Cloudways vs SiteGround: 2x Faster Load Times + No More CPU Issues After Moving

Cloudways vs siteground

I’ve used both Cloudways and SiteGround for years.

SiteGround has a slow TTFB and has gone downhill recently. After referring 3,000+ people to them, I stopped recommending them due to CPU limits, DNS issues, price increases, declining support, and being unethical. I used them for 4 years but constantly had CPU issues and was paying $180/mo for their cloud hosting. That’s when I moved to Cloudways DigitalOcean (and eventually to Vultr HF) which saved me $100/mo, cut loads times in half, and fixed CPU issues. Since their community manager + affiliates are admins for several Facebook Groups, they use this to remove negative posts about their company and ban people who speak out about them.

Cloudways is who I currently use (their Vultr HF plan) and my site has a great GTmetrix report with a fast TTFB. You can visit cwvltrhfserver.com to see the speed of a $13/mo Vultr HF plan with no cache plugin or CDN). They’re highly recommended in Facebook Groups and there’s a huge trend of people leaving SiteGround for Cloudways. It’s monthly pricing (no high renewals) with 3-day trials and a free migration. People say it’s more techie mainly because it requires an extra step to launch a server, but it’s really not hard. The main cons are no email hosting (I use Google Wordspace), no file manager, and their Breeze plugin and CloudwaysCDN are “ok” so I recommend using WP Rocket and Cloudflare or BunnyCDN instead – this is my current setup.

Save 30% off your first 3 months at Cloudways when you sign up on this discount page.

 

1. Why I Left SiteGround

I went from SiteGround GrowBig → GoGeek → Cloud → Cloud (upgraded). Going from $14.99/month (GoGeek) to $39.99 after renewal, then $80/month cloud hosting because of CPU limits, then $180/month because I was still getting CPU issues… this was getting insane.

Why SiteGround isn’t good anymore:

  • Slow TTFB – only unbiased sources like Backlinko and the WP Speed Matters Facebook Group admit this, otherwise you might get banned from FB groups.
  • CPU limits – very common, often unfixable (even on their cloud hosting), and SiteGround will take down your website until you upgrade to a higher plan.
  • Prices – increased twice in 2 years and renewals are about 2.5x intro prices.
  • Support has gotten worse (they added a scope of work disclaimer, discontinued live chat, push upgrades, moved priority support from GrowBig To GoGeek, etc).
  • DNS was blocked by Google for 4 days resulting in huge drops in rankings and people losing 4 days of revenue. SiteGround never advised to change the DNS.
  • Site Tools was “coincidentally” released immediately after cPanel increased prices, but the release was premature and had many lacking features + bugs.
  • Controls negative reviews by threatening people who write bad reviews about them, flagging bad TrustPilot reviews, and not taking responsibility for mistakes.
  • Their community manager (Hristo) and affiliates are admins of several Facebook Groups (i.e. WordPress Speed Up, WordPress Hosting). They use this to remove posts, recommend their company, and ban people who speak badly about them.
  • Cutting costs – they limited the number of sites on each plan, took away free migrations, and banned numerous countries that didn’t generate enough money.

Siteground no value

 

2. 2x Faster Speeds On Cloudways

The graph says it all:

Siteground to cloudways shoutout

 

3. Saving $100/month With No High Renewals

What I was paying on SiteGround’s cloud hosting:

Siteground cloud hosting receipt

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:

Cloudways invoices

SiteGround requires you to sign up for 1-3 years for the cheap intro price, then it renews at about 2.5 times that price. You can’t add more server resources or storage unless you upgrade to an entirely new plan or are using their cloud hosting. So even if 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.

Siteground-renewal-pricing

Siteground renewal prices

 

4. CPU Limits Were Fixed Instantly

SiteGround’s CPU limits are pretty ridiculous. Even if you do everything to reduce CPU, you should always keep an eye on it (in Site Tools). 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.

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.

Siteground-cpu-limits

This is a huge problem:

Siteground cpu limits thread

Siteground to cloudways cpu usage

Siteground cpu limits to cloudways

Siteground cpu limits kill servers

 

5. Vultr HF Is Faster Than SiteGround

Cloudways released Vultr High Frequency servers starting at $13/month (what I use).

It uses 3.8 GHz processors + NVMe storage, and Vultr says it’s about 40% faster than their standard hosting. It can handle high CPU plugins and WooCommerce better than SiteGround. It’s also one of the most popular hosting plans in Facebook Groups and what I’m currently using.

