How I Made My WordPress Site 1311% Faster with Cloudways and WPMU DEV Plugins

Yep, you read that right: I got a 1311% speed boost when I set up Cloudways managed cloud hosting on my server combined with our Hummingbird and Smush Pro plugins.

Since Hummingbird was launched we’ve added sooo much new stuff. Head over to the project page to check out all the new features! Check out Hummingbird

Woah, right?

And I got that result with very little effort.

You’ve no doubt had it drummed into you that optimizing your websites for speed is important. After all, 40% of people won’t wait three seconds for your front page to load, while Google recommends that your site loads within 2 seconds but that you should really aim for 500 ms for an optimal SERP ranking.

But actually achieving fast page speeds? Well, that can be incredibly tricky and time consuming. I mean, what the heck is a render blocking resource? (Obviously, that’s a rhetorical question, but do you remember the first time you came across it on Google PageSpeed Insights?)

So when I was asked to review Cloudways’ managed hosting service, I was skeptical. The truth is, I hate writing reviews about products I don’t like, I just can’t do it, so I made it clear to Cloudways that if I came across anything I didn’t like I would call them out. But they gave me a test account anyway… and I was pleasantly surprised… and, truth be told, ridiculously excited when I saw how fast my test website started flying once I added our Hummingbird and Smush Pro plugins to the mix.

So let’s get on with it. Here’s how I made my website 1311% faster using cloud hosting with Cloudways as well as our Hummingbird and WP Smush Pro plugins, – and how I got my web pages to load in less than a blink of an eye (that’s 300 to 400 milliseconds, just so you know).

For a free $50 Cloudways credit, use promo code WPMUDEV or click the button below.Snatch Up Your Free $50

Cloudways Managed Cloud Hosting: Why It’s Worth Checking Out

Cloud hosting is one of the best ways to speed up your website since you’re able to draw on a cluster of servers rather than just one. This means that if you suddenly need more resources to keep your site running as fast as The Flash, you can draw on other servers in the cloud.

The alternative is rather bleak since your site and server would shut down completely when your resources are exhausted. With cloud hosting, this isn’t an issue.

The biggest difference between Cloudways and the major cloud hosting platforms out there, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Compute Engine (GCE), is that Cloudways is the bridge between the major hosts.

Normally, if you wanted to set up your site on AWS or GCE, it would take a lot of time and technical know-how, and not just the amount of effort it takes to set up a WordPress site on a traditional server. No, I’m talking about the kind of effort that makes even pro developers squeamish and anxious at the thought of having to set up a cluster in the cloud.

Cloudways takes care of all of this for you. All you need to do is select a WordPress single or Multisite install from the list of available applications, enter a name for your server, then choose between Digital Ocean, Vultr, AWS and GCE.

Once you’ve made your choice, your new cloud server is set up for you in about 15 minutes, sometimes less. Awesome!

The Cloudways platform "Servers" screen.
Setting up a smaller cloud server takes about 5 minutes.

Since we’re talking cloud hosting, besides blazingly fast server speeds there are a ton of features you can get with Cloudways that you won’t see with other hosting services. Here are just some that set Cloudways apart from its competition.

1. It’s Managed and Secure

You get the flexibility of fast and reliable managed cloud hosting and you can automatically upgrade your server almost instantly. On top of that, you can get a cloud server up and running in just a few clicks, and you don’t have to worry about securing your service because it’s taken care of for you. Oh, and you’re protected with a firewall, too.

Even though it’s managed, you still get full control of your site, its settings and what plugins you want to install on your WordPress site.

2. One-Click SSL Certificate Install

Free SSL certificates are available and you can install them on your site in one click. Let’s Encrypt, which provides the certificates, is a renowned and trusted open source certificate authority.

Cloudways lets you install a free SSL certificate to secure and encrypt the connection between your site and your visitors’ browsers. With a certificate installed, hackers won’t be able to get their fingers in there and muck about your site or steal your visitors’ personal information.

While WordPress itself is secure, it’s still essential for all WordPress sites to have an SSL certificate since there are forms in even a default install that can potentially be exploited such as the login form. It’s not mandatory to have one, but since you can now safely get one for free, why wouldn’t you jump on that kind of opportunity to help secure your site?

