Cloudway Review 2017
Is CloudwayThe Right Host For You?
Cloudway is superb. There’s no getting away from it. They are not one of those hosting providers that try to please everyone, they are for people who are serious about their websites. They really deliver, in every aspect and most importantly, they’re not overly expensive. They represent real value for money.
Cloud-based web hosting providers are becoming increasingly popular. That’s where Cloudway comes in. Cloud-based hosting offers great performance and flexibility. But, they’re complicated beasts. They need a lot of technical know-how to setup and manage. But that’s where Cloudway has been smart because they’ve gone right ahead and built their reputation on being a managed cloud-based hosting provider. The best of both worlds? Let's find out.
Detailed review of Cloudway Hosting
Cloudway offers something a little different. For a start, they aren’t US-based, but rather, based out of Malta. Founded back in 2011 by Pere Hospital, Aaqib Gadit, Uzair Gadit and Umair Gadit, they have additional offices in the middle east, UAE, and another location in Europe. Spain. But that’s just the administrative side to the business, they have data centers all around the world.
The Maltese company has had a very clear goal right from the beginning. They want to provide cloud-based hosting that offers both convenience, and ease. The company has gone from strength to strength. In the last year alone, they’ve seen over 500% increase in sales. The world has finally cottoned on to the fact that managed hosting is the way forwards, especially WordPress hosting.
Being a managed hosting service, there’s a major emphasis placed on customer support. They go above the beyond the expected levels of service. Besides offering their managed hosting, they do their best to offer to be a resource for the general good. Their blog is particularly active with interviews from industry leaders and a broad spectrum of how-to guides and reviews. They are big news on social media too.
Up time of a minimum of 99.5% guaranteed
Customer Service is Exceptional
Easy Signup, especially for novices
Fully Managed Hosting Service
Not affordable for everyone
Every hosting provider needs to have a focus. To do something that differentiates them from the competition. And boy is it competitive. Cloudway is no different and they’ve decided to make it their goal to be one of the quickest on the market.
Every managed hosting provider is always going to be quicker, because there are tweaks that could be done to any server and website that’s going to make a significant difference, all you need is the technical knowledge and that’s the whole point of having a managed host.
With Cloudway, we’ve seen some extraordinary results. In terms of page load speed. As a starting speed, the average across the various package is around 0.65 seconds. For this level of hosting you should have 1 second as your benchmark and Cloudway are significantly quicker than that.
But then, their managed hosting kicks in and they start to refine that making it quicker and quicker. We’ve seen page load speed of 0.3 seconds or less. That is pretty much instantaneous. It’s lightning quick. I can’t say there is no hosting quicker but it’s so fast, you won’t notice it if it was. And as it’s managed, as your website develops and grows, you have the expertise on hand to keep manipulating the features to optimize for speed.
Another benefit of choosing a managed server is the reliability. For a start, being cloud-based helps. As does having a technical team on hand, which is what a managed host affords its clients. You can expect real-time monitoring with technicians onsite at the datacentre.
They are there to foresee potential problems and solve them before they happen. You also get access to real-time monitoring to have an instant snapshot of your usage 24/7. Having that kind of information at your fingertips allows you to really manage your websites in real time.
They have 25 data centers around the world. That’s superb for latency, but it’s also a great asset for reliability. We’re talking top quality technology, both hardware, and software. They have all the infrastructure in place to ensure they have perfect reliability. And they do. 99.99% uptime. It doesn’t get any better. If there’s a hardware issue, they have it replaced in 30 minutes.
As fast as their hosting is if the website is not online then what’s the point? Uptime is critical and with Cloudways in your corner, it’s never going to be an issue.
This is a managed hosting service. Managed literally means you should be inspecting impeccable customer support. Cloudways don’t disappoint.
The support is delivered via live-chat and ticketing, plus a large knowledge base. Personally, I like to be able to chat to someone, it’s a personal thing. But besides that, it’s comprehensive.
They go out of their way to not only answer any questions you have, to be reactive to your needs, but they are actually proactive. They look for ways to make your hosting better, and quicker. This is ideal for clients who have very little technical know-how. You don’t need to concern yourself, Cloudways almost offer you that team member who has the technical expertise to manage your hosting for you.
First you should probably know what hosting package you want
Before you choose a host, it's good to know what the different packages they offer are. I think their VPS service is top notch, my favourite 3 options are the following:
Key features of the Starter VPS Hosting Package
- 1GB Ram
- 30 GB SSD Storage
- Unlimited Domains
- 1TB Bandwidth
If you're looking for a hosting service that combines great quality with a really strong price point, then you're in the right place. Especially if you want to work with an award winning hosting provider with an outstanding reputation online.
