My Honest, Hands-On Cloudways Review (2023)

When I first dipped my toes into the vast ocean of web hosting back in 2021, I was like a fresh-faced sailor navigating the unpredictable seas of digital real estate.

And like any curious explorer, I stumbled upon a hidden gem: Cloudways.

Fast-forward to today, and this very blog is still powered by that same gem I discovered years ago. But, my fellow internet voyagers, what makes Cloudways sparkle like a thousand suns? 

Well, gather ’round, because I’m about to spill the tea in this honest, hands-on Cloudways review.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Sam, why should I trust your opinion on this?” Fair question, dear reader.

I’ve been through the wringer with web hosting, testing more platforms than a cat has lives. So, when I found Cloudways and decided to stick with it, you better believe I had good reason.

In this epic tale of hosting heroism, I’ll recount my comprehensive experience with Cloudways, from its inception in my life to the present day.

Along the way, I’ll sprinkle in lots of direct testing to back up my claims and (hopefully) tickle your funny bone with some witty banter and an unhealthy amount of pop-culture references.

So buckle up, buttercup, because we’re about to embark on a whirlwind adventure through the land of Cloudways!

My Switch to Cloudways

After spending what felt like a lifetime shackled to the sluggish beast known as shared hosting, I longed for the kind of speed that would make Usain Bolt weep with envy.

Enter Cloudways, my knight in shining armor, whisking me away from my shared server woes and into a realm of lightning-fast load times.

When I switched to Cloudways, I experienced an instant and massive speed boost, making me feel like I’d been handed the keys to a shiny new Ferrari.

And you know what? It wasn’t just the speed that had me swooning; their customer service and technical support were both on point, like a perfectly balanced cheese platter at a swanky soiree.

In case you’re coming from that pit of misery, Cloudways genuinely is a big step up from shared hosting. It made launching a server and connecting my domain was a breeze (pun intended).

Sure, their dashboard has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s mostly click-and-go. Plus, their $13/month Vultr HF plan comes with a generous 1TB of bandwidth and 32GB of NVMe storage—talk about a sweet deal!

Now, I won’t sugarcoat it: there are a few cons. While the dashboard can be a bit overwhelming at first, it’s nothing a little exploration can’t fix.

And although support can occasionally be hit or miss, it’s generally solid (like I said). As you scale, it can get pricey, and the Breeze plugin could use some TLC (but hey, just swap it out for WP Rocket).

The Need for Speed

Picture this: you’re a rebel pilot in a galaxy far, far away, desperate to outrun the Empire’s fleet of shared hosting TIE fighters.

Suddenly, a mysterious ship appears on the horizon, its sleek design and powerful engines promising breakneck speeds.

This ship, my friends, is the Millennium Falcon of web hosting: Cloudways.

Before my daring escape to the Cloudways galaxy, my GTMetrix score was more sluggish than a Jabba the Hutt hot yoga session.

But lo and behold, once I hopped on the Cloudways express, my GTMetrix score skyrocketed faster than Han Solo making the Kessel Run.

I’m talking precise, earth-shattering improvements, like going from a dismal C (78%) to a triumphant A (94%), practically leaving my old shared hosting in a cloud of space dust.

As if that weren’t enough, my Google PageSpeed Insights score also shot up like a proton torpedo into the Death Star’s exhaust port.

Seriously, I gained over 20 points, transforming my site from a sluggish AT-AT to a nimble X-wing.

So, fellow rebels, if you’re looking for a web hosting service that brings balance to the Force—or at least to your website’s speed—look no further than Cloudways.

And remember, the Force (of exceptional web performance) will be with you … always.

Bottlenecks Begone

As I navigated the treacherous world of shared hosting, I found myself trapped in a glitch-ridden Matrix, a virtual reality where CPU issues held me captive like Neo in his gelatinous pod.

My site was constantly plagued by the dreaded “Agent Smith” of web hosting: CPU overuse, even with the low traffic I was getting back then.

