Review of Cloudways: Pay-As-You-Go Website Hosting

Review of Cloudways: Pay-As-You-Go Website Hosting

Finding the right hosting service can feel like a bit of a challenge in this day and age due to the sheer number of options that are available.

Now that you've decided to go with Cloudways, don't expect things to get any simpler!

Why, you ask? Mainly due to the fact that this managed cloud hosting platform gives you the option to pick from among five different data center providers.

At least ten distinct packages are offered by each of these service providers. You even have the option of paying on an hourly or monthly basis. That gives you more than a hundred and more options to pick from!

It is going to be a minefield for some people. Others consider it a significant advantage to be able to select precisely the features they require, much like they would at a web hosting buffet.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's get into the meat and potatoes of this review, which is to determine who should use Cloudways and who should look elsewhere.

Cloudways Prices

  • Cloudways Digital Ocean 1 — $10.
  • Cloudways Digital Ocean 2 — $22.
  • Cloudways Digital Ocean 3 — $42.

As was just mentioned, the very first thing you need to grasp about Cloudways is the fact that it gives you the freedom to select from among five distinct data center providers. These providers are DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS (from Amazon), and Google Cloud.

Each provider offers at least ten different plans, but for the sake of brevity and clarity, I will only discuss the top four featured plans available from each provider. For the sake of simplicity, let's refer to them as Entry, Standard, Advanced, and Pro respectively.

Digital Ocean

  • ENTRY: $10 / month. 1GB RAM. 1 Core Processor. 25GB Storage. 1TB Bandwidth.
  • STANDARD: $22 / month. 2GB RAM. 1 Core Processor. 50GB Storage. 2TB Bandwidth.
  • ADVANCED:$42 / month. 4GB RAM. 2 Core processor. 80GB Storage. 4TB Bandwidth.
  • PRO: $80 / month. 8GB RAM. 4 Core processor. 160GB Storage. 5TB Bandwidth.


  • ENTRY: $12 / month. 1GB RAM. 1 Core Processor. 25GB Storage. 1TB Bandwidth.
  • STANDARD: $24/ month. 2GB RAM. 1 Core Processor. 50GB Storage. 2TB Bandwidth.
  • ADVANCED:$50 / month. 4GB RAM. 2 Core processor. 80GB Storage. 4TB Bandwidth.
  • PRO: $90 / month. 8GB RAM. 4 Core processor. 160GB Storage. 5TB Bandwidth.


  • ENTRY: $11 / month. 1GB RAM. 1 Core Processor. 25GB Storage. 1TB Bandwidth.
  • STANDARD: $23/ month. 2GB RAM. 1 Core Processor. 55GB Storage. 2TB Bandwidth.
  • ADVANCED:$44 / month. 4GB RAM. 2 Core processor. 80GB Storage. 3TB Bandwidth.
  • PRO: $84 / month. 8GB RAM. 4 Core processor. 160GB Storage. 4TB Bandwidth.


  • ENTRY: $36.51 / month. 1.75 GB RAM. 1 vCPU. 20GB Storage. 2GB Bandwidth.
  • STANDARD: $86.77/ month. 3.75 GB RAM. 1 vCPU. 20 GB Storage. 2GB Bandwidth.
  • ADVANCED:$176.26 / month. 8 GB RAM. 2 vCPU. 20GB Storage. 2GB Bandwidth.
  • PRO: $274.33 / month. 16 GB RAM. 4 vCPU. 20GB Storage. 2GB Bandwidth.

Google Cloud

  • ENTRY: $33.18 / month. 1.70 GB RAM. 1 vCPU. 20GB Storage. 2GB Bandwidth.
  • STANDARD: $73.5/ month. 3.75 GB RAM. 1 vCPU. 20 GB Storage. 2GB Bandwidth.
  • ADVANCED:$138.52/ month. 7.5 GB RAM. 2 vCPU. 20GB Storage. 2GB Bandwidth.
  • PRO: $225.93 / month. 15 GB RAM. 4 vCPU. 20GB Storage. 2GB Bandwidth.

Then, keep in mind that there is always the possibility of moving up a level. For example, the monthly cost of using Google Cloud can go as high as $1332.65 per month. You would end up with an insanely powerful 120 GB of RAM and 32 virtual CPUs if you did this.

In addition, Vultr offers specialized High Frequency plans, which, despite being marginally more expensive than the ones described above, provide you with additional storage space.

In addition, as far as I'm aware, Cloudways is the only reasonably priced hosting provider that offers hourly billing for its services.

For instance, the entry plan for DigitalOcean would cost $0.0139 per hour, the Standard plan would cost $0.0306 / hour, the Advanced plan would cost $0.0583 per hour, and the Pro plan would cost $0.1111 per hour.