Key features of the most popular VPS Package
- 2GB RAM
- 60 GB SSD Storage
- Unlimited Domains
- 2 TB Bandwidth
If you are expecting more traffic or your audience is already building up, then you're going to need a little more might and power from your host without costing the earth. This is what their package offers and why it's the most popular.
Key features of the largest VPS Hosting Package
- 8GB RAM
- 120 GB SSD Storage
- Unlimited Domains
- 4 TB Bandwidth
If your website is eCommerce or has a well established audience, then this is the perfect place to start looking. You get the extra performance which you need, but with a company you can trust, and all at a reasonable price that offers value.
What other hosts provide similar services?
Another hosting service worthy of your consideration is WP Engine. When it comes to specifically hosting WordPress websites, they have no equal and also score a full 5 stars. Expect amazing site loading speeds and all the support you need to never have to worry about your WordPress website. Check out our WP Engine review right here.
Cloudway Hosting: Other things to know
Average speed, amazing uptime, but noncompetitive pricing...
I've done a cross-comparison analysis of Cloudway Hosting's performance benchmarks vs the benchmarks of several other hosts in their bracket.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you choose the right hosting for you?
It’s tough. There are so many hosting providers out there. Massive multi-million-pound companies with huge marketing budgets, chasing you around the internet. All trying to convince you that they deserve your business.
So how do you decide which type of host is right for you?
First off, you need to have a real clear picture on the type of hosting provider you need. There are so many different hosting options, everything from cheap shared hosting solutions to managed dedicated servers. And hundreds in between.
They represent a massive difference in performance, scale, and price. Of course, in an ideal world, we’d all pick the best of the best right? But the difference in price is vast. Everything from $5 a month to $500 a month. We don’t all have the budget for a $500 a month server.
So let’s break it down.
If you are the owner of a smaller site, 50 pages or less. Then you probably only need a shared hosting service or a VPS (Virtual Private Server). Possibly something on the cloud. If it’s a business site. No login, just an information-based site then a good quality shared hosting solution is probably going to offer you the best value for money.
If you have a smaller site, but it’s very media-rich, with either videos or a lot of images, then a VPS and it’s added performance is a better fit. For example, a roofing company, with images of projects, or a wedding videographer might have, with examples of their work.
The VPS offers better security too, so if you have a members area or require users to login, then you should probably pay the little extra for the VPS option. Saves the potential for headaches later on down the line.
For e-commerce stores, you should immediately rule out shared hosting solutions. Go straight for a VPS or a dedicated server. For 2 reasons really. The first is security. You’re taking payments online. That’s protected with an SSL certificate. But you’re likely to collect login information too, for marketing reasons. If that’s the case, protect that data with a more secure hosting solution.
If you’re venturing into e-commerce and you want to limit your initial costs, then you can manage with a good quality shared host and move onto something bigger as you add more products and get more visitors.
If you just have a small business site or information site. Then you can get away with a shared hosting solution because the better options will have simple “one-click” installs for WordPress and Drupal etc. Once it’s up and running you’re unlikely to need much technical support or face many problems. In that case, when there is an issue, which will be rare, the support will be sufficient enough to get the problem resolved quickly enough.
Other than that, unless you have your own expertise with hosting, you should really look at a managed solution. You’re going to get all the technical expertise you need, at your beck and call. They’re going to help you optimize the site for better performance too. Especially with a lot of images because they optimize the cache and image sizing. For example, they’ll help to integrate a CDN for your content delivery.
Once you’ve determined what type of hosting you need. You need to be able to pick the wheat from the chaff. In other words, you’ll want to pick the best hosting provider.
The first, and easiest option, is to let us do all the legwork for you. We’ve been in this business for a long time. We personally use the hosting we review, we also go through hundreds of reviews from users looking for a recurring theme.
The human race like to complain, so you have to take user reviews with a pinch of salt. At the same time, some hosting providers have hundreds of thousands of customers, with that many users, you’ll drop the ball from time to time and have some complaints.
What we’re looking for are comments from users on the same issue. So if reviews suggest that customer service has been slow, you can start to hold from credence that there is an issue there. Customer support is at least, inconsistent.
Or you do your own homework.If that’s the route you want to take, we always suggest you focus on 3 main areas. Performance, reliability and customer support.
