I’ve used both Cloudways and SiteGround for years.
SiteGround’s servers have gotten horribly slow as shown in speed tests. They have gone downhill with price increases, reduced support, and unfixable CPU issues. I used them for 4+ years but outgrew their GoGeek plan (my traffic grew and I had CPU overages). I upgraded to their cloud hosting for $80/month and was still exceeding CPU even though I wrote a tutorial on it. So I added more CPU/RAM until I was paying $180/month. That’s when I decided to move to Cloudways DigitalOcean which saved me $100/month and also cut loads times in half. I have referred over 3,000 people to SiteGround – they’re garbage now and only care about money.
Cloudways is who I migrated to after SiteGround and I have a killer GTmetrix report with a <200ms TTFB. They were the fastest host in my speed test (you can use cwdoserver.com to see the speed of a $10/month DigitalOcean plan) and are highly recommended in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group. They’re also #1 in most recent Facebook polls with a 4.8/5 star TrustPilot review. Cloudways is monthly pricing which is very rare with hosting. They also do free trials and free migrations, plus they just released Vultr High Frequency which is supposed to be even faster than DigitalOcean. There is no comparison between Vultr HF and SiteGround.
I recommend joining WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to get real, unbiased hosting opinions. The main 2 reasons people are hesitant about Cloudways is that it’s “too technical” and their support isn’t as good. But it’s actually not technical at all (I will show you) and their support is now actually very good which is why their TrustPilot reviews have been going up.
SiteGround vs. Cloudways
- My Story With SiteGround
- Why I Upgraded To Cloudways
- 2x Faster Load Times On Cloudways
- Saving $100/month With DigitalOcean
- Cloudways Vultr HF Blows Away SiteGround
- Cloudways vs. SiteGround Speed Tests
- CPU Limits: SiteGround’s Biggest Downfall
- SiteGround Corruption In Facebook Groups
- SiteGround Is Unpredictable, Cloudways Is Innovative
- Cloudways Support Is Getting Better, SiteGround Getting Worse
- Features Comparison
- Cloudways Has 25+ Data Centers vs SiteGround’s 6
- Breeze vs. SG Optimizer
- Cloudways vs. SiteGround In Recent Facebook Polls
- Managed Hosting Makes A Difference
- Which One Is Best For WooCommerce?
- Winner: Cloudways By A Longshot
- Getting Started On Cloudways (And A Promo Code)
- Reach Out To Their Community Managers With Questions
Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways (much better than SiteGround) using my affiliate link, I would really appreciate it. I don’t recommend bad hosting like many other affiliates. I also donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would help. I try to base my reviews not only from my experience, but real evidence from feedback in numerous Facebook Groups. It would mean a lot.
1. My Story With SiteGround
I went from SiteGround GrowBig → GoGeek → Cloud → Cloud (upgraded). I used to love SiteGround but they have gone completely downhill. Going from $14.99/month on GoGeek to $39.99 after renewals, then $80/month cloud hosting because of CPU limits, then $180/month because I was still getting CPU issues… this was insane and I can’t believe I was paying for this.
Why SiteGround isn’t good anymore:
- CPU limits are too common and literally unfixable
- SiteGround uses this as a way to make you upgrade
- They discontinued live chat function without warning
- Support has gone downhill and they’re pushing upgrades
- Their TTFB is horrific (see my WordPress hosting speed tests)
- Their cPanel replacement (SiteGround Site Tools) is hit or miss
- Renewal prices are 3x intro prices and increased twice in 2 years
- They moved all customer accounts to Google Cloud (privacy issues)
- SG community manager is an admin of Facebook Groups (corruption)
My conclusion: SiteGround used to be great, but they’re a completely different hosting company now who are trying to milk customers for their money, even if it results in slower TTFBs, poorer service, and simply not listening to complaints in WordPress Facebook Groups.
2. Why I Upgraded To Cloudways
The Main Reasons
- I didn’t want to deal with ridiculous CPU limits.
- SiteGround’s cloud hosting is expensive and not even fast.
- SiteGround was cheapening the service while raising prices.
- I saw tons of positive reviews of Cloudways in Facebook Groups.
- The Cloudways community manager helped me with the sign up process.
3. 2x Faster Load Times On Cloudways
The graph says it all:
Even posts with tons of images load in <2s. Run this post through GTmetrix if you want.
4. Saving $100/month With DigitalOcean
What I was paying on SiteGround’s cloud hosting:
What I paid on Cloudways DigitalOcean:
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.
