Cloudways vs WP Engine: Which host is most worth the money?

cloudways vs wpengine

In Cloudways vs WPEngine, we put two top tier hosts head to head to see which is worth your money.

If you’re looking to start a new website and can't figure out whether to use Cloudways or WP Engine as your host, this post provides the answers from our years of hosting with these two companies.

Both are worth checking out but which is best? Which should you use to host your website? We've done the full reviews so you don't have to.

My Personal Experience

I've used both Cloudways and WP Engine for hosting sites. In my experience WP Engine is a literally hand-off experience where you can just leave te hosting to do its thing and it will run flawlessly for years, with total peace of mind. Cloudways is highly-developer oriented for anybody who enjoys tweaking and turning the knobs to fine-tune everything to their own needs.

If you're a business and want your site to run reliably and don't mind paying for that, get WP Engine. If you're a developer who wants to tune everything to your specific needs, go with Cloudways.

Cloudways vs WPEngine

Both Cloudways and WP Engine provide reliable managed cloud hosting for WordPress, as well as a variety of good value hosting plans. They also offer cutting-edge hosting technology and expert support designed specifically for the changing needs of WordPress website owners. Cloudways is geared towards developers, while WP Engine is aimed at business owners who need a hands-off approach.

  cloudways logo wpengine
  Overall   4.5/5  5/5
  Ease of Use  4.5/5  5/5
  Reliability and performance  4/5  5/5
  Support  4/5  5/5
  Value for Money  5/5  4.5/5
Price for new clients $11/month for starting Digital Ocean standard account $30/month for a managed hosting plan 
Free Trial Yes, 3 days No
Money back guarantee No 60 days money-back guarantee
Datacenter location Various based on AWS / Digitial Ocean or Google Cloud locations  Various based on AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud or Atlas locations
Uptime guarantee 99.9% 99.9%
VPS Own platform Own platform
CDN Support Cloudflare Enterprise CDN starting at $4.99/month Cloudflare support built-in
Customer Support Great - resolutions on the spot most times Very Good - Live Chat + Technical support via Tickets
Channels Support Tickets / Email / Live Chat / Knowledgebase Tickets / Email / Live Chat / Knowledgebase
Free HTTPS Yes Let's Encrypt + others
Disk Space 25 GB (cheapest plan) 10 GB
Traffic Supported 1TB ~ 25,000 visits
Websites on cheapest plan Unlimited 1
Backups Full server backup Site backups
Freebies Free website migrations  Free website migrations
ESG N/A Engine for Good
Unique Hosting Features Integration with various hosting platforms through 1-single interface EverCache, 10 Premium WordPress Themes, Automated Migration Plugin
Performance  Winner in our speed tests  Great
  What we liked  Speed  Advanced Technical Setup
   Integration with multiple cloud hosting services  CDN Built-in
   VPS ROOT access  Staging sites
  What we didn't like  No Windows infrastructure  Low traffic visits
     Lots of additional services should be default (e.g. site monitoring or plugin updates)
  Support avoids some tough questions
Winner   🏆
Website Visit Cloudways Hosting Visit WPEngine
CollectiveRay Offer   Get 6 Months Off on Annual Shared Plan in June 2024 Only

A little background

Although this is Cloudways vs WP Engine review, they are similar in many ways. They are two very different web hosts with their own unique stories.

Cloudways

Cloudways

Cloudways' mission is to provide managed cloud hosting solutions so customers can focus on growing their business rather than worrying about hosting.

They were founded in 2009 and are based on the Mediterranean island of Malta, with offices in Dubai and Spain. Co-incidentally, CollectiveRay and David Attard, the Founder of the site are also based out of Malta!

Personal Experience: We've run several sites on Cloudways, mostly where we needed complete control of our setup for development reasons primarily.

WPEngine

WP Engine

WP Engine is a well-known American hosting company based in Austin, Texas. It specialises in fully managed hosting and WordPress solutions.

WPEngine focuses solely on WordPress, and their client list is as impressive as their hosting platform and fully managed WordPress services.

Personal Experience: We have an eCommerce site powered by WooCommerce running on WP Engine which has run flawlessly for more than 7 years. That's an excellent track record and we have zero regrets of working with WPEngine and we don't foresee that changing any time soon. 