3. FTPS and SFTP: Secure and Ready

Even if you don’t install an SSL certificate, you still have access to file transfer protocol secure (SFTP) and SSH file transfer protocol (SFTP). This means your connection while transferring files to and from your site is encrypted for optimal security.

I can’t speak for all hosting companies, but this typically isn’t an option unless you decide to install an SSL certificate on your own.

4. You Get a Static IP Address

Normally with cloud hosting you get a dynamic IP address, which means your site’s IP can change every now and again if you upgrade or you need more resources to keep your site running. This means that many options for running your site can quickly go out the window, such as domain mapping or installing cPanel.

Cloudways automatically assigns each server an IP address so you can still enjoy the benefits of having a static IP while still hosting your site on the cloud.

If you need a dedicated IP address, you can quickly add a new server for a measly $7 and host your site there. There are also larger server sizes available if you think you need more wiggle room.

While you can’t install cPanel with Cloudways, its interface (called Platform) replaces cPanel so you’re not losing out when you choose to send your site to the cloud.

The Cloudways :Settings and Packages" page.
The Cloudways UI has all the settings you need.

5. Simple, Easy and Powerful UI

Speaking of the interface, who says you can’t have cloud hosting without spending all your time with your nose in SSH? Cloudways provides a fantastic interface for managing your account, from where you can do pretty much anything you need, such as creating, deleting or cloning a server and installing a new WordPress site all the way to increasing your upload and PHP memory limit.

Currently, you can transfer files with SFTP and SSH, but imminent upgrades to the UI are also set to include a file manager so you can finally ditch cPanel for good. Not to mention the fact that cloud hosting doesn’t normally include a file manager so this is pretty special.

6. Real-Time Server Monitoring

If you’re curious about how your server is doing and how much of your resources your site is using, you can monitor your server in real-time. It’s also included so you don’t have to open your wallet again.

You can check how much CPU and storage space you’re using as well as your traffic stats, bandwidth, and requests in reads and writes.

Cloudways also provides a suggestion for the point at which you should consider upgrading so it’s even easier to know when you’re reaching your server size’s limits.

The Idle CPU monitoring graph.
Cloudways includes Server and application monitoring.

7.  Instant Staging Area Setup

When you set up your server and WordPress site, a Cloudways sub-domain is instantly included so the new site you created can act as a staging environment until you decide to push your changes live or transfer your site to your production server.

Since servers are billed hourly, you can quickly create a server to test on, then migrate it to your live server within the same day without having to worry about paying for a whole month. You can also set up a test environment with our Cloner plugin if you prefer to stay within your Multisite install.

8.  Server User Roles

If you work with a team or you have clients, you can add them separately with certain permissions so you don’t have to worry about someone mucking up your server or settings.

If you’re a WordPress developer or designer, it’s a great way to give your clients their own fast, reliable server for the optimal performance of their site while not giving them access to all your clients’ servers. Instead, you can give them support access only so they can open tickets on your behalf.

Plus, it’s just easier to bill clients based on their server and usage of resources when it’s all calculated for you in your Cloudways dashboard.

How to Make Your WordPress Website 1311% Faster

At this point, you may be wondering, “If Cloudways is already so freaking fast, why do I need Hummingbird and Smush Pro, too?”

The quick answer is that I was able to increase the speed of my Cloudways-hosted test site by 1311% by also installing Hummingbird and WP Smush Pro when compared to my regular ol’ test site on my VPS server. This setup was also 492% faster than my managed VPS when I installed these plugins.

Mind you, my test sites had a super clunky theme and plugin installed with bandwidth and storage-sucking unoptimized images and content. If you actually made an effort to keep your site clean and lightweight, you could very well achieve even better results.

Speaking of clunky themes and plugins as well as unoptimized images and content, Cloudways can’t exactly protect you or me from our choices. While they do provide automatic server optimization, there’s only so much they can do if you decide you absolutely need themes, plugins or images that take up a lot of resources.

In case you’re wondering, Hummingbird and WP Smush Pro made the test site on my VPS server load 375% faster than without them installed.

Even with the massive earns in speed with just these two plugins installed, adding Cloudways into the mix provided a massive return in decreased loading speed of my site.