Cloudways vultr high frequency discount
View Vultr High Frequency Plans

Preferred cloudways server

 

6. Cloudways vs. SiteGround Speed Tests

This was a simple Pingdom test to measure load times of 16 hosting plans. I installed the same Astra Starter Site with the same 6 plugins and no cache plugin or CDN. Then I measured each website’s load time for 1 week with 30 minute check intervals, meaning 336 individual tests were done on each.

Wordpress-hosting-2020-pingdom-test

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):

Cloudways-vs-siteground-speed
Cloudways was significantly faster than SiteGround in speed tests
Backlinko ttfb test
Backlinko’s TTFB Test also found SiteGround had a slow TTFB

SiteGround won’t admit their TTFB is slow, but see for yourself:

Cloudways vs siteground migration (2)

Siteground to cloudways move

Cloudways-vs-siteground-migration

Siteground-to-cloudways

Slow ttfb siteground

Siteground slow ttfb left

Siteground slow ttfb

 

7. SiteGround Is Unethical + Unpredictable

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.

Wordpress speed up admin hristo

SiteGround’s Response When Googlebot Blocked Their DNS – in 2021, Googlebot 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.

 

8. Cloudways Has 45 Data Centers vs SiteGround’s 6

Cloudways has 45 data centers between all their cloud hosting providers. Choosing a data center close to your visitors has a big impact on TTFB, so this is a nice bonus for Cloudways. SiteGround has 6 data centers (blue dots are Cloudflare’s). Both let you choose the location.

 

9. Cloudways Support Got Better, SiteGround’s Declined

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.

Siteground vs cloudways support

Cloudways vs siteground support

 

10. Cloudways Breeze vs. SiteGround Optimizer

A big benefit of SiteGround is the SiteGround Optimizer plugin which is better than 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 – I would use WP Rocket when hosting on Cloudways.

SiteGround made major improvements to SG Optimizer with 2 big updates and it now has nearly every single feature in WP Rocket (it’s almost as if SiteGround copied them to a tee).

 

11. Cloudways vs. SiteGround 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):

Moving from siteground
Ecommerce hosting poll

 

12. 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. Here’s SiteGround’s features page:

Cloudways SiteGround
Server DigitalOcean + Premium, 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)
PHP Version 8.0 8.1.1
Backups Daily + On-Demand Daily + On-Demand on GrowBig+
SSL Free Free
Staging Yes On GrowBig+
Support Great Average
Dashboard Custom Site Tools
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
TrustPilot Rating 4.7/5 4.7/5

 

13. 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.

Cloudways Pros

  • 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

Cloudways Cons

  • No file manager
  • Breeze plugin isn’t amazing
  • No email hosting (I use Google Workspace)
  • Launching a server + custom dashboard is a little “techie”
  • CloudwaysCDN uses StackPath (use Cloudflare or BunnyCDN)

SiteGround Pros

  • More user-friendly
  • Cloudflare is 1-click activation
  • You don’t need WP Rocket (use SG Optimizer)

SiteGround Cons

  • CPU limits
  • 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

 

14. Getting Started On Cloudways

Step 1: Sign up for Cloudways using a discount and free 3-day trial.

Cloudways vultr high frequency discount
Get 30% off 3 months with this coupon

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 page builders (Elementor/Divi). Click Launch Now.

Cloudways launch vultr high frequency server

Step 3: In Cloudways, go Servers → Manage Services, then enable the following:

Cloudways-services

Step 4: Go to Settings & Packages and upgrade to PHP 8.0, MariaDB 10.4, and install Redis.

Cloudways settings packages

Step 5: Request a free migration or use their Migrator plugin to move your site(s).

Cloudways free migration

Enjoy the faster load times.

Siteground to cloudways shoutout

 

15. Reach Out To Their Community Managers With Questions

If you have questions before you sign up, reach out to their community managers:

Siteground vs cloudways vs namehero

 

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.

Cheers,
Tom

You Might Also Like:

14 thoughts on “Cloudways vs SiteGround: 2x Faster Load Times + No More CPU Issues After Moving”

  1. What an insane post, that’s what they call “epic content” ! My websites get no traffic, they just sit there, will I be ok with Digital ocean $12 a month plan? Is there any difference between Linode, Digital Ocean and Vulture?

    Reply
    • 1) Hard to stay what server size with you need without knowing how much CPU your site uses, whether it’s optimized, etc. But generally I would a $12 DO Premium plan can handle a few small sites.

