Cloudways Review: I’m Saving $100/Month With 2x Faster Load Times After Migrating From SiteGround’s Expensive Cloud Hosting

Home » WordPress Hosting » Cloudways Review: I’m Saving $100/Month With 2x Faster Load Times After Migrating From SiteGround’s Expensive Cloud Hosting


I admit it, I’m a SiteGround fanboy.

But as my traffic grew, I started getting CPU overages on SiteGround’s GoGeek plan. I upgraded to their $80/month cloud hosting but was still exceeding CPU, so I added more CPU/RAM and started paying them $180/month. Going from $11.95/month on GoGeek to $180/month was insane to me, to say the least. So I migrated to DigitalOcean on Cloudways where I was paying $80/month for roughly the same amount of CPU/RAM. After migrating, my load times dropped in half, I am nowhere near exceeding my CPU, and I’m saving $100/month.

Obviously, I’m quite happy.

Some of my tutorials have 10+ images and 400+ comments (5MB page size and 170 requests) and still load in <2s! Run this post through GTmetrix or click through my pages if you want – they all load instantly. This was the biggest difference I noticed when migrating to Cloudways.

Cloudways support isn’t as good as SiteGround (tickets are usually answered in an hour instead of 15 minutes) but with the improved performance, I can definitely live with that.

My honest review of Cloudways

  1. I Was Previously Using SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting
  2. The Money I Saved With Cloudways
  3. Load Times Cut In Half
  4. No More CPU Overages
  5. Free Migration Went Smoothly
  6. Support Is “Decent”
  7. 5 Cloud Hosting Providers To Choose From
  8. Speeding Up Your Site On Cloudways
  9. Using The Breeze Plugin
  10. Adding Cloudflare
  11. 59+ Data Centers
  12. Free SSL
  13. Cloudways Add-Ons (Extra Services)
  14. Other Features
  15. No Email Hosting
  16. The Benefit Of Managed Hosting
  17. Conclusion: I’m A Happy Camper
  18. Cloudways #1 In Facebook Polls
  19. I Would Use SiteGround If…
  20. I Would Use Cloudways If…

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link I will get credit for the sale, which is appreciated more than you know. It helps me with my $3,000 donations to GoFundMe campaigns (which I do each year) and helps me write these tutorials. A lot of people don’t like SiteGround’s renewal prices and CPU limits, and most people who move away from SiteGround go to Cloudways. It’s superior performance (cloud hosting, not shared) and I recommend their DigitalOcean plan.

Get hosting from Cloudways

(save 25% for 2 months with promo code OMM25)


1. I Was Previously Using SiteGround’s Cloud Hosting

One problem I have with SiteGround is there’s no “middle” plan between GoGeek and cloud. You’re either paying $11.95/month or $80/month. And if you have to upgrade to cloud because you’re having CPU overages, chances are the entry level plan won’t be enough (it wasn’t for me). I had to pay them about $120/month to stop getting CPU overages, and $180/month for my server to be relaxed. 2 CPU + 4GB RAM usually won’t cut it for many.


I was paying them way too much:



2. The Money I Saved With Cloudways

Quick comparison check: 2 CPU + 4GB RAM costs $80/month on SiteGround when it’s only $42/month at Cloudways on DigitalOcean. Also, SiteGround’s cloud servers can’t handle CPU like Cloudways. In my case, instead of paying SiteGround $180/month for 6 CPU + 8GB RAM, I easily got away with 2 CPU + 4GB RAM on Cloudways with no CPU issues, plus a faster site.

Conclusion: it’s a no-brainer.


If your SiteGround renewal prices kick in and you’re paying $35/month on GoGeek, that’s when I would move to Cloudways. For most low-traffic sites, SiteGround is a great option (especially if you get 3 years of their promo price). But once the renewal prices kick in, or your blog is growing and needs a powerful server, Cloudways is cheaper/faster than SiteGround.


3. Load Times Cut In Half

There’s no arguing the graph:


The biggest difference was the load time on long/heavy tutorials. This tutorial has around 100 images and 400+ comments, has a page size of 5.78MB and 167 requests, yet still loads in <2s. Of course it’s not an official benchmark, but I did notice a huge improvement in how fast my site loaded just by clicking through my pages. Click my sidebar links if you want to see yourself.


I already had 100% GTmetrix scores on my homepage with SiteGround, but the page is only 334KB and 10 requests. The report above is a more accurate representation of my load times.

