Cloudways vs. WP Engine: Cloudways Is Faster With NVMe Storage On Vultr HF, Cloudflare Enterprise, And No Strict Limits

Cloudways vs wp engine

If you’re deciding between Cloudways vs. WP Engine, choose the first one.

WP Engine has gotten slower with low limits on number of websites, monthly visits, storage, and bandwidth. And if you exceed them, they overcharge and arm and leg. They use SATA SSDs with banned plugins and awful support. Even though I would get $200 in affiliate commissions for referring you to WP Engine, I have a soul and don’t want to steer you in the wrong direction.

Cloudways is better all around and who I used for 3 years. Their DigitalOcean and Vultr High Frequency plan are popular in Facebook Groups. They also have way more flexibility. You can choose which cloud hosting provider you want (DigitalOcean, Vultr, etc), your server size, get a free migration, and host multiple sites regardless of your plan with more storage/bandwidth. Their Cloudflare Enterprise add-on is a powerful way to improve TTFB. Between flexibility and faster technology (and they’re significantly cheaper), Cloudways is obviously the better choice.

Cloudways WP Engine
CDN Cloudflare Enterprise Cloudflare
Storage 32GB NVMe SSDs 10GB SATA SSDs
Caching Layers Multiple Multiple
Overall Speed Fast Slow
Bandwidth 1TB 50GB
Data Centers 44 22
Free Migration x
Banned Plugins No Yes
Email Hosting x x
Dashboard Custom Custom
Starting Price $10/mo + 30% off 3 months $20/mo
TrustPilot Rating 4.5/5 4.5/5
Facebook Feedback Excellent Poor
Winner Yes No


1. CDN – Cloudflare Enterprise (On Cloudways) Has A Faster TTFB

Cloudflare Enterprise makes a huge improvement to TTFB between Argo Smart Routing, prioritized routing, load balancing, and it also includes image optimization (Cloudways will be adding full page caching soon). It also improves security through WAF. This will cost an extra $5/mo per domain on Cloudways, but is worth it especially if your global TTFB is slow when testing your site in tools like KeyCDN or SpeedVitals which measure TTFB in multiple locations.

Keycdn ttfb no cloudflare enterprise
TTFB (no Cloudflare Enterprise) measured in KeyCDN
Keycdn ttfb with cloudflare enterprise
TTFB (with Cloudflare Enterprise) measured in KeyCDN

To add this, follow their instructions.

Cloudflare enterprise on cloudways
What it looks like after it’s set up

WP Engine uses Cloudflare with only a few advanced features like Layer 3 & 4 DDoS protection and Polish image compression (both of which are included in Cloudways’ Cloudflare Enterprise.


2. Storage – More/Faster NVMe Storage On Vultr High Frequency

WP Engine uses slower SATA SSDs starting at only 10GB of storage while Cloudways (the Vultr High Frequency plan) uses NVMe SSDs with 32GB storage. There are plenty of speed tests you can find in Google on these (NVMe is significantly faster). Below is a test from before & after they switched to NVMe benchmarked using the WordPress Hosting Benchmarks plugin.

Rocket. Net ssds
SSD hard drives
Rocket. Net nvme


3. Caching – Both Have Multiple Caching Layers

Cloudways and WP Engine both have many caching layers. However, Cloudways uses Redis Object Cache Pro which is faster than WP Engine’s object cache (Cloudways doesn’t blacklist any cache plugins either). While Cloudways has their Breeze plugin, it doesn’t do a great job addressing core web vitals, so I suggest FlyingPress instead (which is better than WP Rocket).

Cloudways manage services
Cloudways caching layers
Wp engine caching
WP Engine caching layers


4. Overall Speed – Cloudways Is Faster Than WP Engine

Cloudways is faster than WP Engine between NVMe SSDs on Vultr High Frequency, Cloudflare Enterprise, and Redis Object Cache Pro. This is also shown in people’s migration results below.

Just because a host slaps Google Cloud + Cloudflare on their service doesn’t mean it’s fast. WP Engine makes bold claims saying they’re the “unequivocal performance leader in WordPress.” But most people recommending them are affiliates because they pay $200/sale in commissions.

Wp engine to cloudways

Cloudways vs wp engine move


5. Bandwidth – WP Engine Has Low Bandwidth + Monthly Visits

WP Engine makes you pay an extra $17 per website if you want to host multiple websites, or upgrade to their Professional plan for $49/mo which supports 3 sites. Cloudways lets you host unlimited sites regardless of your plan. You just want to make sure it has enough resources (CPU/RAM) to handle your website’s traffic and CPU usage. Even the cheapest Cloudways DigitalOcean plan for $10/mo with 1 CPU + 1GB RAM should be able to handle 2-3 small sites.

Wp engine low bandwidth monthly visits


6. Data Centers – Cloudways Has 2x More

Choosing a data center close to your visitors has a big impact on speed. However, if you use CDNs with full page caching, it matters much less. But just in case, Cloudways does have more.

