
CloudwaysCDN adds more speed and reliability by caching your web pages on different servers located across the world. While this feature is not available for the free trial account, you can avail it with any of Cloudways’ paid plan at a low cost. This feature is accessed under Application Management and can be added with just one click.
Cloudflare CDN can also be used on websites deployed on Cloudways; Cloudfare will work alongside Breeze. Other popular caching mechanisms Varnish and Redis are also supported, but Cloudways recommends not to use both.
4. Vertical scaling
If for any reason you need to upgrade your server, you can increase your server resources in just a few clicks through Vertical Scaling. The function is found as a tab under Server Management.
Scaling works both ways, which is a good thing. You can downgrade if you need to revert to your previous hosting plan.
5. Customer support
Cloudways has 24/7 live chat support to provide you instant assistance. You can also request a call, send an email, check the blog and knowledge base, or visit the community forum and Cloudways’ social media platforms. Cloudways also has CloudWaysBot that monitors the servers and gives notification whenever there is an update or any issue.
Cloudways offers flexible pricing plans and operates on a “pay-as-you-go” model. You may find the pricing complicated at first, as Cloudways has several plans based on its five different partners—DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, and Google Cloud. Here are the plans:
The basic hosting plans offered by DigitalOcean and Linode may be sufficient for those with smaller websites or lower resource needs. However, if you have a larger or more resource-intensive website, you may want to consider a plan from one of the other three cloud providers that Cloudways works with: AWS or Google Cloud. While it is possible to set up hosting directly with these five providers, you will be responsible for setting everything up and managing the hosting environment yourself.
One of the benefits of Cloudways is its flexible and affordable pricing plans, which operate on a “pay-as-you-go” structure. This allows users to pay for only the resources they need, without being locked into a long-term, expensive subscription. The platform’s Vertical Scaling feature also makes it easy to upgrade your hosting plan as needed.
Cloudways accepts payment through major credit cards and PayPal, and will refund unused funds if the request is made within three months of fund addition. Overall, these features make Cloudways a convenient and cost-effective choice for web hosting.
Cloudways: What I Liked About It
Cloudways is a user-friendly hosting platform that makes it easy to build websites and add apps with just a few clicks. It offers automatic installation of popular apps like WordPress and Magento, and a custom plugin to help users migrate old sites.
The platform’s control panel may be different from cPanel, but it includes useful features like the Monitoring and Vertical Scaling tabs under Server Management, which allow users to monitor server performance and scale their hosting plan as needed. As a managed hosting provider, Cloudways takes care of server maintenance and other tasks, and uses technologies like CloudwaysCDN to ensure fast page loading and site performance.
The platform also offers useful features like staging, cloning, and a temporary URL for new users. Its flexible “pay-as-you-go” pricing allows users to tailor their hosting plan to their needs and budget, and there is a free three-day trial available to test out the platform’s features.
Cloudways: What I Don’t Like About It
Cloudways is a fully-managed hosting platform, which means that it handles tasks like server maintenance, security updates, and backups for you. This can be convenient for users who are not as technically proficient, but it may not be suitable for those who want more control over their hosting environment, such as developers or advanced users who require root access.
Additionally, Cloudways does not support custom app development in languages other than PHP.
Another potential limitation is that the platform does not offer domain name registration or email hosting, although it does provide a temporary URL for users to get started.
While Cloudways has several support channels available, some users have reported that they have received inaccurate or technical responses, or that it takes a long time to resolve tickets. This is an area where the company may need to improve in order to provide better support for its users.
Cloudways: Final Thoughts
Cloudways is a fully-managed cloud hosting provider that offers scalable plans with flexible pricing options. Its “pay-as-you-go” model is ideal for businesses and users with limited budgets, as it allows you to pay for only the resources you use without being locked into a long-term subscription. The platform’s custom control panel is user-friendly and makes it easy for beginners to set up and manage their websites, although it may not offer as many one-click integrations as some of its competitors.
Despite this, Cloudways is still a reliable choice for cloud-based hosting, thanks to its partnerships with top cloud providers and its focus on speed, performance, and reliability. If you’re still unsure, the company offers a free three-day trial to test out its services.
Cloudways Review: Wrap Up
I really like what Cloudways is doing. Sure you can go directly to the various cloud hosting providers, but for the modest premium you pay, you get the Cloudways control panel and more importantly, support.