If you’re thinking of using Cloudways vs. Bluehost, I’ve used both.
Bluehost is mainly promoted by affiliates who want commissions. Even though they’re cheap (at first), you will end up paying for it with slow servers, poor support, and a slow TTFB. Bluehost was one of the slowest hosting companies in speed tests and is owned by EIG who is notorious for their slow servers. I don’t know any serious blogger who uses Bluehost. Even though they are recommended by WordPress and promoted by every single affiliate, don’t fall for that trap.
Cloudways is who most people recommend in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group (you will rarely see anyone recommend Bluehost). Their DigitalOcean and Vultr High Frequency plans are lightyears ahead of Bluehost in terms of speed. Pricing ranges from $10-$13/month for their most popular plans (DigitalOcean and Vultr High Frequency) with no yearly contract or higher renewal prices. Backups, staging, and SSL are all free on Cloudways but not always on Bluehost. Plus, Cloudways was rated #1 in numerous Facebook polls while Bluehost falls short.
Overall, Cloudways is a better choice in terms of speed, support, and pricing structure. Whereas Bluehost lacks features in their lower plans, is slower, and requires 1-3 years upfront.
Cloudways vs. Bluehost
- My Experience With Bluehost
- I Eventually Moved To Cloudways
- Cloudways Loads 1220ms Faster Than Bluehost
- Vultr HF And DigitalOcean Are Far Superior Servers
- Better Support At Cloudways
- Cloudways Custom Dashboard vs. Bluehost cPanel
- Cloudways vs. Bluehost WordPress Features
- Bluehost Has Strict CPU Limits
- Bluehost Is Only Promoted By Affiliates
- Bluehost Is Owned By EIG
- Cloudways Has 19 More Data Centers
- Cloudways Pricing Is More Straightforward Than Bluehost
- Getting Started On Cloudways
1. My Experience With Bluehost
I was hosted on Bluehost’s WordPress hosting years ago, but since migrated to SiteGround (they went completely downhill) then Cloudways. Now I do speed optimization for a living and get to see people’s websites and their poor hosting choices. If someone comes to me with a slow website on Bluehost, I tell them to switch before hiring me, and afterwards, they don’t need to.
When I was with Bluehost, my website wasn’t fast, I was disappointed with support, and I always got 503 service unavailable errors (as do many Bluehost sites I work on). Not worth it.
Bluehost servers are so slow.
I always joke with my developer and say, “Just move them to Cloudways and project is done.”
2. I Eventually Moved To Cloudways
SiteGround was an improvement at the time, but Cloudways was even faster.
When I can cut load times in half and save $100/month, it’s a no-brainer.
I pay for an upgraded server because I have a fair amount of traffic, but you should have a similar result whether you’re paying $10/month or $80/month on Cloudways. I’ve been with Cloudways since 2019 and it’s great to see them evolve by improving their support, adding Vultr High Frequency, and stay active in Facebook Groups by listening to what people actually want. Bluehost is just way too stagnant and they don’t keep updated with latest technologies.
3. Cloudways Loads 1220ms Faster Than Bluehost
I ran a simple speed test where I setup 16 different hosting plans then installed the exact same Astra Starter Site on each of them. Then I used Pingdom, GTmetrix, KeyCDN, and other testing tools to measure key speed indicators like TTFB (time to first byte) and load time. You can view the full speed test here which includes screenshots of each individual reports used in the tests.
Cloudways Reports (DigitalOcean)
Here is the Pingdom report for a period of 7 days with 30 minute check intervals. Bluehost loaded in 1560ms while Cloudways DigitalOcean loaded in 340ms (a 1220ms difference). Of course, the results obviously depend on your site (this was an Astra Starter Site out of the box).
Put it all together and Cloudways is much faster than Bluehost.
Lots of people already migrated to Cloudways and posted their results (click thumbnails to enlarge):
I continue to pay for the Cloudways DigitalOcean live demo (cwdoserver.com) so you can click through the pages to see how fast they load. I cancelled Bluehost and many other hosting plans because it was getting expensive between all of them. But you can check this one out yourself.
4. Vultr High HF And DigitalOcean Are Far Superior Servers
DigitalOcean ($10/month) and Vultr HF ($13/month) use much better speed technology than Bluehost’s in-house servers. DigitalOcean was always Cloudway’s best (and cheapest) plan. But Cloudways recently released Vultr HF which uses 3.8 GHz processors and NVMe storage and are faster than any “standard” CPU or SSDs offered by Bluehost and other hosting companies.
This results in faster CPU processing and better performance. You can read more about High Frequency on Vultr’s website, but this is what the majority of people are migrating to including Adam from WPCrafter. For speed, even Bluehost’s Managed WordPress won’t hold a candle.
Even the $13/month option is super fast:
6. Better Support At Cloudways
I think I don’t need to comment on Bluehost’s support (it’s not great).