Cloudways is already so fast, but I was able to achieve and exceed Google’s more ambitious recommended goal of a 500 ms page loading speed when I installed and set up both Hummingbird and WP Smush Pro.

And the best part? It was super easy to achieve.

In the Hummingbird minification settings, I just made a few clicks to place all of my CSS files in the header and the JavaScript files in the footer, enabled GZIP compression and caching. All up, it took 30 seconds. Easy.

For a while, I refused to believe that the practically zero effort I put in paired with the automatic image optimizing of Smush Pro could actually make my site buzz like it had way too much coffee. Yet, I guess the results speak for themselves. It makes me wonder how fast I could get my site running if I actually tried to put in an effort.

Even with my non-effort, I was able to achieve Google PageSpeed Insight scores of 91/100 for the desktop and 75/100 for the mobile versions of my test sites across the four available server types in Cloudways.

My clunky theme didn’t help the mobile user experience, though, since Google deemed it to not be mobile-friendly. Even still, speed wasn’t nearly as much of an issue.

With a tiny bit more tweaking, I was able to pull up a score of 91/100 for mobile and 97/100 for desktop versions of my site.

Google PageSpeed Insights score after a bit of tweaking.
I was able to achieve improbably high scores after only a little bit of tweaking.

If you think it’s easy to achieve this kind of score without really trying, you might want to check out our post Why Trying to Get 95+ on Google PageSpeed Insights for Your WordPress Site Will Drive You Mad!

Mind you, Raelene Morey originally wrote that post in 2014 – before Hummingbird and Smush Pro were around. She tried installing clean, lightweight plugins and themes while optimizing her site like crazy, but still ended up falling short of her goal. She only achieved 79/100 for mobile devices and 91/100 for her desktop site after wiping her brow from sweat.

This is ultimately what convinced me that pairing Hummingbird and WP Smush Pro with Cloudways would be a force to be reckoned with and one heck of a powerhouse.

Cloudways: How to Set it Up Cloud Hosting with WordPress

If you want to give this setup a try for your site, it all starts with setting up a Cloudways server with a free 14-day trial. Coincidentally, you can also get Hummingbird and WP Smush Pro for free, also for 14 days.

Once you sign up for both, you can give this setup a go without worrying about it costing you anything.

Once you have signed up with Cloudways, you can create your first server by selecting WordPress (or Multisite!) from the first drop-down box, then entering a name for your application – in this case, WordPress – along with naming your server and project. You can also choose from other applications such as WooCommerce.

The "Create New Server" page.
Creating a server with Cloudways is a piece of cake.

Next, you can choose the type of cloud infrastructure you want to use, and the size and location of the server.

When you’re done, click Launch Server at the bottom of the page to create your first server and WordPress site with Cloudways.

The server size portion of the server setup page.
There are many affordable server options available.

The server sizes may seem a bit small to you, but a little bit goes a long way. A server with one gigabyte of RAM and one core processor should comfortably provide you with about 50,000 to 60,000 visitors per month.

Once you have launched your server, you should be redirected to the Applications page where you can view your new server on the list. Once it has finished being created, you can click on it to view more options.

You can also toggle between servers and applications toward the top of the page. In the navigation menu, you have the options to view your Servers, Applications, Team and Projects.

Your applications (or in this case, WordPress sites) can be organized into projects so they’re easier to find and manage.

The "Applications" page.
You can easily switch between and manage sites.

When you click on your site on the list, you are brought to a page where you can manage your site from getting your login and SSH credentials to viewing stats and creating cron jobs or installing an SSL certificate.

On the main Access Details tab, you should see your login details for your new WordPress site under Admin Panel. You can click the icon beside your URL to launch the admin dashboard.

You can also click on your password to automatically copy it or you can click the eye icon to view your password in plain text.

The app management page.
You can access your secure login details and manage your site completely.

In the screenshot above, I have already added my own domain name by clicking the Domain Management tab and filling out the simple form. Fortunately, I didn’t forget to change my DNS records so the new URL works.

Now you’re ready to add content to your new site or migrate your old one. You can also give Cloudways a try for yourself with an even better freebie than a 14-day trial.

Here at WPMU DEV, we worked hard to secure a sweet deal for you. In case you’re wondering, it’s absolutely not an affiliate link since We Don’t Do Affiliates So Please Stop Asking!

