Cloudways vs. WPX 2022: Cloudways Is Faster/Better With Cloud Hosting, NVMe, Cloudflare Enterprise, More Data Centers

Cloudways vs wpx

Why is Cloudways better (and faster) than WPX?

Cloudways is cloud hosting with one of the fastest forms of object cache (Redis Object Cache Pro). They also use NVMe SSDs on Vultr High Frequency as well as Cloudflare Enterprise which significantly improves load times + TTFB with Argo Smart Routing, load balancing, and image optimization. They have more data centers than WPX, better uptimes, and are definitely more popular in Facebook Groups. The main cons are no email hosting and some people say they’re more techie. However, launching a server and connecting your domain only takes a few clicks.

WPX has bad uptime problems especially when they had a worldwide outage the CEO blamed on their partner, when it was clearly their fault for not having a redundancy system in place. At the end of the day, it’s expensive shared hosting with slower SATA SSDs and no object cache (a huge disadvantage). They even admitted their hosting isn’t meant for WooCommerce sites and their email hosting is very limited. The main draw to WPX is they use LiteSpeed which means you can use LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC.cloud, however, WPX recommends W3 Total Cache and XDN which isn’t the best combination. Speed tests from Matthew Woodward were completely influenced by affiliate commissions when WPX calls them “independent tests.” Don’t fall for it.

Cloudways WPX
Hosting Type Cloud Shared
Bandwidth 32GB NVMe on Vultr HF 200GB
Storage 1TB on Vultr HF 15GB SATA SSDs
Server Apache LiteSpeed
Object Cache Redis Object Cache Pro x
CDN Cloudflare Enterprise QUIC.cloud
Cache Plugin Breeze LiteSpeed Cache
Server Locations 44 3
Uptimes Good Worldwide outage
Dashboard Custom Custom
Email Hosting No Limited
Free Migration Yes Yes + speed optimization
Support Good Great
Security Average Great
Price Monthly with 30% off 3 months Monthly/Yearly
TrustPilot Rating 4.5/5 4.9/5
Facebook Feedback Excellent Average
Winner Yes No

Wpx vs cloudways poll

 

1. Hosting Type – Cloudways Is Cloud Hosting, WPX Is Shared

The biggest difference between Cloudways vs. WPX is Cloudways is cloud hosting which is generally faster (and more reliable) than shared.

So when WPX claims they’re “the fastest WordPress host,” that is pretty much impossible because shared hosting is never the fastest WordPress hosting. On Cloudways, you can select from 5 cloud hosting providers with Vultr High Frequency and DigitalOcean being the most popular. I used both for many years (after moving from SiteGround) and you can see my results.

Preferred cloudways server

 

2. Bandwidth – Cloudways Includes About 5x More Bandwidth

The lowest 1GB Vultr HF plan on Cloudways includes 1TB of bandwidth which is 5 times WPX’s lowest plan. Even WPX’s middle plan only has 400GB.

That’s why you should always check how much bandwidth your site is currently using (which can usually be done in your hosting account). Finally, use this number to figure out which hosting plan you need (which determines your budget). WPX has a bandwidth calculator too.

Wpx hosting bandwidth calculator

 

3. Server – Vultr HF Uses NVMe, WPX Uses Slower SATA SSDs

WPX uses slower SATA SSDs while Vultr High Frequency uses NVMe SSDs.

These are significantly faster which you can see in the test below. This was a test done by Rocket.net using the WordPress Hosting Benchmarks plugin (another reason I like Vultr HF).

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

 

4. Server – Cloudways Uses Apache, WPX Uses LiteSpeed

The biggest benefit of WPX is they use LiteSpeed servers which are faster than Apache (what Cloudways uses).

Normally, you would use LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC.cloud CDN which are built specifically for LiteSpeed and do an excellent job with web vitals. However, WPX recommends W3 Total Cache with their XDN. Some people say they have good results with this, but both W3 Total Cache and XDN lack tons of optimizations found in LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC.cloud (so test these carefully).

Even if Cloudways uses Apache servers, that doesn’t mean WPX is faster. And if you’re hell-bent on using LiteSpeed, there are plenty of LiteSpeed WordPress hosts that are still better than WPX.

Litespeed vs nginx vs apache

 

5. Object Cache – WPX Doesn’t Support It (Cloudways Does)

Object cache is great for speeding up sites while reducing CPU usage, especially WooCommerce/dynamic sites.

Redis is arguably faster than memcached and Cloudways uses Redis Object Cache Pro (even faster than Redis). This is a big advantage especially if your site is dynamic. To add it, head to Servers → Settings & Packages → Packages → Install Redis. A drop-in plugin will be installed.

Here’s the table from the Cloudways blog:

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

 

6. CDN – Cloudflare Enterprise On Cloudways Is Faster

Cloudways offers Cloudflare Enterprise for $5/mo per domain while WPX has their own custom CDN (XDN) along with QUIC.cloud which you can use on LiteSpeed.