But just like Morpheus offered Neo a way out, Cloudways appeared before me, promising to liberate my site from the clutches of CPU limitations.

With a leap of faith, I took the plunge and entered the Cloudways realm, where my CPU issues vanished into the digital ether like a defeated swarm of Agent Smiths.

In this new reality, Cloudways’ powerful, dedicated resources had my site soaring like Trinity in that iconic rooftop scene. No more slow load times, no more maxed-out CPU usage—just the sweet, sweet freedom of unhindered performance.

So, if you’re tired of being trapped by the Matrix of shared hosting and want to break free from CPU issues once and for all, do what I did.

I assure you, once you experience this newfound power, there’s no going back. Remember, “there is no spoon,” but there is Cloudways—and that’s all the liberation your website needs.

The Great Escape

I was trapped in the walled garden of shared hosting, like Rapunzel in her tower, yearning to break free from the tangled mess of slow speeds and CPU constraints.

I assumed that my daring escape would be a Herculean task, full of technical hurdles and sleepless nights spent wrestling with complex migration processes.

But lo and behold, Cloudways came to my rescue, armed not with a sturdy rope of hair but with a simple, magical plugin.

With this trusty tool in hand, I swiftly scaled the wall, leaving my shared hosting prison in the dust. The transition was smoother than a greased-up otter on a slip ‘n slide.

In mere minutes, the plugin fully migrated my site to the dazzling realm of Cloudways.

What about technical support, you ask? Sure, they gallantly offered to assist me in my exodus, free of charge. But truth be told, I didn’t even need their help.

That’s right, folks: the migration was so easy-peasy that even a tech-challenged Rapunzel could’ve done it blindfolded.

So, if you’re trapped in the shared hosting tower, longing for the freedom of Cloudways’ wide-open plains, never fear.

Your escape is just a plugin away, and before you know it, you’ll be basking in the sunlit glory of a liberated, high-performance website.


Cloudways is like the Godfather of web hosting. It has your back with power, speed, and performance.

But when it’s time to discuss pricing, things get a little more interesting.

The good news is that the pricing is molto bene, especially when you choose a partner like Digital Ocean (which, by the way, is the one I’m using, capisce?).

However, there’s a slight catch. You might be hoping for an annual plan—a sweet deal that would have you sleeping with the fishes (in a good way). But alas, Cloudways only offers monthly plans.

You might feel like you’re being whacked, but let me tell ya’, my love for Cloudways runs deeper than the Hudson River.

So what if I can’t have an annual plan? I’d pay the monthly fee with a smile on my face, knowing I’ve got the web hosting equivalent of Don Corleone watching over my site.

In the end, the pricing is more than fair for the level of performance and support you receive. It’s like a scene straight out of a Scorsese film: intense, thrilling, and worth every penny.

So, take the deal, and join the Cloudways family—where loyalty and high-quality hosting are the orders of the day.

Digital Ocean Pricing

In a world of web hosting that often feels as dystopian as the streets of Blade Runner, Cloudways’ Digital Ocean plans rise above the smog like a Spinner police car. And Digital Ocean is the service I use and recommend the most.

So let’s delve into the intricate details of these plans, each tailored to make your website run as smoothly as Roy Batty’s poetic soliloquy.

The Nexus-6 ($12 USD/mo)

Ideal for replicants just starting their journey, this plan offers a solid foundation with 1GB RAM, a single-core processor, 25GB of storage, and a generous 1TB of bandwidth.

It’s perfect for small websites that don’t need to outrun any Blade Runners just yet.

The K United ($26 USD/mo)

For those who need a bit more flair, like K, the decisive sequel protagonist, this plan offers 2GB RAM, a single-core processor, 50GB of storage, and a sizable 2TB of bandwidth. 

This choice will keep your site nimble and responsive, without breaking the bank.