For a free $50 Cloudways credit, use promo code WPMUDEV or click the button below.Snatch Up Your Free $50

Your $50 credit will be automatically added to your account when you upgrade from your free 14-day trial. This credit can be applied to your account at any time no matter when you read this article.

Smush: How to Optimize Your Images for Unreal Speed

Before you go ahead and start adding images and content to your site, install WP Smush Pro since it can automatically optimize all the images you upload to your media library.

To download the plugin and for details on how to install it, check out the WP Smush Pro page and Usage tab.

Once you have installed and activated it, you can double-check the settings under admin dashboard > Media > WP Smush and save any changes you have made.

You can automatically smush images and set only certain sized images to be smushed.
You can automatically smush images and set only certain sized images to be smushed.

There are several settings you can enable including:

  • Automatically smush my images on upload
  • Choosing the image sizes that should be optimized by WP Smush
  • Preserve image EXIF data
  • Resize original images
  • Super-smush my images
  • Include your original full-size images
  • Make a copy of your original images as a backup
  • Convert PNG to JPEG (lossy)

Once that’s all set, you can start uploading your images and creating your site content.

If at any point you want to Smush your images after you see a message letting you know there’s an opportunity to optimize your images further, you can click the Bulk Smush button to make it happen.

Hummingbird: For Ultimate WordPress Performance and Optimization

Once you’ve set up your site and you’re happy with it, you can start making it seriously fast. For details on how to download, install and activate Hummingbird, check out the product usage guide.

Go to your super admin dashboard > Hummingbird > Dashboard and click on the Start Caching My Website button to, well, cache your site. You should be redirected to the settings page for caching where you should see a message that it’s enabled and the recommended settings are set up already.

Hummingbird browser caching
Your site will load more quickly with browser caching switched on.

Go back to the Hummingbird dashboard page and click the Compress My Website button. You should be redirected to the GZIP compression setting page where it’s enabled for you.

Once again, go back to the Hummingbird dashboard where you can run a new performance test.


Hummingbird performance test
Return to the Hummingbird dashboard to run a performance test.

When it’s complete, you should see your first performance report. At the top of the page is your overall score and some information on your last scan and previous scores.

You can click the View Test button for more detailed information on your scores. You can also click any items listed in the performance report on this page that don’t have a perfect score. This redirects you to the Hummingbird > Performance Report page.

Here, you can click the Improve Score buttons to view detailed information about the issue that was detected as well as details on the fix. In most cases, you can fix the problem in one click.

Hummingbird performance recommendations
Get detailed advice on how to fix issues with your site that are slowing it down, including render-block resources.

One of the recommendations listed that you’re likely to see is Remove render-blocking resources. When you select it, you should see a list of files that need to be adjusted along with a button you can click to redirect you to the minifying settings.

Here, you can adjust where your enqueued files should load on your page to improve your page speed. Click the Check Files button to get started. Once your site has been scanned, you can view a list of all the files that can be combined and minified.

You can bulk update all the files toward the top of the page or you can select which files should be individually included, minified and combined as well as the position on the page where they should load.

Hummingbird minification
With Hummingbird, you can combine and minify files in bulk or individually to speed up your site.

Once you’re done, click Save Changes, then go to Hummingbird > Dashboard or Performance Report to start a new performance scan by clicking the Run Test button.

Once you view your new score and report, you can change your settings and files further to get as high a score as you can.

If you mess up and want to start all over again, click the Clear button at the top of the Hummingbird > Dashboard page to reset everything.

Incredible Speed with Cloudways, Hummingbird and Smush Pro

If you’ve followed along with my setup in this post, you’re ready to start checking Google PageSpeed Insights or other free speed testing tools and see how fast your site has become.

Sure, you could try other methods to get your website loading in under 2 seconds, to achieve a Google PageSpeed score of 95+/100. It would probably take a lot of effort, but you could probably do it. Or, in far less time and with very little effort you could set up a new Cloudways server and install Hummingbird and Smush Pro and easily get your site literally loading in the blink of an eye.

Obviously, you know which way I would go since I wrote up this review after all…

Jenni McKinnon
What's your highest Google PageSpeed Insights score for your site? What's the fastest loading time you have achieved? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below because I want to know!

