Cloud hosting has been around for a while now and gains popularity by the minute. Cloud is also the go-to technology for Internet giants such as Google, Amazon, and many more.
There are many cloud hosting services around with differences in pricing, freebies, and even server power. Based on our research, there are some standard features most of them share, such as a free SSL, free email accounts, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, 24/7 support, and free daily backups.
It’s tempting to go for the cheapest option available. However, you may be looking to host more than one site or need more performance at your side.
What Is Cloud Hosting Anyway? Why It’s Better Than Other Hosting Types?
Cloud Hosting is a network of virtual servers that use the resources from the physical servers to operate your website. The hosting server itself only exists in the virtual world or the “cloud”. Thus, the cloud runs all the applications and services on multiple servers at the same time. These machines can be located at different data centers all across the world.
Compared to the standard private or shared hosting in a physical server, Cloud Hosting offers multiple advantages:
- More reliability: Websites are accessible anytime and anywhere and virtually without any downtime. The moment one of the physical servers should break down, all the traffic gets routed to the healthy servers. The rerouting of traffic is also automatically done when one server in the cluster receives a too heavy load.
- Scalable: Cloud Hosting is also easily scalable. The hosting providers won’t need to add physical machines to your account when you need more power. All it takes is to reroute the resources from the existing server park. Some service providers even offer to automatically increase the resources when there’s a heavier load than usual.
- Faster load time: Then theres an improved speed and performance that Cloud Hosting can offer compared with the statistics of shared hosting. Since the data of your website are spread across multiple servers, you won’t have to rely on just one device.
Now, let’s look at our research of the best Cloud Hosting providers out there and find which one may be suitable for your needs.
7 Best Cloud Hosting Services (2020)
1. Liquid Web VPS Cloud – Best Overall
Liquid Web is one of the strongest fully managed cloud hosting providers out there. It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but it comes with a wide array of useful features and additions.
One of their most persuasive arguments is their great load time and uptime, which are ~430 ms and ~99.99% respectively (last 30 days). Since the cloud technology is highly reliable, they can guarantee a 99.9% uptime.
292 msAverage Speed
Liquid Web VPS Cloud performance (see historical data here)
Their cheapest plan comes with decent servers with 2GB of RAM and 2-core CPU. Their managed VPS cloud is located in central and western United States.
On each of the plans, you can host an unlimited number of websites and email accounts.
All the Liquid Web plans come with fully managed servers so you won’t need to worry about security, updates, monitoring, and maintenance. They’ve also thrown in a free CloudFlare CDN, which they will set up and manage to boost the traffic’s speed and security further. But, if you need more freedom, then you can choose the Core-Managed or Unmanaged options for their cloud servers.
You’ll also get to choose from 3 control panels right from the start – InterWorx, Plesk, and cPanel. However, you’ll need to do most of the set up yourself, but Liquid Web’s very attentive customer support can help you.
Some notable features include a free SSL, free daily backups with 100GB of backup space, 40GB of SSD space, and 24/7 phone, live chat, or phone support. The bandwidth is limited to 10TB but should be more than enough for the average websites.
The cost of their plans is quite straightforward, but the cheapest options (starting from $15/mo) come with a 24-month commitment. The hosting service is easily scalable should you need to allocate more power or features. However, compared with the industry standard, there is no money-back guaranteed, therefore no refund. Domains cost $15/year.
2. HostGator Cloud – Best Cheap Cloud
HostGator Cloud is the most inexpensive cloud hosting option on our list. It’s perfect for anyone looking to host a single domain and keep the costs to a minimum. Their cloud hosting servers are only located in the United States.
In addition to being the most affordable, they also have the best load time and uptime on our list; our statistics show ~400 ms load time and ~100% uptime (last 30 days), respectively. As a standard, they guarantee a 99.9% uptime with their plans.
263 msAverage Speed
HostGator Cloud performance (see historical data here)
One of the main downsides is HostGator’s limit of a single domain hosted with their “Hatchling” plan. They do offer a free domain and unlimited email accounts with their hosting options. But, if you’re looking to host numerous websites, you’ll need to purchase multiple plans or get started with an upgraded plan.
HostGator is very easy to set up and lets you use the popular cPanel as the user panel. They instantly activate your account after the purchase. However, HostGator doesn’t offer a managed option for their cloud servers, but you’ll have an easy time of monitoring and allocating additional resources to handle the traffic yourself. That said, you’ll have total control over your usage.
Being this cheap comes with another downside compared with the industry-standard – no free backups. You can add daily automated website backups as an addition, which is billed annually for $23.95.
Now, the best part about their plans is the unlimited storage and bandwidth that you don’t see that often. Also, you’ll get a free SSL certificate and have access to the 24/7 telephone, live chat, or email support. Similarly to Liquid Web’s offer, HostGator will throw in a free CloudFlare CDN for extra security and speed.