With the performance, the chief concern is page load speed. If it’s a managed host you're looking at, you want a host that’s going to help with caching and adopting a CDN. If it’s just straight up hosting, you should have some benchmarks.
For a shared hosting provider, you should demand page load speeds of 3 seconds or faster. Testing has shown, anything slower than 3 seconds and you can expect 40% of your audience to take a walk. They just get impatient and click away to another site. There are some that are quicker than 2 seconds, and we personally love SiteGround at around 1.7 seconds.
For a VPN ( Virtual Private Server ) then 2 seconds is your benchmark. The better or premium packages get much lower, in fact, Cloudways is almost at half a second. That’s extraordinary. It’s instantaneous. But 2 seconds is the least you should expect.
Finally, for a dedicated server, there is no reason why you should have page load speed slower than 1 second unless your site is epically heavy. Lots of videos and images. Etc.
There’s no point in having the fastest page load speeds in the industry if your website is down half the time.
The good news is, most hosting providers have their house in order. They are using top of the range equipment in their data centers. Safe power sources. You should demand 98% reliability, right off the bat.
Equally, you shouldn’t take the hosting provider’s word for it. They all promise the world because statistics are pretty easy to manipulate. This is one thing you should check by looking at user reviews. If you find that ex or existing clients have had an issue with uptime, that’s a concern and something to bear in mind.
At Bitpak, we really value customer support. It’s a simple matter of cost. Whenever there is an issue with your website, and it’s down, then in many cases, you’re likely to be losing money the longer it stays down. So that’s something to bear in mind. The longer it takes for support to kick in and get the site online the more it’s costing you in sales.
Then there’s the ‘true cost’ of getting it fixed.
With many shared hosts, for example, they often give you the answer or redirect you to a knowledge base to sort the problem yourself. Either way, it’s up to you to make the changes that are going to sort the issue.
If you value your time at just $20 per hour, and it takes you 4 hours to fix. It’s costing you an extra $80. If that happens every 3-4 months, that’s an extra $200+ a year in hosting costs.
If you used a hosting provider that had top of the range customer support, for example, a managed hosting solution such as Cloudways, you’re saving on this cost.
Where are the data centers located?
Cloudways have you covered when it comes to data centers. They fully understand how important it is to have your server as close to you as possible to reduce latency. Rather than focusing on just a US market, they have a truly international clientele and as a consequence, have datacenter located accordingly.
As of right now, Cloudway uses 25+ datacenters. They are located across Europe, Asia, and the US. They have data centers on both coasts of the US so it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, and more importantly, where your website visitors are because Cloudway have you covered.
What Services Do Cloudways offer?
It’s really important to understand exactly what you’re being offered. Hosting providers love to use words like “Unlimted” a lot. Which, in most cases, is a “little white lie”. But that’s not the case with Cloudways. They are transparent and they actually deliver what they promise. Which is refreshing.
To start with, each customer gets a server, complete with dedicated hardware. Very importantly, you get your own IP address too. The servers they use will have features like an SSD.
SSD, or Solid State Drives, are the latest breakthrough in technology. They allow for website data to be retrieved instantly. With a traditional hard drive, that information is ‘fetched’. The result is, much quicker page load speeds and if your server doesn’t use SSD, then you are already using obsolete technology.
Each customer is given the opportunity to add functions and services from cloud-based infrastructure. That includes but is not limited to Amazon’s services, Digital Ocean, Google, and Vultr.
Because Cloudways offers a managed service, these services are also managed. It is also structured to be able to support all the popular content management systems available today. Including, WordPress WordPress, Drupal, Magento, and Joomla. If you want to use other PHP-based Content Management Systems, the functionality is there, it’s just setup, so you’ll need to “do-it-yourself”.
All the packages on offer are scalable. If you need to add more servers as your business grows, the option is in place and your technical team is on hand to facilitate the growth.
Cloudways also has its very own Cloud-based E-commerce hosting platform, developed to allow customers to set up or migrate online stores. The migration of a site if free, but limited to one free migration per account. The facility is obviously available to set up and build an E-commerce store on one of the CMSs support by Cloudways. (Which is all the popular platforms like WordPress, Drupal etc).
Thanks to the custom built Cloud Console, management is actually pretty easy, which is not always the case with cloud-based hosting. It includes features like one-click SSL management, as well as domain mapping. They’ve done a good job in making things simple.Operations that would often result in the necessity for a trawl through the knowledge base or a support ticket, have been made intuitive and easy to use for the less technically inclined customer.