Cloudways Data Centers:

San Francisco, USA Netherland, Netherlands Hong Kong, China
New York, USA Tokyo, Japan Miami, USA
Silicon Valley, USA Seoul, Korea Seattle, USA
Paris, France Bangalore, India Northern California, USA
Frankfurt, Germany Mumbai, India Northern Virginia, USA
Singapore, Singapore Sydney, Australia Northern Carolina, USA
Dublin, Ireland Los Angeles, USA Ohio, USA
London, England Dallas, USA Stockholm, Sweden
Sao Paulo, Brazil Chicago, USA Belgium, Belgium
Toronto, Canada Newark, USA Oregon, USA
Montreal, Canada Atlanta, USA Iowa, USA
Fermont, Canada Taiwan, China
Amsterdam, Netherlands Bahrain, Bahrain

WP Engine Data Centers:

Google Cloud Data Centers AWS Data Centers
Iowa Virginia
South Carolina Ohio
Oregon Oregon
Montreal Montreal
Belgium Ireland
London London
Frankfurt Frankfurt
Netherlands Signapore
Taiwan Sydney


7. Free Migration – Cloudways Does 1 Free, WP Engine Doesn’t

Cloudways offers 1 free migration (then $25/site), while WP Engine offers no free migrations. Instead, WP Engine wrote a tutorial and you’re expected to migrate all your websites yourself.

On Cloudways, you can request a free migration once signed up. Just click the Boxes tab in the navigation menu → add-ons → click the pencil icon. You’ll be prompted with a migration form.

Cloudways free application migration 2

Then fill out your details:

Cloudways free migration


8. Banned Plugins – WP Engine Blacklists Plugins

WP Engine bans plugins which means no popular caching or backup plugins.

While WP Engine handles server-level caching, cache plugins do a lot more than just caching (CSS/JS/image optimization, database cleanup, etc). Without a cache plugin, you’re losing out on those extra optimizations. To my knowledge, you can still use both FlyingPress + WP Rocket.


9. Email Hosting – Neither One Has It

Neither Cloudways or WP Engine have free email hosting (a con for both).

With Cloudways, you can sign up for a Rackspace account for $1/email per month which is cheaper than Rackspace’s standard pricing of $2/email per month. It’s not exactly “included email hosting” but at least Cloudways gives you an option for a relatively inexpensive price. You’re still much better off using a third-party email service like Google Workspace (what I use).

Cloudways supports SMTP and so does WP Engine.


10. Dashboard – Both Are Custom

Cloudways and WP Engine both have their custom dashboard.

Cloudways dashboard mainly consists of the Servers, Applications, and Add-Ons tabs:

Cloudways server settings

Cloudways application settings

WP Engine’s dashboard is pretty straightforward:

Wp engine dashboard 1


11. Starting Price – WP Engine Is Expensive!

Both Cloudways and WP Engine do monthly pricing.

However, you’ll end up paying more at WP Engine because of the low storage, bandwidth, and number of sites. And who charges for automatic plugin updates? One of the biggest complaints about WP Engine (shown in their 1 star TrustPilot reviews) is how they’ll charge for extra traffic.

Cloudways is monthly pricing with 30% off 3 months, 3-day trials, and a free migration. Better!

Cloudways omm discount
Cloudways pricing
Wp engine pricing 2
WP Engine pricing


12. TrustPilot Rating – Both Are 4.5 (WP Engine Was Lower)

WP Engine used to have a poor rating, but looks like they’re taking reviews more seriously since it went from 3.5/5 to 4.5/5. I really don’t know who’s writing these since there’s been so many complaints about them going downhill, so they probably solicit a ton of people asking for them.


13. Facebook Feedback – What Facebook Groups Say

I recommend joining Facebook Groups to get feedback, especially about WordPress hosting which is likely the most biased topic on the internet with so many affiliates and fake reviews. You’ll notice a lot of people move from WP Engine to Cloudways, but not the other way around.

Moving away from siteground
Source: WordPress Hosting
Source: Elementor Community
Hosting geared towards france
Source: WordPress Hosting
Favorite siteground alternative
Source: BloggingGyaan
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


14. Winner – Cloudways Is Faster (And Better) Than WP Engine

Speed, reliability, support, and price are the 4 key things I look for in a host.

Cloudways beats WP Engine in pretty much all of these. Does anyone even use WP Engine anymore? Everyone I know moved to Cloudways or (and sometimes Kinsta, but they’re not great either). I went to Cloudways then which is where I’m currently hosted (I suggest looking into them since they’re even faster than Cloudways, but costs more).


15. Getting Started On Cloudways

Some people think Cloudways is “technical” but it’s really not.

Step 1: Sign up for Cloudways and they’ll send you an email to activate your account, then you’ll go to the dashboard. The first step is to launch a server. Name your app/server, then choose a server (I recommend DO or Vultr HF). Select your server size (1GB is only for small sites, otherwise use 2GB+). Select the data center closest to visitors, then click Launch Now.

Cloudways launch vultr high frequency server

Step 2: Connect your domain by adding it under Applications → Domain Management.

Cloudways domain management

Step 3: Add a free Let’s Encrypt SSL (Applications → SSL Certificate) and enable auto renewal.

Cloudways ssl management

Step 4: Update DNS records. In NameCheap, go to Dashboard → Domain List → Manage → Advanced DNS → Add New Record.  The A Record value is the Public IP found in “Access Details” in Cloudways. The CNAME is your domain name. Use the same formatting as below.

If using GoDaddy, see their instructions.

Add cloudways records to namecheap
In your domain registrar, add an A record to with your Public IP (found in Cloudways) and domain

Cloudways also has a video on this:

Step 5: Go to your Settings & Packages and Managed Services tab. This is where you can upgrade PHP versions, MariaDB versions, increase to a higher memory limit, and install Redis.

Cloudways settings packages

Enjoy the faster load times.


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