The Roy Batty ($50 USD/mo)

As powerful and efficient as the infamous Nexus-6 leader himself, this plan boasts 4GB RAM, a dual-core processor, 80GB of storage, and an impressive 4TB of bandwidth.

This option suits websites needing more traffic and delivering top-notch performance like a true Blade Runner antagonist.

The Eldon Tyrell ($96 USD/mo)

For those who demand the ultimate in website performance and control, look no further than the Eldon Tyrell of plans.

With 8GB RAM, a quad-core processor, 160GB of storage, and a colossal 5TB of bandwidth, this choice ensures your site can rival the most advanced replicants on the market.

Each of these Digital Ocean plans comes with a vast array of enhancements, like the genetic upgrades that make replicants so extraordinary:

  • Cloudflare Add-on: Boost your site’s security and performance with Cloudflare’s global CDN and security features.
  • 24/7/365 Support: Rest assured knowing that expert help is always available, just like the ever-watchful eye of the Blade Runners.
  • Free Object Cache Pro: Enhance your site’s speed with this valuable add-on, worth $95/mo, and watch it load as fast as a Spinner taking off.
  • Free SSL: Secure your site with a free SSL certificate, keeping your data encrypted like the secrets of the Tyrell Corporation.
  • Free Migration: Move your site to Cloudways without the hassle, as if you had a team of replicant engineers at your disposal.
  • Unlimited Application Installation: Install as many applications as your heart desires, creating a diverse ecosystem like the residents of Los Angeles.
  • Team Management: Collaborate with your team effortlessly, as seamlessly as Deckard and Gaff working together on a case.
  • Dedicated Firewalls: Keep your site safe from threats, like a Voight-Kampff machine detecting rogue replicants.
  • 24/7 Real-time Monitoring: Stay informed about your site’s performance and address issues promptly, like a Blade Runner on the hunt.
  • Automated Backups: Ensure your site’s data is safe and sound, even if it’s as precious as the secrets of replicant creation.
  • Staging Environment: Test changes to your site without risking your live site, like a replicant undergoing a Voight-Kampff test in the safety of the Tyrell Corporation headquarters.
  • Optimized with Advanced Caches: Boost your site’s performance with cutting-edge caching technology, like the enhancements that make replicants so agile and powerful.
  • Auto Healing: Keep your site up and running, even when unexpected issues arise, just as replicants keep going despite their limited lifespans.
  • Regular Security Patching: Stay up-to-date with the latest security patches, ensuring your site remains as impenetrable as the Tyrell Corporation’s defenses.
  • SSH and SFTP Access: Manage your site’s files and infrastructure with the ease and control of a Blade Runner navigating the bustling streets of LA.

The feature set’s more impressive than the visuals of Bladerunner 2049. And as a years-long Cloudawys user, I can attest to their value.

Technical Support: Ready 24/7

We’ve all been there: a high-noon showdown with website issues, feeling like we’re standing in the O.K. Corral, facing off against the Clanton gang.

Let me regale you with a tale of my own experience, as riveting as a good ol’ Doc Holliday yarn. 

One day, I found myself in a sticky situation—the kind that makes you feel like you’re locked in a duel with Johnny Ringo himself.

My website’s performance had suddenly tanked, and I was at my wit’s end, staring down the barrel of a potential traffic loss catastrophe.

Like a trusty steed carrying a cowboy into battle, I galloped over to Cloudways’ technical support, seeking help from the Wyatt Earp of the web hosting world.

In minutes, they responded, drawing their troubleshooting skills as fast as a cowboy in the Wild West.

Together, we investigated the issue, digging into the depths of my site’s performance like a posse of lawmen searching for outlaws.

As it turned out, bots were spamming my admin log-in like it was going out of style.

But the ever-vigilant Cloidways team guided me through installing a plug-in that let me change it to something secret.

Once the pesky plugin was apprehended and banished from my site, performance soared, and the townsfolk—er, visitors—could once again enjoy a smooth and speedy browsing experience.

