If you’re looking to invest in a user-friendly hosting plan for your WordPress website, you have several options to choose from. While traditional shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting solutions can certainly get the job done, you can get an overall better experience with a plan that’s optimized for the WordPress platform.
Managed WordPress hosting is a unique alternative to standard hosting packages. Not only are these plans purpose-built with improved WordPress performance in mind, but they’re overseen by professionals. Gone are the days of trying to figure out confusing technical settings you don’t care about. With a WordPress hosting plan, all you have to focus on is creating and managing the best site that you can.
Cloudways and HostGator are two big-name service providers that offer managed WordPress hosting solutions. Both are established companies with a lot to offer in terms of performance and reliability.
Want to know which hosting provider is better? Check out our comparison guide to learn more. We’re going to dig deeper into what these companies have to offer so that you can figure out which option is right for your WordPress hosting needs.
About Cloudways and HostGator
Originally founded in 2002, HostGator was once of the fastest-growing companies in the United States. The business was started in Boca Raton by a student at Florida Atlantic University. Eventually, the company moved its headquarters to Houston, Texas, where it resides today.
HostGator is wholly owned by the Endurance International Group. If you’re unfamiliar with EIG, it’s a mega-corporation that owns many of the biggest hosting brands. In 2015, HostGator began offering managed WordPress hosting packages.
Cloudways had a bit of a late start in the business. The company was established in 2009. It’s currently headquartered in Malta. Unlike HostGator, Cloudways never got into the shared, VPS, or dedicated server hosting business. The provider only offers a managed WordPress plan, focusing all of its resources to provide the best service possible.
The Basics of Managed WordPress Hosting
So, how exactly does managed WordPress hosting work? There are a few different ways that providers can handle this type of service. For Cloudways and HostGator, cloud technology is used.
Managed cloud hosting has come a long way in the last decade. It’s much faster than traditional shared or VPS solutions. Plus, it’s more reliable. Instead of storing your site’s data on a single server for access, content is spread throughout many systems on the same regional network. As a result, people visiting your site will experience improved performance regardless of their location. Furthermore, server resources are abundant and scalable.
The “managed” aspect of this type of hosting is designed to make things as easy as possible for webmasters, bloggers, small businesses, and anyone else who wants to create a site. Web hosting can get complex fairly quickly. Managing the technical side of things can be a full-time job on its own.
With managed WordPress hosting, all of the small details are taken care of. This includes regular security patches, WordPress updates, and more. Perhaps the most beneficial thing about WordPress hosting is the support. Because these plans only work with WordPress, it’s easier to get detailed help from a team of experts.
HostGator vs Cloudways: Server Infrastructure – Cloudways Wins
Now, let’s get into the comparisons! The first thing you should be looking into when comparing WordPress hosting providers is their data centers. We mentioned earlier that Cloudways and HostGator both use cloud server networks to deliver content to your audience. However, the specifics of the data infrastructure are vastly different.
HostGator’s data centers are located in the United States. The company partners with Ace Data Centers in Provo, Utah, and CyrusOne in Houston, TX. Unfortunately, the provider does not have any international data centers. Nor do they allow customers to choose which data center they utilize.
Cloudways doesn’t have its own data centers like a traditional hosting provider. Instead, the company partners with several big-name cloud providers. These include Vultr, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Linode, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Google Cloud Platform, and Digital Ocean. When you sign up for a plan, you get to have complete control over how your site’s data is stored. Not only can you choose which cloud hosting platform you want to use, but you also get to select a region.
Read more about Cloudways on our Cloudways Review page.
Cloudways vs HostGator: Reliability and Uptime – Cloudways Wins
In the hosting industry, the term “uptime” is something you’ll see being used to compare providers. It refers to the amount of time that the company’s systems are up and running. While most don’t give it a second thought, high uptime ratings are crucial when it comes to the success of your site.
Major outages can take your site offline. This can harm your bottom line and damage your reputation. All web hosting companies strive to keep their uptime ratings as close to 100 percent as possible.
HostGator has a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee. On the Terms of Service page, the provider states that customers can receive account credit if the reliability figure falls below that threshold. Uptime guarantees are fairly common in the industry. Luckily, HostGator typically makes well on that promise and works hard to keep things running smoothly. The two data centers are fully secured and connected to backup systems just in case.
Cloudways takes the uptime guarantee a step further. It’s set at 99.999 percent. The cool thing about Cloudways is that you’re not relying on the efficiency of the company to take care of the servers. Remember, the plans all utilize established cloud infrastructures. Those networks have billions of dollars invested in them, so you know they are constantly maintained and looked after.
