Cloudways vs. Bluehost Key Differences (Cloud Hosting, Vultr HF, Email, Pricing)

Cloudways vs bluehost

Deciding between Cloudways vs. Bluehost? This is a no brainer.

Cloudways is who I use and you can see my GTmetrix report or TTFB. They offer cloud hosting from 5 different providers (Vultr HF and DigitalOcean are both popular) with 44 data centers between all their cloud hosts. Vultr HF also has high CPU clock speeds and fast NVMe storage. Cloudways uses MariaDB, PHP-FPM, and multiple caching layers like Redis (Object Cache Pro), and Varnish. They offer monthly pricing starting at $10/month with 3-day trials, a free website migration, and a 30% off 3 months promo code. Main cons are no email hosting (you’ll need to use their paid Rackspace add-on or a service like Google Workspace) and backups cost $0.033 per GB. Their Breeze plugin and CloudwaysCDN aren’t great, so you’ll want to use WP Rocket or FlyingPress, and Cloudflare or BunnyCDN. Some people think Cloudways is “techie” since it requires an extra step to launch a server and they use a custom dashboard, but neither are hard. While it requires a learning curve and some workarounds, they are faster/better than Bluehost.

Bluehost targets noobs who haven’t been around the block. Everything is easy and cheap (at first) but they use slow shared hosting on most plans and renewal prices get expensive (about 2.5x their intro prices). It’s well-known in Facebook Groups that Bluehost is not a good choice. While they may be “easy” with cPanel and cheap intros, very few serious website owners use Bluehost. They’re owned by EIG who is infamous for overcrowding servers, resulting in a slow TTFB, and possibly CPU overages + 503 errors. They only offer a free migration on “qualified” accounts, have only 6 data centers, and entice people with 3-year signup traps. Many people move away from Bluehost to Cloudways because of a slow TTFB, CPU issues, or high renewals.

Disclaimer: I use aff links to NameHero (not Bluehost) since they’re clearly better.

Cloudways Bluehost
Facebook Feedback Excellent Poor
Speed Cloud Hosting + Vultr HF, NVMe, Multiple Cache Layers Shared Hosting, Slower SSDs, Limited Page Caching
Beginner Friendly Extra Step To Launch Server Yes
Scaling Can Add CPU/RAM Must Buy New Plan
CPU Limits Flexible Crowded Servers
Data Centers 44 6
Email Hosting No Yes
Pricing Monthly + No High Renewals Yearly + High Renewals
Free Migration 1 Free + $25/Site $150/Site Unless “Qualified”
Uptime Depends On Cloud Host Average
Support Was Bad, Now Better Poor
Dashboard Custom cPanel
EIG Owned No Yes
TrustPilot Rating 4.7/5 3.1/5
Promo Code 30% Off 3 Months None
Winner Yes No


1. Facebook Feedback – What People Say About Cloudways vs. Bluehost

Since hosting reviews are always biased, I like to see what people are saying in Facebook Groups like WP Speed Matters. There are also many Facebook polls, migration results, and other threads comparing Cloudways vs. Bluehost which you can see throughout this review.

Cloudways vs bluehost facebook feedback

Bluehost vs a2 hosting vs cloudways

Bluehost vs kinsta vs cloudways

I also created a video on Cloudways which shows you how to launch a server, connect your domain name, along with some recommended tweaks in their dashboard to improve load times.


2. Speed – Cloudways Is Faster Than Bluehost

There are several reasons why Cloudways is faster than Bluehost:

  • Cloudways is cloud hosting, most Bluehost plans are shared.
  • Vultr HF has high CPU clock speeds with 3+ GHz processors.
  • Vultr HF uses NVMe storage which is faster than most SSDs.
  • Cloudways uses several caching layers like Redis + Object Cache Pro.
  • Cloudways uses MariaDB which is arguably faster than MySQL on Bluehost.
  • Cloudways usually releases new PHP versions (i.e. 8.0) faster than Bluehost.
  • Cloudways uses PHP-FPM (better memory usage than FastCGI on Bluehost).

I’m currently on Cloudways Vultr High Frequency and consistently have a fast TTFB + fully loaded time in GTmetrix. Even this post with tons of images/comments loads in under 1 second.