So you can rest assured that Cloudways has your back.

They’ll ride by your side through thick and thin, helping you tackle any issues and ensuring your website remains a veritable boomtown of the digital frontier.

Industry-Leading TTFB

When it comes to web hosting, Time to First Byte (TTFB) is the equivalent of a Formula 1 car’s acceleration—something that can make or break the user experience.

In the high-speed internet world, every millisecond counts, and a website’s TTFB is like the split-second reaction time of an elite race car driver.

Cloudways’ industry-leading TTFB times are akin to the powerful engines of F1 racing machines, propelling your website forward with the speed and precision of a well-tuned vehicle.

Here’s my TTFB on GTMetrix using Cloudways Digital Ocean

But don’t take this as a high-octane sales pitch—I’m here to provide you with an unbiased, pit crew-level analysis of why TTFB matters and how Cloudways has managed to corner the market like a sleek McLaren on the racetrack.

TTFB is crucial to a good user experience because it determines how quickly a visitor’s browser receives your website’s first byte of data.

Like an F1 car engineered to perfection, a website with a swift TTFB has a competitive edge, as users are far more likely to stick around when the information they seek loads at lightning-fast speeds.

Cloudways manages to deliver these blistering TTFB times through a combination of cutting-edge technology and fine-tuned optimization.

Their web hosting infrastructure is akin to a perfectly calibrated race car, with everything from caching to server configurations working in harmony to deliver content to users as fast as possible.

While I’m certainly excited about Cloudways’ TTFB performance, it’s essential to maintain an objective perspective.

A fantastic TTFB is just one aspect of a well-rounded hosting solution, similar to how the acceleration of an F1 car is only one part of a winning formula.

However, it’s hard not to feel a thrill when experiencing the swift responsiveness of a website hosted on Cloudways.

Redis and Varnish Cache

In the vast universe of web hosting, caching technologies like Redis and Varnish are akin to the powerful engines that propel the spacecraft Endurance through the cosmos in Interstellar.

They work behind the scenes to warp your website’s performance to light-speed levels, ensuring a seamless user experience as visitors explore your digital galaxy.

As your neutral and objective guide through the Cloudways wormhole, lemme explain how these two celestial powerhouses function and how they contribute to the overall performance of websites hosted on the Cloudways platform.

Redis, or Remote Dictionary Server, is like the TARS robot of caching—an in-memory data structure store that can be used as a cache, message broker, or even a database.

It stores key-value pairs and accelerates database operations, making your website as nimble and responsive as the spacecraft docking maneuvers in Interstellar.

Varnish Cache, on the other hand, operates like the gravitational slingshot that propels Endurance toward its destination.


It’s a web application accelerator, or HTTP reverse proxy, that caches content for lightning-fast delivery.

By storing frequently requested data in memory, Varnish Cache reduces the load on your server and ensures that your website’s content reaches visitors at warp speed.

Together, Redis and Varnish Cache form a powerful alliance that can elevate your website’s performance to interstellar heights.

Cloudways harnesses the potential of these two technologies, providing a finely tuned and optimized environment that feels like you’re cruising through the cosmos on board the Endurance.

Although it’s hard not to get excited about the cutting-edge caching solutions offered by Cloudways, it’s crucial to remember that these are just two components of the vast and complex web hosting ecosystem.

However, like the brave crew of Interstellar’s Endurance, Redis and Varnish Cache play an indispensable role in ensuring that your website can boldly venture into the digital universe, offering a user experience that is truly out of this world.

Team Collaboration Features

Navigating the dreamscape of web hosting, the team collaboration features on Cloudways are like the skilled operatives working together in the world of Inception.

Much like Cobb and his crew, these features empower your team to synchronize their efforts, enabling seamless collaboration and allowing them to plant the seeds of success deep within your website’s architecture.