HostGator vs Cloudways: Performance – Cloudways Wins
Several factors come into play to provide you with good performance. Before you commit to a provider, it’s important to see how those factors contribute to overall connection speeds and page load times. Here are some common features that Cloudways and HostGator provide.
The capabilities of the hardware can make or break performance. Luckily, Cloudways and HostGator have pretty good servers. HostGator uses low-density equipment to prevent server resource hogging. The servers are also PHP-ready.
With Cloudways, the servers are all capable of handling PHP 7 as well. The servers also have HTTP/2 enabled to increase connection speeds.
Content Delivery Networks
A content delivery network is a must-have if you have a global audience. Visitors who are accessing your site from a location that’s far away from the primary servers will have a tougher time accessing your site. This is true even for managed cloud hosting. Content delivery networks, or CDNs, help to alleviate this issue by storing cached versions of your site on a global network. Rather than connecting to the main server, visitors will simply establish a connection with the nearest node.
HostGator gives you the option to use Cloudflare CDN. Cloudflare is a trusted content delivery network that’s frequently used by hosting providers. Cloudways one-ups HostGator a bit by offering its own native CDN. Called CloudwaysCDN, the network is quite robust.
Caching systems can improve performance by quickly loading condensed files. They reduce the load on the servers while reducing load times. Both HostGator and Cloudways use multiple caching layers. Cloudways has an optimized stack with Memcached, Varnish, Nginx, and Redis.
How your site’s data is stored can also affect performance. It takes time to move data from the server to the visitor’s device, so having the fastest hardware possible is paramount. Cloudways only uses solid-state drives. SSD storage utilizes flash memory rather than spinning mechanical drives. Thus, it’s more reliable and has significantly faster transfer rates. Unfortunately, HostGator still uses mechanical drives for most of its plans.
Cloudways vs HostGator: Security – Cloudways Wins
Creating a safe and secure website is not always easy. The World Wide Web is filled to the brim with malware. Plus, there are always new privacy threats to worry about. Investing in some solid security features can provide peace of mind for both you and your visitors.
The first line of defense is going to be end-to-end encryption. Encrypting the connection between the server and your visitors’ device can stop things like man-in-the-middle attacks. It can also keep the connection secure to avoid malware and hacking.
To achieve this encryption, providers use SSL certificates. The plans from Cloudways and HostGator both come with a free SSL certificate. More specifically, they come with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL. The certificate makes the encryption possible while letting your audience know that you take their security seriously.
In the event of a catastrophic failure, having backups can mean the difference between having to start over and getting your site back up in minutes. Despite all of the precautions that providers take to avoid serious issues, accidents happen all the time.
Cloudways has a flexible backup system. You can create on-demand backups with just one click. Alternatively, you can schedule the backups to be created regularly. Restoring your site in the event of an emergency is just as easy.
HostGator comes with CodeGuard. CodeGuard is a third-party backup system that allows you to create automatic backups every single day.
Firewalls and Malware Scanning
Other security features are available as well. For example, Cloudways has a dedicated firewall that protects servers around the clock. It can filter out bad traffic and prevent unwanted attacks.
HostGator WordPress plans come with SiteLock. The third-party feature scans for malware daily and blocks automatic bot attacks.
HostGator vs Cloudways: Features – Cloudways Wins
Beyond the performance rating and reliability, a web hosting provider is only as good as the features it offers. Managed WordPress plans tend to come with more user-friendly features than other options. These services are designed to simplify the hosting process, so companies typically include a slew of extras that you can take advantage of.
If you already have an established WordPress site, migration services are a must. Moving your data and databases can be a difficult process. Many things can go wrong, so it’s nice to let the professionals handle the job.
Cloudways and HostGator do offer site migration features. Best of all, it’s free for one site! That’s a huge perk that can save you tons of money upfront. Other web hosting service providers, such as Bluehost, charge hefty fees for website transfers. It’s great that HostGator and Cloudways give you free migrations on the house.
If you’re starting a brand-new site, you’re going to need a domain name. Many big-name providers do double-duty as domain registrars. HostGator is one of them. The provider offers a free domain for your first year. While you will need to take care of renewal fees in the future, the free domain is a great way to save on your startup costs. Domain privacy is included as well with no extra cost. Usually, this is an add-on feature that you have to pay for. With HostGator, it’s included on all managed WordPress plans.
