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Published: Jul 14, 2023 16 min read
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  • Money readers get $300 plus an extra $50 in free credits to run, test, and deploy workloads for 90 days
  • IaaS, PaaS and serverless computing services
  • Modular cloud services and pricing model
  • Wide variety of programming languages supported for deploying applications
  • Compute Engine supports Windows and Linux virtual machines
  • GUI functionality facilitates setup process

Cloud hosting is a modern way of hosting websites that doesn't rely on physical servers. Instead, it uses cloud-based architecture to store and run your website. If you've been using the same hosting provider for a long time and your website has grown beyond its capacity, cloud web hosting is worth considering.

One of the key advantages of cloud hosting is the ability to distribute your website's data across multiple servers. In other words, instead of relying on a single server, your website is stored and processed in a cloud environment made up of several interconnected servers.

In this guide, we will delve into the world of cloud hosting, explaining how it works and highlighting the best providers available in the market today. Whether you're new to the concept or looking to make a switch, this guide will provide you with the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Our Top Picks for Best Cloud Hosting

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  • Easy to customize to your business needs
  • Three-day free trial without credit card required
  • 24/7/365 customer support
  • No cPanel
  • No domain registration
Price Range:
$12 to $274.33 per month
Free Trial:
Three days
Phone and chat

Why we chose it: Cloudways is a hosting service with a wide range of customization options that make it easy to create a plan that best suits your business needs. It also provides super-fast speeds and 24/7 customer support.

Getting started with Cloudways is a straightforward process; you choose your content management system (CMS), and you’re ready to go.

The company offers the following CMS options:

  • WordPress
  • Drupal
  • Magento
  • Joomla
  • PHP Stack
  • Koken
  • Media Wiki
  • Prestashop

You’ll also have seven data center options to choose from:

  • Linode
  • Google Cloud
  • DigitalOcean
  • DigitalOcean Premium Droplets
  • AWS
  • Vultr
  • Vultr High Frequency

Do your research beforehand – prices vary widely depending on which data center you select, and other factors (like how much storage you need).

Cloudways offers a three-day free trial, and you don’t need to provide your credit card info to try it out. After the trial, you’ll choose from a list of pricing options, which include pay-as-you-go and hourly packages.

Cloudways’ lower-tier plan ($12 per month) includes DigitalOcean standard hosting fees and comes with 1GB of RAM, one core processor, 25GB storage and 1TB bandwidth. All plans include free SSL, 24/7 customer support, free website migration, content delivery network (CDN) add-on, unlimited application installation, automated backups, advanced caches, auto-healing and real-time monitoring.

Cloudways doesn’t offer domain registration. Another downside is that it doesn't use cPanel, a standard control dashboard that lets customers manage their hosting without technical skills. If you’re used to cPanel, this could be a major drawback.

  • Cost-effective plans
  • Good customer service
  • Easy scaling with no downtime
  • No cPanel
  • No Windows-based VPS hosting
Price Range:
$12.95 per month to $19.95 per month
Free Trial:
Live chat 24/7, email or request a call during business hours

Why we chose it: HostGator is one of the most reasonably priced cloud hosting solutions on the market. And it gets high marks for customer support, too.

It offers three cloud hosting plans: Hatchling ($12.95 per month), Baby ($13.95 per month) and Business ($19.95 per month). HostGator typically offers a 45% discount if you sign up for a 36-month plan.

All HostGator cloud server hosting plans include a free SSL certificate, and the Business plan includes free SEO tools, a free domain and a dedicated IP. Hatchling provides 2 cores and 2GB of RAM. Baby offers 4 cores and 4GB of RAM. Business offers 6 cores and 6GB of RAM.

You can use HostGator's dashboard to monitor your page speed, reach, uptime and more. Scaling your server resources is easy, too, and doesn't involve any downtime or reboots. Instead, you simply use the Server Performance Dashboard to downgrade or upgrade your cores and RAM with a single click.

One downside is that HostGator lacks Windows-based virtual private server (VPS) hosting, which is a popular option for website owners with medium-level traffic.

  • 24/7 support via live chat and phone
  • Free data backups
  • No Windows servers
  • No data centers outside North America
Price Range:
$5 to $160 per month
Free Trial:
Phone, email and live chat support 24/7

Why we chose it: InMotion’s customer support and user-centric resources make it a great option for business owners who are new to building and hosting their own websites.

The company offers assistance through phone and live chat, ensuring that you have direct access to their support team whenever you need help.

At $5 to $160 per month, InMotion is more expensive than some other companies on our list, although it occasionally offers discounted rates. All InMotion plans include unlimited websites and email accounts, free domains and backup, a free SSL certificate and root access.

It also offers several cloud-based web hosting solutions, including:

  • Small business cloud hosting
  • Enterprise cloud hosting
  • Agency cloud hosting
  • Application cloud hosting

One drawback is that InMotion doesn't have Windows servers, which is essential for websites with software running on an ASP.NET framework. InMotion also doesn’t operate any data centers outside of North America, so if you’ve got a lot of international users, your website could run slower.