This is obviously most useful for agencies and resellers that manage their customers' websites, as well as owners of websites who are aware of when traffic spikes are going to occur.

Now, I am aware that there is a lot to take in, so the page that lists all of the prices on the Cloudways website is probably the best place to compare all of the prices side by side.

What features come with each Cloudways plan?

When you use Cloudways, you don't have to worry about missing out on any features because they include them all in every plan. Therefore, regardless of whether you go with the most affordable Linode plan or the priciest AWS one, you will get the following:

  • 24/7/365 Support.
  • Free SSL.
  • One free migration.
  • Unlimited application installation.
  • Team management.
  • Dedicated firewalls.
  • 24/7 real-time monitoring.
  • Automated backups.
  • Staging environment.
  • Optimized with advanced caches.
  • Regular security patching.
  • HTTP/2 enabled servers.
  • SSH and SFTP access.

The fact that you are not tied down to a single provider by a contract enables you to take advantage of the services offered by a variety of vendors without limiting your options.

There is just one more thing about each of the individual server providers that is important to bring up, and that is the locations of the data centers:

  • Digital Ocean: Toronto, San Francisco, New York, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Singapore, Bangalore.
  • Linode: Newark, Dallas, Toronto, Fremont, Atlanta, London, Frankfurt, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Mumbai.
  • Vultr: Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Silicon Valley, Dallas, Atlanta, Toronto, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney.
  • AWS: Northern Virginia, Oregon, Northern California, Montreal, Ohio, Frankfurt, London, Stockholm, Ireland, Paris, Milan, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Bahrain.
  • Google Cloud: Iowa, North Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon, Montreal, London, Frankfurt, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Taiwan, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Mumbai, Sao Paulo.

If in the future you intend to target particular markets anywhere in the world, it is helpful to have this information to hand. And as you can see, Amazon and Google are the only two companies that have data centers located in South American countries.

Cloudways Pros & Cons


  • Flexibility. The flexibility to switch to a different hosting plan whenever one better meets your requirements is the primary benefit of going with Cloudways, which makes it a genuine pay-as-you-go service provider. Website proprietors who need flexibility and anticipate traffic peaks may find that this solution is an excellent option for their needs.
  • Performance. Each of the hosting choices will maintain an almost perfect online presence at all times. In addition to that, the velocity was very satisfactory when we tested it.
  • Server features. Every server that is launched on Cloudways comes equipped with various features, including but not limited to SSD-based hosting and built-in caches.
  • Security. The options for dedicated firewalls and two-factor authentication are also beneficial.
  • Backups. You have the option of either manually backing up your site using the plugin that is specifically designed for that purpose, or letting their system do it automatically on an hourly or daily basis.
  • Server locations. It is possible that this will depend on the provider that you select; however, you at least have the ability to select and complete control over the provider.
  • Collaborators and users. Management of the team is both comprehensive and straightforward.
  • Pay-as-you-go on an hourly basis. There is not another hosting provider that comes to mind that allows you to pay for the service on an hourly basis.


  • Support. It's not that the support is terrible; rather, the problem is that they break it up into different tiers. With the basic plans, you only get 15 minutes of live chat, which might not be enough to get to the bottom of whatever problem you're having (it gets turned into a support ticket after that). If you pay for the support add-on, you will be given additional minutes to use.
  • Not the easiest to use. Even though it has a more appealing appearance than cPanel, the backend isn't the easiest to use either; it is most certainly designed for users with a higher level of technical expertise.
  • Way too many options. The hundreds of different options that are available through Cloudways are going to cause anyone who has trouble making decisions to go into overthinking mode.
  • There is no CDN included. It starts at just one dollar for every 25 GB, which is a reasonable price, but some providers offer it totally free of charge.

When should I use hosting from Cloudways?

Cloudways is unquestionably designed for users with a higher level of technological expertise. It is designed for companies that have a solid grasp on their traffic cycles, the type of performance they require, and the locations where they must deliver content. It is expected that agencies and resellers will have the knowledge necessary to maximize both the performance and the options.

The performance, by the way, is outstanding, and it is ideal for websites like online stores that need to auto-scale based on seasonal increases in customer demand for their services.

The pay-as-you-go nature of their plans can also be advantageous for customers who do not wish to make a year-long commitment to a plan with some of the most well-known cloud service providers, such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud, or who anticipate high levels of traffic.

When should you not use hosting provided by Cloudways?

I would suggest looking into other options if you need to host a simple website such as a personal blog, a small online store, a WordPress portfolio, or a basic business page.

Using a hosting service such as DreamHost or SiteGround, for example, will make getting started much simpler.