What hosting solutions do Cloudways vs WP Engine offer?

Cloudways and WP Engine both have a variety of hosting plans to choose from.

They are all cloud-based, managed, and designed for WordPress, but Cloudways allow various other platforms than just WordPress including LaRavel, Magento, WooCommerce and plain PHP.

Cloud-based hosting is popular due to its speed and limitless scalability.

There are two terms in the world of cloud hosting: managed WordPress hosting and fully managed WordPress hosting.

Cloudways is managed and WP Engine is fully managed.

Cloudways is a managed host, meaning they manage the server your site is hosted on and the network. The rest is up to you to manage. This is the way most of the user base wants it. The infrastructure is managed, but the hosting per se, is manageable, tuneable to their needs.

WP Engine manages both your servers and your WordPress site. That includes backups, security, conflicts, instability and anything else you may need. This is a complete hands-off approach. You run my site, while I run my business.

We’ll discuss plans and what they include in a little while.

Speed and Performance - cloudways vs wpengine

Cloudways vs WP Engine: Performance

When choosing a web host, one of the most important factors to consider is performance. Cloudways and WP Engine both use cutting-edge hardware and software to provide some of the industry's fastest connection speeds.

Servers

In terms of hardware, both providers use top-of-the-line networks. Cloudways uses DigitalOcean, Amazon AWS and Google Cloud to provide services. There are over 35 data centres located around the world to ensure maximum speed.

WP Engine uses Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud as well as their own Azure servers together with the new Atlas headless WordPress platform. We think server quality is equal as both hosts use AWS and Google Cloud. Their own networks are harder to assess, but there’s no downside to either host.

Advanced caching

Caching systems reduce the time it takes for a page to load. These systems can be used on any page, but they're especially useful for speeding up applications.

Both Cloudways hosting and WP Engine use NGINX caching, and their own form of caching.

Cloudways uses Optimized Stack With Advanced Cache, together with Breeze and WP Engine uses their own EverCache® system.

The physical servers use NVMe drives and the latest network hardware.

Another draw as far as we are concerned. There may be milliseconds of performance between them but in real terms, they are equal.

In our experience, on such hosting servers, the performance on these hosts is more down to how well you tune your website and theme to get good speed out of it.

Other performance features

Both managed WordPress cloud hosts use HTTP/2 the latest version of PHP and every performance boost you can think of.

Both also use content delivery networks, CDN, (primarily Cloudflare) to add extra security and speed.

A CDN is a global network that stores websites and their content for easy access, which is beneficial for visitors who are located far from the server data centres.

Content can be loaded and viewed from a CDN node closest to a user's or visitor's location, rather than waiting for connections to distant servers.

While both offer Cloudflare, on Cloudways, this is a paid add-on, while on WP Engine this is available by default.

This is a slight edge to WP Engine for the Cloudflare reason, but both web hosts use all the performance boosting features they can, including caching, CDN and fast servers.

Cloudways vs WP Engine: Reliability

You’re losing potential visitors and sales every second your site is down. Not only will your bottom line suffer, but your reputation and search engine rankings may suffer as well.

Fortunately, most cloud providers, including these two, are capable of providing excellent reliability and uptime.

Both hosts promise 99.99% uptime and even have SLAs to cover it.

That’s partly down to using AWS and Google Cloud which are about as resilient as they come.

Presumably DigitalOcean and WP Engine’s Azure setup offer the same reliability.

This is a clear draw as both hosts offer 99.99% uptime. That’s unbeatable right now.

Personal Experiece: In our experience, we have never experienced any significant downtime when hosting on these sites. Any downtime has come from mistakes we have made, and nothing that can be attributed to the hosts themselves. And when things went sour, we were easily able to restore the site from the automated backups.

Data Centers - cloudways vs wp engine

Data centres

Ideally, you want to host your website on the data centre closest to your audience.

That’s where the data centre comes in. The physical location where the server hosting your site is located.

Cloudways has over 50 data centres across the world and WP Engine has 30. All are divided across AWS, Google Cloud and their respective service providers.

There are locations in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Numbers don’t mean much here, but if you are looking for more options, Cloudways has more data centres.