Cloudflare Enterprise beats both these since it has a larger network of 270+ PoPs with Argo Smart Routing and load balancing. Both Cloudflare Enterprise and QUIC.cloud have full page caching with HTTP/3, WAF, and image optimization (and if you’re going with QUIC.cloud, make sure you use their paid/standard plan which uses all 70+ PoPs with DDoS protection, since the free plan only uses 6 PoPs. Regardless, it’s hard to beat Cloudflare Enterprise with Cloudways.

XDN QUIC.cloud (Paid Plan) Cloudflare Enterprise
PoPs 34 75 270
Full page caching x Coming soon
HTTP/3 x
WAF x
Argo smart routing x x
Load balancing x x
Image optimization x
Price Free $.01 – $.04/GB $5/mo per domain
Cloudflare enterprise with cloudways
Cloudways uses Cloudflare Enterprise (instructions)
Keycdn ttfb no cloudflare enterprise
TTFB (no Cloudflare Enterprise) measured in KeyCDN
Keycdn ttfb with cloudflare enterprise
TTFB (with Cloudflare Enterprise) measured in KeyCDN
Wpx xdn
With WPX, you can use their free XDN or QUIC.cloud

 

7. Cache Plugin – Cloudways Breeze vs. LiteSpeed Cache On WPX

WPX wins this category since you can use either LiteSpeed Cache or W3 Total Cache. With Cloudways, you’d want to use FlyingPress since Breeze isn’t great.

While WPX recommends W3 Total Cache, it lacks optimizations in LiteSpeed Cache which is undoubtedly the better cache plugin with server-level caching and more features seen in the table. FlyingPress is better than WP Rocket, but it doesn’t have server-level caching like LSC does. IMO, from best to worst, it goes: LiteSpeed Cache, FlyingPress, WP Rocket, then Breeze.

Breeze WP Rocket FlyingPress LSC
Server-side caching x x x
Remove unused CSS x Inline Separate file Separate file
Critical CSS x
Host fonts locally x x
Preload images x x x
Fetchpriority resource hint x x x
Lazy render HTML elements x x
Lazy load background images x Inline Helper class Helper class
Exclude images from lazy load x By URL By number By URL
Self-host YouTube placeholder x x x
Add missing image dimensions x
Scheduled database cleanups x
Control preloading x x x
Advanced cache control x x x
ESI (edge side includes) x x x
Gravatar cache x x x
Limit post revisions x x x
Price Free $49/year $42/year Free
Tutorial View tutorial View tutorial View tutorial View tutorial

Cloudways breeze plugin

Litespeed cache plugin

 

8. Server Locations – Cloudways Has A Lot More Data Centers

Cloudways has 44 data centers while WPX has 3. Even between DigitalOcean and Vultr on Cloudways, they have 22 data centers which is still more.

How close your data center is to visitors has a big impact on TTFB (unless you use something like Cloudflare Enterprise or QUIC which improves TTFB in multiple global locations which you can test in SpeedVitals). But if you’re not using a CDN with features like full page caching and Argo Smart Routing, using a close data center is still important. In which case, Cloudways wins.

WPX Data Centers

Chicago, IL (USA) London (England) Sydney (Australia)

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

 

9. Uptimes – WPX’s Response To Worldwide Outage Was Awful

Here’s the gist (you can read the full thread here).

  • WPX had a worldwide outage lasting several hours/days.
  • They pretended like it was only their Chicago data center.
  • Terri blamed it on their partner, threatening to sue a dead CEO.
  • In reality, it was their own fault for not having a redundancy system.
  • Terri said a redundancy system was too expensive, not taking accountability.
  • Customers were pissed not just for the outage, but more so for their response.

I hate when a host blames someone else for their mistakes while pretending it’s small. I wouldn’t put my website in the hands of someone who refuses to improve their service even when a disaster like this happens. To this day, I don’t believe WPX added a redundancy system.

Cloudways uses third-party cloud providers like DigitalOcean and Vultr. Vultr had some downtimes issues in the past, but I think they’ve improved recently. Otherwise, their uptimes are far better than WPX where downtimes are one of the most common complaints about them.

Wpx hosting worldwide outage response

Wpx hosting worldwide outage comment 5

 

10. Dashboard – Both Use Custom Dashboards

Cloudways is more “techie” than WPX, but it’s really not hard.

Cloudways’ dashboard has 3 main tabs: Servers (you can launch a server and manage things like PHP versions, caching, etc). Then you have Applications (where you connect your domain, add SSL, etc). Next, the 9 dots are add-ons like Cloudflare Enterprise or requesting a migration.

Step 1: In Cloudways’ dashboard, you’re prompted to launch a server. Select an application (WordPress or WooCommerce) and name your app/server. Select a cloud host (I recommend Vultr HF). Select your server size (1GB is fine for small sites, but use 2GB+ for WooCommerce and large sites). Select the data center closest to your visitors. When you’re ready, launch Now.