  • Over 15 core features
  • 30-day free trial with no contract
  • Affordable cloud VPS hosting options
  • No free backups
  • No free domain name
  • No money-back guarantee
Price Range:
$4 to $1,000+ per month
Free Trial:
30 days
Phone and email support 24/7

Why we chose it: Kamatera is a stand-out cloud hosting service for users seeking a high level of control.

With Kamatera, you can:

  • Decide who gets root access to your servers
  • Increase or decreasing server capacity in minutes
  • Choose your IP allocation
  • Add or remove RAM, CPU, firewalls and storage space with one click

Kamatera's plans vary widely in price ($4 to $1,000+ per month), but every option supports Microsoft’s SharePoint, Exchange and SQL servers. Every Kamatera plan also features disaster recovery to prevent data.

Still, there are a few caveats. The company's offerings don't include free backups or free domain names, and its pricing plan doesn’t have a money-back guarantee.

  • Auto-scaling tool means your site won't go down with traffic spikes
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free CDN
  • No free domain
Price Range:
$100 to $400 per month
Free Trial:
Live chat, phone and support tickets 24/7

Why we chose it: SiteGround provides fully managed cloud hosting plans built on Google cloud infrastructure. You can configure your plan and cloud based on your website's needs, but after that, SiteGround takes care of the IT behind your hosting.

One of the notable features of SiteGround is its auto-scaling capability. This means that even during periods of high traffic or increased demand, your website won't experience downtime. SiteGround's system automatically adjusts resources to ensure that your site keeps running smoothly. The company also has live customer support available 24/7.

All SiteGround plans have a preinstalled optimizer plugin and a Personal Home Page (PHP) setup for additional speed increases. They also come with a free SSL certificate and free CDN, but no free domain. You can add RAM and CPU from your admin dashboard. SiteGround has six data centers on four continents, so you can choose the one that’s closest to your website users.

  • Exceptionally easy for beginners to use
  • Free backups for WordPress sites
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Limited customer support that charges you for callbacks
  • No true money-back guarantee
Price Range:
$4.50 to $96 per month
Free Trial:
Live chat 24/7, email and callback can be requested during business hours for $9.95

Why we chose it: DreamHost offers an easy and intuitive setup process, making it one of the best cloud hosting options for beginners.

If you have a WordPress site, you can link your DreamHost account in one click. And if you’re starting from scratch, the company also has its own website builder.

One of DreamHost's main drawbacks is its customer support, which is only available for 16 hours daily. Additionally, you can only access support via live chat or email; there's no option to call support directly. (You can request a callback from technical support, but DreamHost will charge you extra for the service).

The company also has a prorated refund policy, which they refer to as their money-back guarantee. Customers may be responsible for the charges corresponding to the duration of service usage, regardless of their satisfaction with it.

  • Windows and Linux compatible
  • Container compatible
  • Great customer support
  • Up to $14,300 per year
Price Range:
$14 per month to $14,300 per year
Free Trial:
30 days
Support tickets for all plans, email and phone 24/7 with support plans starting at $100 per month

Why we chose it: Microsoft Azure provides a range of advanced security features that make it a compelling option for businesses that handle sensitive data.

Azure is trusted by government agencies, prominent banks and well-known corporations like Airbnb, Starbucks, and Expedia. Its pricing can be high, with costs reaching up to $14,300 per year, but if your business is experiencing growth and has unique security needs, Azure is worth considering.

One of the standout security features of Azure is its compatibility with containers, which are isolated units of software, apps or services that can run in any environment.

Azure also offers at-rest data encryption, ensuring that your website data stored on their servers remains encrypted and protected. Additional security measures include disaster recovery capabilities and multi-factor authentication.

Users have consistently praised Azure's customer support. The support team is known for its responsiveness and extensive documentation.

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Other cloud hosting we considered

Our evaluation process looked at factors like cloud hosting costs, customer support, level of customization and scalability. The following companies demonstrated competitiveness in some of these areas, but they didn’t excel in the majority of our requirements.


  • Free SSL certificate
  • cPanel is easy to use
  • No phone or email support

Hostinger offers three cloud plans at a reasonable price, all of which come with unmetered bandwidth and speed boosts. Hostinger's plans also include a free SSL certificate and the option to add CloudFlare to increase protection against hackers and cyber attacks. The company created its cPanel in-house, and it's easy for beginners to use.

Still, Hostinger doesn't offer phone or email support, and the cheapest plan doesn't come with a free domain name.


  • Migration is free and Hostwinds does it for you
  • Free SSL certificate and unlimited email accounts
  • No money-back guarantee
  • Limited server locations

Hostwinds offers three cost-effective plans with unlimited email accounts, unlimited FTP accounts, free SSL certificates, unlimited subdomains and 24/7 support. It also includes an easy-to-use website builder However, the cloud hosting company only has three data centers on two continents, which could drag down your site speed depending on where the bulk of your users are located.