As your neutral and objective spirit guide through the Cloudways maze, I’ll unfold the layers of their team collaboration features and reveal how they can help you achieve a dreamlike level of coordination and efficiency.

Cloudways’ team management functionality is reminiscent of Inception’s dream-sharing technology, allowing team members to access and work on the same projects within the platform.

You can assign different roles and permissions to each member, granting them the ability to dive into various aspects of your website, much like the roles assumed by Cobb’s team when infiltrating a dream.

This level of granular control ensures that your team members can contribute their unique skills and expertise without stepping on each other’s toes—or accidentally triggering a dream collapse.

By carefully managing access to various parts of your hosting environment, you can prevent mishaps and maintain the stability of your website, similar to how Inception’s dream architects keep a close eye on their dreamscapes.

Moreover, the Cloudways platform enables real-time collaboration and communication, fostering a sense of unity among your team members.

This interconnectedness allows your team to work together like the expert dream infiltrators in Inception, synchronizing their efforts and making the impossible possible.

While it’s easy to get excited about Cloudways’ team collaboration features, it’s essential to view them as part of the broader web hosting landscape.

Like the specialized skills of Cobb’s team, these features are just one element of a successful hosting solution.

However, by providing your team with the tools they need to collaborate effectively, Cloudways enables you to build a website that’s as intricate and awe-inspiring as the dream worlds of Inception.

No Email Hosting

While Cloudways offers a wide array of stellar features to propel your website into the stratosphere, it’s essential to acknowledge that no hosting solution is without its imperfections.

In the case of Cloudways, one such shortcoming is the absence of email hosting.

However, this minor blemish on Cloudways’ otherwise impressive canvas should not overshadow the platform’s numerous advantages.

Just like a beautiful painting with a tiny smudge, the overall impact of Cloudways’ hosting solution remains vibrant and powerful.

While it’s true that you won’t be able to host your email directly through Cloudways, numerous third-party email services exist that can fill this gap. Solutions like SMTP offer robust email hosting options, ensuring that your digital communication needs are well handled.

Opting for a separate email hosting provider can even be advantageous. You can maintain better security and stability by decoupling your email from your website’s hosting environment.

If any issues arise with your website or your email, they won’t cascade or affect the other service.

The lack of email hosting on Cloudways is a slight drawback, but it can also be viewed as an opportunity to explore dedicated email hosting solutions.

In the grand scheme of things, this minor shortcoming hardly detracts from the numerous benefits Cloudways brings to the table.

With its powerful performance, advanced features, and user-friendly interface, Cloudways remains a top contender in the realm of web hosting—proving that even a masterpiece can have a tiny imperfection.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, my experience with Cloudways has been nothing short of a wild rollercoaster ride—packed with as much adrenaline as a caffeine-fueled raccoon on a trampoline.

I mean, seriously, what more could you ask for in a web hosting service?

To recap, we’ve seen the incredible performance of Cloudways, leaving other hosting platforms in the digital dust like a souped-up DeLorean.

We’ve also discovered the ease of use and flexibility that Cloudways offers, which makes setting up and managing a website feel like assembling LEGO bricks (minus the excruciating pain of stepping on one).

Let’s not forget the solid customer support that swoops in like a caped crusader to save the day, whenever you find yourself in distress.

And, of course, the pricing that makes Cloudways the perfect choice for small businesses, freelancers, and even the most frugal of shoppers—affordable without compromising on quality, like a fine boxed wine.

Now, I’m not saying that Cloudways is the be-all and end-all of hosting solutions, but it’s pretty darn close. If you’re still on the fence, just give their free trial a spin and see for yourself.

After all, you have nothing to lose, except a few hours of your life that you’d probably spend binge-watching Netflix anyway.

So, buckle up, dear reader, and embark on your thrilling adventure with Cloudways.

You won’t be disappointed—unless, of course, you’re one of those people who prefers the monotony of watching paint dry over the sheer excitement of an excellent web hosting experience.

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