I was one of many people who moved from SiteGround to Cloudways when they started going downhill (here are my results).
SiteGround isn’t good anymore. They’ve gone downhill since 2019 and cover up mistakes by controlling Facebook Groups, censoring posts, and threatening people who write bad reviews. At the end of the day, it’s cheap shared hosting for 1 year, then very high renewals. They’ve had issues with a slow TTFB, CPU limits which force you to upgrade, and customers whose websites got completely deindexed from Google after SiteGround’s DNS was blocked for 4 days (which they took no accountability for). The SiteGround Optimizer plugin does a poor job addressing core web vitals and has a track record of compatibility issues which support blames on third-party themes/plugins. SiteGround’s CDN only has 14 PoPs and lacks many features you get with (better) CDNs like Cloudflare. While SiteGround glorifies their hosting (along with their army of affiliate sheep), independent Facebook Group members say otherwise. SiteGround is bad now.
Cloudways is miles ahead of SiteGround and who I moved to in 2019. While they offer cloud hosting from 5 providers, I like Vultr High Frequency which has fast CPU clock speeds + NVMe storage. Their Cloudflare Enterprise blows SiteGround’s CDN out of the water with Enterprise features like Argo Smart Routing, image optimization, load balancing, and prioritized routing from Cloudflare’s network of 270+ PoPs. Cloudways is more flexible with monthly pricing and scaling CPU/RAM. Redis Object Cache Pro is also great for WooCommerce/dynamic sites. The main cons are no email hosting (I use Google Workspace) and people are scared it’s too techie. However, launching a server and connecting your WordPress site usually only takes 10 minutes.
|CDN||SiteGround CDN||Cloudflare Enterprise|
|Storage Type||SATA||NVMe on Vultr HF|
|Cache Plugin||SiteGround Optimizer||Breeze|
|Caching Layers||Multiple layers||Multiple layers + Redis Object Cache Pro|
|Major Incidents||Google blocked DNS for 4 days||None|
|Scalability||Must buy new plan||Can add CPU/RAM|
|Free Migration||$30/site||1 free then $25/site|
|Support||Declined||Better, but needs work|
|Pricing||Cheap for 1 year + high renewals||Monthly + 30% off 3 months|
|Facebook Feedback||Poor + censorship||Excellent|
1. Hosting Type – Cloudways Is Cloud, SiteGround Is Shared
Cloud Hosting is generally faster than shared.
So unless you’re comparing Cloudways to SiteGround’s cloud hosting (which is significantly worse than their shared plans IMO), Cloudways is already faster because it’s cloud. They offer cloud hosting from 5 different providers: DigitalOcean (who recently acquired them), Vultr and Vultr High Frequency (what I recommend), Linode, AWS, and Google Cloud. I don’t recommend using Google Cloud on Cloudways because they use one of the lowest tier N1 machine families.
You’re better off using DigitalOcean or Vultr High Frequency on Cloudways.
2. CDN – Cloudflare Enterprise Is Faster Than SiteGround’s CDN
Cloudways has Cloudflare Enterprise for $5/mo per domain. It uses Argo Smart Routing, HTTP/3, WAF, load balancing, prioritized routing, and Cloudflare Mirage/Polish for image optimization. These are much more powerful than SiteGround’s CDN. Full page caching isn’t available, but it’s coming. See instructions for setting up Cloudflare Enterprise on Cloudways.
SiteGround’s CDN only has 14 PoPs and lacks multiple features that Cloudflare offers like resizing images for mobile and other optimizations. Plus, you have to use SiteGround’s DNS to use it which was blocked by Google (I personally wouldn’t risk losing my site’s Google rankings). SiteGround also discontinued their partnership with one of the best CDNs (Cloudflare) because they’re trying to get you to pay more for SiteGround’s CDN, even though it’s significantly worse.
3. Storage Type – NVMe On Vultr HF
One reason I recommend Cloudways Vultr High Frequency is because they use NVMe SSDs which are much faster than SATA SSDs on SiteGround. The test below was done by Rocket.net where they used the WordPress Hosting Benchmarks plugin to measure speeds of SATA / NVMe.
4. Cache Plugin – Cloudways Breeze vs. SiteGround Optimizer
If you’re using Cloudways, you’re better off with FlyingPress. If using SiteGround, use SiteGround Optimizer only for caching (Nginx’s server-side caching + memcached, but leave filed-based caching disabled). Also leave all other settings disabled, then setup FlyingPress which is not only faster than SiteGround Optimizer, but WP Rocket too (see comparison table).