89 Responses

  • New Recruit

    I too am a fan of Cloudways. Every site that I have migrated has had an immediate speed increase.

    One feature you left out is the $1/month for a rackspace email inbox. This really eases a clients burden when moving away from a shared service with free (but crappy) email service. It does take a full day or two to have the email setup but the rackspace email service is solid.

    Regarding you caching solution using Hummingbird, did you uninstall the default W3TC plugin or run hummingbird along with W3TC?

    • Hey,

      Yeah, that’s true. Their Rackspace email option isn’t free, but it’s just so much better than the free emails you get with other hosts. You’re so right about that! Plus, it’s only $1/month for an email which is practically free, anyway. Hahaha.

      I had W3TC installed, but deactivated for the tests so the results are just from Cloudways, Hummingbird and WP Smush Pro. Although, W3TC is compatible with Hummingbird so you could totally use them both for a superpower boost to your hero site. ;)



  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    I am an advocate of CloudWays and probably their leading ambassador since I discovered them in February. I was looking for a managed solution and CW fitted the bill perfectly – I don’t have the time to learn a whole new skill set of server admin. I’ve got one WP site, running a custom theme based on SkeletonCSS loading in about 300ms. Another WooCommerce site loads in around 900-1000ms. Average for just WordPress using a theme (from a marketplace) is about 600 to 800ms – themes normally include the whole bootstrap framework.

    I’ve not got into installing WPMU on CW just yet – I’ll probably do fine with installing multiple apps on each server. An ‘app’ is just a wordpress install, on a separate domain name and you can have as many apps on a server as it’s resources can handle.

    Note with CW email isn’t included, so you’ll need an external hosted solution – either gmail, exchange or CW offer rackspace accounts for $2/mo.

    Still to try Hummingbird, have just stuck with W3TC for the moment, but I hear that might be dropped from default CW WordPress setups in the future. CW might also be offering Docker Images for those wanting a similar dev environment (but not vagrant, yet)

    • Flash Drive

      Thanks Oliver for appreciating and providing such a valuable feedback.
      It’s really nice to see our customers are also engaging and sharing their experience.
      Just one clarification needed. Rackspace itself offers $2/month, while with Cloudways you get in just $1/month.
      As you said, you didn’t tried WPMU Dev with Cloudways. I would suggest you to try it out. The above used plugins will definitely give more boost to your sites.

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    I too am running my sites on Cloudways. I recently moved away from SiteGround, which I loved and still recommend to clients. But I was paying a lot more for a cloud server with them and not utilizing the resources. Plus, I always felt that it was a lot slower than it should be.

    Cloudways was instantly faster once I migrated, and I’m in love with the control panel. Definitely a great choice if anyone is looking to move to another host.

    Love the article, thanks!

    • WPMU DEV Initiate


      Ahsan here from Cloudways, I am the manager of Community marketers here.

      Love to read your feedback. The Cloudways platform and service is the result of hard work and continuous learning from the industry and our customers. We have an active feedback page at where customers submit their suggestions and based on that we build the next feature.

      There is always something new built or being improved on weekly basis in the platform. :)

  • New Recruit

    Which server configurations did you try with the different options? I don’t recall seeing them.

    Were you using one of the lower end options as small timers would use or were you using the more expensive server configurations?

    I would normally consider using something which costs me within the lower double digits, so I want to know if your results would be comparable to (for example) the 15$ digital ocean plan?

  • friend of Bill. W.

    i used CloudWays in the past,
    do they still install all wordpress sites with W3 Total Cache and WordFence automatically and activated ?
    i thought this was silly as a “clean” wordpress install should be available.
    yes one can argue to simply deactivate and delete but i have read that W3 Total Cache does not remove all files from your setup and database.
    any kind thoughts on this ?
    What did you do with these plugins Jenni ?

  • The Crimson Coder

    Okay so i read this article and thought to myself, that seems like a load of shit, pardon my french. All those fancy numbers and not even a URL to test it with. But my thoughts are my own, and you cant judge me for that :) But before i made my thoughts into words, i thought, lets test it. I mean, dont bash it if you aint tried it right?

    So i did, and i was blown away. And here are my real world results with URL’s so you folks can see.