SiteGround requires you to sign up for 1-3 years which is the period you get their discount promotional price. After this period, the price triples. You can’t add more server resources or storage unless you upgrade to an entirely new plan. So even though their plans start at $6.99 – $14.99/month, you will eventually be paying $14.99 – $39.99/month once it’s time to renew.
5. Cloudways Vultr HF Blows Away SiteGround
Cloudways just released Vultr High Frequency servers starting at $13/month (I recently switched from DigitalOcean to Vultr HF).
If you know anything about hosting, it’s likely the fastest option available. With 3.8 GHz processors and NVMe storage, Vultr says this is about 40% faster than their standard hosting.
I highly encourage you to clone your website using Vultr HF and see the speed difference. It’s built to handle resource-hungry plugins (WooCommerce, Elementor, etc) with low latency. Vultr High Frequency was also the fastest WordPress host in my performance test (see below).
6. Cloudways vs. SiteGround Speed Tests
SiteGround has some of the slowest TTFBs as reported by Backlinko.
This was a simple Pingdom test I did to measure load times of 16 WordPress hosts. I installed the same Astra Starter Site on each hosting plan while measuring load times in Pingdom for 1 week at 30 minute check intervals. I cancelled some of them because it was getting expensive, but the Cloudways and SiteGround demos are still live (see below). Even when clicking through their pages or running your own tests, you can see a major difference in how quick they load.
- stgrndserver.com – hosted on SiteGround GrowBig
- cwdoserver.com – hosted on $10/month Cloudways DO
- cwdopserver.com – hosted on $12/month Cloudways DO Premium
- cwvltrhfserver.com – hosted on $13/month Cloudways Vultr High Frequency
Here are the other tests (I attached screenshots of the reports below). The average TTFB for Cloudways DigitalOcean was 159ms and SiteGround averaged 1164ms, a 1005ms difference.
Cloudways DigitalOcean Reports (click thumbnails to enlarge):
SiteGround GrowBig Reports (click thumbnails to enlarge):
7. CPU Limits: SiteGround’s Biggest Downfall
SiteGround’s CPU limits are pretty ridiculous. Even if you do everything to reduce CPU, you should always keep an eye on it (in your cPanel). Otherwise they will send you warnings, then shut down your site. You can reach out to support and request temporary resources, but they will push you to upgrade to a more expensive plan. It’s a cycle many people find themselves in.
I wrote a popular tutorial on reducing CPU, yet I still had them myself. I was using lightweight plugins, SG Optimizer, a lightweight theme, enabled heartbeat control, blocked bad bots, etc.
This is a huge problem:
8. SiteGround Corruption In Facebook Groups
SiteGround’s community manager is an admin of the WordPress Speed Up Group.
If you dare mention SiteGround’s slow TTFB or anything very negative about SiteGround, chances are the post will be deleted and you’ll be marked as a spammer. This happened to Gijo (admin of the WP Speed Matters Group) when he was called a spammer for mentioning SiteGround’s slow TTFB. This is nonsense and corruption. Just like I warn people about Hostinger’s fake reviews, SiteGround is also doing something shady and it’s just not ethical.
9. SiteGround Is Unpredictable, Cloudways Is Innovative
With how much SiteGround changed in the last few years, you never know what you’re actually getting when you sign up to buy their WordPress hosting.
Cloudways actually delivers what their customers want. People initially complained about their support, so they made it better. People wanted Vultr High Frequency, so they gave it to them. Now we want LiteSpeed servers and I hope they will add this soon. Cloudways listens to their customers, SiteGround doesn’t. Instead, they do whatever they can to increase the bottom line.
10. Cloudways Support Is Getting Better, SiteGround Getting Worse
Cloudways Support – I admit, Cloudways support didn’t used to be good. But they have made a huge effort to improve support and it’s actually great now. It’s probably not the same level of support you get with Kinsta/WPX, but I would consider it as good as SiteGround (if not better).
SiteGround Support – SiteGround’s support used to be great, but not really anymore. They push upsells, disabled their live chat without warning, and moved priority support from GrowBig to GoGeek (a couple years ago). All these “moves” are a clear attempt to milk money.
Conclusion: SiteGround’s support used to be better than Cloudways, but that has changed since Cloudways made a big effort to improve support, which is now better than SiteGround.
11. Features Comparison
All Cloudways features come included no matter which plan you choose. With SiteGround, GrowBig and GoGeek have more features than StartUp. For example, if you want to use all 3 levels of caching with SG Optimizer (static, dynamic, memcached) instead of just static cache, you would need GrowBig+. Staging is also only included with GrowBig+. Similar to Cloudways, as you upgrade plans, it comes with more server resources which makes your site load faster.
The Cloudways features page outlines everything you get for speed, security, add-ons, etc.
