In this article, we test, evaluate, and rank the best cloud hosting providers, explain what cloud hosting is, and answer the most commonly asked questions.
In short and without using any complex jargon, cloud hosting is a type of web hosting that combines the resources of physical machines and serves them as separate virtual units. Much like dedicated hosting but with flexible resources and much lower pricing point.
Cloud hosting is one of the best hosting options overall - it's relatively affordable and can be as powerful as you need it to be.
However, this does not explain how all of this works. How can you separate server resources and put them on a cloud? And what did you say about dedicated hosting..?
Yeah, it was confusing for me at first too. So, below I'll try to explain what it is in layman's terms.
And if you're are planning to run away from this page and go to something simpler - think twice. Spoiler alert: some of our providers are as affordable as shared hosting ones with much more power included.
Cloud Hosting Basics
Cloud hosting is a relatively new service, it still raises quite a few questions for users. So you shouldn't be discouraged if you don't know everything about it.
Cloud Hosting Definition and Specifications
Cloud hosting is a technology that creates a virtual Cloud server using the resources of a cluster of physical servers. This way you can get basically unlimited possibilities to scale. Redundancy and server speed is also improved.
So, you simply take a server. Virtually separate its resources into smaller units. And using some advanced cloud technology, put it for users to use. From this comes a powerful, highly scalable, and affordable server.
You can read about it in more detail in our What is Cloud Hosting article.
But that is not all. When choosing the best cloud hosting provider, you'll come across even more definitions. So to choose the right service for you, we've made a quick web hosting glossary that'll help. Here are some of the main tech specifications you should know:
- CPU cores are the processing power of the server. Each core works on a different task, so the more cores you have, the faster your server can deal with multiple tasks - the faster the website will function. Most hosting providers' entry plans offer from 1 to 2 CPU cores and that's enough for a simple website with low traffic levels. But once you grow, you will need to upgrade.
- RAM (Random Access Memory) is what makes it easy and fast to access the required data for one or another task. Data is temporarily stored on a RAM memory card - the more memory you have, the more visitors you can serve at a time. So the amount of RAM depends on your traffic levels. Small to medium websites such as business sites need at least 2GB of RAM. With the growing traffic, you'll be able to easily upgrade.
- Storage is where all of your website's data is stored. The average WordPress site takes around 1GB of this space. Cloud hosting entry plans usually include well over 10GB.
- Bandwidth determines how many visitors and how fast they can reach your website. For a small business website, up to 5GB of bandwidth is more than enough. However, if you host heavy-weight websites and the traffic peaks, you might want to upgrade.
Did you notice anything? You can get a cheap plan with minimal server resources and upgrade it at any time. Cloud technology allows adding more and more server resources when you actually need them.
Should You Choose Cloud Hosting?
We recommend cloud hosting if:
- You run an eCommerce store and want better security and more power but you don't want to spend more money on a dedicated server.
- You run a medium-sized website, receive from 5000 to 15000 visitors a day, and you want your hosting to adjust to your user's numbers and demands.
- You believe that your small site will grow soon and want to have some more resources in advance to handle traffic peaks and heavier files.
Cloud hosting is not for you if:
- You run a large website that needs a lot of security and great performance to keep up with user numbers. If you receive over 15000 visits per day and can spend somewhere between $800 to $4000 a year, then choose a dedicated server.
- You run a small blog or a website project that you don't want to spend too much money on. If you expect up to 5000 users per day and want to spend somewhere between $25 and $200 a year, then choose shared hosting.
The Best Cloud Hosting Providers
Now, that we got a general understanding of what cloud hosting is, we can take a look at what we think are the best providers.
Here are the 7 best cloud hosting providers:
1. Liquid Web - overall the best cloud hosting provider.
2. HostGator - the best beginner-friendly cloud hosting.
3. Hostinger - affordable and powerful cloud hosting.
4. A2 Hosting - the best cloud hosting for flexibility.
5. InterServer - month-to-month cloud hosting.
6. Cloudways - the best cloud hosting management.
7. InMotion - professional Cloud server hosting.
Liquid Web is a managed hosting service that aims to make your website fast and reliable. Most importantly, it has cloud hosting options for all kinds of users - from small businesses and agencies to enterprise solutions and mission-critical apps.
The best part is, Liquid Web promises to deploy any server in minutes - this is where the managed service pricing pays off.
Liquid Web Prices
There 3 cloud hosting options: Cloud VPS, Dedicated Cloud, and Cloud Sites. That's by far the biggest choice of different Cloud services any provider can offer.
- Cloud VPS starts at $29/mo, it offers 2GB of RAM, 2 vCPU, 40 GB SSD disk space, 10 TB bandwidth, and 1TB of bandwidth. That's a basic package to start any kind of website or project, it also includes a free 100GB backups.
