For the past 6 months, I’ve been obsessed with speeding up my WordPress websites.
Thanks to the optimization process I’ve documented here, my websites were able to load pretty fast already.
But that wasn’t enough for me. I always wanted to get the best speed possible.
And I was impressed.
Before (WPX Hosting):
This site had a lot of images so being able to load in less than 1 second definitely made me very happy.
I also did another test with a new site. It looked even better:
I have since migrated all of my websites (except Cloud Living) to Cloudways and have been mostly happy with them.
I’ll tell you why below.
In this review, I’ll be sharing with you what I liked and didn’t like about Cloudways after a few months of testing them quite intensively on my own sites.
Let’s dive into it.
Table of Contents
- 1 Quick Summary of My Cloudways Review
- 2 What Exactly is Cloudways?
- 3 What I Like about Cloudways
- 3.1 The Best Performance You Could Possibly Get
- 3.2 Affordable Pricing That Fits Everyone's Budget
- 3.3 Intuitive User Interface
- 3.4 Launching a New WordPress Website In Just a Few Clicks
- 3.5 1-Click Let's Encrypt SSL Setup
- 3.6 Free WordPress Caching Plugin
- 3.7 Migrating a WordPress Website to Your Server Has Never Been Easier
- 3.8 1-Click Site Staging
- 3.9 Automatic Backup & Restore
- 3.10 Easy Team Collaboration
- 4 What I Don't Like about Cloudways
- 5 What People Are Saying About Them?
- 6 Conclusion: Do I Recommend Cloudways?
Quick Summary of My Cloudways Review
Ease of Use
Black Friday & Cyber Monday are behind but they have extended their Black Friday promo campaign until December 5th. Use coupon code BFCM18 to get 30% off for the first 3 months.
I’ll be receiving a commission if you decided to purchase Cloudways using my affiliate link.
If you do, forward your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you my Site Building and Optimization checklist which I use myself to start any new WordPress site.
I genuinely appreciate your support. I only write reviews about products I love on Cloud Living and each review is backed by evidence in the form of personal testing & real user feedback.
If you don’t want to use my affiliate link, here’s a non-affiliate link to Cloudways.
Either way, I truly believe this is the most affordable managed WordPress hosting that will help your site run faster and more reliably. You can do your own research on Google and Facebook groups and you’ll find most people saying the same.
What Exactly is Cloudways?
CloudWays is a managed cloud hosting platform that allows you to deploy multiple applications including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento and more in just one click.
Unlike other managed hosting providers, they actually don’t operate any physical servers themselves.
Instead, they provide an intuitive user interface that lets you deploy and manage servers from the top 5 cloud providers, such as:
- Digital Ocean
- Google Cloud Platform
- Amazon Web Services
Pricing is a little complicated, as it depends both on the server spec you need and the cloud provider you choose.
You’ll see that Cloudways’ pricing is higher than the listed prices on any of the providers’ websites because they add a management fee on top of the base prices.
That also covers for customer support via 24/7 live chat and ticket for any hosting-related issues.
Servers deployed on Cloudways are automatically configured with the most optimized technology stack to provide you with the best speed, performance & security.
That means you wouldn’t need to spend time learning to manage servers or hire a developer to help manage your servers for you.
All that time saved could be spent on actually growing your business instead.
What I Like about Cloudways
The Best Performance You Could Possibly Get
When your sites are hosted on your own cloud server, you’ll not have to share resources with anyone else.
That means better & more reliable performance.
You also won’t have any similar limitations that most shared hosting will put on your account.
For example, Siteground has quite low CPU limits for their hosting plans and once you reach the limit you would either have to upgrade or their system would automatically take your site offline until the issue is resolved.
Affordable Pricing That Fits Everyone's Budget
Cloudways has different pricing plans depending on the cloud server providers and sever specs you choose.
The higher the specs, the more you pay.
This is great because you only pay for what you need.
My recommendation is to go with Linode since they’ve consistently been showing the best performance during my tests.
Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services are a lot more expensive and don’t seem to provide as much added benefits compared to Linode.
Digital Ocean has always been the slowest cloud provider so it doesn’t get my recommendation.
If you’re starting out, the $12 / mo Linode plan would certainly be enough. But as you grow, you might need to switch to higher plans.
The great benefit of using a cloud server is that you can set up as many sites as you want on your account. But as your traffic increases, you need to pay attention to your IDLE CPU percentage.
If it is consistently below 20%, then that’s when you should upgrade to a stronger server.