Omm gtmetrix report 2022

Bluehost to cloudways migration
Several people already made this exact switch and posted results
Cloudways vs bluehost cpu issue resolved
Faster hosting can also speed up the WordPress admin
Cloudways manage services
Cloudways uses several caching layers (i.e. Redis, PHP-FPM, Varnish)
Vultr high frequency compute
Vultr HF has high CPU clock speeds and NVMe storage
Nvme vs sata
NVMe is faster than SATA SSDs (source: PCWorld)

In the speed test, I signed up for multiple Cloudways plans (from Vultr, DigitalOcean, etc) as well as Bluehost’s Plus plan to compare them in various speed testing tools. No cache plugin or CDN were used and I installed the same Astra Starter Site + Elementor with the same 6 plugins.

Pingdom ran for 7 days with 30 minute check intervals, meaning 336 individual tests were done on each website (giving you the median load time). Bluehost loaded in 1560ms while Cloudways DigitalOcean loaded in 340ms (1220ms difference). And Vultr High Frequency was even faster.

I still pay Cloudways so you can see the speeds for yourself:


I tested them in other tools like GTmetrix, KeyCDN’s Performance Test, WebPageTest, WP Hosting Performance Check, and Search Console’s average time spent downloading the page.


Cloudways Reports (1GB DigitalOcean Plan)

Bluehost Reports (Plus Plan)

People who migrated to Cloudways and posted their results (click thumbnails to enlarge):

Siteground to cloudways shoutout

Cloudways vs bluehost trustpilot review
View TrustPilot Review


3. Beginner Friendly – Why Cloudways Is More “Techie” Than Bluehost

Some people are intimidated by Cloudways because it’s more techie, but it’s really not hard. If you’re moving from another host, just request a free migration. Otherwise, try it out yourself!

Step 1: In the Cloudways dashboard, you’re prompted to launch a server. Select an application (WordPress or WooCommerce) and name your app/server. Select a cloud host (I recommend Vultr HF). Select your server size (1GB is fine for small sites, but use 2GB+ for WooCommerce or larger sites). Select the data center closest to your visitors. When you’re ready, Launch Now.

Cloudways launch vultr high frequency server

Step 2: Now we’ll connect your domain name. Cloudways doesn’t offer domains, so you’ll probably use GoDaddy or Namecheap. First, add it in Applications → Domain Management.

Cloudways domain management

Step 3: Update DNS records. In NameCheap, go to Dashboard → Domain List → Manage → Advanced DNS → Add New Record.  The A Record value is the Public IP found in “Access Details” in Cloudways. The CNAME is your domain name. Use the same formatting as below. Here are GoDaddy’s instructions (or find instructions for whatever domain registrar you use).

Add cloudways records to namecheap

Cloudways has a video on this:

Step 4: Install free Let’s Encrypt SSL (Applications → SSL Certificate) and enable auto renewal.

Cloudways ssl management

Step 5: Go to Servers → Manage Services and enable Redis/Varnish. Then go to Settings & Packages and upgrade your PHP version, MariaDB version, and install Redis. These are a few small tweaks in the CW dashboard which can significantly improve your website’s performance.

Cloudways settings packages

Step 6: Login to your website (find your WP login details under Applications → Access Details).

Cloudways access details

That’s it! You can always reach out to their live chat support if you need help.

Left siteground to cloudways


4. Scaling – Cloudways Can Scale CPU/RAM Without Buying A New Plan

Let’s say you buy a plan from Bluehost. But then your traffic grows or maybe you installed a few extra plugins. Your current hosting plan can’t handle this and you’re getting CPU overages. On Bluehost, you would have to buy a completely new plan (and who knows if they’ll give you the cheap intro prices). On Cloudways, you can add more CPU/RAM as you wish. You’re not “stuck.”

Cloudways vertical scaling


5. CPU Limits – Watch Out For 503 Errors On Bluehost

Bluehost is known for CPU throttling which can lead to a slow website, admin panel, and 503 errors. Many people actually move to Cloudways for this reason (especially from SiteGround). While Cloudways does have CPU limits, their cloud hosting with NVMe storage is more efficient and you’re less likely to run into these errors. Not to say it’s impossible, but less likely.