A2 Hosting

  • Servers on three continents
  • Great speed optimization options for WordPress sites
  • No free domain
  • Hard to cancel

A2 Hosting has servers on three continents, reliable speeds and speed optimization plugins for popular CMSs like WordPress and Magento. However, their renewal rates are significantly higher than their initial discounted rate. To avoid the higher price, you have to submit a written cancellation request at least 15 days before the plan renews. If you miss that window, your plan will automatically renew, and you'll have to pay a higher price.

Cloud Hosting Guide

Not all cloud hosting is created equally, and not all companies provide the same features. Here’s what to know before signing a contract.

What is cloud hosting?

Cloud hosting is a service that enables websites and applications to be accessed through a network of resources in the cloud. Traditional hosting, on the other hand, relies on a single server; typically a physical one.

Here are the critical components of cloud hosting:

  • Instead of a single server, applications and solutions are deployed on a cloud network.
  • Server resources scale up and down with user demands.
  • Cloud hosting is automated to a large degree and is controlled using online resources like APIs, mobile apps and web portals.

How does cloud hosting work?

Cloud hosting works by splitting a physical server into multiple virtual machines. These virtual resources can be shared throughout a company or across multiple companies. If one server fails, another will take over as backup, ensuring your website always stays online.

Types of cloud hosting

SaaS (Software as a Service)

SaaS is a business model that allows companies to provide software virtually. The benefits include low upfront costs, automated software patching, rapid deployment, reduced service disruptions and instant scalability. The biggest drawback is the loss of control over the underlying software and infrastructure, as everything is managed and controlled by the SaaS provider.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IaaS provides access to servers virtually (in the cloud). It's similar to software as a service (SaaS), in that instead of buying a costly piece of software, you get virtual access to a service for a monthly subscription.

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

A Platform as a Service (PaaS) offers all the functionalities of an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), with additional features. In addition to providing infrastructure resources, a PaaS also offers a comprehensive development environment that allows developers to build software efficiently. This includes essential tools like a source code editor, compiler and debugger.

The advantage of using a PaaS is that it lets developers create and deploy programs quickly. This streamlines the development process and reduces time-to-market. The disadvantages come down to the risk of outsourcing these processes to a third-party provider: lack of control over the underlying infrastructure, unexpected service outages, the possibility of rising costs and concerns regarding data security.

What are the pros and cons of cloud hosting services?

  • Easy to set up without technical skills
  • Cost-effective
  • Scalable as your website gets more traffic
  • Disaster-recovery options for your website
  • Protects against data breaches
  • Limited control since you've outsourced hosting to a third party
  • Vulnerability to security attacks if your hosting provider gets hacked
  • Downtime

How to choose a cloud hosting provider

When you're considering a cloud provider, here’s what to research beforehand:

  • Technologies. The provider's technology infrastructure should work with yours. You'll want to pay particular attention to this if you're using a less common CMS or eCommerce platform.
  • Disaster recovery. Does the provider do frequent backups and integrity checks? Is support available 24/7 if your site goes down?
  • Business longevity and stability. How long has the provider been around? Have their revenues grown?
  • Cost. Consider whether you can afford the service now, and if you’ll still be able to afford it when you scale and need more resources (i.e., a higher-tier plan).
  • Regulatory compliance. A cloud service provider should have security experts to handle regulations like GDPR and HIPAA.
  • Service Level Agreements. This establishes how the cloud hosting provider will compensate you for failing to fulfill the defined standards of service they've committed to providing. Make sure you know what you're entitled to.
  • Data server locations. You want your physical servers to be as close to your users as possible
  • Backups. How long does a cloud hosting provider store your backups? Will they extend that timeframe if you ask?

Cloud Hosting FAQ

How much does cloud hosting cost?

Cloud hosting costs between $12 per month and $14,300 per year.

How is data backed up and stored with cloud hosting?

Cloud hosting providers store your data on one or more remote servers. They back up data through continuous replication, copying your data to its servers every time you make changes, or through scheduled replication, which is typically performed daily.

Is cloud hosting safe?

Yes. Cloud hosting providers constantly back up your data, and consistently monitor it for security threats.

How We Chose the Best Cloud Hosting

To create the list above, we looked at the following features:

  • Plans and pricing: We targeted cloud hosting providers offering a range of prices for a range of needs; from $12 per month for a low-traffic website to $14,300 per year for a large company website. We also made sure that the companies we featured are upfront about their prices.
  • Features: We looked for companies that provide scalable resources, automated hosting solutions and a flexible pricing structure.
  • Security: Every provider featured on this list offers robust security designed to prevent data breaches and hacks.
  • Ease of use: We looked for cloud hosting providers that make it easy for non-technical people to use their service.
  • Customer support: The companies featured on this list offer dedicated and flexible customer support services.

Summary of Money’s Best Cloud Hosting