    The second URL is the Cloudways one… it is blazingly fast. WOW

    • Hey,

      Ohh awesome! Thanks for sharing your results! I don’t blame you, I would have thought the same thing, too if I didn’t see it for myself!

      I didn’t add links to the post since it would cost money I need for food to keep the servers up for an indefinite amount of time. Hahaha. In all seriousness, though, I figured people would give it a try with the free trials if they were curious, as you did and I hoped my screenshots would be enough. I was blown away by the results I got. Glad you saw similar ones. :)



    • Hey,

      Unfortunately, they were deleted to save on resources. I just didn’t think ahead in this case and did what I normally do to test sites when I’m done writing a post. Sorry about that! Hindsight, eh?

      There is a 14-day trial available for Cloudways and here at WPMU DEV if you wanted to try it for yourself. Unfortunately, that’s the best that I can do now. I wish I could be more helpful here.



  • WPMU DEV Initiate

    This is a great article and does show the ease and power of the Cloudways platform. I have been a Cloudways customer for over a year and half now, and I can vouch for their service and support, it is simply awesome. I went from $400/month per server bill to $100/month with faster website loading times and better support. I could say it over and over again and again the support is awesome.
    Cloudways true power is the pre configure Varnish server that is deployed with each WordPress Application. However, unfortunately the Varnish pre configured setup is not compatible with most of WPMUDEV’s plugins including Marketpress and Membership 2 Pro plugins (basically any WPMUDEV plugin with e commerce within it), and thus the Varnish server has to be turned off when these plugins are being used.

    And therefore one instantly loses out on the speed improvements mentioned in this article. The exception is CoursePress Pro which allows you to use WooCommerce as the payment gateway. Which Cloudways has a preconfigured Varnish setup for. ie deploy the Woocommerce WordPress app. I always deploy this as standard.

    Sorry for being the party pooper, but I thought I would save a people time is discovering the issue themselves.



  • The Exporter

    Hi Jenni There are several open questions’

    1st security – European customers often now don’t like anymore to host their sites in the US since NSA scandal. So where are the cloud servers located of cloudways, how is the company ensuring security and privacy and that NSA has no access to it?

    2nd percentage results often give people a very wrong impressum, therfore I suggest that you always setup an example site. a 14 day trial would have been enough and actually it is possible to setup another 14 day free trial and to transfer even servers to other accounts/customers – at least at digital ocean. This way a test settings site could have been available for at least 1-2 weeks, enough time for people to check it out from different locations. Another great way to show the results would have been to link to gtmetrix result pages (also they get deleted after some weeks!) but a pdf with the result could be downloaded and than it would be available also for ever an attached to the article.

    3rd talking abot speeding up websites and not mentioning the exact settings used is not so fair. What template have you used, what kind of images, videos, and other content was used. Did the site use an upfront template i.e. with its demo content – until now we were not able to speed up the FIXER template much more – only as an example, those are things everyone can compare and has experience and access to it without even opening up an account at cloudways.

    4th how does couldways connect to cloudflare i.e.? Are they using their own proxy servers ;-)

    5th as you were using Hummingbird, what about trying Hummingbird with a Template which is based on visual composer and try to speed up the sites – you will soon realise that it is actually quite important to know your settings of hummingbird which files have been compressed/not compressed and which one have been concatenated, which went to the footer of the site etc. Hummingbird has a lot of settings which not seldom simply crash sites completely and you have to redue the whole procedure of configuring again and again to find the culprits.

    I hope some of those questions could be answered by you or other community members.


    • WPMU DEV Initiate

      Hi Andi,

      Thanks for posting your questions. I will try my best to answer them..

      1st – Cloudways isn’t an infrastructure provider. We have partnered with DigitalOcean, Vultr, AWS EC2, and Google to provide easy way to deploy on their reliable hosting infrastructures.

      So if you have concerns about NSA accessing your data, then you can host your site on DigitalOcean Frankfurt (Germany) server. The law over at Germany doesn’t allow anyone access to your server.

      2nd – You have a good suggestion of keeping test sites live, something that is what we can consider, Jenni or Tim can contact us and we can make the test sites.

      3rd – The server settings that Jenni used were default and that includes a setup of Nginx, Varnish, Apache, Memcached, MySQL and PHP 5.6

      You can further improve it by adding Redis, ElasticSearch, CDN and PHP 7. For the plugins and themes, it depends on the client heavily, as mentioned in the article the WPMUDEV plugins work great on our environment. For the theme, it varies from client to client.

