That is correct. Cloudways could install an SMTP service on your server, but instead they require you to use a third party service.
They also do not offer the ability to setup email inboxes which other hosting companies sometimes do. Cloudways does hosting only, and that’s it. They have placed all of the responsibility of anything to do with emails on third parties.
I don’t think they’ve released any official reasoning for why they have done this, but I can speculate:
- less tech support for them
- Third party email delivery platforms are often said to be more reliable (less likely to be blocked as spam).
- By not having to worry about emails they can spend more of their development efforts on adding new features such as the recently added ability to create staging sites.
- And in general, the time saved by Cloudways not having to worry about email systems allows them to offer us more value for the dollar.
It’s a little bothersome. They do have an Elastic Mail add-on that wouldn’t require you to use the WP SMTP plugin, but a) last time I checked it didn’t work on Digital Ocean servers, and b) it stops delivering your emails, instead of charging you more money, if you use up your allotment of emails. I think Cloudways needs to fix those 2 problems, and perhaps they are working on it right now, but for the time being we have to put up with the extra work of setting up the WP SMTP plugin.