2019 GTmetrix Report

You can even run this post through GTmetrix and see what you get:


Other people who migrated to Cloudways (or one of their cloud providers):

Cloudways Response Times

WP Engine To Cloudways

DigitalOcean Pingdom Report

Cloudways Server Response Times

Godaddy to DigitalOcean Migration

Cloudways Load Time Improvement

Cloudways vs WP Engine


Cloudways Pingdom Load Times

Cloudways Pingdom Report

Namecheap To Cloudways Migration

Vultr Migration

Cloudways WooCommerce Migration

Cloudways AWS Migration

WPEngine to Cloudways Migration

Get hosting from Cloudways


4. No More CPU Overages

CPU overages are one of the biggest limitations of SiteGround.

Keep in mind: I write tutorials on how to reduce CPU and make WordPress sites load faster. I was only using 15 lightweight plugins, a StudioPress theme, configured WP Rocket with both Cloudflare and StackPath’s CDN, disabled heartbeat, optimized all my images, and blocked bad bots that showed up in Wordfence’s live traffic report. Yet, I was still getting CPU issues.


After migrating to Cloudways, my CPU usage was literally 1%. Makes you wonder…



5. Free Migration Went Smoothly

This doesn’t happen for everyone (just trying to be honest).

I have read other Cloudways reviews where people weren’t happy with their support and that included migrating their website. For 95% of people the migration goes smoothly. But the other 5% can experience downtimes, long wait times while your site is being migrated, and they might not help you setup SSL, Cloudflare, and anything that isn’t related to their service.

I’ll get more into this in the support section, but in my case, I had to setup SSL myself (which was very easy as it was literally a 1-click activation in the Cloudways dashboard), but I’m still having issues getting Cloudflare to work with Cloudways and will need my developer do this.


Request a free migration from Cloudways


6. Support Is “Decent”

Not gonna lie, Cloudways gets bashed for their support.

Migrations can have hiccups, support can be rude, and you will not get the same level of support as SiteGround. That’s why if you experience issues or have questions, I would reach out to Mustaasam Saleem Ansari (Cloudways community manager) whose #1 job is to make customers happy and answer questions. He is also super activate in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. I was in touch with Mustaasam during the migration – he answered all my questions and gave me peace of mind more than anything. I liked the idea of accountability.

Of course, there are plenty of customers who think Cloudways support is great (I do, just not as good as SiteGround). I actually reached out to Hristo Pandjarov (SiteGround community manager) about an affiliate question with SiteGround (twice) and he never responded. My conclusion is that every person is different – it all depends who your rep is. But if you do have questions or issues, reach out to the community managers. You’re more likely to be a priority.

Mustaasam Saleem Ansari

My person experience; they migrated the site successfully with no errors, downtimes, and they even configured their Breeze plugin for me. Maybe they knew I was writing this review.


7. 5 Cloud Hosting Providers To Choose From

With Cloudways, you can choose from 5 cloud hosting providers. Just to confirm, Cloudways is the middleman who manages your server. DigitalOcean and the other providers are the ones hosting your website (through their partner, Cloudways). I personally don’t feel like managing my server – ain’t nobody got time for that! But if you do, you can go straight to DigitalOcean.


Cloudways already wrote an article describing the differences in each plan:

Cloudways Cloud Platform Comparison

See this page on Cloudways

Their most popular plan is DigitalOcean which is also the least expensive (and is the one I use).



8. Speeding Up Your Site On Cloudways

A couple Cloudways customers made an optimization video which includes tweaks you can make in your Cloudways dashboard to make your site load faster. It can easily take 1s off your load time. The video is 40 minutes long, so I’ll save you time and listed the instructions below.

Step 1: Upgrade to PHP 7.3, MariaDB 10.3, and install Redis in the “Settings & Packages” tab.


Step 2: Increase memory limit to 256MB also in the “Settings & Packages” tab.


You can also check their WordPress hosting page to see the speed technology they use: solid state drives, PHP 7.3, MariaDB, PHP-FPM, Breeze plugin, and Cloudways CDN (paid service).



9. Using The Breeze Plugin

Cloudways’ Breeze plugin won’t replace WP Rocket and other top cache plugins, since they have more features. Breeze only comes with caching, minification, Gzip, database cleanup, CDN URL, and Varnish options. But it’s worth trying out – you never know when cache plugins will do a better job at optimizing specific things than others, as each website is different. Also, most bad reviews are because of issues related to WooCommerce – in which case, be careful.

Cloudways also has a tutorial for setting up Breeze.

Cloudways Breeze Plugin

Basic Options:
*Avoid duplicate functionality with other cache plugins!