The pricing of their plans starts from $2.74/mo, which is a discounted price with their 12-month plan. Be prepared for the costs to rise to $10.95/mo after the initial period. Still, you’ll have the option to get your money back in 45 days, which is above the industry’s standard (30 days). We recommend getting the “Baby” plan starting from $3.21/mo. You’ll get unlimited domains and access to more server power with their 4GB RAM and 4-core CPUs – for still a low initial price.
3. CloudWays – Best Managed Cloud
If you’re looking for a fully managed hosting service with flexible contracts, pricing, and an option to involve a team of experts to aid you, then CloudWays has your back.
The cheapest plans come with Digital Ocean datacenters, which are located all over the world. You can choose between different tier plans which offer higher speeds, storage, and bandwidth – for a higher price.
Performance-wise, their servers are very reliable with good load time and uptime, a statistical average of ~500 ms and 100% respectively.
505 msAverage Speed
Cloudways performance (see historical data here)
As with most cloud hosting providers, CloudWays lets you host an unlimited number of websites. Be prepared to register your domain(s) separately as they don’t offer this service. However, they’re happy to migrate your first website free of charge if you already have one up and running.
A significant downside is the lack of email hosting by default in the plans. You can get the service as an add-on for $1 per email account, which isn’t much unless you have hundreds of them.
CloudWays has its own in-house developed control panel, which is quite intuitive and easy to use. Since they offer a fully managed cloud, you won’t need to worry about maintenance, updates, or security. They’ll keep your server running with regular OS management, security patching, and 24/7 real-time monitoring. Besides, you can get the Premium Support add-on, which furthers the assistance they offer.
Every plan also includes automated backups. But, if you’ll read the fine print, then you’ll learn that they will charge you an extra $0.033/GB per server for offsite backup storage (monthly).
Some of the other features include a free SSL, CloudWaysCDN add-on, 25GB of SSD storage capacity, 24/7 live chat, phone support, and a ticketing system. The base plan has a 1TB bandwidth limit, which is the lowest compared to the other service providers on this list.
CloudWays has a very transparent pricing system, which we do like. You’ll have the option of a monthly or an hourly payment, and there are no term obligations. Their cheapest plan costs $10/month and includes 1GB of RAM and 1-core processor.
Unfortunately, they don’t offer a money-back guarantee, but you’ll get a 3-day free trial run instead.
4. Hostinger Cloud
Hostinger is another quality managed cloud hosting service provider. Their strength is simplicity, having good performance, and including many other useful features for your hosting needs.
Hostinger has a decent load time of ~600 ms on average and uptime of ~99.99%. What’s even better is that their data centers are located all over the world. You also won’t be sharing your resources and get a dedicated IP.
681 msAverage Speed
Hostinger Cloud performance (see historical data here)
Hostinger has developed their own control panel “hPanel”, which is very easy to set up and use. The hPanel also includes a custom-developed 1-Click App Installer for over 100+ app installations with ease.
The significant upside is that you won’t have to be an IT genius as they’ll do all the server and traffic managing for you. They offer a 24/7 monitoring service, the latest technology and performance updates, maintenance, and free daily backups.
Some of the other features include unlimited bandwidth and email accounts, 40GB of SSD storage, free SSL and CloudFlare CDN, and the industry-standard 99.9% uptime guarantee. As for the support, they only offer a 24/7 live chat option. With a few extra dollars, you can add yourself to their priority support list so they’ll response will be quicker.
Compared to other fully managed clouds, you’re able to host up to 300 websites with Hostinger. It’s not that big of a downside as 300 websites are more than most of us need anyway. On the upside, you’ll get a free domain, but the renewal cost from the second year is $10.99.
From the pricing perspective, you’ll get the cheapest price ($7.45/mo) with a 4-year contract, which isn’t that great. The renewal cost will be $15.90. Quite expensive considering the lower entry fee. You’ll also get a decent 30-day money-back guarantee with a full refund to test their service out. The base plan sets you up with 3GB of RAM and a 2-core CPU. The plans are easily upgradable to higher-tier with an extra cost, but you’ll get better performance and more storage space.
5. DreamHost Cloud – Unmanaged
Dreamhost has designed their cloud hosting service for professionals and anyone who wants as much freedom as possible. Their servers are unmanaged, meaning that you’ll be responsible for everything, from updates to backups.
Their server parks are only based in the USA. The servers themselves aren’t packing a lot of power either compared with the speeds offered by their competitors.
Dreamhost has a decent uptime ~99.99% and reliable speed, which our statistics show to be at ~300 ms on average.
302 msAverage Speed
DreamHost Cloud performance (see historical data here)
Dreamhost lets you host an unlimited number of websites provided that you’ll come with your domain(s). They have their own custom-built panel to manage your websites, databases, email, and billing.