And here’s SiteGround’s features page:
|Server||DigitalOcean, Vultr, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud||Google Cloud|
|Speed Test||Fastest||Very Slow|
|Caching||Varnish, Redis, Memcached||Static, Dynamic, Memcached via SG Optimizer on GrowBig+|
|CDN||StackPath (Paid)||Cloudflare (Free)|
|Backups||Daily + On-Demand||Daily + On-Demand on GrowBig+|
|Email Hosting||$1/mo via Rackspace||Yes|
|# Of Sites||Unlimited||Unlimited on GrowBig+|
|Migrations||1 Free Then $25/Site||$30/Site|
|Intro Price||$10/mo (DigitalOcean) - $36.51/mo (AWS)||$6.99 - $14.99/mo|
|Renewal Price||No Higher Renewals||$14.99 - $39.99/mo|
12. Cloudways Has 25+ Data Centers vs SiteGround’s 6
Cloudways has 25 data centers between all their cloud hosting providers.
SiteGround only has 6 data centers (blue dots are Cloudflare’s):
13. Breeze vs. SG Optimizer
A big benefit to SiteGround is their SG Optimizer plugin which is far superior to Breeze in terms of being comparable to plugins like WP Rocket. SG Optimizer can easily replace WP Rocket, but Breeze has a long way to go and I would personally use WP Rocket when hosting on Cloudways.
SiteGround made major improvements to SG Optimizer with 2 big updates and it now includes nearly every single feature in WP Rocket (it’s as almost as if SiteGround copied them to a tee).
- Database cleanup
- CDN URL
- Varnish options
SG Optimizer Features
- Everything from WP Rocket, plus it uses server-side caching which is faster.
14. Cloudways vs. SiteGround In Recent Facebook Polls
SiteGround used to be #1 in most Facebook polls.
But ever since June 18th when they increased prices, I don’t think I’ve seen 1 single poll where SiteGround was rated #1. In fact, most of the polls I see related to SiteGround are “alternatives to SiteGround” in which most people recommended Cloudways, DigitalOcean, and A2 Hosting.
Cloudways was #1 in most recent Facebook polls (click thumbnails to enlarge):
16. Which One Is Best For WooCommerce?
Both Cloudways and SiteGround come with a free SSL from Let’s Encrypt.
But the major difference for WooCommerce websites is they usually require more server resources since they typically run more plugins, WooCommerce scripts, styles, and cart fragments. SiteGround’s StartUp and GrowBig plan might not have enough resources to support your site, and even on GoGeek, you risk getting CPU overages. Cloudways is best for WooCommerce since their customers don’t experience CPU issues like they do on SiteGround.
With Cloudways, you can scale server resources as needed:
With SiteGround, each plan has a set number of resources:
17. Winner: Cloudways By A Longshot
Overall, Cloudways is faster, cheaper, and support is just as good as SiteGround. Cloudways also has a better reputation in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group.
- Speeds are faster
- They’re usually cheaper
- Monthly payments, no yearly contract
- You shouldn’t have to worry about CPU limits
- Choice of 5 cloud hosts, not just Google Cloud
- You can add server resources and storage as-needed
- Choice 25+ data centers between all cloud hosting providers
- Support is very helpful as reflected in their TrustPilot reviews
- Cloudways community manager Muhammed Ansari is very helpful
- No hosting option under $10/month
- Not always as user-friendly as SiteGround
- No email hosting (but they do have SMTP + Rackspace options)
- More user-friendly
- Cloudflare is 1-click activation
- You don’t need WP Rocket (use SG Optimizer)
- CPU limits
- Very slow TTFB
- High renewal prices
- Frequent price increases
- Requires 1-3 year contract
- 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
18. Getting Started On Cloudways (And A Promo Code)
Step 1: Sign up for a Cloudways free trial.
Step 2: Use promo code OMM25 to get 25% off your first 2 months.
Step 3: Add a server.
Step 4: Name your app/server name, select a server (I recommend DigitalOcean or Vultr HF), then select your server size data center closest to your visitors. When done, click Launch Now.
Step 5: In Cloudways, go Servers → Manage Services, then enable the following:
Step 6: Go to Settings & Packages and upgrade to PHP 8.0, MariaDB 10.4, and install Redis.
Enjoy the faster load times.
19. Reach Out To Their Community Managers With Questions
If you have questions before you sign up, reach out to their community managers:
- Cloudways community manager: Muhammed Ansari (always responsive)
- SiteGround community manager: Hristo Pandjarov (didn’t respond to me)
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 has alternative services for email, like Rackspace.
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 in Facebook Groups while there have been numerous complaints about SiteGround on a daily basis.