- Cloud Dedicated Server hosting starts at $119/mo and includes 7.8GB RAM, Intel Xeon E3-1271 v3 4 cores, 211GB SSD, and 1 5TB Bandwidth. If you need more scalability, security, and privacy, there's
- Cloud Sites platform starts at $150/mo (the first 3 months is $51/mo) and includes 50 GB SSD storage, 1TB bandwidth, free Cloudflare CDN, and lets you use both Windows and Linux. It's perfect if you don't want to bother with hosting specs and techs.
Still, no matter which option you choose, you'll be able to launch your site in minutes and enjoy the top-level performance with 24/7 support managing your services.
Starting with the cheapest Cloud VPS plan and then scaling it up as your project grows.
Liquid Web Performance Results
Liquid Web shows some of the best performance results. We tested the cheapest Cloud VPS plan with WordPress default theme and recorded an average response time of 151ms.
Liquid Web also has a very brave 100% uptime guarantee. And as you can see from our tracker results - it manages to maintain it. We have to admit that we were really impressed with this provider's performance.
Talking about Liquid Web, it is one of the most advanced and powerful options for cloud hosting. Although slightly more expensive, the performance will never let you down.
- Different options for various users
- Excellent server performance
- Professional hosting management
- Pricing is rather expensive
HostGator has designed a beginner-friendly and high-performance cloud hosting option. Although it's one of the cheapest cloud hosting providers available, HostGator's plans are really powerful.
Hostgator also has 3 main hosting plans to offer. It seems like everyone really likes the number 3.
- The cheapest Hatchling plan starts at $4.95/mo. You'll get 2 CPU cores, 2GB of memory, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited disk space. Not to mention a domain name and an essential SSL certificate.
- The Baby plan starts at $6.57/mo and includes 4 CPU cores, 4GB of memory, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited disk space. It gives you enough server resources even for a big eCommerce store.
- The Business plan starts at $9.95/mo, it includes 6 CPU cores, 6GB of memory, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space, positive SSL, and a free SEO tool.
To make the offers even more attractive, HostGator includes a cPanel for free. It's by far the most intuitive control panel you can get - even a beginner can configure domain name settings or access file manager.
Going with the Baby hosting plan, since it has enough resources for both smaller and large websites.
HostGator Performance Results
As a very cheap cloud hosting provider, HostGator shows great performance results. The host averages at 257ms response time.
Similar to the speed, HostGator keeps the uptime at 100% most of the time. So if you look for an affordable cloud hosting option that's reliable - HostGator is definitely the best option.
HostGator is the best cloud hosting option for users on a budget and beginners. Affordable prices, user-friendly interface, and generous server resources are all included.
- Very user-friendly
- Includes cPanel
- Affordable pricing
- Might lack advanced scalability options
Hostinger has always been aiming to provide top performance hosting at an affordable price. And in our opinion, it succeeds. Designed for business users, Hostinger's Cloud platform is easy to use, affordable, and very powerful.
You can expect your site to always be available and loading at lightning speed.
Hostinger has 3 main cloud hosting plans to choose from: Cloud Startup, Cloud Professional, and Cloud Enterprise.
- Cloud Startup plan costs $7.45/mo and a 40 GB disk space, unlimited bandwidth, 3 GB of RAM, and 2 CPU Cores. Every cloud hosting plan also includes 1-click installs, free domain registration, SSL certificate, and a Cloudflare CDN.
- Cloud Professional plan costs $14.95/mo and an 80 GB disk space, unlimited bandwidth, 6 GB of RAM, and 4 CPU Cores. With this and every other plan, you are limited to 300 websites, but you get a dedicated IP address.
- Cloud Enterprise plan costs $27.45/mo and a 160 GB disk space, unlimited bandwidth, 12 GB of RAM, and 6 CPU Cores. This plan can definitely hold up a large corporate website.
You can control everything from a custom and very intuitive Hostinger's control panel. It also has a website builder, if you're a business owner with a tight budget - you can simply make a website yourself.
The 24/7 team monitors and manages your backend, so servers can always function at optimal performance.
Choosing Cloud Professional plan. While a bit more expensive, it has a lot of disk space and is quite powerful.
Hostinger Performance Results
Hostinger doesn't let us down yet again, showing great server performance results. We've been tracking Cloud Startup plan results and they're great - 262ms average response time. The live tracker often records results even lower than 100ms as you can see in the provider's table.
Hostinger also shows very reliable availability results. It averages at 99.99% uptime with one 7 minute outage in 2 months, despite offering only 99.9% - the industry-standard guarantee.