Now, if an unmanaged cloud server is what you’re looking for, then you’re in for a treat. Dreamhost allows any choice of OS and software so the servers can be based in Linux, BSD, or MS Windows. Dreamhost is engineered around OpenStack and Ceph and supports standard APIs and the most popular developer tools. So if you require MongoDB, Redis, node.js, ruby, python, you can use them all with zero hassle.
On another note, you’ll also be responsible for your backups, updates, security, allocating resources for your traffic, and general management of your server. Dreamhost does provide you with an SSL certificate free of charge.
You’ll get unlimited free bandwidth until Dreamhost decides otherwise (limited time). You’ll also get a massive 80GB of SSD storage space AND 100GB of Block Storage with every plan. That’s huge compared to what other cloud hosting providers are offering.
A major downside is that their support only works during business hours and through live chat (unless you have DreamPress, a WordPress hosting option). Still, you’re able to create a ticket anytime – just don’t expect an immediate response.
The pricing is usage-based and measured by the hour, and the base plan starts from a maximum of $4.50/month ($0.0075/hour). With this, you’ll get 512MB of RAM and 1-core processor. However, we recommend you to get the next tier plan for better performance (2GB of RAM) priced at $0.02/hour (or a maximum of $12/mo). There is no money-back guarantee, but no commitment either.
6. InMotion Cloud
InMotion offers a high-end premium cloud hosting service. Even though they are a bit on the pricey side, they offer a premium support experience, their servers are fully managed and easy to set up.
You can host an unlimited number of websites, and InMotion has also thrown in a free domain to help get you started. However, starting from the second year, they’ll charge $15.99 a year for the domain. We suggest you bring an already registered domain with you.
InMotion’s performance is decent, with an average of ~570 ms load time and 99.96% uptime. Their servers are located in the east and west coasts of the USA. As a standard practice, InMotion also commits to a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
361 msAverage Speed
InMotion Cloud performance (see historical data here)
InMotion lets you use a well-known cPanel for setting up and running your website(s). The installation itself is effortless and straightforward. Upon starting, you’ll even get two free hours with InMotion’s Managed Hosting team, who will help you with the installation.
InMotion fully manages the servers, so you won’t need to worry about that at all. Also, they’ll monitor your traffic and allocate resources instantly when your website needs them. Automatic backups are also included with their plans by default.
You’ll get a choice of server configuration based on your needs (LAMP stack, WordPress stack, or PHP configuration). There’s also an option for enabling root access if you want to use other technology for your development.
Some other features include 75GB of SSD storage space, a free SSL certificate, unlimited email accounts, 4TB of bandwidth, and 24/7 phone, live chat, and email support.
The pricing is quite expensive, with the cheapest option ($22.99/mo) coming along with a 2-year commitment. From the hardware side, the users get 4GB of RAM with the base hosting plan. There’s also an option to upgrade your plan to get even better speeds and storage, but it’ll also cost more. Still, you’ll have an impressive 90-day money-back guarantee with a full refund if you so choose.
7. A2 Hosting Cloud
A2 Hosting Cloud has the most expensive plans on our review list. They still offer a fully managed cloud hosting service, but their load time isn’t that great compared to the other hosting providers.
A2 Hosting does have a fair coverage of the USA, Europe, and Asia when it comes to server locations.
Even though they’ve maintained an excellent uptime of 99.99%, their average site load time is not that great (1334ms):
1134 msAverage Speed
A2 Hosting Cloud performance (see historical data here)
For building and running your website, you’ll get access to a well-known cPanel control panel. Other than that, you don’t have to worry about managing the servers with A2 Hosting’s fully managed plans. They will maintain and update all the hardware, keep the software up to date, and monitor the server 24/7.
As a standard, they offer free daily backups and have thrown in a free in-house file recovery program “Server Rewind”. They’ll also run a security monitoring operation 24/7 to keep your websites as safe as possible.
The other main features include a 75GB of SSD storage space, free SSL and CloudFlare CDN, free unlimited email accounts, and a fantastic 24/7 phone, email, ticket, and live chat support. During our research, we’ve found A2 Hosting support to be THE BEST on our review list.
High performance, great features, and delightful support experience don’t come cheap, though. The plans are costly, starting from $25/month, and renewals are almost twice the initial charge. The upgraded plans are even more expensive but also offer higher speeds and storage space.
There is an upside, and it’s called the ANYTIME money-back guarantee.
Based on our research, there are some great cloud hosting service providers out there. There is a significant difference in pricing based on how much performance and how many features you’ll need. The price is also somewhat higher than other hosting types, such as shared hosting.
You can also expect different load times based on where you operate and which provider you choose. But, you can expect a reliable service from all of them.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking to take your website performance to the next level without breaking your bank, cloud hosting is the way to go.
Which cloud hosting providers have you used before? Would you recommend any of them? Let us know in the comments below. We can also test and try other cloud hosting providers, so shoot your suggestions to us :).