Unless you change the setup manually, backups are set up to run daily and when the need arises, data recovery is a simple one; click operation. It’s all in the Console and you can set it up to suit your needs.
Cloudways set their bots to work, providing various notifications to give you key data that includes functions like server status’, backups, and potential upgrades. The bot can actually answer questions and be set up to deliver information not just by email, but via popular channels like Slack and HipChat. It can also be set up to just deliver the information you want, so you won’t feel bombarded with data you have no use of.
For developers: You can access the bot via the custom API
Can you give me an idea of Cloudways' pricing?
There are currently 4 packages available. Each package is limited by RAM. processor, storage, and bandwidth.
The initial package starts with 512MB of RAM, a 1 core processor, 20 GB of storage and 1TB bandwidth. That’s a great starter package, perfect for a small business website. It will be lightning quick and you don’t get any lesser levels of support or reliability.
The scope of functionality increases up to the packages. Right up to 4GB of RAM, 2 core processors, 60GB of storage and 4TB of bandwidth. You’d need a huge site to find that limit.
What fairly unusual and important to point out is that pricing is actually by the hour. You Pay-as-you-go.
One of the benefits of this system is that customers can purchase multiple servers and each has the functionality that allows it to scale up, either permanently, or for temporary high volume periods, like Christmas, for example. The major benefit of this pricing structure is you only pay for usage, which definitely suits a business that has peaks. You just pay on a monthly basis for your usage.
Another benefit is there is no need for fixed contracts, you are in control, if they stop delivering the level of service you rightfully expect, you’re free to go elsewhere. It keeps the pressure on the host to keep on delivering.
Additional products and services, for example, Infrastructure services, are billed separately. When making payments, all major credit cards are accepted. So is PayPal. Cloudways have been quick to embrace Bitcoin which is also an acceptable form of payment.
Cloudway is rightfully very confident in their hosting’s quality. It’s probably why they offer a free trial, with no payment or even credit card is needed. You get to try out the console, get a feel without having to think about making a decision. Not many hosting providers allow you to try before you buy.
What happens when you reach your bandwidth limits?
It really depends on which servers you are looking to use. For example, on Amazon, billing is available and on demand at all times, for all bandwidth. The same goes for a Google server also.
It differs a little, with other servers. For example, Vultr will charge a rate of $0.02 to $0.05 per GB. The pricing depends on which region the data center falls in.
On Amazon and Google servers, bandwidth billing is on demand at all times.
With DigitalOcean, a set fee of $0.02 per GB will be charged for additional bandwidth. Finally, with Kyup, you get up to 2TB bandwidth right across all brands. When that limit is reached, $20 will be charged for every TB added.
What exactly is Woocommerce hosting?
Having a lightning-quick host that is extremely reliable is a great asset for a website, but that’s even more prevalent for an e-commerce store, that’s why Cloudways is a superb option for Woocommerce users.
Having super fast page load speed, especially for a woocommerce store with thousands of product pages, means you’ll have less abandoned carts. As ridiculous as it sounds in the cold light of day, having to wait a few seconds for a page to load, has a massive impact on sales, especially abandoned carts.
It’s also why having so many datacenters helps. The distance between the user and the server matters. The longer it is, the more lag. That delay affects sales, as we’ve just discussed.
Currently, they offer free Woocommerce store migration and 1-click Woocommerce deployment, which over 35,000 e-commerce stores have taken advantage of.
In many ways, they are set up for perfectly to deal with e-commerce stores, which can be a complex beast, that’s why Cloudways should always be your first port of call when looking for the perfect host for your business.
Managed hosting is becoming the hottest form of hosting in 2016 and 2017. That’s because, for a small but affordable increase in cost, you get so much more from your hosting. You should expect better page load speeds, more reliability, and better customer support. It’s perfect for those website owners who have very little technical knowledge about hosting.
Cloudways are really at the forefront of the change. They’ve made their managed hosting a cloud-based service. It means an increased level of flexibility as to server location, that represent less lag time. Again, another way to increase speed and performance.
You also get maximum reliability, and customer support that’s shared hosting can’t get near. Cloudways are based out of the beautiful island of Malta, with offices in the middle east and Spain. But it matters very little because they only offer cloud-based services. With Servers in 25 countries, that’s all that matters.
Straight talk for a minute. This is an excellent hosting provider. One of the best we’ve come across in a good while. They are right up there with WP Engine and FlyWheel. They have affordable packages, and it’s very scalable. It can grow seamlessly as your business grows.