This is why you might hear SiteGround say something like “SiteGround Optimizer is the best cache plugin to use on SiteGround.” But you won’t hear them say the same about web vitals.
|SG Optimizer||Breeze||WP Rocket||FlyingPress|
|Remove unused CSS||x||x||Inline||Separate file|
|Host fonts locally||x||x||x||✓|
|Fetchpriority resource hint||x||x||x||✓|
|Lazy render HTML elements||x||x||x||✓|
|Lazy load background images||x||x||Inline||Helper class|
|Exclude images from lazy load||x||By class||By URL||By number|
|Preview image for YouTube iframe||x||x||✓||✓|
|Self-host YouTube placeholder||x||x||x||✓|
|Add missing image dimensions||x||x||✓||✓|
|Scheduled database cleanups||x||✓||✓||✓|
|Documented APO compatibility||x||x||✓||✓|
5. Caching Layers – Cloudways Beats SiteGround (Again)
Cloudays has multiple caching layers and they’re one of the only hosts that has Redis Object Cache Pro which is for database caching (and great for WooCommerce/dynamic sites). This is what I use on my site. Cloudways also has Varnish and many other caching layers which is one of the main reasons they’re so fast. On a side note, some people get different results in speed tests because caching may not be working the first few tests, then will work the 3rd test. When resources are cached, you’ll obviously see better scores and load time in tests like SpeedVitals.
|W3 Total Cache*||LiteSpeed Cache*||WP Redis||Redis Object Cache||Object Cache Pro|
|Mitigates race conditions||x||x||x||x||✓|
|Extensively unit tested||x||x||x||x||✓|
|Query Monitor integration||x||x||x||Basic||Advanced|
|WP CLI integration||Basic||x||Basic||Basic||Advanced|
|Site Health checks||x||x||x||x||✓|
SiteGround has Nginx direct delivery, dynamic cache, and memcached. Even the free version of Redis is arguably faster than memcached. Cloudways also has Nginx, so what’s so special about SiteGround’s caching layers? Not much. Cloudways’ caching should be faster than SiteGround’s.
6. Overall Speed – 2x Faster On Cloudways
The graphs say everything. LOTS of people are moving from SiteGround to Cloudways.
Of course, a lot of things changed since 2019 like Cloudways adding Vultr HF with NVMe, Redis Object Cache Pro, and Cloudflare Enterprise. Can’t say SiteGround made much progress since.
7. CPU Limits – Instantly Fixed After Leaving SiteGround
SiteGround’s CPU limits are one of the biggest reasons people leave.
SiteGround can literally take down your website and force you to upgrade because your website(s) are “hogging too many resources.” However, there have been numerous customers who left SiteGround and never had CPU issues again. I wrote one of the top ranked tutorials on reducing CPU usage in WordPress and still wasn’t able to fix it. If I can’t do it, good luck! In my opinion, it’s likely caused by SiteGround’s PHP workers being idle and less to do with your site.
It’s always been a big problem:
8. Major Incidents – SiteGround’s DNS Blocked By Google For 4 Days
Google blocked SiteGround’s DNS for 4 days.
This cost customers a lot of money and drops in Google rankings. Instead of advising them to move to an external DNS, they said “there is no blocking on our end” but then just 2 days later said “we have implemented a fix.” In typical SiteGround fashion, they claimed no accountability.
Status Update: We are glad to inform you that we have implemented a fix for the Google bot crawling issue experienced by some sites. Websites are already being crawled successfully. Please allow a few hours for the DNS changes to take effect. Thank you for your patience!
— SiteGround (@SiteGround) November 12, 2021
The lack of responsibility you are taking here is incredible. If this was simply Google’s fault, surely other hosts would be facing issues? Clearly something has changed on your set-up that has caused an issue. Are you aware just how damaging this is to many of your customers?
— Kim Snaith (@ichangedmyname) November 10, 2021
You should be advising people to move to an external DNS to resolve the issues if it is causing them massive losses in business. I have just sorted our connectivity issue in around 25 minutes by moving to googles DNS. If you had let us know 4 days ago, we wouldnt be £20k+ down!
— Jon Bunce (@thejonbunce) November 11, 2021
If you move to your Google Search Console > SETTINGS > CRAWL STATS you will, if unlucky like me, see something like this :-( pic.twitter.com/ocBEkWKsaw
— Tristan Haskins (@trishaskins) November 12, 2021
9. Scalability – Freely Add CPU/RAM On Cloudways
Cloudways lets you add CPU/RAM any time.
With SiteGround, you’re stuck in a contract. So your traffic grows and you need to add more resources, you’ll need to buy an entirely new plan. And it’s up to SiteGround whether they will give you a discount from the plan you paid for. That’s why buying 3 years upfront is not smart.
10. Data Centers – Cloudways Has 44 vs. SiteGround’s 10
Cloudways has 44 data centers between all cloud hosting providers. Between Vultr and DigitalOcean, you have the choice of 22 data centers which is still double SiteGround’s.
Choosing a data center close to your visitors has a large impact on TTFB which can be seen in KeyCDN. This isn’t as important if you use a CDN (especially with full page caching, Argo, and other CDN features). If you don’t use these CDN features, a close data center is still important.
11. Email Hosting – No Free Email On Cloudways
Probably the biggest pro of SiteGround is they include email hosting while Cloudways doesn’t (well, they offer Rackspace, but it’s not very good). Better off at Google Workspace which is an extra $6/mo. To be fair, most cloud hosts don’t offer email hosting including Kinsta/Rocket.net.
12. Free Migration – Cloudways Does 1, SiteGround Does None
Cloudways is 1 free then $25/site while SiteGround is $30/site (no free).