  • Ease of use. Creating an account with Cloudways is a simple and uncomplicated process. You can sign in with your email address, LinkedIn profile, Google or Github account, respectively. They do not use cPanel because they have their own control panel. It has a contemporary appearance but is not exactly the most user-friendly. After a couple of hours of using their interface, you will be familiar with how to accomplish the majority of tasks. Take into consideration that Cloudways comes with a large number of options, which can be overwhelming for users just starting out. There is an efficient method for adding new users to your account, which can be useful for managing teams. You have the option of giving them complete access or setting restricted permissions for them. It is also possible to limit their involvement to a specific project or projects only.
  • Domain names. The plans offered by Cloudways do not include a domain name by default. In point of fact, they won't be able to sell you one under any circumstances.
  • Email. Email accounts are the sole optional extra that can be purchased with Cloudways hosting. Each email account has a monthly fee of one dollar.
  • Databases. It would appear that there are no restrictions when it comes to the databases that are written on paper, as long as the amount stays within a reasonable range. Your database manager can be either MySQL or MariaDB, depending on your preference.
  • Applications. In addition to WordPress, there are a number of other applications and content management systems that can be installed with just one click. You will only have two options available to you: Laravel and Magento.
  • Webspace limit. When it comes to hosting your server, you have a few different providers to pick from. As an illustration, you could use Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Vultr, Linode, or DigitalOcean. There are many different plans available from each provider, each of which has its own unique storage constraints. The most affordable option is DigitalOcean, which offers a range of plans with different storage capacities, including 25 GB, 50 GB, 80 GB, and 160 GB respectively.
  • Monthly data transfer limit. In the same way as the amount of storage, the bandwidth is determined by the provider as well as the plan that you select. If you use a server provided by DigitalOcean, the bandwidth available to you will begin at 1 TB and can increase all the way up to 5 TB.
  • FTP accounts and secure FTP. Both Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) and SSH can be used to connect to your website. You will have credentials to access the entire server system by default (master credentials), or you will just have credentials to access the application you want to use (e.g. your WordPress installation). The owner of the account will have the ability to generate multiple sets of credentials for each application.
  • Server location. You have the option to select multiple datacenter providers when you use Cloudways, including DigitalOcean, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Vultr, and Linode. You have your choice between more than 25 different locations in total. These include countries such as the United States (specifically San Francisco, Chicago, New York, or Atlanta), Canada, Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, Germany, and Singapore.
  • Security features. Cloudways provides SSL certificates that can be added to your websites at no additional cost. They also run versions of the software that are secure (e.g. MySQL and PHP 5,7 and 8). Extras include protection against bots, firewalls that prevent traffic from reaching certain ports, and a partitioning system that keeps the applications you install distinct from one another. Users have the ability to enable two-factor authentication; therefore, you will need to verify your session on Cloudways using an additional device. In addition to this, they monitor logins from potentially malicious devices and send an alert to your email address whenever one of these connections seems fishy.
  • Server speed. Cloudways did very well in the series of third-party speed tests that we conducted on web hosts. For our tests, we utilized a server hosted by DigitalOcean.
  • Uptime. Since Cloudways uses datacenters from reputable providers like DigitalOcean, AWS (from Amazon), and Google Cloud, their uptime performed well in our tests designed to evaluate the reliability of hosting services.
  • Backups. You have the ability to configure your backups to be run routinely, either hourly or daily, depending on your preference. You are also able to choose how long you would like your backups to be kept, with options ranging from 1 week to 4 weeks. Additionally, it is possible to create backups manually (e.g. before updating a plugin). It will cost you $0.033 per gigabyte, so it is not free. You will have to make use of SFTP in order to successfully download these backups as there is no other straightforward method available. Even though it's a good system, I really wish that it was a little bit simpler to work with.
  • CDN. Although Cloudways provides an inexpensive CDN, additional fees are required if you wish to make use of it. Competitors such as Kinsta and WP Engine include it standard with their payment packages.
  • Server features. At the moment, PHP versions as old as 5.6 can still be downloaded and used. Your database manager can be either MySQL or MariaDB, depending on your preference. SSL certificates can be set up at no cost to the user. The WordPress and Magento advanced caching systems are both operational. Creating staging areas is something that can be done. Everything is great, but I do wish that it could be utilized with less effort.
  • Refunds and guarantees. Due to the fact that Cloudways is a pay as you go service, you will only receive a refund for the funds that you haven't used. In addition, the refund request must be submitted no later than three months after the initial deposit of funds. It would appear that Cloudways does not provide an uptime guarantee. Assistance and support. The support offered by Cloudways is, in my experience, very good. It can be somewhat slow, but if you pay an additional fee, you can get priority support. According to the terms of the Cloudways Service Legal Agreement, basic support chats are only allowed to last for a maximum of 15 minutes. After that, a ticket will be created for you, and if the issue is urgent, you will receive a response within three hours; otherwise, you will receive a response within twelve hours.