      2) Yes, they’re all different types of servers. Vultr and DigitalOcean are probably the most popular. Generally speaking, DO has slightly better reliability and Vultr has slightly better performance.

      Reply
  2. Hi,

    great and honest article but I made the experience that wp rocket is still better then SG optimiser. Better with image lazy load, Java script lazy load, prefetch hosted fonts, less conflicts with other plugins and flexible (can switch features if on a page basis, better implementation of a cdn, host the Facebook pixel ( I don’t), just google analytics…

    Reply
  3. Thanks for a good article! I can give you the answer regarding Siteground’s Site Tools experiment. It is a complete and utter failure being Beta tested on their users. I had 18 websites with shared resources in Siteground. But after they installed Site Tools in my Cloud account last week everything crashed because it does not allow you to share resources between the sites anymore. Their only solution was to copy my shared folder to 18 different sites. Which by the way has to be updated with 18 separate FTP accounts. Madness!

    So I am moving to a new provider, maybe Cloudways, maybe Fastcomet maybe somewhere else, still researching. And I just found out that you can’t export from Siteground and do CPanel migration anymore. You have to archive and export each website and each database individually. So Siteground is now totally useless for anyone having multiple websites and not running Wordpress.

    Reply
  4. I’ve used both in the past, but stuck with SiteGround because of their support. I like to think that I’m tech savvy, but every now and then I still need support because I don’t have time to investigate the problem or I don’t have the necessary tools to fix the problem fast enough.

    I think it comes down to how much are you willing to invest to keep your site running 24/7. I mostly manage membership & eCommerce sites so getting a support that actually helps is worth a higher price tag. However, if you’re running a site that can be down for a few hours and you’re happy to work on it yourself then go with Cloudways.

    I really like this review because it has real data and you can’t argue with the data. Cloudways outperforms SG. I simply choose support over speed.

    Reply
    • Good to know SiteGround is still doing a decent job of support at least in your case. I know there have been many complaints about their reduced support as well. Case by case basis :)

      Reply
      • I too am getting sick of Sitegrounds poor support. I’ve used them for a few years. If one is used to Siteground with shared wordpress hosting, what do you recommend as an alternative? … one that won’t require relearning a new host’s methods.

        Reply
        • A2 Hosting uses cPanel and has decent speeds, some people are also recommending NameHero which also uses cPanel. Cloudways is definitely faster, it’s not cPanel and there is a little learning curve, but it’s not too difficult.

          Reply
  5. Hi
    Thanks for your detailed review, I think that it is very accurate, However, there is one thing that you didn’t speak about and that is security.

    I just moved last month my WordPress sites to Cloudways and you are right the support is really bad and speed is really good. However, From the day I moved to Cloudways my sites are attacked nonstop and are full of spam.

    I needed to work for hours to install security plugins and still, I am not protected as they don’t give basic security that every other company offers including no DDoS protection.

    When talking to support they told me that I need to get sucuri, this will cost me an extra $15 per website, What means that when adding that you need to pay for DNS, email, and security, Cloudways is one of the most time consuming and expensive services out there. I am very unhappy with them. Hope this helps other people considering moving to Cloudways.

    Reply
    • Totally agree with you. Had the same experience. Cloudways won’t protect you from DDoS attacks and similar – they will just tell you to use 3rd party services to protect yourself.

      If one is looking to move away from SiteGround, IMHO the better option would be something like Runcloud + VPS provider.

      I migrated away from Cloudways immediately once I realized there was no protection from such kinds of attacks at all.

      Reply
    • Hi Eli, I know you posted this a year ago, wondering how you got on since. Could Cloudflare not have protected you with DDOS attacks?

      Reply
      • Also wondering this. Was seriously considering Cloudways since their support is supposedly better and SGs is going downhill very quickly. But I hesitate if they don’t protect from DDoS attacks. Pretty much everyone will have to deal with these at some point anyway. Thanks!

        Reply
    • I’ll point out that Cloudflare should help solve nearly everyone of these.

      • Cloudflare’s DNS is free, fast, and reliable: dnsperf.com
      • Cloudflare has email in beta (although I haven’t tested it yet). Kinsta, RunCloud, and most VPS providers don’t have email. This is usually just part of using a VPS and it’s a good idea to keep email/web hosting separate anyway.
      • Cloudflare offers DDoS protection and several security features like bot protection, firewall rules, and freemium rate limiting. You can go through this security checklist too. These should really be done no matter where you’re hosted. Setting up a website up on it’s own server helps too.
      Reply

Leave a Comment