Cloudways vs SiteGround: 2x Faster And No More CPU Issues After Moving To Vultr HF With With NVMe + Cloudflare Enterprise

Cloudways vs siteground

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.

SiteGround Cloudways
Hosting Type Shared Cloud
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
Overall Speed Slow Fast
CPU Limits Strict Flexible
Major Incidents Google blocked DNS for 4 days None
Scalability Must buy new plan Can add CPU/RAM
Data Centers 10 44
Email Hosting x
Free Migration $30/site 1 free then $25/site
Support Declined Better, but needs work
Dashboard Custom Custom
Pricing Cheap for 1 year + high renewals Monthly + 30% off 3 months
TrustPilot Rating 4.6/5 4.6/5
Facebook Feedback Poor + censorship Excellent
Winner No Yes

 

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.

Preferred cloudways server
Cloudways lets you choose from multiple cloud hosts (I recommend Vultr HF)

 

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.

Cloudflare enterprise with cloudways
What it looks like in Cloudways
Keycdn ttfb no cloudflare enterprise
TTFB (no Cloudflare Enterprise) measured in KeyCDN
Keycdn ttfb with cloudflare enterprise
TTFB (with Cloudflare Enterprise) measured in KeyCDN

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.

Siteground cdn free vs premium

 

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.

Rocket. Net ssds
SSD hard drives
Rocket. Net nvme
NVMe SSDs

 

4. Cache Plugin – Cloudways Breeze vs. SiteGround Optimizer

Breeze and SiteGround Optimizer both do a poor job addressing core web vitals.

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
Delay JavaScript x
Remove unused CSS x x Inline Separate file
Critical CSS x x
Host fonts locally x x x
Font-display:swap x
Preload links x
Preload images 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

 
Omm switches to flyingpress

 

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.

Cloudways manage services

W3 Total Cache* LiteSpeed Cache* WP Redis Redis Object Cache Object Cache Pro
Performance
Batch Prefetching x x x x
Data compression x x x x
Cache priming x x x x
Asynchronous flushing x x x
Features
Cache Analytics x x x
Secure connections x x x
Highly customizable x x x x
Logging support x x x x
Cluster support x x x
Replication support x x x
Reliability
Mitigates race conditions x x x x
Extensively unit tested x x x x
Integrations
WooCommerce optimized 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
Batcache compatible x x x
Relay integration 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.

Siteground nginx direct delivery

 

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.

Siteground to cloudways shoutout

Slow ttfb siteground

Siteground slow ttfb left

Siteground slow ttfb

Wp engine to cloudways switch
Source: SEO Signals Lab
Cloudways vs bluehost
Source: Post Removed
Siteground-to-cloudways
Source: Twitter
Kinsta-vs-cloudways-speed
Source: WordPress Hosting Group
Moved to cloudways hosting speed
Source: BloggingGyaan
Wp engine to cloudways migration
Source: WordPress Speed Up

 

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.

Siteground cpu limits server overload

It’s always been a big problem:

Siteground cpu limits thread

Siteground to cloudways cpu usage

Siteground cpu limits to cloudways

Siteground cpu limits kill servers

 

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.

 

9. Scalability – Freely Add CPU/RAM On Cloudways

Cloudways lets you add CPU/RAM any time.

Cloudways vertical scaling

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.

Cloudways data centers
Cloudways has 4x more data centers than SiteGround

 

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.

Cloudways free application migration 2

 

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.

Siteground vs cloudways support

Cloudways vs siteground support

 

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).

Cloudways server settings

Cloudways application settings

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.

Siteground site tools dashboard

 

15. Pricing – Saving $100/Month Without 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 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.

Siteground renewal prices

 

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!

Wordpress speed up admin hristo

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:

Moving away from siteground
Source: WordPress Hosting
Elementor-hosting-poll
Source: Elementor Community
Hosting geared towards france
Source: WordPress Hosting
Favorite siteground alternative
Source: BloggingGyaan
Reliable-fast-hosting
Source: Post Deleted
Hosting poll 2019
Source: WordPress Hosting
Wpx vs cloudways
Source: WordPress Hosting
Shared managed hosting suggestions
Source: WordPress Hosting
Web server poll
Source: Oxygen User Group
Favourite wordpress hosting
Source: Twitter

 

18. Winner – Cloudways By A Longshot

Cloudways Pros

  • Faster
  • 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

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”

SiteGround Pros

  • Email hosting
  • More user-friendly

SiteGround Cons

  • 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.

Cloudways vultr high frequency discount

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.

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 the Cloudways Migrator plugin to move your site(s). If you plan on moving sites yourself, make sure to read their tutorial on taking your domain live.

Cloudways free migration

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.

Cheers,
Tom

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14 Comments...

  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

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