A potentially intriguing proposition for advanced users. Consider multiple website owners, digital marketing agencies, or web designers who resell hosting space on their own websites. Even though there is the possibility to pay for hosting on an hourly basis, you are still given the opportunity to select a genuine pay-as-you-go solution.

Despite the fact that, in my opinion, CloudWay is not the most user-friendly provider, some technically savvy website owners will be very pleased with the company because of its excellent performance, numerous security features, and abundant hosting options.

Backups for Cloudways

The Backup section of your primary dashboard can be accessed very quickly through the left-hand menu. As you can see, the primary choices pertain to the amount of frequently the backups are performed. It is convenient that you can choose the timing for the event yourself.

Using the option to create a local backup, you can make a single copy of your website. You are required to make use of SSH or SFTP in order to gain access to it because, for some reason, Cloudways does not permit you to download it directly from the dashboard. And, perhaps most importantly, it is not offered at no cost. Cloudways levies a fee of $0.033 per gigabyte of data that is backed up in an offline location.

Scaling in Cloudways

You are able to scale your resources in response to peaks in traffic, which is one of the primary advantages of having such a large number of options.

This is accomplished with Cloudways through a method that they refer to as "vertical scaling." Depending on the provider that you select, you may be able to increase not only the size of your server but also its CPU and memory.

Because you won't have to move any of your data or web applications, the solution is efficient and economical. This means that you can keep all of your information in a single location.

However, there are a few things that should be brought up:

  • The scaling of storage is an ongoing process. Therefore, if you only want to increase the size of your disk, you won't be able to scale back down. The workaround involves cloning your server and moving it to a plan with fewer resources, after which the upgraded plan should be terminated.
  • The scaling process will result in your server going offline. Be sure to get it done outside of typical rush hour times.
  • Different providers have different options. Both Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud give you the ability to scale your server's CPU and RAM on their own. You are only able to scale the total size of your server on DigitalOcean, Linue, and Vultr. This includes the amount of CPU, RAM, and disk space.

Is Cloudways working fast?

Yes! However, according to the results of our series of independent tests, the average page loading speed was very good indeed. Again, it is important to note that we have only used the data centers provided by DigitalOcean.

Cloudways was one of the web hosts that loaded pages the quickest on average, taking only 1.46 seconds. This made it one of the fastest hosts that we evaluated.

As you can see in the table that follows, Cloudways has become noticeably quicker over the course of the past three years, both in absolute terms and in comparison to the speeds of other web hosts:

Conclusions: Is Cloudways the right choice for you?

If you have trouble understanding any of the more technical terms that have been used in this review, such as CDN, staging, or server customization, then you should probably look somewhere else. There are more straightforward options available that will still host your website effectively despite having a significantly reduced feature set. SiteGround and DreamHost are two web hosts that come to mind.

If you are looking for WordPress hosting, Cloudways is a good option; however, there are other options available, such as WP Engine or Kinsta, where you can get support and infrastructure that was specifically built for WordPress. Additionally, there are WordPress hosts that are more affordable.

At this time, Cloudways is most likely one of the better options for managing a hosting stack and extracting the most value possible from it. That is to say, if you are a reseller or an agency with hundreds of sites in your portfolio, you will have the ability to move sites to the best data centers, switch to a different hosting plan when necessary, and utilize the scaling options to meet the demands of extremely high traffic spikes.


What are the benefits of utilizing the services of a data center provider?

If you only own one website, you can select a hosting provider that has servers located in close proximity to the people you want to reach. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the only company that offers server space in South American countries.

The most significant benefit for agencies and resellers is the ability to manage all of their sites from a single location, while also providing a variety of data center options for their customers' websites.

Is It Really on a Pay-Per-Use Basis?

You can gain access to the data centers of DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Engine (GCE) on a monthly or even an hourly basis with Cloudways. You are not required to enter into an annual contract, and you are free to cancel your subscription whenever you like.

Why am I unable to log in to my free trial?

It is dependent on the provider of the data center that you select. Both Google Cloud Engine (GCE) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) will not permit this. In order to launch their servers and access them, you will need to upgrade your Cloudways account.

It shouldn't be an issue with the other three providers (DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr), so don't worry about that.

Are There Any Additional Fees Involved?

If you choose to use a content delivery network (CDN), you will incur fees of approximately one dollar for every 25 gigabytes (GB) of data that is sent. A rate of $0.033 per gigabyte is applied to the cost of offline backup storage as well. Email subscriptions start at just one dollar per month.