If you're looking for budget-friendly and powerful managed cloud hosting, Hostinger provides a premium service for both small and big projects.
- Affordable pricing
- Very easy to use
- Great server performance
- Disk space is limited
A2 Hosting provides an affordable yet completely configurable Cloud VPS hosting solution. Because you can freely choose everything - from RAM to disk space to bandwidth, you can build a perfect plan for your needs. And the provider will launch your site in minutes.
This way A2 Hosting ensures to provide the right option to everyone - from personal website owners to big business users.
A2 Hosting Prices
Just try to guess how many Cloud hosting plans A2 Hosting offers? Your right, there are 3 main options. But since you can customize every part of your plan, these are more of guidelines.
- The Entry plan starts at $5/mo, you'll get 1 CPU ore server with 20GB of storage, 512MB memory, and 2TB of bandwidth. You can also choose a server location to host your site closer to the audience - there are 4 server locations available in the USA, Europe, and Asia.
- The Mid plan starts at $10/mo, with this plan you get 1 CPU core server with 30GB of storage, 1GB memory. It's worth mentioning that the bandwidth is limited to 2TB, no matter what plan you choose.
- The Elite plan starts at $15/mo and includes 4 cores CPU server with 50GB of storage, 1GB memory. While it's a bit short on RAM memory, you can customize and add up to 32 GB of RAM to your plan.
You can also choose a server location to host your site closer to the audience - there are 4 server locations available in the USA, Europe, and Asia.
If you need, there's also a choice for server OS and control panel.
Starting with the Entry plan as it has enough bandwidth and features for larger websites and isn't terribly expensive.
A2 Hosting Performance Results
A2 Hosting performance results with Entry plan and without additional speed-enhancing tools are rather okay. The provider averages at 494ms response time.
A2 Hosting has a standard 99.9% uptime guarantee. However, it manages to average at 99.98% with only one short outage, making your website reliable and available.
Offering completely customizable cloud hosting, A2 Hosting is a great provider for developers that need an affordable place to start.
- Highly customizable
- Great server performance
- Only pay for what you need
- Does not include a domain name
- SSL certificate is not included
- Requires more technical knowledge
InterService offers a flexible cloud hosting service that will fit both small and big projects. It's based on a month-to-month payment basis so if you need a short-term solution - InterServer is the one.
Each month you can adjust server resources in case your website grows or you're expecting high levels of traffic.
At InterServer there are no plans to choose from, everything is up to you. Well, not everything, you can change how many cores you want to have, and that will change how much RAM or storage space you get.
So you can start at $6/mo which will give you 1 CPU core, 2 GB of RAM, 2TB of bandwidth, and 30 GB of SSD storage space.
You can maximize this for $96/mo, for this price you'll get 16 CPU core, 32 GB of RAM, 16TB of bandwidth, 480GB of SSD storage space.
You also can choose from 3 different locations in the USA. And location can influence your price, from $6 a core to $30 a core.
Starting with at least 2 CPU cores setup. It's in the middle of the price range and has more than enough hardware.
InterServer Performance Results
InterServer is on the poorer side of performance on this list, but we did test the cheapest 1 core option. Nonetheless, the performance still is impressive - 426ms average response time.
The reliability of InterServer is also great. Throughout the testing, it has remained up at all times without a single minute of downtime.
InterServer has the most transparent pricing with no renewal increases and month-to-month payment options. It's great both for long- and short-term projects.
- Month-to-month payment structure
- Highly scalable
- Great server performance
- The platform is not the most user-friendly
- Might require some technical knowledge
Cloudways is a hosting management service platform that partners with 5 best cloud hosting providers. That is the premium servers of DigitalOcean, Google Cloud, Vultr, AWS, and Linode.
Cloudways provides top-level hosting management and fast-deployment services. It's definitely the best solution for busy entrepreneurs like you and me.
Having 5 different providers means that there are a lot of plans to choose from, so it's safe to say that you will definitely find something good. Here we will talk about the cheapest and the most expensive plans.
The cheapest plan is from DigitalOcean and starts from $10/mo. It includes 1GB of RAM, 1 core CPU, 25 GB of SSD storage space, and 1 TB of bandwidth. Cloudways gives you the same great features no matter the provider and plans you choose.
These include 24/7 expert support, managed backups and security, advanced caching for top performance, and an innovative control panel.
On the other hand, the most expensive plan from AWS costs $274.33/mo and increases the hardware to 16GB of RAM, 4 cores CPU, 20GB of SSD storage space and 2 TB of bandwidth.
So, you choose a plan by the hardware you need and the price you can spend. The best part is - no matter which provider you choose, you'll get the best service and performance possible.