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 2019 and 2020. This is reflected in each host’s TrustPilot reviews which is more of a review of their support more than anything.
7. Cloudways Custom Dashboard vs. Bluehost cPanel
Bluehost uses cPanel, so you kind of know what you’re getting.
Cloudways uses their own dashboard. A lot of people are hesitant to migrating to Cloudways because “it’s too technical” but in reality, their dashboard is actually very user-friendly. Taking backups, installing SSL, creating a staging site, and cloning servers are all easy in the Cloudways dashboard. Yeah, some people think it’s a little more techie than cPanel, but it’s really not hard.
Plus, Cloudways offers a 3-day free trial so you can take an hour to get comfortable.
Cloudways dashboard (Servers and Applications are the main areas):
8. Cloudways vs. Bluehost WordPress Features
The main thing to note here is that you get every single feature to matter which Cloudways plan you have (unless it’s something specific to the server you choose). With Bluehost, you have to pay more to get things. I like how Cloudways doesn’t entice you to pay more – it’s already there.
|Server||DigitalOcean, Vultr + Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud||In-House|
|Caching||Varnish, Redis, Memcached||None|
|CDN||StackPath (Paid)||Cloudflare (Free)|
|Backups||Free Daily||Free Daily|
|Staging||Yes||On Managed Plans|
|Email Hosting||$1/month via Rackspace||Yes|
|# Of Sites||Unlimited||Unlimited On Plus+|
|Migrations||1 Free Then $25/Site||Free on "qualifying accounts" (otherwise $150/Site)|
|Intro Price||$10/mo (DigitalOcean) - $36.51/mo (AWS)||$3.95 - $13.95/mo|
|Renewal Price||No Higher Renewals||$7.99 - $23.99/mo|
9. Bluehost Has Strict CPU Limits
A major con about Bluehost is their strict CPU limits.
This can be found on their user agreement and acceptable use policy page. This means your hosting plan only comes with a certain amount of server resources and if you exceed them, Bluehost will slow down your website (starving it from resources) which often results in 503 errors. This is common if you run high CPU plugins like WooCommerce or page builders. If you use a resource-hungry theme or plugin(s), or AdSense, I would skip shared hosting all together.
Cloudways can handle resource-intensive plugins and tasks much more efficiently. While heavy plugins will always slow down your website, you won’t have to worry about CPU limits as much.
|All Bluehost Shared Hosting Plans|
|Database Usage||5GB In Single Database|
10. Bluehost Is Only Promoted By Affiliates
The only people who “endorse” Bluehost are affiliate trying to make a commissions.
Search “how to start a blog” in Google and 7/10 of the first page results refer you to Bluehost with an affiliate link. Bluehost’s high commission affiliates are the only reason they’re popular.
11. Bluehost Is Owned By EIG
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.
12. Cloudways Has 19 More Data Centers
Cloudways has 25 data centers between all their cloud provider, while Bluehost only has 6.
With Cloudways, the data center locations depend on which cloud provider you choose (DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, Google Cloud, AWS). I would still try to use DigitalOcean or Vultr HF if you can, but it’s also important to select a data center that’s fairly close to your visitors.
13. Cloudways Pricing Is More Straightforward Than Bluehost
Cloudways is monthly pricing whereas with Bluehost, you have to sign up for 3 year to get their advertised pricing (and then higher renewal prices kick in). I am personally tired of prices that make you fall into a trap, especially for 3 years, and a trap is exactly what it is. Don’t fall for this.
Cloudways pricing is monthly with no yearly contract or high renewal prices.
|Vultr High Frequency||$13/month|
Bluehost pricing requires you pay 1-3 years upfront (3 years for lowest price), with high renewals prices. Their cheapest plan has very little resources and can’t handle high CPU tasks. Since you would need to pay more for decent hosting anyway, Cloudways is the better choice.
|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|
14. Getting Started On Cloudways
Here’s how to setup your Cloudways servers plus some some tweaks I made in the Cloudways dashboard to make your website even faster (as recommend in Cloudway’s optimization video).
Step 2: Launch a server.
Step 3: Name your app/server name, select a server (I recommend DigitalOcean or Vultr HF), then select your server size data center closest to your visitors. When done, click Launch Now.
Step 4: In Cloudways, go Servers → Manage Services, then enable the following:
Step 5: Go to Settings & Packages and upgrade to PHP 8.0, MariaDB 10.4, and install Redis.
Step 6: Also in “Settings & Packages,” increase memory limit to 256MB.
Enjoy the faster load times :)
This post is huge with 70+ images and 400+ comments yet can still load in under 1s.
In case you’re still not sure whether to pick Cloudways vs. Bluehost:
Join Facebook Groups and do your research! Cloudways is #1 in most Facebook polls.
Or just look at this Facebook thread.
I hope this helped you make a decision! Comment if you have any questions.