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Cloudways is popular, reliable and affordable. It offers a platform to easily deploy a server with one of five well-known cloud providers: DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, Amazon and Google. With Cloudways you are in control: you pay as you go and you set up your servers to host as many apps as you want.
At the same time, many of its strengths are also its weaknesses. Cloudways offers no discounted longer-term plans. While you get a dedicated environment, there is only one IPv4 per server and the only way to add RAM or CPU is to buy a higher plan. Its tech support is fast but limited to helping you with the platform not your app issues, unless you wish to pay extra. There are many add-ons such as email and CDN but most of them will cost extra. And because Cloudways does not own the infrastructure, it cannot offer uptime guarantees.
In finding a better Cloudways alternative, it is useful to know what Cloudways is NOT:
- Shared hosting: Cloudways makes it easy to launch a server for one or multiple websites. Each server has dedicated resources, including an IPv4 address. You can configure and control your server settings, including specific packages and resources. All of this is unlike shared hosting where your website is hosted together with many others on a server you have no access to.
- Managed WordPress hosting: Cloudways describes its service as a “managed cloud hosting platform” for PHP apps, including WordPress. In many ways, Cloudways is like a managed VPS provider rather than managed WordPress hosting. As the image below shows, Cloudways focuses by default on supporting its users with issues related to its tools – the platform and infrastructure – rather than those related to WordPress and other apps. As you can see, you can turn Cloudways into managed WordPress hosting but it will cost you at least $100 extra every month.
Taking into account a variety of Cloudways’ weaknesses, we have carefully selected five viable alternatives to Cloudways that are better in at least one way. For example, some have better support, some offer more features and some are much cheaper. What they all have in common is that they offer dedicated scaleable resources, including IPv4 and unmetered visits. They are also very affordable: their 4 GB and 8 GB RAM plans are typically cheaper than those offered by Cloudways.
The following VPS Cloudways alternatives are listed in the following order: those that are easier to use and have proactive support appear first, those that may require some learning and occasionally opening a support ticket appear last. As a bonus, we include a further alternative to each of Cloudways alternatives.
WPMU DEV, an Incsub brand, is probably better known as a suite of WordPress plugins and tools that range from security and speed to SEO and marketing. Its hosting services can be purchased either as a stand-alone product or as part of the all-in-one subscription.
WPMU DEV is similar to Cloudways in that it relies on DigitalOcean in provisioning WordPress-optimized cloud servers with dedicated resources, including IPv4. You can pick from 10 globally located data centers.
WPMU DEV offers in many ways better value than Cloudways. It includes free nightly backups, up to 10 free email accounts and web application firewall. Its expert WordPress support is also included, so you get fully managed WordPress hosting. As all truly managed WordPress hosts, WPMU DEV limits each plan to one website. The pricing is however very appealing: it starts at $10 and higher plans are not as steep as those at Cloudways.
WPMU DEV vs Cloudways:
WPMU DEV Alternative: DreamPress is an established managed WordPress hosting option that runs on DreamHost’s cloud compute platform DreamCompute. Similar to WPMU DEV, DreamPress’s plans are each for one website hosted in a dedicated environment. Pricing starts at $12/month for the first three months.
Ethernet Servers specializes in budget web hosting services with a focus on excellent customer support. Its managed VPS hosting is probably an unlikely Cloudways alternative but it is easily the best option for those with numerous websites who wish to fully delegate server management without paying extra.
Besides full server management and best-effort website support, Ethernet Servers includes premium licenses of DirectAdmin and Softaculous that simplify running any number of websites. As is common with a fully managed VPS, each OpenVZ server is manually provisioned (under 8 hours). You can choose between two INAP data centers: New Jersey and Los Angeles.
While the entry plan is more expensive than those at Cloudways, it includes 4 GB RAM, 4 CPU Cores and 3 dedicated IP addresses. Use code SPRINGTIME-VPS-30 to get 30% off your fist invoice ($14.85/month for 12 months).
Ethernet Servers vs Cloudways:
Ethernet Servers Alternative: IO Zoom offers managed DirectAdmin VPS hosting on the cloud infrastructure of your choice: DigitalOcean, Vultr and Linode. With hourly billing and KVM servers around the world, IO Zoom is very similar to Cloudways. Its pricing starts at $10/month plus $9 for DirectAdmin.
ServerPilot has long been one of the main alternatives to Cloudways if your priority is a better price. The main difference between the two is that you need to buy a server separately from your preferred cloud infrastructure. With a minimum required 256 MB RAM, a tiny VPS will cost you less than $3. Billed hourly, ServerPilot pricing starts at $5/month, with extra $0.50 for each website.
ServerPilot does all the server management and app installation for you. Its interface is almost too simplistic but certainly user-friendlier than typical control panels. If you encounter an issue, you are likely to find a solution in its extensive knowledge base. Its in-house support is fast and experienced.
ServerPilot vs Cloudways:
ServerPilot Alternative: RunCloud is another cloud server management tool preferred by many because it allows unlimited websites per server. Based in Malaysia, RunCloud offers a 5-day trial, with the cheapest plan priced at $6.67/month based on an annual payment. Runcloud has additional options for backups, caching, file manager and server monitoring but its server requirements are higher, with a minimum of 0.5 GB RAM and 1 CPU.
Hostwinds has built its own cloud control portal that makes it easy to launch a server with custom packages and configurations. It is in many ways similar to such cloud compute services as Vultr with the difference that you can choose managed support for your server.
When creating your cloud server, you can choose from over 20 applications, including many open-source control panels that simplify server and website management. Because of its ease of use and security features, Virtualmin is one of the strongest choices. If all you need is to manage your own websites, you are likely to find everything you need in the free Virtualmin version.
You can create a KVM server in one of three locations: Seattle, Dallas and Amsterdam. You can also choose your preferred billing frequency, from hourly to triennial. Because you get 25% off your first invoice, it is a good idea to prepay for at least a year, starting at $8.24/month.
Hostwinds vs Cloudways:
Hostwinds Alternative: Tier.Net offers Virtualmin VPS hosting with free Simple Management. For extra $15/month, you can benefit from its Ultimate Management, including application advice and domain-level support. Tier.Net’s pricing starts at just $7.49/month if prepaid for a year.
As a final cheap Cloudways alternative for unlimited websites, InterServer is a perfect choice for those who like to be in full control of their server. InterServer has made it easy to manage the server and websites by giving you the option to have Webuzo control panel pre-installed on its Virtuozzo platform.
Webuzo is a single user control panel developed by the makers of Softaculous. Webuzo lets you install and manage such apps as WordPress in addition to configuring your server, including DNS, FTP, database, email and advanced security. After a one-month trial, Webuzo costs $2.5/month.
InterServer uses data centers in New Jersey, New York and Los Angeles. The cheapest server is a 2 GB RAM slice that costs $6. If you buy 4 or more slices, InterServer includes free managed support.
InterServer vs Cloudways:
InterServer Alternative: Hostinger offers semi-managed Webuzo servers built on its OpenVZ platform. VPS server locations include the US, UK, Netherlands, Lithuania and Singapore. Its pricing starts at $3.95 if you prepay for up to four years and there is a 30-day money back guarantee.