Choosing DigitalOcean's $22/mo plan, it will give you 2GB of RAM and 50 GB of storage space. That should be enough for most bigger websites.
Cloudways Performance Results
Cloudways' performance depends on the server provider's performance. That's why we checked out the cheapest option available - DigitalOcean first-tier server.
And it left us impressed - the average response time was 351ms. This shows, that you can expect only the best results from Cloudways - even if you choose a cheap plan.
The servers also remained available most of the time with only 2 outages resulting in 3 minutes of downtime. Cloudways makes sure to keep their service available 365/24/7, however, SLAs for providers' services depends entirely on them. So your uptime guarantee will need to be checked separately.
Cloudways is fully customizable and is great for users looking for a powerful hosting management platform to host multiple sites.
- Very easy to use
- Excellent 24/7 support
- Great server performance
- Pricing is on the higher side
- Might not be the best option for single users
InMotion is a premium provider that aims to deliver the best service performance, security, and availability. It focuses on business users relying on high-quality hosting to power their projects.
Even though not the cheapest, InMotion Hosting is definitely one of the most professional providers out there.
And at the end of our list, we return to our beloved 3 plan structure. There are managed and unmanaged options here, and to get the best price you will have to buy hosting for at least a year.
- The cheapest CLOUD VPS-1000 unmanaged plan starts at $29.99/mo, it gives you 4GB RAM, 75GB of storage, 4TB of bandwidth, and 3 IP addresses. If you choose the yearly billing cycle, the price comes to $19.99 a month.
- The cheapest CLOUD VPS-2000 unmanaged plan starts at $59.99/mo, it gives you 6GB RAM, 150GB of storage, 5TB of bandwidth, and 4 IP addresses. You can lower this price to $39.99/mo.
- The most expensive CLOUD VPS-3000 unmanaged plan will cost you $79.99 a month. It bumps up the hardware to 8GB RAM, 260GB of storage, 6TB of bandwidth, and 5 IP addresses. You can reduce that price to $64.99/mo when buying for at least a year.
So if you are looking for a truly powerful cloud hosting service - InMotion will deliver.
Going with the CLOUD VPS-1000 plan and choosing a yearly billing cycle. You will save quite a lot of money and have powerful hosting.
InMotion Performance Results
InMotion Hosting performance is on the slower side of this list. CLOUD VPS-1000 plan averaged at 358ms response time. The result could definitely be improved yet it's still well above average.
The uptime of InMotion is not flawless. It had several micro outages resulting in 12 minutes of downtime. At the same time, the uptime rate remains great - 99.97%.
InMotion provides users with a professional development platform, tons of scalability options, and exceptional customer support.
- Professional development platform
- Highly scalable
- Expensive pricing
- Requires technical knowledge
Best Cloud Hosting - the Verdict
Only the providers showing the best results in performance, features, and pricing reached our list of the best cloud hosting.
So now it is up to you to decide which of the hosts is the right one for you. Here's a quick summary of the best cloud hosting features each provider can offer:
1. Liquid Web combines a set of managed cloud hosting packages for all users - from beginners to experienced developers.
2. HostGator is the best cloud hosting option for beginners and small to medium websites. It's cheap and user-friendly.
3. Hostinger aims and succeeds at making its cloud hosting platform fast, affordable, and easy to use.
4. A2 Hosting is offering personalized cloud hosting solutions for all kinds of websites - from small ones to enterprises.
5. InterServer allows you to pay monthly and completely customize your server. Great for your changing needs.
6. Cloudways takes care of the hosting so you can focus on delivering the best products. It's a managed platform for the pros.
7. InMotion is a fast, scalable, and secure cloud hosting for developers working on business projects.
Which is the best cloud provider in your opinion? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section down below!
Best Cloud Hosting FAQs
Cloud hosting can seem complicated - it's a pretty new technology. So if the cloud hosting basics did not cover all that you needed to know, we answered the most commonly asked questions to help you.
Shared Web Hosting and Cloud Server Hosting: What's the Difference?
The difference between web hosting and Cloud server hosting comes down to the technology used. Cloud hosting is combined of multiple servers that store data in the cloud. Web hosting is using a physical machine to host one or multiple user websites.
How Much Does Cloud Hosting Cost?
Cloud hosting cost usually starts at $4 to $6 for an unmanaged or shared Cloud service. Starting at around $10/mo, you can get a fully managed service. If you're ready to pay a bit more, you can find premium private or dedicated Cloud solutions.
Can I Host my Website for Free using Cloud Hosting?
You can find a couple of free cloud hosting providers although we generally don't recommend doing that. All free web hosting is linked to security flaws, poor server performance, and unreliable services