Managed cloud hosting is a remarkable upgrade from the traditional cloud hosting option, allowing businesses to get more done in less time.
But finding a provider who gets it right can be tough.
Compared to traditional hosting, managing a cloud service requires more effort. A provider must keep the site fully updated, run regular security checks, create data backups, and allocate resource utilization based on load changes frequently.
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform that promises to deliver unmatched performance, ironclad security, and seamless scalability for your websites. But is it all true?
In this Cloudways review, we’ll dig into its features, pricing, and more to help you determine if it’s the right option for you.
Let’s start from the very beginning.
Cloudways Review: What Is It?
Launched in 2011, Cloudways is a managed hosting services provider that helps users reap the benefits of the cloud. It has its own managed platform, allowing you to spin up servers and deploy apps within minutes.
Cloudways supports all the top website building tools, such as WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, PHP, and many open-source tools. The company works with five top cloud providers—AWS (Amazon Web Services), Linode, DigitalOcean, Google Cloud, and Vultr—to offer a variety of cloud computing services to its customers.
The great thing about Cloudways is its “pay-as-you-pricing.” The pricing model allows you to pay depending on the resources you need. This makes Cloudways an ideal choice for SMBs and individual users with a limited budget.
Cloudways’ main appeal is managed cloud hosting. It’s a step up from the traditional managed hosting many of us are accustomed to. Let me give you the 411 on how managed cloud hosting can boost your website hosting experience.
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Why Managed Cloud Hosting?
Managed cloud hosting is a more cost-effective and scalable solution compared to traditional managed hosting.
With traditional hosting solutions, your site and its data are stored on a single server with one backup. Cloudways stores your site in the cloud across multiple servers for greater protection and stronger performance.
Because your site is stored on multiple servers, you’ll have several backups, and you’ll be able to restore your site if there’s ever a problem easily. The cloud environment also means you can prompt multiple copies of your site to be replaced throughout any data centers of your liking.
Cloudways hosting also delivers better uptime and reliability because any server in its cloud network can take over if the first one stops working. This is known as having a “failover” strategy.
Additionally, because Cloudways can detect a website visitor’s location, the system can also intelligently load information from the server closest to that person, meaning your site loads faster.
With a sophisticated algorithm handling all of the data switching and a copy of your site maintained across servers, Cloudways offers much greater reliability and performance. Great if you want to keep things smooth but, don’t know how to manage all the technical bits behind the scenes.
Cloudways Review: The Features
The exact features you’ll get from Cloudways depend on the hosting plan you choose. Advanced plans give you access to more bandwidth, memory, storage, and processing power. But all Cloudways users get:
1. Free site migrations
If you already have your website hosted on another site, you can easily choose Cloudways to handle the migration for you. This can save you a lot of time trying to collect all the information required from one server to move to another.
2. High-speed server performance
Cloudways strives to ensure your site loads as quickly as possible, with access to the latest technology from 5 of the top cloud providers in the world. The provider also relies on CDN to deliver content via a geographically distributed network of servers, which helps minimize lags in loading web page content.
Cloudways makes it easy to handle any issues your website might have with a unique automatic healing feature. The auto-healing system identifies the source of a problem when a crash is imminent and addresses it by itself. No manual intervention is needed.
4. Excellent security
For peace of mind, Cloudways offers a dedicated firewall to help protect you and your customers. Additionally, you get features like two-factor authentication to prevent intruders from gaining access to member accounts. Users can also access a free SSL certificate (via Let’s Encrypt) to protect all data moving between your site and your visitors.
5. Simple setup
Cloudways allows you to set up a website with one click. There’s also one-click app and plugin installation if you want to add new functionality to your site. The provider fully supports PHP-based applications and CMS frameworks like Magento, Drupal, Laravel, and WordPress.
6. Staging and Cloning
Staging allows you to create a dummy website where you can test any changes before they go live. This is a great way to ensure everything works properly before making a change. You can also clone sites and make copies to ensure you can easily back up your site or switch servers when required.
7. Advanced caching
Cloudways offers various caching mechanisms for server optimization. Users can access a proprietary caching plugin called “Breeze,” which supports the Cloudways CDN. Other popular caching plugins like Redis and Varnish are also available.
The cloud infrastructure from Cloudways is built on the technology of five different cloud providers – all of which are ranked among the most reliable companies in the world. The cloud partners offer VPS and dedicated servers for extra-fast performance.
8. Flexibility and scalability
Cloudways hosting can adapt to suit your business. If your traffic starts to grow and you need to upgrade your server access, you can use the “Vertical Scaling” feature. This functionality allows Cloudways users to increase their hosting plans’ RAM, CPU, and storage features in a couple of clicks.
As Cloudways follows the “pay as you go” pricing model, you’re also not tied to specific contracts. You pay only for what you use, and you can change services at any time.