      4th – Clients have the freedom to connect their CDN of their own choice, whether it be Cloudflare or MaxCDN. We don’t use any proxy IPs, each client gets a dedicated IP on their server.

      5th – I will leave this to WPMUDEV team.

      Hope I was of help :)

  • WPMU DEV Initiate

    Hey Tim, maybe you could post a some suggestions to on their feedback forum and get wpmudev members to support it – (I for one see this a deal breaker and have decided to drop my wpmudev membership when renewal is up).

    Mike – I use WordFence with all the websites that I host with no issues.

    Andi, to answer some your questions –
    Cloudways is a Malta registered business with support run out of Pakistan, and as they provide a software layer between between your dashboard and your server, one would have to assume the NSA might be able to access the server. But I am sure you can read more about their policies here:

    Yes you can connect your websites to cloudflare.
    Their recommend caching plugin is W3 Total Cache, wp-rocket also works very well. I have not tried hummingbird.
    Yes, you get sftp access to your server to edit the .htaccess file and install files ie plugins /themes
    Also, your can ssh connect to your server, so if you are confident enough you can manually configure your server services Varnish, MYSQL, NginX and so on.

  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    I’ve been a long, long time customer of Siteground. I have dozens of client sites hosted there as well as my own.

    The last few months I was noticing reduced performance on my VPS, and had several downtimes. Support told me my wpmudev scripts and envira gallery were using too many resources.

    I moved the site in question to a 1GB vultr server through Cloudways. Load time improved three fold. WordPress back end was much faster. I ran substantial tests, including some small blitzs tests. No issues what so ever.

    I now have three servers at Cloudways and I am slowly moving every client there. The support has been great. The servers even better.

    If only I could grab the $50 deal like the new customers ;) haha

    Keep up the good work!

  • Support/SLS MockingJay


    Sorry I can’t reply directly to your post as it’s at the limit.

    I am finding the hourly part very confusing in this article and the comments. What does it mean. If a plan is $30 a month, what is the hourly charge about?
    Also in your comment above you say you encourage people to host email on another server, is that Rackspace?”

    $30 x 31 days = 744hrs x $0.02 = around $15 so essentially it’s costing 0.02 per hour.

    With regards to email, it can be any server, or email hosting provider like mailchimp for example. It’s not compulsory, but if you’re running email campaigns it can take up resources when sending huge lists, this will affect the speed of the site.

    Hope this helps

  • Syntax Hero


    I read in another review that “Cloudways does not offer domain name system (DNS) to manage your domain names by default, instead they allow you to use your own third party DNS (like GoDaddy) or you can subscribe to their DNS Made Easy service. This add-on starts at $2/month for up to 5 domains.”

    I didn’t see any mention of this in this article though?


  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    Just a heads up for anyone who might want to give the 14 day trial a go, do not add any billing details until after 14 days. I’ll explain. I signed up for the trial and went to my member area. It said something about my profile was not complete and reminding me to finish setting it up. No big deal as most systems have a reminder setup like this. So I decided to get that out of the way by filling in my personal details along with filling out the billing section.

    I then proceeded to setup a server and application and do some testing. Testing went very well and I was pretty impressed. I did chat with support several times and they helped me out quickly and nicely. Next I wanted to see if my WPMUDEV credit was in the system or not and I did not see it or any information about my trial period. I opened a chat session. I was told that as soon as I entered billing information on my profile the trial was terminated and I would be billed from then on. I was a little flabbergasted to be honest as I personally have never seen it work like that. Usually I would have the trial period until it ends then start getting charged once that is up. I explained to the support person that I did not see any messages or prompts anywhere indicating this and I was told that I should have just known. I was just like well, ok then. I basically got a 1 day trial.

    Even with that one bad experience, the low prices and high quality of the product at Cloudways makes me not even blink an eye in continuing my services. I love what they have done! Thankfully I only have the 1 server running right now so the trial issue isn’t going to cost me too much money but I wanted to let others know to not make the same mistake I did.