Cloudways would also notify you via email when this happened:
Scaling a server is as easy as dragging the slider to the right and click “Scale Now”. It would take only 5 to 15 minutes to complete the process with no downtime on your website.
Intuitive User Interface
Cloudways has done a great job at making a simple and easy to use admin panel.
They don’t have too many confusing options like CPANEL (it’s what most hosting companies use) and only feature what you need to deploy and manage your servers/applications.
After signing up for a trial account and logging in, you’ll be prompted to deploy your first server.
Just fill in the required information, choose the smallest Linode plan, pick the location closest to your audience, and click “Launch Now”.
I’ll take approximately 7 minutes for your server to be ready.
Launching a New WordPress Website In Just a Few Clicks
A default WordPress installation is already created when you deploy your server.
However, if you want to add more. It’s very easy!
Just visit Applications from the menu bar, then click on Add Application
Select WordPress from the first dropdown, name your app, select the project this new application belongs to and click “Add Application” one more time.
In just one minute, your WordPress installation will be ready.
Now click on Domain Management, enter your domain in the field and click “Save Changes”.
Now all you need to do is to point your domain to your server’s IP address and your site will be live!
Here’s a tutorial on how to do it.
1-Click Let's Encrypt SSL Setup
Setting up SSL for your website is very easy with Cloudways. Just visit “SSL Certificate”, type in your email and domain name, then click Install Certificate
Free WordPress Caching Plugin
When you launch a WordPress application using Cloudways, they’ll automatically install their own caching plugin on your website called Breeze.
I tested it on a few sites and the results look comparable to the 2 plugins mentioned above.
Migrating a WordPress Website to Your Server Has Never Been Easier
Here comes the part I love the most about switching to Cloudways.
They have made the migration process incredibly simple and easy.
Just install this Cloudways WordPress Migrator on your website, fill in your new application details, click Migrate and you’re done!
Your WordPress site will be migrated over to Cloudways very quickly.
This really saves you a lot of time and money as you no longer have to wait for your developers to do the migration for you.
1-Click Site Staging
A staging environment is used when you want to create a clone of your site for testing and development.
Once the staging environment is set up, you can push and pull changes to test the application.
With Cloudways, you can set this up in just one click.
Automatic Backup & Restore
This is a pretty standard feature that all hosting providers should have. So there’s really not much to talk about this.
You can set up automatic backup or take an on-demand backup inside your Server Management panel.
Cloudways also has a documentation on this here.
Easy Team Collaboration
What I Don't Like about Cloudways
Inconsistent Live Chat Support
This seems to be the consensus after talking to many Cloudways customers.
Their live chat support is generally good – but not consistent.
Sometimes wait time can be slow and the quality of support agents also varies.
However, I’ve talked to their management team about this and they’re working very hard to improve customer support significantly.
Update: November 27 2018
I first wrote this review in October 2018. At the time, I felt like their customer support wasn’t that great and gave it a rating of 3 out of 5.
However, over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed the quality of customer support has clearly been improved.
I’ve been throwing them a bunch of difficult technical questions and they have been able to help every time.
There are still rooms for improvement.
But overall it’s been a lot better since October so I decided to adjust the rating to 4 out of 5.
What People Are Saying About Them?
In addition to doing my own testing, I also spent quite a bit of time researching real users’ feedback about Cloudways on Facebook groups and other hosting review sites.
Here’s what I found:
Charles Floate’s blog instantly loaded 1.1 seconds faster after moving to Cloudways
CRO expert Kurt Philip also got an insane speed increase for his affiliate website after migrating to Cloudways
I also asked for opinions about Cloudways in WordPress Hosting FB group and here are what people said:
Here are a few more big discussions about Cloudways inside this FB group. You have to join as a member to read the links below.
Conclusion: Do I Recommend Cloudways?
As I said earlier, I have moved all of my most important money websites to Cloudways in the past few months.
And trust me – that decision wasn’t made lightly as a fast & reliable hosting is the foundation of any website’s success.
They’re certainly not perfect. But their affordability, performance, and flexibility are hard to beat.
Still on the fence? Sign up for the 3-day free trial to test their platform and see for yourself.
Don’t forget to use this coupon BFCM18 to get 30% off for the first 3 months.
This coupon will expire December 5th.
If you visited Cloudways on any of the links on this article, I’ll get credited if you ended up spending money with them. So don’t forget to forward your receipt to email@example.com to receive my Site Building & Optimization checklist.