To request a free migration in Cloudways, click the 3 dot in the navigation menu then go to “Application Migration.” You’re prompted to fill out your details, then Cloudways does the rest.
13. Support – Cloudways Support Got Better, SiteGround’s Declined
SiteGround used to have amazing support. Not anymore.
Now, Cloudways seems to have better support. One major thing to consider is how many problems you’re likely to run into on SiteGround (CPU limits, compatibility issues with SiteGround’s Optimizer plugin, or even issues when using their DNS/CDN). With Cloudways, things just seem to work smoother so hopefully, you won’t even have to use support as much.
14. Dashboard – Both Use A Custom Dashboard
Cloudways and SiteGround (Site Tools) both use a custom dashboard.
Cloudways’ dashboard is probably a harder learning curve, but it gives you more control and still isn’t very hard at all (the Servers, Applications, and 3 dots are the main tabs you will use).
SiteGround’s Site Tools is better, but it was horrible when they released it (probably because they were in a rush to launch once cPanel increased prices). So they launched it prematurely then used their customers as beta testers. You’ll get used to this crap if you plan on using them.
15. Pricing – Saving $100/Month Without High Renewals
What I was paying on SiteGround’s cloud hosting:
Cloudways is a pay-as-you-go monthly service with no yearly contract. You can add more CPU, RAM, and storage as needed for additional costs. Their cheapest DO plan starts at $10/month.
After switching to Cloudways:
SiteGround makes you sign up for 1 year to get the cheap intro price, then it renews at about 3x times the price. So even if their plans start at $6.99 – $14.99/month, you will eventually pay $14.99 – $39.99/month once it’s time to renew. Almost everyone I know leaves when it renews.
16. TrustPilot Rating – Both Have A 4.6/5 Star Rating
This fluctuates over time, but they’re usually about 4.6/5. I like to look at 1 star reviews just to see what people complain about. Otherwise, most reviews are solicited by the host’s support.
17. Facebook Feedback – Cloudways vs. SiteGround Threads/Polls
SiteGround’s community manager is an admin of the WordPress Speed Up Group and several other SiteGround ambassadors are admins for other Facebook Groups like WordPress Hosting. They use this to remove negative posts about their brand and promote their hosting – not cool!
Even if you search “SiteGround bad review,” mine is the only one that shows up because they threaten to sue people who write bad reviews. I got a cease and desist letter and basically told them to screw themselves, but I know of other affiliates who had to remove all mentions of “SiteGround” from their blog since they’re scared of getting sued just because the review is bad.
Censorship or not, it’s obvious Cloudways is the clear winner:
18. Winner – Cloudways By A Longshot
- NVMe SSDs
- Cloud hosting
- Cloudflare Enterprise
- They’re usually cheaper
- Less chances of CPU issues
- Monthly payments, no yearly contract
- Choice of 5 cloud hosts (Vultr, DO, etc)
- Add CPU/RAM and storage as-needed
- 44 data centers between all cloud providers
- Cloudways community manager Muhammed Ansari is helpful
- No file manager
- Breeze plugin isn’t amazing
- No email hosting (I use Google Workspace)
- Launching a server + custom dashboard is a little “techie”
- Email hosting
- More user-friendly
- CPU limits
- Slow TTFB
- High renewal prices
- Frequent price increases
- Requires 1-3 year contract
- SiteGround’s CDN is very limited
- No plan between GoGeek and cloud
- Their cloud hosting is complete garbage
- Site Tools can be hit or miss if you don’t like it
- Support pushes upgrade more than they used to
19. Getting Started On Cloudways
Step 1: Sign up with 30% off 3 months.
Step 2: Launch a server. Name your app/server and select a server (I recommend Vultr HF). Choose your server size as well as the data center closest to your visitors. I recommend at least a 2GB server if you’re using WooCommerce or Elementor/Divi page builders. Click Launch Now.
Step 3: In Cloudways, go Servers → Manage Services, then enable the following:
Step 4: Go to Settings & Packages and upgrade to PHP 8.0, MariaDB 10.4, and install Redis.
Enjoy the faster load times.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does Cloudways cost?
Cloudways starts at $10-$36.15/month depending on whether you use DigitalOcean, Vultr, Vultr High Frequency, Linode, AWS, or Google Cloud.
How much does SiteGround cost?
SiteGround's shared hosting starts at $6.99/month - $14.99/month for a 1-3 year promotional period. After that period, the price nearly triples. SiteGround's cloud hosting starts at $80/month.
Is Cloudways or SiteGround faster?
Cloudways is faster than SiteGround (Cloudways is cloud hosting, and SiteGround is shared hosting). Cloudways is also faster than SiteGround's cloud hosting.
Does Cloudways provide email hosting?
No, Cloudways does not provide email hosting but offers Rackspace email hosting for $1/email per month. Or you can use Google Wordspace.
Do SiteGround and Cloudways come with Free SSL?
Yes, you get a free Let's Encrypt SSL with both Cloudways and SiteGround which can be activated in 1-click.
Is SiteGround or Cloudways Better?
Cloudways has a better reputation than SiteGround in Facebook Groups and is better in terms of speed, support, CPU limits, and ethics.