  • WPMU DEV Initiate

    I do not recommend it, problems of all kinds, server
    Badly configured, not compatible with wordpress.
    Now change the domain to another server, the problem is with the configuration
    Of your panel since you administer vultr. I hope they solve it
    Load Issues
    Dns problems
    Cache problems
    File permissions issues.
    I can mention a long list, too many problems, like hosting
    Administered should check compatibility with wordpress…
    I still have a few dollars left in the account, but
    When the balance is zero, I will go to another professional hosting …
    The support goes badly, they are deciding to close the chat window ..

    • Hey,

      I’m not sure what you mean since all their server types are compatible with WordPress. They even have an auto-installer for it. Did you do some troubleshooting? If you upgraded to PHP 7, there could be a plugin you’re using that’s not yet compatible, for example.

      Did you try contacting their support team again? They can help you sort it out. Sounds like there was a glitch in their chat box.

      Good luck,


  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    It was a very detailed post and I lost patients half way down the post cause many of the things I already knew and was not getting the info I really wanted to see.

    I am too tired right now anyways to go thru all of the comments. Please help with my questions.

    1 – Did you use W3 Total Cache or disabled that completely?
    2 – Were you using CloudFlare or any other CDN as well?

    • Hey,

      Thanks for your feedback. I hope you’remember feeling better and well rested now. :)

      I mentioned these in the post, but I’ll help you out in case you’re still tired:

      1. No. I deactivated W3TC but kept it installed to add extra “weight” on the servers for the tests and test sites.
      2. I used the free version of CloudFlare on each of the test sites.



  • Support nomad

    Hello Jermaine,

    I did check our site in PageSpeed Insights and 91 points is not poor result IMO. Response server on 0.36 sec? That is not bad for site like this!
    You have to consider that our site is specific environment and it was created long before we created plugins like Hummingbird. Lots of things is customized here and there is lot going on “under the hood” and that is why we don’t use Hummingbird (there is a team of sysadmins taking care of our servers).
    You can ask why are you images not optimized? But they are – if you take a look closely on the page speed result it is because of dimension of images not the compression (that is common practice on responsive websites to use bigger images).

    Hope this answer your question :)

    kind regards,

  • New Recruit

    Hi guys,

    I was looking to use AWS instead of WPEngine for speed and other things and even though WPEngine is fast it is not fully compatible with woocommerce. It works well with WordPress, but when you have a shop, things go downhill.

    Anyway, I saw this article and thought it would be much easier to use Cloudways instead of AWS directly (Although I hosted the site on AWS as a test and it worked perfectly) but with a managed service it felt it would be a bit safer.

    So I opened a trial account on Cloudways and I liked the speed and ease of use as you mentioned which is good. But their support was horrendous. They just didn’t know what they were doing half of the time and they were talking to me like the IT guy would speak to the receptionist (i.e. turn the PC on and off again and it should work). It was really just silly.

    The funny thing is that I installed a fresh copy of wordpress and woocommerce and added a few products, like you would, to test but the products were not showing (with the varnish off and everything) and the support tells me that I uploaded the products incorrectly – can you believe that? I asked the support how I should be adding products other than just by clicking on Add product, and then adding the title, image, and price and hit publish. They replied with “yes, that is the way to upload products but the way you did it was incorrect”.

    I don’t normally write this sort of thing but I thought it was important to give real feedback on this paid article rather than just a biased viewpoint. Having said that, cloudways could work for you (even though I tried them twice and they didn’t deliver for me), and even though I really wanted it to work, it just did not for me, unfortunately.

    Now, does anyone know of an alternative service to cloudways? I really want to host on AWS but would like a safety net.


  • Flash Drive

    Hello Omar,

    I’m Mustaasam from Cloudways. First of all, thank you for trying and my apologies for the inconvenience caused. There may be some sort of miscommunication with our support. Can you please inbox on Twitter, Email or Skype? I would love to help you out personally.
    Twitter: @MustaasamSaleem
    Email: [email protected]

    By the way, this is not a paid article :)

    Waiting for your inbox.


  • New Recruit

    Hi Mustaasam,

    Thank you for your message.

    I have already raised a ticket and just received a response, saying that the products are showing but my logo is not showing because the image URL is not correct. I did not even ask you guys to look into the logo. I just wanted the products to show as they should. and they are still not showing by the way!

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