Cloudways Breeze Basic Options

Advanced Options:

Cloudways Breeze Advanced Options


Cloudways Breeze Database Options


Cloudways Breeze CDN Options

*There have been many reports that activating Varnish does more harm than good, and in some cases, it can even break your website. In most cases, I would avoid turning on Varnish.

Cloudways Breeze Varnish Options


10. Adding Cloudflare

Sign up for a free plan, you will go through a set of pages, then you’ll see 2 namesevers:

Cloudflare Nameserver Change

Login to where your domain is hosting (eg. GoDaddy) and change nameservers to Cloudflare’s:

Godaddy Cloudflare nameservers

Login to Cloudways, go to “Settings & Packages” then activate Cloudflare’s WAF Module:

Cloudways Cloudflare WAF Rule

Cloudways also has a paid CDN option which is $1 per 25GB:



11. 59+ Data Centers

Cloudways actually has 59 data centers if you combine all their cloud providers, not 25.


When choosing your plan, scroll through their locations.

  • DigitalOcean: 8 data centers
  • Linode: 8 data centers
  • Vultr: 15 data centers
  • AWS: 14 data centers
  • Google Cloud: 14 data centers

Cloudways 59 Data Centers


12. Free SSL

Free Let’s Encrypt SSL is included with Cloudways. All you have to do is click to activate it.



13. Cloudways Add-Ons (Extra Services)

Cloudways offers a few add-ons (paid services):


DNS Made Easy – I love the idea of a premium DNS, until I was told you can’t use it with Cloudflare. Although I’m not using it now, I may have to give it a whirl in the near future.

Rackspace Email – fully managed business email solution.

Elastic Email – great if sending out sensitive email (see Cloudways’ email comparison).

Application Migration – Cloudways will migrate 1 site for free, then $25 per site after.

Application Upgrade – if you’re worried about updated WordPress, plugins, etc, you can pay Cloudways $50/month to do this for you, but I honestly don’t know anyone who would do that.

CloudwaysCDN – this is the same as StackPath (Cloudways and StackPath are partners) and costs $1 per 25GB. I use both Cloudflare and StackPath which has saved me lots of bandwidth.



14. Other Features

Staging – if you want to clone your website to test new designs/plugins, this is extremely easy. Just go to Applications, click the three dots, and click “Clone App/Creating Staging Website.”

Cloudways Staging Clone

Vertical Scaling – scale your server any time to include more resources or storage.


Backups – easily take a backup any time you want.


GIT – used to implement development workflows (they have a tutorial about it).


Add Team Members – love that you can set permissions for people who have access.



15. No Email Hosting

Cloudways does not provide email hosting, but they are partnered with Rackspace to provide email hosting for as low as $1/email/month instead of $2/email/month (Rackspace pricing).

And for transactional/outgoing emails, they are partnered with Elastic Email to provide an easy setup, or you can setup your own SMTP provider like Gmail SMTP, SendGrid, Mailgun.



16. The Benefit Of Managed Hosting

Other than a large performance improvement, managed hosting also takes care of software updates, security patches, and hardware management. But performance is the biggest draw.

The difference between shared hosting and managed cloud hosting is huge. GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator, TSOhost, and basically every shared hosting but SiteGround (and maybe A2) are crap. If you’ve never experienced cloud hosting, you will see improved server response times, load times in GTmetrix, and a noticeable difference when clicking through your pages.

Managed Hosting Poll


17. Conclusion: I’m A Happy Camper

First off, nearly every hosting company blocks Facebook reviews (probably because so many people use it to bitch). Cloudways is one of the few hosts that allows Facebook reviews. And last time I checked, they had 4.5/5 stars with 500+ reviews, which is pretty damn good for Facebook. Having the great experience I did, I decided to leave them my own gem of a review:



18. Cloudways #1 In Facebook Polls

SiteGround and Cloudways are usually the top 2 hosts in Facebook polls. SiteGround was actually rated #1 in 30+ polls, but that’s because they’ve been around forever, more people have used them, and they’re cheaper (until you have to renew). But there is a huge shift of people moving from SiteGround to Cloudways, mainly due to SiteGround’s renewal prices.

