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Cloudways vs DigitalOcean (2021): Which Managed Hosting Provider Is Worth It?

If you’re planning to create your own WordPress site but you’re not quite sure how to go about managing your servers, spare yourself the headache and let a managed WordPress hosting provider do the job for you. Two industry leaders you can look into are Cloudways and DigitalOcean, although they each have their own pros and cons so it’s crucial that you pick wisely. If you need help deciding which one’s better for your blog or e-commerce site, here’s an in-depth comparison of the two providers, taking their speed and performance, security features, additional features, and pricing into account.

Cloudways vs DigitalOcean Comparison Chart

PriceCheck Price at CloudwaysCheck Price at DigitalOcean
HardwareNGINX SSD serversNGINX SSD servers
Advanced Caching SystemsNGINX, Varnish, and RedisNGINX, Varnish, and Redis
SSLFree Let’s Encrypt SSL certificateFree Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate
FirewallsOS-level firewallsNetwork-based firewalls
Backups and RecoveryYesYes
Free DomainYesNo
Migration PluginYesNo

Speed and Performance

Cloudways has a slight edge over DigitalOcean by using a CDN.

Both Cloudways and DigitalOcean have SSD servers and advanced caching systems.

One of the most important roles of a managed hosting provider is to make sure that your site is always in tip-top shape in terms of speed and performance. Fortunately, Cloudways and DigitalOcean do an exceptional job at this, both providing unparalleled connection speeds. If you’re wondering, these two providers can load your site in less than 500 milliseconds, an impressive feat that not many can do. So how are they able to pull this off? The fact that they use top-tier hardware has a lot to do with it, both equipped with NGINX SSD servers that are able to load static content at lightning rates.

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To speed things up even more, Cloudways and DigitalOcean also take advantage of advanced caching systems such as Varnish, Redis, and NGINX. Thanks to Varnish’s reverse proxying capabilities, even sluggish WordPress sites get a boost of energy. As for Redis, their job is to store database queries which yet again aids in speed and performance. To boot, both Cloudways and DigitalOcean have extra features in place to cut loading times even further. Not only do they make use of HTTP/2 but their servers are PHP-ready as well so that applications are able to load without any hitches.

While Cloudways and DigitalOcean are pretty neck and neck when it comes to speed and performance, the former does have a slight edge by using a CDN. With a CDN, your site doesn’t have to wait to connect to a server that’s across the globe and can instead just use a CDN node that’s nearest to it.

Security Features

Cloudways and DigitalOcean use SSL certificates, dedicated firewalls, and backups to safeguard your site.

Both Cloudways and DigitalOcean manage your site’s security for you.

Because malicious attacks, intruders, and malware are all constant threats to your site, you need the best protection that’s out there. It’s a good thing that both Cloudways and DigitalOcean include security features in their packages so that your site and its visitors can remain safe. For starters, both providers will give you a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate which is considered the best of its kind in the industry. This way, the connection between the server and visitor will always be encrypted, boosting your site’s trustworthiness.

In addition to SSL certificates, Cloudways and DigitalOcean also make use of dedicated firewalls to keep hackers and malware away from your site. Cloudways uses OS-level firewalls while DigitalOcean has network-based firewalls, both of which are offered without any additional charge. If, however, you want to really tighten up your security, you can avail of the Sucuri Application Antivirus and Firewall from both providers although it won’t be the most budget-friendly purchase. As for backups and recovery, Cloudways and DigitalOcean carry out daily backups and make it pretty easy to restore your site in case of a calamity. Both providers don’t, however, provide automatic disaster recovery.

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Additional Features

Cloudways is the clear winner when it comes to site migration and staging.

Cloudways offers free site migration via their WordPress migration plugin.

One of the biggest perks of signing up for a hosting plan with Cloudways is the fact that they will give you a free domain, something that you don’t get with DigitalOcean. This is why Cloudways is considered more “managed” versus many of the other hosting platforms out there.

Another great perk that you can enjoy with Cloudways is their free site migration. So if you already have an existing site and would like to transfer your data to Cloudways, all you have to do is download their free WordPress migration plugin and you can then complete the transfer in just a couple of clicks. As for DigitalOcean, it’s still possible to migrate your site to their servers although they don’t have a plugin that makes the process an easier one.

When it comes to staging, Cloudways yet again has the upper hand. With their robust yet user-friendly staging feature, you’ll find it no trouble at all to test out new themes, codes, and plugins without interrupting your live site. The best part is that Cloudways’ staging doesn’t involve any cloning which many beginners find quite daunting. DigitalOcean doesn’t have a staging feature at all so Cloudways is the obvious winner in this round.


DigitalOcean offers better bang for your buck.

Both Cloudways and DigitalOcean only charge you for the resources you’ve used up.

What’s great about both Cloudways and DigitalOcean is that they only charge you for the resources you’ve used up for the previous month, creating more room for savings. That said, DigitalOcean seems to provide better bang for your buck given the amount of server power you can get for lower rates. To boot, they have a massive selection of plans to choose from, the most basic one starting at $5 per month and the most comprehensive one at $640 a month. This means that whatever your needs and budget, you’re sure to find a package that fits.

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As for Cloudways, their rate depends on which data center you’ve chosen. The most affordable one is DigitalOcean which starts at $10 per month and the most expensive is Google Cloud which costs a minimum of $80 per month. If you’re not sure you want to commit just yet, that’s completely fine because Cloudways offers a free trial and they don’t even ask you for your credit card details.


While Cloudways costs a bit more, they’re worth it for their user-friendliness and additional features.


Best for most site owners


Best for those on a budget

Cloudways and DigitalOcean are all tied up when it comes to speed and performance as well as security. That’s no surprise because after all, they’re both considered top-tier in the hosting world. But if we had to pick to pick a winner, it would have to be Cloudways for being the more user-friendly of the two and for having more features that users can benefit from. While they may be slightly more expensive, the extra cost is worth it because Cloudways gives you a free domain and they make site migration and staging incredibly easy.


📌 Are Cloudways and DigitalOcean reliable?

Considered the leaders in the industry, both Cloudways and DigitalOcean are reliable. They make use of SSL certificates, dedicated firewalls, and backups to safeguard your site.

📌 Which one is better when it comes to speed and performance, Cloudways or DigitalOcean?

Both providers have measures in place to boost your site’s speed and performance such as NGINX SSD servers and advanced caching systems. However, Cloudways has a slight edge over DigitalOcean by using a CDN.

📌 Which one has more features, Cloudways or DigitalOcean?

Cloudways is the clear winner when it comes to additional features, providing a free domain for all their plans, free site migration, and a user-friendly staging feature.

📌 Which one is more affordable, Cloudways or DigitalOcean?

DigitalOcean seems to provide better bang for your buck given the amount of server power you can get for lower rates. To boot, they have a massive selection of plans to choose from.

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Denise Jose