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.
|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|
|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|
|Promo Code||30% Off 3 Months||None|
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.
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).
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:
- cwdoserver.com – hosted on $10/month Cloudways DigitalOcean
- cwdopserver.com – hosted on $12/month Cloudways DigitalOcean Premium
- cwvltrhfserver.com – hosted on $13/month Cloudways Vultr High Frequency
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):
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.
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.
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).
Cloudways has a video on this:
Step 4: Install free Let’s Encrypt SSL (Applications → SSL Certificate) and enable auto renewal.
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.
Step 6: Login to your website (find your WP login details under Applications → Access Details).
That’s it! You can always reach out to their live chat support if you need help.
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.”
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.
|Resource Limits||All Bluehost Shared Hosting Plans|
|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.
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.
|DigitalOcean Premium (1GB)||$12/month|
|Vultr High Frequency (1GB)||$13/month|
|Google Cloud (1GB)||$33.18/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|
|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|
9. Free Migration – Bluehost Only Offers It For “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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.