Bluehost only includes 200,000 inodes (files) on their shared hosting which can be an issue especially if you’re using your hosting for email too, since email can use a good amount of files.

503 service unavailable error hosting issue

Resource Limits All Bluehost Shared Hosting Plans
Inodes 200,000
Database Tables 5000
Database Size 10GB
Database Usage 5GB In Single Database

Cloudways can handle WooCommerce, page builders, and resource-intensive plugins/tasks more efficiently than Bluehost. A lot of people actually move to Cloudways to fix CPU limits.

Siteground cloudways cpu usage

Cloudways vs siteground cpu usage

Siteground cloudways cpu usage


6. Data Centers – Cloudways Has 38 More Locations Than Bluehost

Choosing a data center close to your visitors has a huge impact on TTFB.

Your options are very limited with Bluehost since they only have 6 data centers and which are only a few countries. Cloudways has 44 locations throughout the world. With Cloudways, the data center locations depend on which cloud provider you choose (DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, Google Cloud, AWS). I would lean towards DigitalOcean or Vultr High Frequency if it’s possible.

Bluehost only has 6 data centers:

Provo, Utah (US) Mumbai (IND) Hong Kong (CN)
Orem, Utah (US) London, UK (EU) Shanghai, Mainland (CN)


7. Email Hosting – Bluehost Has It, Cloudways “Kind Of” Does

Bluehost offers free email hosting, Cloudways does not.

On Cloudways, you need to use something like Google Workspace (what I use) or they offer Rackspace for $1/email per month. It’s actually good to keep email and web hosting separate. Your email takes up server resources (and storage) which should be dedicated to your website (not email). And if you ever decide to switch hosts, you won’t have to switch your email with it.


8. Pricing – Cloudways Is Monthly, Bluehost Is Yearly

Cloudways is monthly pricing with 3-day trials, so there is little commitment.

DigitalOcean ($10/month) and Vultr HF ($13/month) use much faster speed technology than Bluehost’s in-house servers. Vultr HF uses 3.8 GHz processors and NVMe storage, resulting in faster CPU processing and better performance. You can read more about HF on Vultr’s website, but this is what the majority of people are using on Cloudways including Adam from WPCrafter.

Cloudways monthly pricing scale

Cloudways pricing

Cloudways Plan Price
DigitalOcean (1GB) $10/month
Vultr (1GB) $11/month
DigitalOcean Premium (1GB) $12/month
Linode (1GB) $12/month
Vultr High Frequency (1GB) $13/month
Google Cloud (1GB) $33.18/month
AWS (1GB) $36.51/month

Bluehost makes you pay 1-3 years upfront with a cheap intro price, then it renews at about 2-3x the price. For example, the Basic plan would jump from $3.95 to $7.99 after renewal. It gets expensive and isn’t worth it. While this is standard with shared hosting, don’t fall into the trap.

Bluehost Plan Intro Price Renewal Price
Basic $3.95/month $7.99/month
Plus $5.95/month $10.99/month
Choice Plus $6.95/month $14.99/month
WP Pro Build $19.95/month $29.99/month
WP Pro Grow $29.95/month $39.99/month
WP Pro Scale $49.95/month $59.99/month
eCommerce Starter $6.95/month $13.99/month
eCommerce Plus $8.95/month $17.99/month
eCommerce Pro $12.95/month $31.99/month
VPS Standard $19.99/month $29.99/month
VPS Enhanced $29.99/month $59.99/month
VPS Ultimate $59.99/month $119.99/month
Dedicated Standard $79.99/month $119.99/month
Dedicated Enhanced $99.99/month $159.99/month
Dedicated Premium $119.99/month $209.99/month


9. Free Migration – Bluehost Only Offers It For “Qualified” Accounts

Cloudways offers a free migration and so does Bluehost but only on “qualified” accounts.

In Cloudways, go to the 9 dots in the navigation bar > Add-ons > Application Migration. If you need more sites moved, Cloudways charges $25/site (Bluehost charges a whopping $150/site).