Storage technology

It’s not just about where your site is hosted, it’s also how. How website data is stored can have a significant impact on its performance.

Many web hosts use either SSD or NVMe drives.

Solid state drives (SSD) use flash technology to achieve much faster transfer speeds.

NVMe drives are newer versions of flash memory, offering faster performance than SSD.

Both Cloudways and WP Engine have access to the fastest NVMe drives so this is a draw.

Security Features - wp engine vs cloudways

Cloudways vs WP Engine: Security

Security is as important as performance. You want a host to keep your website and visitors safe.

Many of the security features offered by Cloudways and WP Engine come standard with each of their hosting packages.

SSL certificates

All Cloudways and WP Engine plans include free SSL.

Both make use of the well-known Let's Encrypt SSL certificate, which encrypts the connection between your visitors' devices and your hosting server.

Malware protection

Malware protection protects from viruses, spyware, and other threats. Cloudways and WP Engine both offer malware protection.

Cloudways uses SSL, dedicated server firewalls, network and performance monitoring and auto-healing servers.

WP Engine uses a combination of a fully managed network firewall (WAF), SSH access, malware scans and automatic patching.

Both hosts also benefit from the additional security that AWS and Google Cloud networks enjoy.

We think there’s no winner in protection. Both hosts use top tier security to keep your site secure.

Backup and recovery

Backups are essential for any WordPress site, and Cloudways and WP Engine both provide daily backups.

Both providers will allow you to avoid data loss and quickly restore your website in the event of a disaster.

As a managed host, Cloudways provides automatic backups and a site cloning tool.

As a fully managed host, WP Engine provides automatic backups with a manual option and will assist restoring your site if you need it.

Both hosts provide automatic backups, which is a great option. It’s easy to recover your site and get going again. This is a draw.

Personal Experience: We've used the backup / restore functions on both sites. In general, WP Engine is super-straightforward and restoring a site from backups is easy and smooth, while on Cloudways there are a number of decisions you need to make before restoring.

Again, this stems from the target audience, developer vs business owner.

Important Features

Cloudways vs WP Engine: Important Features

With the essentials covered, let’s move on to some other important hosting features.

Site migration

If you already have a website and need to move it to a new host, you'll be pleased to learn that both Cloudways and WP Engine make site migrations simple.

Cloudways provides a free WordPress migration plugin. It's simple, straightforward, and completely free.

WP Engine offers automated migrations using a similar built-in tool. As they are a fully managed host, there’s assistance available whenever you need it.

WP Engine is slightly ahead here too, mainly because of the managed WordPress option.

Personal Experience: The migration to WP Engine has been one of the easiest site migrations we have ever experienced.

Staging

Both Cloudways and WP Engine include a full staging feature, allowing you to work on your site without having to clone it. It allows you to push and pull code while maintaining the integrity of your live site.

WP Engine also uses cloning to allow you to work on your site while also allowing you to test new features. It's a different procedure, but it accomplishes the same goal.

WP Engine has a slight advantage here. Both hosts offer staging, but the cloning tool adds a little extra functionality and provides a working copy of your website should you ever need it.

User Friendliness

Cloudways vs WP Engine: User-Friendliness

Both Cloudways and WP Engine offer their own platform which gives you access to what you need and more in terms of the infrastructure.

wpengine dashboard1

Both customer dashboards are easy to figure out and navigate. Both also offer lots of resources to help answer questions or show you how to do things.

Both hosts also have support on hand to help with anything else.

Both hosts are user friendly and should present no problem to users. This is a draw.

Speaking of support…

WP Engine vs Cloudways: Customer support

Cloudways provides live chat support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also open a support ticket or search their extensive knowledgebase for non-critical issues.

Even more impressive is WP Engine's customer service. They have server and WordPress experts on hand to assist with any hosting or WordPress problems that may arise.

WP Engine offers phone support during business hours and email support 24 hours a day.

Personal Experience: We think WP Engine is the better option for customer support. You’re paying extra for fully managed hosting but get the white glove treatment in return.

WP Engine vs Cloudways: Plans and pricing

How much do these two industry-leading managed WordPress cloud providers charge for their hosting services?Cloudways pricing

Cloudways managed WordPress hosting plans

As Cloudways offers different plans depending on which partner you choose, we’ll list the basics of all options.