9. Automated backup and restore
Cloudways makes backups of your site to ensure your data is recoverable in case anything goes wrong. The “Backup and Restore” feature is enabled by default, and you can enable a local backup option with an additional fee.
10. Excellent customer support
Cloudways offers one of the best customer services in the web hosting industry. The company offers 24/7 live chat support, and users can access a community forum for DIY solutions or send an email. You can even request a call from Cloudways if you prefer to speak with a human rep.
The CloudwaysBot is an AI solution offering real-time insights into your website performance and valuable notifications. You can integrate this bot with your email and Slack account to get alerts about your apps and servers.
Launching A Website on Cloudways
Cloudways makes it easy to launch and configure your server through an intuitive control panel. Here are the required steps:
Choose a cloud provider
The first step is to choose a cloud provider from the Cloudways console. This is another hosting company that provides the server infrastructure (aka. Infrastructure-as-a-Service) to Cloudways.
Your options are:
After selecting your cloud provider, you’ll get the option to configure your server. The control panel will display a slider that lets you choose the number of page views you expect to receive each month. This information helps Cloudways recommend a server size that would best suit your specific needs.
If you have the experience, you can choose server specifications manually. Cloudways lets you specify how much RAM, core processors, storage, and bandwidth you need.
Cloudways then asks you to choose your server location. Once done, you can move onto the next step, i.e., installing WordPress.
Installing WordPress via Cloudways
You can install WordPress through the “application management” tab in Cloudways’ interface. Choose from:
- Standard WordPress
- WordPress with WooCommerce hosting
- WordPress Multi-Site
All installations come with the W3 Total cache plug-in pre-installed and configured to enhance your website’s performance and speed.
Other Options in Cloudways Control Panel
There are many other settings in the Cloudways console. You can access them through the “Server Management” tab. Some notable ones include:
- Security: Besides using a firewall and offering other forms of protection, Cloudways lets you keep a log of “white list” IP addresses so you can securely gain access to your server.
- Migration tools: Cloudways has a WordPress Migrator tool to let users move an existing WordPress website to their managed cloud hosting platform.
- App-specific add-ons: Through the “Application add-on” section, you can configure application-specific add-ons for transactional emails, DNS management, and more. Extra tools such as SSL certificate installation, backup restoration, and GIT integration are accessible via the Cloudways console.
Cloudways Performance and Loading Time?
Cloudways is an impressive cloud hosting provider capable of offering astonishing speed and uptime. Access to some of the best cloud infrastructure in the world means your site will continue performing at its best in any situation, even when dealing with peaks in demand.
The Cloudways team promises around a 99% uptime when you’re hosting your website on their servers for WordPress and other top open-source site builders. Crucially, WordPress sites hosted with Cloudways boast 40-50% better loading times, thanks to the VMAN technology created by the Cloudways team. This proprietary technology deploys Memcached, Varnish, Apache, and Nginx at the same time for better site speed.
Globally Distributed Datacenters
If you leverage the Stackpath CDN (content delivery network), you’ll benefit from a global network of PoPs (points-of-presence) datacenter notes. These nodes can store copies of your website, automatically detect the geographical location of visitors, and deliver your content to them from the nearest node available.
Alternatively, you can use CloudwaysCDN. Cloudways lists step-by-step instructions on how to configure this so you can benefit from Cloudways’ vast network of 150+ servers globally.
Is Cloudways Safe?
Cloudways uses sophisticated firewalls to safeguard all of its cloud servers. The company’s technical team uses security hardening techniques to protect servers from potential hacks. And because there’s an automatic backup feature in each Cloudway plan, you can be sure that your site will be safe with Cloudways.
Cloudways also provides application-level security, an additional layer of security designed to safeguard against external threats to your site that surface from apps.
Cloudways’ pricing may confuse you at first, so we have some recommendations on how to navigate this aspect of the cloud hosting service.
If you’re launching or migrating a small website, the basic plans for Linode and Digital Ocean should be suitable for you. However, AWS or Google Cloud plans may be a better choice if your site is already getting millions of pageviews each month.
Plans start from $10 per month, and you only pay for the resources you need. If you later need to upgrade, the Vertical Scaling feature of Cloudways makes it convenient to do so
When it comes to payments, you can make a transaction via PayPal or credit card. Cloudways is one of the few managed cloud hosting providers that offer PayPal as a payment option.
Final Thoughts & How to Get Started with Cloudways
As a managed cloud hosting platform, Cloudways balances functionality with affordability to make it easy for small businesses to take advantage of its platform.
Although you can directly host your site on one of the cloud companies it partners with, you’re unlikely to get the same experience and support as you’d get with Cloudways.
Cloudways’ cloud servers boast an excellent feature set, and you can scale your resources as your business grows.
Want to try Cloudways? Sign up for a free 3-day trial that the company offers to test its servers and features.