Cloudways launch vultr high frequency server

Step 2: Now we’ll connect your domain name. Cloudways doesn’t offer domains, so you’ll probably use GoDaddy or Namecheap. First, add it in Applications → Domain Management.

Cloudways domain management

Step 3: 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. Here are GoDaddy’s instructions (or find instructions for whatever domain registrar you use).

Add cloudways records to namecheap

Cloudways has a video on this:

Step 4: Install free Let’s Encrypt SSL (Applications → SSL Certificate) and enable auto renewal.

Cloudways ssl management

Step 5: Go to Servers → Manage Services and enable Redis/Varnish. Then go to Settings & Packages and upgrade your PHP version, MariaDB version, and install Redis. These are a few small tweaks in the CW dashboard which can significantly improve your website’s performance.

Cloudways settings packages

Step 6: Login to your website (find your WP login details under Applications → Access Details).

Cloudways access details

The WPX dashboard is very user-friendly but is overly simplified if you’re looking for more control of any server settings. It’s great for beginners, but not great if you want more control.

Wpx hosting dashboard
WPX dashboard

 

11. Email Hosting – Neither Support It (Kind Of)

In either case, I definitely recommend using a third-party email service like Google Workspace.

Cloudways doesn’t have email hosting, but they offer a Rackspace add-on for $1/email per month. However, it’s very limited and not a great option. WPX offers email hosting, but it’s extremely limited and can usually only be used by a single person not sending a lot of emails.

Wpx hosting email review
WPX’s email hosting isn’t suitable for small businesses

 

12. Free Migration – WPX Includes Free Site Speed Optimization

Cloudways offers a 1 free migration (then $25/site) while WPX offers a free migration as long as you meet their migration policy.

WPX also includes free site speed optimization where they optimize your website for core web vitals. It’s unclear exactly what they do or how many hours they put in, but it’s a nice bonus. I wouldn’t expect a miracle to pass core web vitals though (since that can take a lot of work and completely depends on your site), but they might be able to improve your scores. Worth a try.

Wpx free site speed optimization

 

13. Support – Cloudways Has Gotten Better, But WPX Wins

Support is usually something you have to experience yourself. But I can tell you Cloudways support has mixed reviews. While I’ve always been satisfied with their answers, some people say it’s hit or miss or overly technical. WPX’s support is solid and you can usually reach them in less than a minute. Both Cloudways and WPX offer tickets and live chat, but no phone support.

 

14. Security – Who Has Better Security?

Neither Cloudways or WPX have past data breaches.

Both hosts protect your website in their own ways (i.e. WAF through Cloudflare and QUIC and QUIC’s DDoS protection), but there have been reports of Cloudways using hashed passwords – so they could take a few additional steps to improve this. WPX also has free malware cleanup.

Wordpress security checklist 1
Regardless of which host you choos, use this WordPress security checklist

 

15. Price – Both Can Get Pricey From Bandwidth, Storage, Add-ons

WPX gets expensive because of their low bandwidth/storage limits. They also don’t even tell you how many resources come with each plan (CPU cores, RAM, inodes, etc). Since their plans can’t properly handle a WooCommerce site, you may very well exceed the “unknown” resource limits.

Cloudways can get expensive between having to buy email hosting, FlyingPress, and Cloudflare Enterprise. You’re already looking at around $25/mo. WPX is similar if you buy email hosting and use QUIC’s paid plan. However, since Cloudways handle quite a bit more traffic, Cloudways can actually become cheaper than WPX. Cloudways also lets you scale CPU/RAM while WPX doesn’t.

WPX starts at $24.99/mo while the cheapest plan on Cloudways is $10/mo for a 1GB DigitalOcean server (but a 2GB server is usually recommended especially for WooCommerce sites which is usually $22 – $26/month). WPX gives you 2 months free if you sign up for a year. The reason Cloudways costs more than going straight to DigitalOcean or Vultr is because they help manage your server, give you a dashboard, etc. Otherwise, you’d be using command lines.

Cloudways vultr high frequency discount
Get 30% off your first 3 months at Cloudways 
Wpx yearly pricing
WPX pricing

 

16. TrustPilot Rating – WPX Has Better Ratings

These fluctuate, but WPX generally has a higher TrustPilot rating than Cloudways. I like to read through 1 star reviews to see what most people complain about (so I know what to look out for).

 

17. Facebook Feedback – Cloudways vs. WPX Polls/Threads

Since hosting reviews are so biased, here’s what actual people say:

Cloudways vs wpx facebook poll

Cloudways vs wpx thread

 

18. Winner – Cloudways Is Faster/Better Than WPX

Cloudways is definitely the winner.

I’ve used them for many years and always had a fast site/TTFB. They’re not perfect, but they’re far better (and faster) than nearly every mainstream host including WPX, who is not the fastest WordPress host like they say. IMO, they attracted lots of attention with the marketing gimmick.

Siteground to cloudways shoutout

Cheers,
Tom

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