Digital Ocean

Each cloud provider that Cloudways works with has four different plans. They include free SSL, a built-in CDN, 24/7/365 support, automated backups, staging environments, and more.

The server capabilities are the only real difference between them.

Digital Ocean monthly plans range from $11 to $279 and include:

  • RAM – 1-32GB
  • Processor – 1-8 cores
  • Storage – 25-640GB
  • Bandwidth – 1-7TB

Digital Ocean plans also have premium and standard options which with pricing to match. Prices quoted here are premium.

AWS

AWS plans range in price from $38.56 to $285.21 per month:

  • RAM – 2-16GB
  • Processor – 2-4 cores
  • Storage – 20GB
  • Bandwidth – 2GB

Google Cloud

Except for price, Cloudways' Google Cloud hosting services are nearly identical to their AWS plans.

They range in price from $37.45 to $722.06 per month and include the following features:

  • RAM – 1.70-72GB
  • Processor – 1-16 cores
  • Storage – 20GB
  • Bandwidth – 2GB

Visit Cloudways Hosting Now

WP Engine pricing

WP Engine Managed WordPress cloud hosting plans

WP Engine has a more straightforward pricing plan set up in the traditional way.

Startup Plan – $30 a month

  • 1 site
  • 25,000 visitors a month
  • 10GB of storage
  • 50GB of bandwidth

Professional Plan – $59 a month

  • 3 sites
  • 75,000 visitors a month
  • 15GB of storage
  • 125GB of bandwidth

Growth plan - $115 a month

  • 10 sites
  • 100,000 visitors a month
  • 20GB of storage
  • 200GB of bandwidth

Scale plan - $290 a month

  • 30 sites
  • 400,000 visitors a month
  • 500GB of storage
  • 500GB of bandwidth

There’s also a custom plan for bespoke requirements with pricing on request.

The pricing between Cloudways and WP Engine is harder to judge as it’s not like for like.

As Cloudways is a managed host and WP Engine a fully managed host, the value proposition differs between them.

Where there is a clear difference is the Digital Ocean option from Cloudways that starts at $14 per month. That’s clearly cheaper than anything WP Engine offers even if it’s an uneven comparison.

Visit WP Engine and Get 4 months free on all NEW shared annual plans

WP Engine vs Cloudways: Final verdict

WP Engine and Cloudways are two of the best managed WordPress cloud hosting providers around.

With all the speed, performance, and features they have to offer, deciding which one is best is a tough call.

It must, however, be done.

With everything WPEngine has to offer the average website owner and the complete hands-off approach, they just edge out Cloudways in our opinion.

Cloudways still provide the tools you need to create a lightning-fast WordPress website. Plus, the Digital Ocean plan is clearly cheaper and more accessible to a wider audience.

WP Engine is still the winner though. It’s ideal if you want to take a completely hands-off approach to website management. Given that they are more focused on WordPress, they have more tools specifically for WordPress and their expertise in WordPress is clear, if you're willing to pay just a little bit more. They not only provide the tools, but they also take care of everything for you.

Cloudways vs WP Engine FAQs

Is Cloudways a reputable hosting provider?

Yes, Cloudways is a reputable hosting provide. It’s one of the few companies that strikes a good balance between price and functionality. Cloudways offers fully managed hosting, ensuring that your WordPress sites load quickly and that you don't have to worry about hosting issues.

Is WP Engine a good hosting provider?

Yes, WP Engine is a good hosting provider. The company has over 150,000 customers worldwide and is one of the best-reviewed WordPress hosting companies. WP Engine is reviewed very highly by customers and we have had no issues with our time there. That makes it a good hosting provider in our eyes.

Why should you use WP Engine for your WordPress content management system?

WP Engine works with Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, for hosting. The WordPress CMS and the open source technology's flexibility allow agencies and businesses to compete on an equal footing. WP Engine handle the techy stuff while the businesses can focus on what they do best.

Go to Cloudways site Go to WP Engine Site and Get 6 Months Free in June 2024 only

About the Author
Jamie Kavanagh
Jamie, an engineer by education is our primary technical writer and researcher. Jamie also runs Coastal Content, a content marketing, copywriting and web design company based out of Cornwall in the United Kingdom.

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