Unfortunately, Cloudways does not offer a free domain. In fact, the company doesn’t perform any registration services at all.
Site staging is a unique feature that lets you experience your site before it goes live. Think of it as a real-time preview. You can take a look at your site’s design and check to make sure all of the scripts are working. Cloudways offers unlimited site staging. HostGator doesn’t have any staging features.
Do you have a team of people working on your site? If so, you can benefit greatly from team collaboration tools. Having the ability to work together remotely can increase productivity significantly. Cloudways has some great collaborative features. You can grant access to individuals, create new projects, add team members, and more. Currently, HostGator doesn’t have any of these kinds of features.
When it comes to the user experience, WordPress hosting is a bit different than traditional plans. Most providers utilize cPanel. It’s a popular control panel interface that lets you manage every aspect of your site from one place.
Because many of the technical details are taken care of with WordPress hosting plans, there’s no need for an in-depth control panel. As such, HostGator and Cloudways both use a proprietary control panel. Both providers have simple dashboards with all the essentials. It’s relatively minimal compared to cPanel, making it easy for anyone to use.
The beauty of WordPress is that it’s already quite flexible. It works with a wide range of custom scripts, plugins, and apps. Whether you’re wanting to create a simple blog or a resource-heavy e-commerce site, WordPress can handle it all. Both HostGator and Cloudways let you take advantage of all of those customizable extras. They even let you perform one-click installs for simplicity.
Cloudways takes things a bit further by not limiting you to just WordPress. You can also download Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and other management frameworks.
Cloudways vs HostGator: Customer Support – Draw
One huge advantage of going with a managed WordPress hosting services is that customer support is a top priority. Both Cloudways and HostGator put a lot of resources into their tech support team. They’re available around the clock and can be reached in many ways. You can contact a specialist 24 hours a day through live chat or email. Both providers also have ticketing systems, telephone numbers, and detailed knowledge bases for convenience.
Read more about Hostgator on our Hostgator Review page.
HostGator vs Cloudways: Plans and Pricing
No hosting review is complete without mentioning costs. Managed WordPress hosting services tend to be more expensive than simple shared plans. With that said, you are getting more bang for your buck. WordPress hosting comes with a slew of extras and higher quality support, so the higher price tag is justified.
Cloudways and HostGator follow two different pricing models. HostGator charges a monthly fee, which is more reminiscent of what a traditional hosting provider would do. Meanwhile, Cloudways uses a pay-as-you-go pricing structure.
HostGator has several pricing options. You can choose to pay monthly or pay for a long-term plan upfront. The latter option comes with a reduced subscription fee, allowing you to save money over time.
With the Starter Plan, you can create one WordPress website. You get enough bandwidth for roughly 100,000 visitors. Like all of the WordPress hosting plans, you get unlimited storage space and a free SSL certificate.
Starting at $5.95 per month with promotion
The Standard Plan has enough bandwidth for about 200,000 visitors every month. You also get a larger storage allotment for daily database backups
Starting at $7.95 per month with promotion
The Business Plan reportedly has five times for computing power than traditional shared hosting options. The package comes with enough bandwidth for 500,000 visitors a month.
Starting at $9.95 per month with promotion
As we mentioned earlier, Cloudways does things differently than providers like GoDaddy, SiteGround, or Inmotion. The pay-as-you-go pricing lets you pay for only the resources you use. Prices are affected by the cloud provider you choose.
Includes 1 virtual CPU core, 1 GB of RAM, 1 TB of bandwidth, and 25 GB of storage.
Starting at $12 per month or $0.167 per hour
Includes 1 TB of bandwidth, 25 GB of storage, and 1 GB of RAM.
Starting at $10 per month or $0.139 per hour
Includes 1 vCPU 1.75 GB of RAM, 20 GB of storage, and 2 GB of bandwidth.
Starting at $36.51 per month or $0.0507 per hour
Includes 1 vCPU, 25 GB of SSD storage, 1 TB of bandwidth, and 1 GB of RAM
Starting at $11.00 per month or $0.0153 per hour
Includes 1.7 GB of RAM, 20 GB of storage, 2 GB of bandwidth, and 1 vCPU
Starting at $33.30 per month or $0.0463 per hour
Use coupon code SITEHUB to get 25% off for 3 months.
The Final Verdict
Cloudways is the clear winner of this roundup. The provider simply has more to offer than HostGator and does better across the board. Not only are there more features available, but the server infrastructure is better. With cloud platforms from Google and Amazon, you have the chance to get a high-performance WordPress site that blows the rest out of the water.