Hosting Recommendations Facebook

VPS Cloud Hosting WooCommerce Poll

Elementor Hosting Recommendations


VPS Cloud Hosting Poll

WordPress Hosting Suggestions

Favorite Hosting For Elementor



19. I Would Use SiteGround If…

  • You want awesome, reliable support
  • You haven’t sign up for their promo prices yet
  • You know how to optimize your site to reduce CPU
  • You have a low traffic website and don’t need cloud hosting
  • You want to be with a reputable host who has been around for many years
  • You aren’t savvy with managing your website and are looking for “easy” hosting
  • You want the fastest shared hosting around (much better than GoDaddy, EIG, etc)


20. I Would Use Cloudways If…

  • You want pure performance (by far the biggest reason)
  • SiteGround’s GoGeek plan isn’t cutting it (either because of CPU or renewal prices)
  • You want staging and GIT no matter what plan you choose
  • Your expectations for support aren’t as high as SiteGround
  • You are more savvy when it comes to managing your website

WordPress also recommends DigitalOcean in their optimization guide:

Digital Ocean Recommendation

Get hosting from Cloudways

(save 25% for 2 months with promo code OMM25)


Frequently Asked Questions

🔵Is Cloudways fast?

Cloudways gave me about 2x faster load times than SiteGround's cloud hosting and I'm paying 1/2 of what I was. My site loads instantly and you can click through my pages to see how fast they load. They use latest PHP versions, MariaDB, and a very fast infrastructure.

🔵 Which 5 cloud hosting providers do they use?

DigitalOcean, Vultr, Linode, Google Cloud, and Amazon (AWS). Their DigitalOcean plan is most popular, cheapest, and is what I use.

🔵 What is Cloudways' pricing structure?

Cloudways has a monthly pricing structure with no yearly contracts or upfront fees.

🔵 Does Cloudways support email?

Cloudways does not provide email hosting directly, but they are partnered with Rackspace who offers it for as low as $1/email/month instead of $2/email/month (Rackspace pricing).

🔵 How does Cloudways compare to SiteGround?

They have a better value especially once you reach SiteGround's renewal prices, but they're also a little more technical. SiteGround is good for shared hosting, but if speed is important, Cloudways is the way to go.

🔵 Is Cloudways a middleman?

In a ways, yes. Their hosting is marked up about 200% because it's managed hosting. If you have time to configure and maintain your own server, you can buy direct from the cloud hosting provider. Otherwise, Cloudways will manage it for you.

Ready to experience the powerful servers on managed cloud hosting?
Don’t be like me and think that just because SiteGround’s shared hosting is good, there aren’t more powerful servers available. Once I finally pulled the trigger, there was no looking back.

+1 for Cloudways

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Everyone knows Bluehost, a2hosting and even Siteground. Only a few people know about Cloudways. I’ve tried almost every hosting service out there and Cloudways beats them all in value, speed and expertise.


Why not just go straight for Digital Ocean? CloudWays is just a middle man.

Sayan Samanta

Hey, Tom. Amazing review. After reading your review & I just purchased CloudWays & my site load time now 1.1s. Thanks

Andrew Palmer

Basically, you using other peoples comments form private and closed Facebook groups and identifying them without _ I presume- there permission for the purposes of telling a good story on an affiliate marketing post. Not great practice and tehre are a lot of peoplereally quite annoyed at this aspect. By all means talk aobut the benefits of Cloudways to earn a little money via AFF marketing but – really, using private facebook posts to give social proof – not a good move in my opinion.

No Longer Private

You’re a f***ing asshole. Stop stealing other people’s work for the sole purpose of earning a little affiliate money. This article is bull***t

Josh W

Tom, thanks for this! We spoke a while back over email about upgrading to SiteGrounds Cloud hosting, but it’s just so damn expensive.

This is definitely a viable solution for cloud hosting without breaking the bank.

Couple of questions:

I have multiple domains (some mine, some my clients) hosted in SiteGround. Can Cloudways handle multiple domains? Or is it limited to one domain?

I see that scaling is a big PITA at Cloudways. Have you experienced this? (Scaling up, then when scaling back down you have to clone server, regenerate certs, update DNS, etc…)?

Ahsan Parwez
Reply to  Josh W

Hi Josh, Thanks for showing interest in Cloudways. To answer your questions 1. You can host an unlimited number of domains and sub-domains on a single Cloudways server. There is no restriction on our end, but if you happen to max out on your server resources then you will need to scale it or divide websites between multiple servers by simply cloning websites to another server. 2. Scaling up is simple too, you get a slider that you can use to scale server resources up. For downscaling on servers like DigitalOcean, Vultr and Linode, you will need to clone your… Read more »

Vishwajeet Kumar

Hello Tom,

Siteground is indeed an awesome company. However, apart from their limited resources, they do have hefty renewal charges. I am using them from past 6 months and using 17 plugins with generate press theme. However, I haven’t throttled the CPU usages. I am thinking of to move to another hosting provider because of massive renewal charges. Cloudways is a good choice. I will definitely look into it.