Deciding between Cloudways vs. Bluehost? This is an easy one.
Cloudways is cloud hosting (much faster than shared) with faster technology like Cloudflare Enterprise, multiple caching layers, and faster NVMe SSDs on their Vultr High Frequency plan. They offer cloud hosting from 5 providers (Vultr HF and DigitalOcean are both popular) with 44 data centers between all cloud hosts. The 3 major cons of Cloudways is they usually cost more, have no email hosting (I use Google Workspace), and they’re more “techie.” Otherwise, they blow Bluehost out of the water in terms of speed/support. They also do a free migration with 3-day trials. I used them for 3 years and can say Cloudways is a huge upgrade from Bluehost and pretty much any mainstream host. They’re really not hard – launching a server is actually easy.
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 them. They’re owned by Newfold Digital who is infamous for overcrowding servers, resulting in a slow site and CPU throttling with 503 errors. They only offer a free migration on “qualified” accounts, only have 6 data centers, and entice people with long signup traps. The only reason Bluehost is “recommended” by WordPress is because they pay to be there. Don’t use Bluehost!
|Storage||NVMe on Vultr HF||SATA|
|Caching||Multiple layers + Redis Object Cache Pro||Page caching only|
|CPU Limits||Flexible||Crowded servers|
|Scalability||Can add CPU/RAM||Must buy new plan|
|Free Migration||1 free then $25/site||$150/site unless “qualified”|
|Uptime||Depends on cloud host||Average|
|Support||Better, but not great||Poor|
|Pricing||Monthly + 30% off 3 months (but costs more)||Cheaper (but high renewals)|
1. Facebook Feedback – What Unbiased People Say
Since hosting reviews are so biased, I like to see what people say in Facebook Groups like the WP Speed Matters Facebook Group. There are also many Facebook polls, migration results, and other threads comparing Cloudways vs. Bluehost which I tried to include throughout the review.
2. Hosting Type – Cloudways Is Cloud Hosting (Faster Than Shared)
First off, if you’re comparing Bluehost’s shared plans to Cloudways, there is no comparison. Cloud hosting is almost always faster than shared hosting, so you should really be comparing Cloudways to Bluehost’s VPS plans. Shared hosting can be fast if you use QUIC.cloud CDN (on LiteSpeed) with full page caching, or Cloudflare’s APO. Otherwise, don’t expect a fast site on it.
On Cloudways, you also have the choice of 5 cloud hosting providers (I generally recommend Vultr High Frequency or DigitalOcean). DigitalOcean also acquired Cloudways, so they might make their hosting more attractive, but I was always a fan of Vultr HF which uses NVMe SSDs.
3. CDN – Cloudways Has Cloudflare Enterprise For $5/mo
While Bluehost doesn’t offer a CDN, Cloudways has Cloudflare Enterprise which is arguably the fastest CDN to use for WordPress.
The Enterprise features you get significantly improves load times/TTFB. It has image optimization (so you don’t need a plugin for this), Argo Smart Routing (great for dynamic + WooCommerce sites), HTTP/3, prioritized routing, and full page caching is also coming soon. If this is confusing, just know the $5/month you spend on Cloudflare Enterprise on Cloudways is worth it. If your global TTFB is slow when testing your site in tools like KeyCDN, this improves it.
4. Storage – NVMe SSDs On Cloudways Vultr HF Are Faster
Vultr High Frequency on Cloudways uses NVMe storage which is much faster than SATA SSDs used on Bluehost. Even some “premium” hosts like Kinsta use slower SATA SSDs. Here’s a test run by Rocket.net on SATA SSDs vs. NVMe SSDs tested with the WP Hosting Benchmarks plugin.
5. Caching – Cloudways Has More Caching Than Bluehost
One reason Cloudways is faster than Bluehost is because they use caching layers like Varnish, Nginx, and Redis Object Cache Pro (makes a big difference especially for WooCommerce sites).
Bluehost only uses page cache which you can set for eCommerce, blog, or portfolio.
6. Overall Speed – Cloudways Is Faster Than Bluehost
Here are people who moved to Cloudways and posted results (click thumbnails to enlarge). You’ll see several people moving from Bluehost to Cloudways, but rarely the other way around.
7. 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. While Cloudways does have CPU limits, their cloud hosting with NVMe storage and high CPU clock speeds is more efficient, and you’re less likely to run into 503 errors. Not to say it’s completely 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.
8. Beginner Friendly – Bluehost’s cPanel Is Easier
Bluehost uses cPanel which is as easy as it gets.
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 your Cloudways dashboard, you will 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 or 2GB+ for WooCommerce and 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 also 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).
9. Scalability – Easily Scale CPU/RAM On Cloudways
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.”
10. Data Centers – Cloudways Has 38 More Locations
Choosing a data center close to your visitors can have a huge impact on TTFB.
Your options are very limited with Bluehost since they only have 6 server locations which are only a few countries. Cloudways has 44 locations throughout the world. With Cloudways, the data centers depend on which cloud host you choose (DO, Vultr, Linode, Google Cloud, AWS).
Bluehost only has 6 data centers:
|Provo, Utah (US)||Mumbai (IND)||Hong Kong (CN)|
|Orem, Utah (US)||London, UK (EU)||Shanghai, Mainland (CN)|
11. 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 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 move your email too. I use Google Workspace, but it also costs $6/month (it’s definitely worth it to keep them separate).
12. 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).
13. 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 generally slightly more reliable than Vultr, but I personally decided to go with Vultr HF because the faster speeds are worth it. Bluehost uses in-house servers which go down pretty frequently if you check their Downdetector profile.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. Pricing – Cloudways Is Monthly, Bluehost Is Yearly
Cloudways is monthly pricing with 3-day trials, so there’s little commitment other than your time trying them out. You also get 30% off your first 3 months when you sign up on that page.
|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|
17. TrustPilot Rating – Cloudways (4.7/5) vs Bluehost (4.2/5)
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 solicit customers for reviews, but that’s pretty standard in the hosting industry.
18. Winner – Cloudways Is Better (And Faster) 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 it’s easy). But they use LiteSpeed servers which are faster and have better support. Cloudways/NameHero (and Rocket.net) are 3 main hosts I recommend on my blog.
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.
Get them a whirl: https://cloudways.com
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!
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.