Cloudways free migration 1


10. Uptime – Cloudways vs. Bluehost Outages

Since Cloudways is basically a middleman for cloud hosts like DigitalOcean and Vultr, you’re using their servers (not Cloudways). DigitalOcean is usually slightly more reliable than Vultr, but I personally decided to use Vultr HF because the faster speeds are worth it. Bluehost uses in-house servers which go down somewhat frequently if you check their Downdetector profile.



11. Support – Cloudways Has Gotten Better, Bluehost Hasn’t

Bluehost’s support has always been mediocre at best with long wait times.

Cloudways support used to be not great either, but they have been working hard on improving it and there is a huge difference from the level of support in 2020 vs 2022. This is reflected in each host’s TrustPilot reviews which is more of a review of their support more than anything.

Cloudways vs bluehost trustpilot review

Siteground vs cloudways support


12. Dashboard – Cloudways Custom Dashboard vs. Bluehost cPanel

Bluehost uses cPanel, so you know what you’re getting.

Cloudways uses their own dashboard. It takes a little getting used but you can request a demo here. Most everything can be found in the Servers and Applications tab (backups, SSL, staging, memory limit, etc). While there are more settings in Cloudways, it also gives you better control over your server if you choose to. Many things are 1-click and there’s plenty of documentation.

Cloudways server settings
Cloudways Servers tab
Cloudways application settings
Cloudways Applications tab
Bluehost control panel software
Bluehost uses cPanel


13. EIG Owned – Bluehost Is Controlled By Shareholders

You might be familiar with EIG.

They own over 80+ different hosting companies and Bluehost/HostGator are their 2 most popular brands. Anything EIG touches turns to poop. They overcrowd their servers, reduce support, and run the company into the ground. That’s why HostGator used to be good, but not anymore. I wouldn’t trust EIG with any of my sites. They’re a public company with shareholders.

Eig facebook
Eig twitter


14. TrustPilot Rating – Cloudways (4.7/5) vs Bluehost (3.2/5)

Cloudways has a much better TrustPilot rating than Bluehost. Bluehost’s TrustPilot rating actually used to be under 2/5, but they started taking it more seriously lately.. Both hosts’s support team silicate customers for reviews, but that’s pretty standard in the hosting industry.


15. Promo Code – Cloudways Gives 30% Off Your First 3 Months

Cloudways has a coupon page which gives you 30% off your first 3 months of hosting which is the best coupon you can find for them (even better than my OMM25 coupon which is 25% off your first 2 months). So use their coupons page and they will email you a custom promo code.

Bluehost doesn’t have any promo codes.

Cloudways vultr high frequency discount
Use the Cloudways coupons page to get 30% off 3 months


16. Winner – Cloudways Is Better Than Bluehost

Cloudways is better than Bluehost in most categories: speed, support, features, more data centers, monthly pricing, and better reputation in Facebook Groups + higher TrustPilot ratings.

If Cloudways is too technical, try NameHero who is similar to Bluehost (in terms of cPanel, cheap pricing, and being easy). But they use LiteSpeed servers which are much faster and have better support. Cloudways and NameHero are the main 2 hosts I recommend on my OMM blog.

In case you’re still not sure, check Facebook polls (click thumbnails to enlarge).

Ecommerce hosting poll
Moving from siteground

Bluehost hosting review

Cloudways vs bluehost trustpilot review

How to start a blog with bluehost

I hope this helped you make a decision! Comment if you have any questions for me. I try not to be a sellout for bad hosting which is why you won’t see one Bluehost affiliate link in this article.


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2 thoughts on “Cloudways vs. Bluehost Key Differences (Cloud Hosting, Vultr HF, Email, Pricing)”

  1. Hey Tom. I think Bluehost has a BIG marketing team and budget that has made them a strong reputation online. However, it’s amazing how Cloudways is expanding by word of mouth.

    How reliable are the ratings in TrustPilot?

    Have a great day amigo!

    • Hey Pablo!

      Yeah, word of mouth is everything for them and that’s the way it should be.

      TrustPilot ratings are pretty reliable except for a few exceptions like Hostinger who writes fake reviews. Also keep in mind some hosts direct customers to TrustPilot after they have a good experience with their support to increase ratings. Cloudways does this, that’s why you’ll see lots of people thanking Ovais and Tayyab. Nothing wrong with it, just something to keep in mind.


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